INC Education: Closing the Achievement Gap for Black Students with Innovative Approach

INC Education: Closing the Achievement Gap for Black Students with Innovative Approach

Jay Veal, CEO of INC Education, isn’t just passionate about education – he’s on a mission to close the longstanding, and arguably growing, achievement gap for Black students across the nation. Jay, a Los Angeles native, was inspired after he transitioned to Dallas, TX. His own experience teaching pre-AP math and seeing all his students achieve perfect scores led him down this path. It didn’t take long before he identified a gap in student support and created INC Education to address this gap, offering a holistic approach to education that goes beyond just tutoring. Founded out of his own experience witnessing educational disparities, INC Education offers a unique blend of tutoring, mentorship, and technology designed to empower students of color. 

In a recent interview, Veal highlighted the shortcomings of traditional education systems, which often leave students, particularly those from underserved communities, lacking the support they need to thrive. INC Education tackles this problem by creating a “360-degree environment of success.” Veal believes a “wrap around” approach is key to closing opportunity gaps, achievement gaps, and belief gaps. “We take the relationship side of it and pair that with stakeholders, parents, coaches”, says Jay. 

INC Education Founder Jay Veal and team | Photo curtesy of Jay Veal, INC Education

This means building strong relationships with students and their families while incorporating different stakeholders in the learning process and providing high-quality tutoring. INC Education’s flagship strategy focuses on caring for the student holistically using: 

  • High-Quality Tutoring: Provided by a team of experienced educators.
  • Mentorship: INC Education tutors act as mentors, offering guidance beyond academics.
  • Community Involvement: They collaborate with various stakeholders to support student success.
  • Technology Integration: They are developing a proprietary edtech solution to enhance their services.

INC Education, Because Representation Matters

There’s a growing body of research that highlights the positive impact of having teachers and tutors of color, particularly Black educators, for Black students. “In the education space, you have 80% of teachers sitting in the classroom are white and most of them are women.” “And in some of these classrooms, 87% of students are Black and minority”, says Veal. “I think that students need to see someone who looks like them, not only in the classroom but out of the classroom in the tutoring space.”

U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, National Teacher and Principal Survey (NTPS), “Public School Teacher Data File,” 2020–21; and Common Core of Data (CCD), “State Nonfiscal Survey of Public Elementary and Secondary Education,” 2020–21.

According to studies, Black students seeing themselves reflected in their teachers and tutors can be incredibly empowering. It fosters a sense of belonging and challenges stereotypes about who can be successful in education. Teachers of color often bring a deeper understanding of the cultural backgrounds and experiences of Black students. This allows them to tailor their teaching styles and curriculum to resonate better with their students, leading to a more engaging learning environment. Studies have also shown that Black students with Black teachers tend to score higher on standardized tests, have better attendance rates, and are more likely to graduate high school and pursue college. This can be attributed to higher expectations set by Black teachers and a stronger belief in the students’ potential.

Measurable Results

For INC Education, high expectations come with the territory. Veal explains, “we set high expectations and don’t really give slack.” “We expect As and Bs and when students don’t get that, we go figure out why.” According to Veal, setting high expectations and sticking to those expectations has made all the difference. “After a while, the kids adapt to the expectation of excellence.” 

Jay spoke of his own mentee, who recently graduated from Prairie View A&M University. “I’ve known her since 7th grade”, Veal said. “I noticed that the mentoring and coaching piece made all the difference, especially with young Black girls who tend to divert from STEM subjects in middle school. But keeping her close, she just graduated and now she’s pre-med.”

Aside from the personal stories, the quantitative results of INC Education speak for themselves. INC Education boasts a 95% success rate for students of color, with many achieving As and Bs in 55 content areas. Additionally, 100% of their students progress to the next grade level or graduate on time.With a team of 90 consultants across six cities, INC Education has impacted over 11,000 students and is still growing. INC Education boasts impressive results. 

INC Education mentee works on systems of equations during tutoring session | Photo curtesy of Jay Veal, INC Education

Unique Challenges and Big Dreams

Currently, INC Education utilizes various tools to enhance their tutoring services, including CRM platforms, video conferencing software, online content resources, and even AI tools like Chat GPT. Even so, Jay has plans to morph the company into an EdTech firm, expanding their reach and impact using technology. 

Veal acknowledges the challenges faced by INC Education, particularly in securing funding despite their impressive growth. Scaling the business and securing funding are ongoing challenges for INC Education, especially since they are not yet a fully-fledged tech company. However, they are on the cusp of launching a proprietary edtech solution specifically designed to address the needs of the BIPOC community. This innovative platform will complement their existing services and further their mission of educational equity.

Still, while INC Education leverages technology for tasks like client management and video conferencing, Veal emphasizes the human touch. He highlights the importance of mentorship and fostering a love of learning, which standardized tests can sometimes hinder. INC Education measures success not just by test scores, but also by student confidence, classroom performance, and college acceptance rates.

Veal believes that education should be a top priority, not an afterthought. He envisions INC Education as a world-class brand, not just in terms of academic results, but also in its impact on millions of students. With a focus on relationship-building, mentorship, and culturally relevant technology, INC Education is a powerful example of how to bridge the educational divide and empower the next generation of leaders.

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