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Encouraging Diversity through Education


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There have been dramatic demographic changes within the United States. In response to those changes, a lot of NORC’s research has increasingly focused on culturally and linguistically responsive approaches to addressing racial and ethnic diversity, disparities, and equity issues.

Michael López, VP
Education & Child Development

A growing national awareness of persistent educational inequities—from early care through post-doctoral programs—has made addressing social and economic barriers to education a more pressing and broadly held priority. And America’s increasingly diverse student population requires educators and policymakers to understand and respond to a wider variety of student and family needs.

Mentoring Underserved Youth

NORC is evaluating programs funded by the ECMC Foundation that provide mentoring to underserved youth to help them get into, persist through, and complete college. The programs use a wide variety of approaches to achieve their goals. One program matches students with volunteers who provide in-person mentoring, while another uses technology to engage students remotely.

We are using a quasi-experimental evaluation design to identify which types of support are the most cost-effective drivers of student success.

In a world of limited resources, this will help college persistence programs and funders target their efforts and resources towards the most promising support initiatives.

Partnering With Historically Black Colleges

In a pioneering partnership, we are working with Spelman College and Morehouse College to exchange expertise in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields and collaborate on ways to promote student, faculty, and professional growth. Our jointly designed plans include workshops for both students and faculty members; webinars for STEM students, who will receive training from NORC researchers in evaluating programs and using data science, analytics, and visualizations; mentorship programs; and summer internships.

Improving Migrant and Seasonal Head Start

Migrant and seasonal farmworkers have been an irreplaceable part of the United States’ agricultural economy for decades, and ensuring that the children of those workers have access to high-quality early care and education programs and are ready to succeed in school has been an important part of Head Start since 1969. But it wasn’t until 2019 that the needs of migrant and seasonal Head Start families and providers were surveyed. Now, with a grant from the Spencer Foundation, NORC leads a research-practice partnership, in collaboration with The Catholic University of America and the National Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Association, charged with ensuring the accessibility and impact of this important new data source.

Migrant and Seasonal Head Start providers and policymakers will help shape the questions we ask, the kinds of analysis we conduct, and the dissemination methods we deploy.

Research capacity-building is an important part of our dissemination goals. To that end, we’ll be building a GSS Explorer-like data portal that will allow members of the Migrant and Seasonal Head Start community to conduct their own analysis and develop their own reports and visualizations.