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Tulsa Public Schools hosts meeting to look at inequality on local campuses

Posted at 4:15 PM, Jan 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-24 23:22:12-05

TULSA, Okla. — New data shows Tulsa's equity score for education is less than 40 out of 100.

Now a team is hosting community discussions to learn how we got here, and the best way to move forward.

"Why is it that one school on one side of town in Tulsa has different resources than a school on the other side of town? We want people to talk about that and we want to talk about solutions," City of Tulsa Chief Resilience Officer DeVon Douglass said.

The crowd included everyone from teachers to concerned community members. Those who spoke to 2 Works for You said they constantly see the impact of inequity in the classroom.

"The majority of your students are low income, or the majority of your students have a single parent income, or are being raised by a different family member. That's not something that you see as often in higher income communities and areas," College Bound Academy Teacher Seth Thomas said.

The equality team saw disparities across race and income, with low-income schools showing a dropout rate of 24 percent compared to five percent in wealthier neighborhoods. Those who grew up in Tulsa said it's encouraging to see these differences become a conversation.

"I grew up in segregated Tulsa. I never went to, had, or engaged in white... you all take it for granted now but I never had those opportunities until I went to OU," Judy Eason McIntyre said.

But educators said if progress isn't made, students won't be able to meet their potential.

"Our students are years behind what we would like them to be at. They're not performing on grade level, they're not reaching reading potential and we know that kids who don't read by the third grade it can impact their entire lives," Thomas said.

These discussions are just the first step in the city's mission of addressing inequality across Tulsa.

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