Fair and Just School Resources
In the United States public schools are funded through a mix of local, state and federal funding. For the most part, schools serving students of color and students from low-income communities have less funding per student than schools in wealthier neighborhoods. These resource disparities perpetuate opportunity gaps in schools and in our broader society. No child’s educational opportunities should be limited because of their zip code. The Schott Foundation is dedicated to ensuring that every student has access to fair and just school resources.
The Latest on Fair & Just School Resources
The best way to build a strong state economy isn't to cut taxes and hope businesses invest in your state and create jobs. Instead, the best way to ensure both economic prosperity and job creation is to invest in education. A policy brief by Peter Fisher of the Economic Policy Institute and Noah Berger of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (an OTL ally) has a simple message for state-level policymakers concerned about their state's workers: "If you educate them, jobs will come."
Over the last year the A+ NYC coalition held countless workshops and visited every corner of the city in a big blue bus, gathering perspectives on how to create a world-class school system where every student can succeed. The result is the PS 2013 Education Roadmap for the Next Mayor — an unparalleled set of recommendations that sketch an inspiring vision of an education system that treasures the complexity of children and their communities; equips schools with the tools to prepare students for a range of destinies; and works interdependently to leverage the city’s vast resources in service of schools.
Education officials use a variety of justifications to defend the closures, citing everything from budget concerns to promises of better opportunities for students. But as this new infographic from the OTL Campaign illustrates, these justifications don’t hold up to scrutiny. Here's what the evidence from past and current school closures says.
This report card on New York State's progress in improving public education is far from stellar. The report card finds that the state is moving in the right direction only in expanding access to pre-K and creating community schools. Otherwise, New York's policymakers are failing to ensure equity for all students in areas like expanded learning time, providing challenging and engaging curriculum, school climate, and school funding. Providing these resources and opportunities are the standards by which every state and and policymaker should be held accountable.
Members of Chicago Students Organizing to Save Our Schools speak out against school closures and education budget cuts at a Board of Education meeting – and are kicked out for speaking truth to power.
20 years after Massachusetts (often lauded as a leader in education policy) passed the Education Reform Act of 1993, Citizens for Public Schools, an OTL ally, took a long hard look at the results of that law to find the state still has a ways to go toward ensure equity and opportunity for all Massachusetts students. [Executive summary available below. Download the full report here.]
In 2006, the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) won a major fair funding lawsuit against the State of New York, and policymakers promised to institute a more equitable school funding system. Though the state has since walked back that promise due to the recession and years of cuts to the education budget, it's worth understanding just how CFE made it's successful case. Michael Rebell, one of the lawyers on the CFE case, explains how his team argued that for all students to meet state standards, the state must commit to providing them with equitable funding. Anything less was a violation of the state's constitutional obligation to provide students with "a sound, basic education."
In an age of mass school school closings, "A Proposal for Sustainable School Transformation" has been held up as a model of smart policy by organizers fighting for the resources and opportunities to support their local schools. It advocates for a strong focus on school culture, curriculum and staffing, and wrap-around supports for children.
The National Education Policy Center's new book "Closing the Opportunity Gap" offers a wide array of policy recommendations for closing the opportunity gap and ensuring all students have the resources they need to succeed. This policy guide distills the most important recommendations from the book at three different levels: at the level of students' individual needs, at the level of in-school opportunities and resources, and at the level of communities and neighborhoods.
Top-down pressure from federal education policies such as Race to the Top and No Child Left Behind, bolstered by organized advocacy efforts, is making a popular set of market-oriented education “reforms” look more like the new status quo than real reform. Reformers assert that test-based teacher evaluation, increased access to charter schools, and the closure of “failing” and under-enrolled schools will boost at-risk students’ achievement and narrow longstanding race- and income-based achievement gaps. This new report from the Broader, Bolder Approach to Education examines these assertions by comparing the impacts of these reforms in three large urban school districts – Washington, D.C., New York City, and Chicago – with student and school outcomes over the same period in other large, high-poverty urban districts. The report finds that the reforms deliver few benefits, often harm the students they purport to help, and divert attention from a set of other, less visible policies with more promise to weaken the link between poverty and low educational attainment.