How can school districts provide equitable learning environments for all students?




By Ronald W. Holmes, Ph.D.
Vice President/ Education Editor
More than 400,000 teaching vacancies for both public and private schools will need to be filled by the year 2018. Considering the alarming number of uncertified or unlicensed teachers nationwide, the critical question to be asked is: How can school districts provide equitable learning environments for all students?
As a viable solution to this concern, the USC Rossier School of Education and Knowledge Delivery Systems (KDS) have formed a partnership and created an Equity Educator Certificate Program. The target students for this program are teachers and leaders in school districts across the U.S. and globally who serve a diverse student population – especially teachers and leaders in large, urban districts where a majority of students of color and English learners reside.

Educational equity is a timely and urgent issue for school leaders across the country. Many Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade students are being taught by teachers and supported by school leaders without the knowledge, skills and dispositions to create truly equitable learning environments for all students – including students of color and English language learners. If districts are to be successful in building inclusive schools and providing every student with the opportunity to succeed, teachers and school leaders must participate in depth level professional learning to engage today’s diverse classrooms.

The new USC-KDS Equity Educator Certificate Program consists of four online courses developed by leading USC Rossier School of Education professors, all of whom work extensively with teachers and leaders in urban schools. Each course provides approximately 50 hours of research-based instruction, one-on-one online coaching, and application toolkits that provide actionable resources and curriculum tools for teachers to use in their reflections, planning, and instruction. Teachers and school leaders who complete all four courses will be certified by USC Rossier as having demonstrated competency in: Cultural competency and responsiveness to students’ needs; building the academic literacy of English language learners; cultivating academic language development and differentiating instruction for all learners.

While student performance in school is critical to the success of our nation, Alvin Crawford Chief Executive Officer of KDS said, “Closing the achievement gap requires that every student has a high-quality teacher, every year, in every class who is trained and motivated to educate today’s classrooms of diverse learners. This program is a revolutionary joint effort to deliver an innovative, effective transformation in teaching practice, at scale, leveraging technology.”

For additional information about the Equity Educator Certificate Program, please visit:
Dr. Ronald Holmes is the author of eight books, “Education Questions to be Answered,” “Current Issues and Answers in Education,” “How to Eradicate Hazing,” “Professional Career Paths” “Your Answers to Education Questions,” “How to revitalize the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.” “Completing the Dissertation: Tips, techniques and real-life experiences from Ph.D. graduates” and “Jacob’s Dream.” He is publisher of “The Holmes Education Post,” an education focused Internet newspaper. Holmes is a former teacher, school administrator and district superintendent. He can be reached at