How Do We Recognize Underserved Communities? 3 Best Tips to Make Quality Education Accessible

A recent national survey for teachers led by Dr. Hedy Teglasi of the University of Maryland College of Education through its Temperament and Narrative Lab revealed 8 comprehensive indicators of how teachers were affected by the pandemic. From the inclusive responses of 185 teachers, “Difficulties acclimating to new teaching demands” appeared to be very significant.

Poverty should not be a hindrance to giving children the quality education they deserve.  Although all of us are affected by the global pandemic, as teachers, we should exercise our resiliency to offer our altruism to underserved communities. With this, we come to realize how we recognize underserved communities.

a happy student

Photo by Zach Lucero on Unsplash

In today’s interconnected world, education plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of nations and individuals alike. However, access to quality education remains unequal across the globe, with certain communities being underserved and marginalized.

As teachers, it is essential to recognize these disparities and work towards making education accessible to all. In this article, we will explore the importance of identifying underserved communities and provide the best tips to ensure quality education reaches every corner of the world.

The Right to Education

But, I am greatly reminded of the words of Bill Frist that “Every child should have the opportunity to receive a quality education.” This inspired me to become more committed as a teacher.

Keeping in mind that I am a teacher whose expertise is needed to sustain education while sustaining my role as the family’s bread and butter whose support is sculpted for my family’s well-being, I am overburdened but not hopeless. I should get in the way, I presumed.

Definitely, I realized I am human after all. I have needs and priorities. Moreover, holding on to what’s productive and proper has heightened my resilience, innovation, and determination both as a professional and as an individual. I just can’t discount that certain piece of me that reminds me of going forward no matter what life throws at me.

How Do We Recognize Underserved Communities?

Meeting the Biggest Challenge in the Education Sector

Eliminating Barriers, Promoting the Rights of Children to Education in Underserved Communities

a student participating in the discussion

Photo by jaikishan patel on Unsplash

Understanding Underserved Communities

Underserved communities are those that face significant challenges in accessing essential resources, including quality education.

These communities often encounter socioeconomic barriers, limited infrastructure, and systemic inequalities, leading to educational disparities.

Identifying these communities requires a comprehensive approach that considers various factors:

a. Socio-economic indicators: 

Look into the economic status of the community, such as household income, employment opportunities, and poverty levels. Lower-income areas are more likely to be underserved.

b. Educational infrastructure:

Assess the availability and condition of educational facilities like schools, libraries, and technology resources. Lack of proper infrastructure can hinder quality education.

c. Demographics:

Analyze the population’s demographic makeup, including ethnicity, language, and cultural background, as these can influence educational opportunities.

d. Academic performance

Evaluate academic outcomes and test scores to identify areas where improvement is needed.

#1 Implementing Strategies for Accessibility

Transforming education in underserved communities requires implementing targeted strategies to ensure accessibility and inclusivity.

First in line is technology integration. We can leverage technology to overcome geographical barriers and bring quality education to remote areas.  Moreover, online learning platforms, virtual classrooms, and educational apps can facilitate learning beyond the confines of traditional classrooms.

#2 Maximize Inclusive Education

All students are given the opportunity to learn at their best and attend routine classes. Students are all welcome to enroll in schools in their neighborhoods and get educated through the unconditional support of teachers.

Through the optimization of inclusive education where diversity and equity are given emphasis, students are given meaningful learning experiences. They are given the best opportunities to develop their potential, learn life skills, and become lifelong learners. 

In other words, as teachers, we have to altruistically support the school by designing learning activities that engage all students to become active participants in the learning process.

Essentially, the implementation of inclusive education is our way of meeting the diverse needs of our students and giving them the support they need.

In addition, by providing our students with equal learning opportunities regardless of their diverse backgrounds, we are making them confident that they can develop their full potential in a way that is supportive and responsive.

By providing all students with a safe learning environment, we recognize underserved communities; thus, making each child learn and become productive.

#3 Support the Programs of the School of Giving Children in Underserved Communities Equitable Access to Quality Education

As teachers, we have to extend our ways of educating children in a respectful, supportive, and responsive manner. Giving our students equal chances to improve and develop their potential is our greatest contribution to their lives.

Get rid of exclusive means and fully embrace tip #2 in the list. Yes, we should amplify our support to the goals of our school on inclusive education and resolve the high dropout rates in public schools.

Our students should thrive and succeed. And we are their best support aside from their families.

Aside from the scholarship grants and programs of the government being extended to children in underserved communities, we should do our part in shaping their education by giving them meaningful learning experiences.

As concerned educators, we are aware of the status and family backgrounds of our learners. We should know the conditions of our students to make our instructional delivery more effective.

