The Intercultural Development Research Association has been awarded a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education to continue operating the South Central Collaborative for Equity, an equity assistance center that serves schools in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. The US Department of Education funds a network of 10 equity assistance centers (formerly called desegregation assistance centers) across the country to strengthen the capacity of schools to provide equitable educational opportunities.

Since the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling, great strides have been make in school equity efforts. But the fact remains that many schools still struggle with these issues. The schools in this five-state region serve 5.8 million students, 43 percent of whom belong to racial and ethnic minority groups. This percentage will increase in the coming decades.

As one of the few organizations in the country to operate a desegregation assistance center for more than years, IDRA helps schools see the diversity of their student populations as riches to be mined, not obstacles to be overcome. IDRA creates high-powered assistance for local education agencies through one-on-one interaction – such as training in the value of diversity and preventing sexual harassment – and other support assistance – such as training packages, videos, and modules for race, sex, and national origin equity.

The IDRA South Central Collaborative for Equity provides information, technical assistance and training at the request of school districts and other responsible governmental agencies in the following areas:

  • Race Equity Assistance – to enable schools to identify needs, address current civil rights compliance issues, implement school desegregation plans, and address problems that arise from the implementation of those plans.
  • Sex Equity Assistance – to enable school to recognize specific forms of gender discrimination, develop district-wide needs assessments in the area of sex equity, select or adapt materials to make them free of gender bias, and provide training on their uses.
  • National Origin Equity Assistance – to enable schools to meet the language-related needs of national origin minority and limited-English-proficient students, understand state and federal regulations, develop education plans and provide appropriate instruction.

More information on the IDRA South Central Collaborative for Equity can be obtained through the IDRA web site or by contacting the center’s director, Bradley Scott, M.A., at 210/444-1710. Comments and questions may be directed to IDRA via e-mail at

[©1999, IDRA. This article originally appeared in the IDRA Newsletter by the Intercultural Development Research Association. Every effort has been made to maintain the content in its original form. However, accompanying charts and graphs may not be provided here. To receive a copy of the original article by mail or fax, please fill out our information request and feedback form. Permission to reproduce this article is granted provided the article is reprinted in its entirety and proper credit is given to IDRA and the author.]