Tulsa Equality Report Indicates Improvement In Education, Still 'Long Way To Go'

Friday, February 26th 2021, 6:21 pm

Tulsa leaders shared new data that measures several inequalities within the community. Community Service Council members said they’ve evaluated many factors and are using them to break down barriers for minorities.

The latest Tulsa Equality Indicators Report shows improvement in education which community leaders said is resulting in higher attendance and graduation rates.  

Dr. Joyce McClellan with Tulsa Tech said the data does not lie.  

"Our numbers are creeping up. Eight points is eight points so kudos to us coming together as a community,” said Dr. McClellan, chief development & diversity officer. 

However, the Community Service Council said schools still have a long way to go. They have found the suspension rate for black students is three times higher than Hispanic or Latinx students, and lower income high school seniors are 40% more likely to drop out. CSC said these results are helping guide public policy and resolve disparities these kids are facing. Tulsa Tech has developed an early alert system to determine abnormal attendance patterns.  

"We're triaging. We're trying to figure out what's going on,” said Dr. McClellan. “If they're here, we know that we can help them be successful." 

Ricardo Rivera is working to help parents complete their own degrees and encourages them to be a part of their child's education. 

“Motivate the parents to back to school, to learn something new, to be ready, and that way they can help the kids," said Rivera, director of JUVENGAF. 

Tulsa Public Schools is also using data to determine access to transportation, technology, and food needs. Superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist said they have also expanded their dual language program and continue to hire a diverse group of individuals. They are also adding curriculum that addresses different cultures, while leaning on businesses, higher education, and community partners to enhance the classroom experience.  

"All of us together, all of us are learners,” said Dr. Gist. “All of us are teachers and there are lots of places and ways in which we can teach, and we can learn." 

To see the full Tulsa Equality Indicators Report, click here.