More and more, schools are designing programs to accommodate and welcome all students so they receive formal schooling. By ensuring that all students are given better access to high-quality education, all children in underserved communities are better served!

Low-income families should feel confident that their children are more likely to learn life skills and become productive individuals in the future. In particular, as teachers, we should make sure that we are doing our best so not a student is left behind.

By setting the classroom to become a welcoming and safe learning space, our students from diverse backgrounds are more inclined to study hard and be at their best,

How do we recognize underserved communities?  Let’s put it plain and simple. Let’s cut the disparities in equitable access to high-quality education!

“There’s no reason why children in inner cities or rural areas do not receive the same quality education or opportunities as those in suburbs or wealthy neighborhoods. If we truly believe in giving all citizens a chance to pursue happiness and pursue their goals, then we cannot continue to marginalize entire groups of people”. 

                                                                                                                                               –  Al Sharpton-

How Teachers in Underserved Communities Get Ahead Despite the Major Global Crisis?

Teaching for the best no matter how hard it may seem

COVID-19 pandemic has compounded the pain points in the educational process that presuppose the teachers’ proficiency and adeptness to sustain the quality of student learning.

Things are laden on our shoulders. I know all teachers would concur. Online classes suddenly become a sensible choice but our school declines this opportunity considering the socio-economic status and background of our learners. Unfortunately, online learning is seemingly impossible in our case. 

Predominantly, I believe that teachers are not mere spectators to the challenges the pandemic has brought to the educational landscape. I am one of the educators at the forefront of getting ahead with the stumbling blocks of quality education delivery. 

Adapting and Meeting the Challenges of Modular Learning Delivery

So, we opt for Modular Learning Delivery (printed and digital), blended learning, online and offline tutorials, and Screencasting, and we intensify communication using different online platforms and other conventional means just to reach out to our learners. It needs hard work, really. 

We learn to pick up and make the puzzle piece together to form a unified and meaningful whole. Things may not seem perfect at first glance, but we know we are more able to give what our students need to help them learn life skills to prepare them for the real world. 

Under-resourced families who lack gadgets at home are a major challenge. Parents are required to claim their children’s modules and send their answer sheets back to school while following the COVID-19 health protocols. The real problem lies in the fact that some parents and students aren’t digitally literate and can’t afford to have gadgets. 

Halfway, the local government sought assistance from the national government for the provision of tablets to students in the higher secondary schools. Each tablet contains the Self Learning Modules (SLMs) aligned with the Most Essential Learning Competencies (MELCs).  Hence, the accountability of parents begins. We hope that our students will get the support they need in terms of gadget allocation to sustain digital learning. 

In this way, we come to interact at least with the parents of our students even though it’s a very limited face-to-face interaction. We listen to their frustrations and they really find it hard to facilitate difficult concepts in the modules. And that being said, we teachers devise ways to facilitate instructions and it’s where Screencasting, Group chats, google meet tutorials, texting, and phone calls come in.  

What’s In?

The United States is home to some of the best colleges and universities in the world. But not everyone has access to these institutions of higher learning. In fact, many underserved communities are left out of the education conversation altogether.

But there are ways to make quality education accessible to all, regardless of income or zip code.

  • Community colleges can be a great option for those looking for affordable education. Many community colleges offer two-year programs that can lead to good jobs and/or transfer to four-year institutions.
  • Online learning is another option that is becoming more popular and accessible. There are now many accredited online colleges and universities that offer a variety of degree programs. This option can be especially helpful for working adults who want to further their education but cannot take time off from work to do so.
  • Scholarships and financial aid are available for those who cannot afford the full cost of tuition. There are many organizations and foundations that offer scholarships specifically for underserved populations. Additionally, most colleges and universities have financial aid offices that can help students find the resources they need to attend school.

“Making quality education accessible to all is an important goal, one that can only be achieved if we work together towards solutions like these ones. We are excited to be part of this journey and to work with Pearson to bring their innovative and high-quality content to our students,” said Raúl Romero, CEO at Universidad de los Andes.

Thoughts from Dedicated and Committed Educators

We are working really hard to reach out to our students and to help them access learning materials so they won’t stop learning. The initial quarters were indeed a struggle. Not to mention that we have to render socio-emotional support to our students despite the fact that the pandemic has brazenly taken an emotional toll on us as well.

All the more, with the concerns presented above, there’s a compelling need to know how insufficiently funded schools can manage sustainable development in order to thrive in the current educational setting.

Easier said than done. However, with our best intentions of keeping our goals for educational delivery and filling gaps due to disparities during the world of the pandemic, we teachers manage to get ahead and make sure that no learner is left behind.

To ensure every learner has access to quality education, we should reach out to them and make our services as educators equally equitable.

Don’t let this be overlooked!