The Same Starting Line: How School Boards Can Erase the Opportunity Gap Between Poor and Middle-Class Children.

Feb 2011


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Contact: Keith Rushing

As ESEA Reauthorization Approaches School Districts Should Focus on Equalizing Resources For All Students

Washington, DC—Today, Appleseed, a national network of public interest justice centers has released a groundbreaking report, “The Same Starting Line: How School Boards Can Erase the Opportunity Gap Between Poor and Middle-Class Children.”

The report, a study of education resources in districts in five states-- Alabama, Connecticut, Illinois, Georgia and New Mexico—identified wide disparities in resources allotted to schools with high levels of poverty and those that were predominantly middle class or affluent. 

While the national conversation around educational reform and the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act have focused heavily on outcomes and the achievement gap, this report focuses on ways that school boards, superintendents and key-decision makers can ensure that all children, especially poor children, are given the resources they need to succeed academically. 

The report, produced with the research assistance of Appleseed Centers in Alabama, Chicago, Connecticut, Georgia and New Mexico, is available at

The Same Starting Line focuses on such learning-related resources in school districts as personnel, facilities, curricula and student-support systems, including: the number of advanced placement or International Baccalaureate courses; location of new school buildings and frequency of renovations; number of guidance counselors per student; credentials and experience of teachers and principals; innovative or experimental programs; library size, holdings or technology; textbooks; and foreign language offerings.

The report recommends ways that school boards, educators and policymakers can institute policies and practices to ensure that learning-related resources are distributed equitably. 

The “Same Starting Line” includes a measurement tool, the Resource Equity Assessment Document (READ), that school boards, communities and other stakeholders can use to measure the distribution of learning resources within their districts—enabling them to make comparisons, pinpoint disparities and avoid further inequities.

Members of the media interested in conducting interviews should contact: Edwin Darden, Appleseed’s Director of Education Law and Policy, at 202.347.7960 ext. 117

Appleseed is a nonprofit network of public interest justice centers and professionals dedicated to building a society where opportunities are genuine, access to the law is universal and equal, and government advances the public interest.

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