MDC has partnered with Oak Foundation, under their Learning Differences Programme, to learn more about the intersection of race, educational equity, and learning differences and to advance stronger policy and practice by building a learning and action network across North Carolina called “Learning for Equity: A Network for Solutions,” or LENS-NC.
North Carolina organizations focused on direct service with students, education policy, disability rights, community organizing – and including explicit foci on issues facing Black and Latinx communities as well as rural communities were selected to learn more and advance their work at the intersection of race, educational equity, and learning differences. The organizations receive funds to advance their work to reduce race and income disparities in educational outcomes among students with learning differences and create learning environments where marginalized students with learning differences will thrive.
The organizations were chosen based on criteria including being geographically reflective of the state; representative of a cross-section of the entry points into work to reduce race and income disparities in educational outcomes; and seeking to create learning environments where marginalized students with learning differences will thrive.
Members of the Network regularly meet to learn, address common challenges, and explore opportunities to amplify effective strategies for change at classroom, school, community, district, and state levels.
LENS NC’s network focuses on shared learning and amplifying strategies by:
- Building knowledge and understanding of ways to combat structural racism within the education system, with a focus on the identification and support systems for students with learning differences
- Providing supports to marginalized students with learning differences and their families that increase confidence, self-esteem, and agency
- Building educator understanding of equitable practices and learning environments that address bias and promote cultural responsiveness in the classroom
- Influencing systems to embrace and adopt policies and practices necessary for schools to reduce race and income disparities in educational outcomes among students with learning differences
- Elevating the voices and strengthening the skills of students and families affected by structural racism to advocate for changes to practice, policy, and systems that improve opportunity for marginalized students with learning differences
Oak Foundation’s Learning Differences Programme
Oak Foundation’s Learning Differences Programme strategically partners with and invests in organizations that improve education for students with learning differences. For this work, learning differences are defined as diagnosed or undiagnosed specific learning disabilities (such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia) as well as other related neurological processing challenges that can impact learning (such as attention deficits, sensory processing disorders, and executive function challenges).