While student enrollment in Massachusetts public schools is growing more diverse, the state's public schools are becoming increasingly segregated along race and class lines. The inequality of educational opportunities and outcomes is compounded when, as is usually the case, racially segregated schools are also schools of concentrated poverty. This report explores two decades of school segregation trends in the state and provides recommendations for policymakers and advocates.
Mass school closings have become a hallmark of today's dominant education policy agenda. But rather than helping students, these closures disrupt whole communities. And as U.S. Department of Education data suggests, the most recent rounds of mass closings in Chicago, New York City and Philadelphia disproportionately hurt Black and low-income students.
What can you do to end these discriminatory and unacceptable school closures?
Accountability should go both ways. Students and teachers shouldn't be held accountable to high-stakes test scores and grades unless they have the resources they need meet those standards. Which means that state governments should be held to account for providing high-quality resources and opportunities for all children, regardless of where they live.
During Tuesday night's State of the Union Address, President Obama touched on education issues at several points in his speech. The Schott Foundation for Public Education today released its response to the President's education message:
Robert Balfanz and his colleagues have drawn our attention to high schools where nearly half of students do not graduate with their peers. The enrollment in these schools is overwhelmingly Black and Hispanic, and the concentration of Black students in urban drop-out factories is a significant contributor to the nation’s low educational attainment for male Black students and the wide achievement gap between these most vulnerable students and others.
There are two items in the press today (Dec. 12) that offer first a diagnosis of the ills of American public schools and then a prescription.
John Kuhn, the superintendent of a small public school district in Texas, writing in Valerie Strauss’ Washington Post column “The Answer Sheet,” proposes that:
In just a few weeks, the Schott Foundation for Public Education will honor several extraordinary education leaders during its Hot Schott Awards Gala at its 2011 National Opportunity to Learn Education Summit in Washington, D.C., Dec. 8-10 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.
In Lost Opportunity: A 50 State Report on the Opportunity to Learn in America, the Schott Foundation for Public Education establishes a metric for determining the opportunity to learn for students. Providing a state-by-state comparison of both academic proficiency (percentage of students scoring at or above proficient on the eighth grade NAEP reading exam) and equity (as measured by the Schott Foundation’s Opportunity to Learn Index, or OTLI), Lost Opportunity identifies the four baseline minimum resources that are necessary for a child – regardless of race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status – to have a fair and substantive Opportunity to Learn.
In the United States, every student should have the equal right to a high-quality education. But as our most recent data demonstrates, for far too many students, quality and equity are aspirations, not realities. Few states are providing public school educations that result in academic proficiency for students. And even fewer states are providing access to a high-quality education to all students, particularly those from historically disadvantaged groups.
Over the past decade, philanthropy has become increasingly responsive to the needs of young boys and men of color. The philanthropic community has mobilized to coordinate and partner on efforts like the Obama administration's My Brother's Keeper initiative. More recently, the field has turned its attention to addressing the needs of girls and young women of color. While I applaud these efforts, I'm reminded daily of the pressing and unmet needs of Native communities.