Inclusive and Open Education

May 1, 2022

Inclusive and Open Education is a project of the Teaching, Learning, and Tech program that seeks to understand the opportunities and barriers to accessing and using culturally responsive education to support all learners from early childhood through post-secondary education, and how open educational resources (OER) can be an effective resource. We do this by analyzing and synthesizing research, and examining teaching and learning practices through interviews and roundtable forums with educators, practitioners, policymakers, designers, developers, and researchers. Insights are shared through briefs, blog posts, videos, webinars, and convenings; and inform policy recommendations on culturally responsive teaching and learning with OER.

Since COVID-19 required educators to shift to using more digital resources in online environments, our work is addressing two challenges: the need to pivot toward more effective online resources and digital technology, and the need for inclusive instructional materials and teaching strategies that support underserved students.

Our Work

  • Build a research foundation and translate the implications of the digital divide on teaching and learning into policy recommendations that will support equitable access to culturally and open instructional teaching and learning.
  • Convene roundtables and learning communities to network, share best practices, identify knowledge gaps, and provide insight on research and recommendations for culturally responsive teaching and learning with open educational resources (OER).
  • Identify and spotlight culturally responsive promising practices that connect students and educators to culturally responsive and open educational resources in formal and informal settings.
  • Produce resources to address knowledge gaps.

Our Funding

Our work is made possible through a generous grant from William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. For detailed information about our funding, please visit New America’s Our Funding page.

New America Reports and Briefs

Roundtable Research Summaries

Culturally Responsive Education


Culturally responsive education (CRE) is an approach to schooling that promotes student engagement, learning, and achievement by centering their knowledge, cultural backgrounds, and everyday experiences in the classroom. Students who experience CRE engage with academic content in ways that are personally meaningful, build purpose, counter stereotypes, and develop their ability to connect across lines of difference.

Over the last several years, New America has provided spotlights and recommendations to help policymakers, education leaders, and individual educators foster an aligned and coherent culturally responsive education system.

Supporting LGBTQ Inclusive Learning


Students of gender and sexual minorities (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer students) frequently face discrimination in schools that results in disproportionately poor learning outcomes, lower graduation rates, and widespread bullying and harm. LGBTQ students rarely see themselves reflected in the curricula and educators are seldom supported in teaching about LGBTQ lives and experiences. While more and more states are passing or considering legislation to ensure inclusive curricula, many more are still a long way from realizing this vision. Inclusive policies at other levels (in schools and districts for example) are desperately needed too.

This is a collection of New America’s work and also external research and resources on what it will take to create and scale teaching and learning in PreK-12 that is inclusive of and responsive to the experiences and identities of LGBTQ students.

Open Educational Resources (OER)


One of the most popular definitions of open educational resources (OER), shared by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, states that OER “are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge.” Unlike proprietary educational resources, such as textbooks traditionally adopted by state and local educational agencies, OER can be regularly updated and reused in a variety of settings to ensure that instructional materials continue to be relevant for students.

Learning from Home While Under Connected Project


This collection provides links to the 2021 national report by Vikki Katz and Victoria Rideout with findings from a probability-based telephone survey of lower-income parents throughout the United States; community briefs showcasing insights and voices from families in Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Santa Clara County, CA; video of our launch event and panel discussions; and a toolkit for community leaders to gather new data and learn from the parents and caregivers they serve. This is a project in partnership with Rutgers University, VJR Consulting, Tech Play Collaborative, and Raising A Reader, along with community partners Brilliant Detroit, Reading Reading Pittsburgh, Grail Family Services, and First 5 Santa Clara County.

COVID Impact on Teaching and Learning