(July 13, 2016) -- The diversity of American classrooms has expanded over the last 10 years but educational policy hasn’t kept pace, says Sharon L. Nichols, associate professor of educational psychology at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA).
“The average American classroom has become increasingly diverse,” Nichols said. “The social contexts in which our students and youth learn has changed, and it’s up to the adults who drive educational policies such as resource allocation, testing procedures and other academic opportunities, to understand how their policy actually affects students."
She added: "The problem is that they often don’t consider the needs of our increasingly diversifying youth populations that includes students with social, cultural, racial and linguistic diversities never before seen in this way.”
In her new book, titled “Educational Policies and Youth in the 21st Century: Problems, Potential, and Progress,” Nichols and contributors from across the country explore the unforeseen impacts of educational policy on the youth of today, particularly those from underrepresented demographic groups.
“I have been studying educational policy for a long time now,” said Nichols, whose research includes the impact of standardized testing on teachers and student learning, motivation and development. “Educational policies at the local, state and national levels are not having as positive an impact as they could. In many cases, our policies are making things harder for students from underserved populations.”
Legislation from the local to the national level is meant to improve students’ lives, but Nichols says that many policies instead effectively erode opportunities for minority student populations. Nichols’ offers solutions to challenges that have arisen as a result of what she calls poor policymaking and a lack of understanding by policymakers and school administrators. Her book explores the experiences of immigrant, LGBT, African American and Latino youth as well as youth from impoverished background.
“Youth and teachers are rarely consulted about the policies that affect them most directly,” said Nichols. “It’s important that policymakers are able to understand the many, many factors at play in the 21st century classroom and respond accordingly.”
Nichols hopes policymakers become more sensitive to the needs of the new student populations. Good educational policy, she says, could improve students’ academic performance and help shape a better future for them.
“I encounter so many teachers who go into the profession with next to no understanding about the policies that will rule their lives in their classrooms,” Nichols said. “I’m hoping to provide a resource that will arm teachers and current and future policymakers to best serve their students, especially those who need every opportunity they can get to succeed.”
Pre-order “Educational Policies and Youth in the 21st Century.”
Celebrate homecoming as the Roadrunners take on Rice. Come early for the Spirit Walk, tailgating, games, music and food. Stick around for a halftime show with SOSA and the crowning of Mr. and Ms. UTSA.
Alamodome, 100 Montana St., Downtown San Antonio
The Leadership Storytelling Homecoming Brunch brings together UTSA alumni and students to share a delicious meal as well as a roundtable conversation about how experiences in college carry us forward on unique leadership journeys.
University Center, Denman Room (UC 2.01.28), Main Campus
The conference is dedicated to sharing recent knowledge and experiences gained in the area of Big Data by researchers in academia, industry and the government sectors within the areas of business, national security, infrastructure, healthcare and visualization.
H-E-B University Center Ballroom (HUC 1.104), Main Campus
Former National Security Advisor Susan Rice, via webcast, will examine America’s economic, political and security relations with China during CHINA Town Hall, an 80-city live discussion and Q&A on China and Sino-American relations.
Building Building, Richard Liu Auditorium (BB 2.01.02), Main Campus
The African American Studies program proudly presents William "Cruz" Shaw, San Antonio City Councilman and UTSA Alumnus. Event is free and open to the public.
University Center, Retama Auditorium (UC 2.02.02), Main Campus
The graduate fair is an opportunity for the UTSA student body and local San Antonio community to learn about graduate education opportunities. The event is free and open to the public.
H-E-B University Center Ballroom (1.104), Main Campus
President Taylor Eighmy is inviting all UTSA students to "Pizza With The Prez." Come grab a slice of pizza and take the opportunity to introduce yourself to the President. Pizza while supplies last.
Frio Street Building, Food Court Commons Area, Downtown Campus
President Taylor Eighmy is inviting all UTSA faculty and staff to "Tacos With Taylor." Take the opportunity to introduce yourself to the President at any one of these casual meet and greets.
Biotechnology, Science and Engineering Building atrium, Main Campus
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