Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

When it comes to public education, quality instruction and equal access are everything. A great education-with effective teachers and opportunity-has the power to lift students, their families, and entire communities out of poverty. It can also lead to better outcomes in health and careers, changing entire lives for the better.

While the United States has spent decades making strides in educational equality across demographic groups, there is still progress to be made. The U.S. can and should be the world leader in educational access and quality instruction for each and every student.

We Can Do Better

In 1954, Brown v. Board of Education paved the way for changes to national policy that supported equal education. This case, while the more familiar of the two, actually followed the precedent set by Mendez v. Westminster, in which the trial judge found, “a paramount requisite in the American system of public education is social equality.”

Despite the progress made on social equality, about 40% of American families with school-age children have incomes of under $50,000 per year. And according to a study from the National Institutes of Health, students from families with lower socioeconomic status are slower than their peers to develop an equal set of academic skills. What do these statistics tell us? That we have a long way to go in closing the educational gap. Closing that gap is critical to helping underserved populations-and the U.S. as a whole-compete on a global scale.

Learning Management Systems Can Help Level the Playing Field

Online learning management systems (LMS) can be a difference-maker for all students-especially those from underserved populations such as minority and low-income groups. Teachers and students all deserve easy access and integration of the tools, content, and services that directly impact classroom learning.

As a learning management system, Canvas puts highly adaptable tools and content at every teacher’s fingertips, so they can meet the unique needs of their classroom. With equal access to those tools, teachers are more effective and students improve their learning.

We All Have a Vested Interest

Teachers, parents, and administrators from every demographic want the best for their kids, and every student has limitless potential to become anything they want to be. This is how individuals, families, communities, and nations rise to their potential. And equipping our students and teachers with quality educational tools, skills, and instruction is critical to leveling the playing field.

Educational content must be accessible to every teacher and student. Instruction must be personalized for how students learn. And students must be given equal opportunities to experiment, collaborate, and take ownership of their learning. Learning management systems can play a huge role in providing equal accessibility, instruction, and opportunity to students from every demographic.

Most educators and administrators entered their field because they feel a strong personal obligation to their students. As parents and members of society, we share that obligation. At Instructure, we urge everyone to work together to make quality education accessible for all.