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NEPC Talks Education: Discussing Asset-Based Educational Policies, Practices, and Programs

BOULDER, CO (April 30, 2024) – In this month's episode of NEPC Talks Education, Christopher Saldaña interviews Francesca López about asset-based educational policies, practices, and programs. López is the Waterbury chair in equity pedagogy and a professor of education in the College of Education at Penn State University. Her research focuses on policies and classroom practices that can mitigate inequities.

Professor López explains that her own experiences growing up and as a K-12 public school bilingual educator helped her understand how inequities express themselves in the classroom and how they can be mitigated. She notes that as a researcher, she was able to observe and study asset-based programs and practices that emerged despite attacks on K-12 public education, such as the Mexican American studies curriculum in Tucson, Arizona, and asset-based education programs that arose following Arizona’s statewide ban on bilingual education.

López describes how her research has documented how asset-based educational programs such as culturally responsive and relevant curricula help students develop into confident and critical learners, and notes that teachers also benefit by using these approaches.

She explains that teaching during the attacks on bilingual education has made her aware of the similarities between the attacks on bilingual education and the assault on public schools seen today. Using experiences as a foundation, she offers school practitioners and researchers recommendations for navigating the current vilification of K-12 public education. She explains, for example, that school practitioners navigated previous criticism by learning how best to describe asset-based policies, programs, and practices to mobilize support. Finally, she provides examples of ways in which researchers can support educators and policymakers.

A new NEPC Talks Education podcast episode, hosted by Christopher Saldaña, will be released each month from September through May. 

Don’t worry if you miss a month. All episodes are archived on the NEPC website and can be found here.

NEPC podcast episodes are also available on Apple Podcasts under the title NEPC Talks Education. Subscribe and follow!


The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), a university research center housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, sponsors research, produces policy briefs, and publishes expert third-party reviews of think tank reports. NEPC publications are written in accessible language and are intended for a broad audience that includes academic experts, policymakers, the media, and the general public. Our mission is to provide high-quality information in support of democratic deliberation about education policy. We are guided by the belief that the democratic governance of public education is strengthened when policies are based on sound evidence and support a multiracial society that is inclusive, kind, and just. Visit us at: