University of Northern Iowa plans to tackle ‘education debt’

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Mark Nook, Iowa View contributor
Published 5:15 a.m. CT Oct. 11, 2020


When lifelong educator Gloria Ladson-Billings framed the concept of “education debts,” she had Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Dream” in mind; that one day, our nation would overcome inequality, uplift one another to realize the full potential of our gifts, and let judgment fall on our character.  

More than six decades after Brown v. Board of Education legally desegregated America’s schools, we have made progress in our society’s effort to confront racial inequality. High school completion rates continue to increase for minoritized students. The percentage of minoritized students between the ages of 18 and 24 enrolled in a college or university also continues to rise. But let’s be clear: We still have so much work to do.

High school completion and college enrollment rates, along with a litany of research and news headlines, continue to show that our nation has not yet achieved the dream of equality King pronounced at the footsteps of the Lincoln Memorial nearly 60 years ago. That work, as Ladson-Billings describes, is the “education debt” we must confront to overcome centuries of racial injustice in our nation. Education debts require us to shift from deficit thinking (”why are students not succeeding?”) to accountability (“how can we strengthen practice to better help students navigate the societal barriers to success?”). We know all students can be successful. It is our charge to ensure they are. 

We are taking this work very seriously at the University of Northern Iowa. The six-year graduation rate of our minoritized students far exceeds the average of institutions similar to UNI. We are investing in scholarships for first-generation students, and we are growing our outreach to help communities confront inequities that fall along demographic lines, among many other efforts. We are


College basketball schedule 2020-21: Iowa to face Gonzaga in potential top-five showdown in South Dakota

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College basketball continues to load up on elite, must-see games for its upcoming season.

The latest late-offseason upgrade features two Final Four contenders — Gonzaga playing Iowa — in a game to be played on Dec. 19 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, sources told CBS Sports. The Sanford Pentagon (the same site hosting the tournament field formerly labeled the 2020 Battle 4 Atlantis) will be witness to the fourth meeting ever between the Bulldogs and Hawkeyes. 

Gonzaga is ranked No. 1 in CBS Sports’ Top 25 And 1 preseason rankings. The Hawkeyes are No. 5.

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The game is a goodie, and not just because Gonzaga could be the best team in college basketball. This tilt would also will feature the lock-of-locks preseason pick for national player of the year, Iowa center Luka Garza. The senior big man opted to return to college basketball after being a consensus First Team All-America/Big Ten Player of the Year. He averaged 23.9 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.8 blocks a season ago; Iowa was well on its way to the 2020 NCAA Tournament, thanks in large part to Garza’s play.

Garza won’t be the only potential preseason All-American selection in this game. Gonzaga guard Corey Kispert leads maybe the most well-rounded starting five in the sport. The Zags are loaded yet again and have championship aspirations. 

Gonzaga was able to fill this opening on its slate because, just as it did with securing Baylor for a Dec. 5 game in Indianapolis, Iowa was both a desirable, high-quality opponent and a team that