INC Education: Closing the Black Student Achievement Gap with an Innovative Approach

Jay Veal, CEO of INC Education, is not just passionate about education – his mission is to close the long-standing and likely growing achievement gap for Black students across the country. Originally from Los Angeles, Jay was inspired after moving to Dallas, Texas. His own experience teaching pre-AP math and seeing all of his students excel led him down this path. It wasn’t long before he identified a gap in student support and created INC Education to fill that gap by offering a holistic approach to education that goes beyond mere tutoring. Founded on his own experience and witnessing the disparities in education, INC Education offers a unique combination of tutoring, mentoring and technology designed to empower students of color.

In a recent interview, Veal highlighted the shortcomings of traditional education systems that often leave students, especially those from underserved communities, without the support they need to thrive. INC Education solves this problem by creating a “360-degree environment of success.” Veal believes that a “holistic” approach is the key to eliminating opportunity gaps, achievement gaps and belief gaps. “We take the relationship side and connect it to the stakeholders, parents and coaches,” Jay says.

INC Education Founder, Jay Veal and Team | Photo courtesy of Jay Veal, INC Education

This means building strong relationships with students and their families, while engaging various stakeholders in the learning process and providing high-quality tutoring. INC Education’s flagship strategy focuses on holistic student care, using:

  • High-quality tutoring: Conducted by a team of experienced teachers.
  • Mentoring: INC Education tutors act as mentors, offering guidance beyond the academic environment.
  • Social involvement: They work with a variety of stakeholders to support student success.
  • Technology Integration: They are developing a proprietary edtech solution to improve their services.

INC Education because representation matters

A growing body of research highlights the positive impact the presence of teachers and tutors of color, especially Black teachers, has on Black students. “In the educational space, 80% of the teachers sitting in the classroom are white, and the majority of them are women.” “And in some of these classrooms, 87% of the students are black or minority students,” Veal says. “I think students should see someone who looks like them, not only in the classroom, but also outside of it, 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 Study of Public Elementary and Secondary Education,” 2020-21.

According to research, black students can be incredibly motivated by seeing themselves reflected in their teachers and tutors. It strengthens a sense of belonging and challenges stereotypes about who can succeed in education. Teachers of color often bring a deeper understanding of the cultural backgrounds and experiences of Black students. This allows them to adapt their teaching style and curriculum to better suit students, leading to a more engaging learning environment. Research has 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 from high school and go on to college. This can be attributed to the higher expectations set by Black teachers and a stronger belief in students’ potential.

Measurable results

When it comes to INC Education, high expectations come with the territory. Veal explains: “We have high expectations and we don’t give up.” “We expect As and B grades, and if students don’t get them, we wonder why.” According to Veal, setting high expectations and sticking to them makes a difference. “After a while, children adjust to expectations of perfection.”

Jay talked about his protégé who recently graduated from Prairie View A&M University. “I’ve known her since seventh grade,” Veal said. “I noticed that mentoring and coaching made a huge difference, especially for young Black girls who tend to gravitate away from STEM subjects in middle school. But keeping her close, she just graduated and is now pursuing her pre-med studies.

Beyond personal stories, INC Education’s quantitative results speak for themselves. INC Education boasts a 95% success rate for students of color, with many students achieving A and B grades in 55 content areas. Additionally, 100% of their students advance to the next grade or graduate on time. With a team of 90 consultants in six cities, INC Education has impacted over 11,000 students and counting. INC Education boasts impressive results.

An INC Education student works on systems of equations during a tutoring session | Photo courtesy of Jay Veal, INC Education

Unique challenges and big dreams

Today, INC Education uses a variety of tools to enhance its educational services, including CRM platforms, video conferencing software, online content resources, and even AI tools such as Chat GPT. Still, Jay plans to transform the company into an EdTech company, expanding its reach and impact through technology.

Veal recognizes the challenges facing INC Education, particularly in securing funding despite its impressive growth. Scaling operations and securing financing are ongoing challenges for INC Education, especially since it is not yet a fully fledged technology company. However, they are on the verge of launching their own edtech solution designed specifically with the needs of the BIPOC community in mind. This innovative platform will complement existing services and support their mission of educational equity.

Still, while INC Education uses technology for tasks like client management and video conferencing, Veal emphasizes the human touch. He emphasizes the importance of mentorship and developing a love of learning, which can sometimes be made difficult by standardized testing. INC Education measures success not only by test scores, but also by student confidence, classroom performance and college acceptance rates.

Veal believes that education should be a top priority, not a secondary issue. According to him, INC Education is a world-class brand, not only in terms of academic performance, but also in terms of its impact on millions of students. With a focus on relationship building, mentoring and culturally relevant technology, INC Education is a powerful example of how to bridge the educational divide and empower the next generation of leaders.