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Inequality, Poverty, Segregation

 Just News from Center X

Inequality, Poverty, Segregation

January 6, 2017

Christina Samuels, Education Week

During the Obama administration, the U.S. Department of Education's office for civil rights has taken an activist stance on civil rights enforcement, especially when it comes to students with disabilities. And as the clock winds down on this presidency, the Education Department is continuing its efforts though the release Wednesday of three new guidance documents for schools. The first document is a parent and educator resource guide on Section 504. Section 504 refers to a portion of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits discrimination by recipients of federal money, which includes public schools as well as charter schools.


Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, The Washington Post

Inequality in Maryland’s higher education system will take center stage next week in a trial to resolve a decade-old lawsuit over the lack of investment in the state’s historically black colleges and universities. A coalition of alumni from Maryland’s four historically black institutions have been locked in litigation with the state since 2006, aiming to dismantle what they say are the vestiges of racial segregation. The group says Maryland has underfunded its HBCUs and allowed other state schools to duplicate their programs, placing pressure on enrollment. Federal Judge Catherine C. Blake recommended mediation in 2013 to redress what she called a “shameful history of de jure segregation” at Morgan State University, Coppin State University, Bowie State University and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Yet the coalition and the state could not reach an agreement.


Rosanna Xia, Los Angeles Times

Veronica Rivera signed up for the introduction to computer science class at Harvey Mudd College mostly because she had no choice: It was mandatory. Programming was intimidating and not for her, she thought. She expected the class to be full of guys who loved video games and grew up obsessing over how they were made. There were plenty of those guys but, to her surprise, she found the class fascinating. She learned how to program a computer to play “Connect Four” and wrote algorithms that could recognize lines of Shakespeare and generate new text with similar sentence patterns. When that first class ended, she signed up for the next level, then another and eventually declared a joint major of computer science and math. Cheering her on were professors who had set out to show her that women belonged in computer science just as much as men did.


December 16, 2016

Valerie Strauss, The Washington Post; Richard Rothstein, Economic Policy Institute

A bill introduced in the New York City Council proposes to establish “an office of school diversity within the human rights commission dedicated to studying the prevalence and causes of racial segregation in public schools and developing recommendations for remedying such segregation.” But it is not reasonable, indeed it is misleading, to study school segregation in New York City without simultaneously studying residential segregation. The two cannot be separated. School segregation is primarily a problem of neighborhoods, not schools. Schools are segregated because the neighborhoods in which they are located are segregated. Some school segregation can be ameliorated by adjusting school attendance boundaries or controlling school choice, but these devices are limited and mostly inapplicable to elementary school children, for whom long travel to school is neither feasible nor desirable. 


Sascha Brodsky, The Atlantic

The Flatlands Family Residence is a shelter for homeless families that sits near the end of a subway line in Brooklyn next to a truck depot and across the street from an industrial air-conditioning business. Drawings made by the children who live there are taped on the walls of a hallway that extends past a metal detector manned by security guards. Those children include Diana Duncan’s four kids, who sleep on bunk beds and often do their homework at a small table in the kitchen. The Duncan family has been living in Flatlands since April. Their journey into the shelter system began when Duncan was forced to give up her job as a registered nurse to care for her 4-year-old son Dayle, who has Down syndrome and health problems that include breathing difficulties. After she separated from her husband, a bank foreclosed on her house and she ended up in Flatlands. Duncan says it’s a daily struggle getting her kids to school. She asked to be placed in a shelter closer to her childrens’ schools but said she was told there were none available. So, her children have to line up in front of the Flatlands residence at 6:45 a.m. to get on school buses—it can take them up to two hours to get there. They often arrive late and exhausted; a doctor told Duncan that the long trip is bad for Dayle’s health.


Gary Warth, The San Diego Union-Tribune

One third of community college students in California face uncertain housing and even homelessness while 12 percent sometimes aren’t sure where they will get their next meal, according to a study by San Diego State University researchers. Released this week by the Community College Equity Assessment Lab at SDSU, the study is the first of its kind to  examine housing challenges and food insecurity faced by community college students, said Luke Wood, director of the lab and co-author of the report. “We knew that there would be challenges with food insecurities, but what I think we were surprised with was such high percentage of students across the board,” Wood said. Delving deeper in the data, Wood said he and co-author Frank Harris III found an especially high rate of black and southeast Asian students facing food and housing challenges. Among men, housing insecurity was faced by 48.4 percent of black students and 42.3 percent of southeast Asian students. The numbers were slightly lower for women of those races.


December 9, 2016

Jane Meredith Adams, EdSource

National experts on sexual harassment in K-12 schools have teamed up to create a new educational video about gender equality, intended to inform students that they have a legal right to attend a school where nobody is harassed because of their gender. The timing couldn’t be better, said Esther Warkov, cofounder of the nonprofit group Stop Sexual Assault in Schools, which produced the free video for use by schools, clubs and parent groups. President-elect Donald Trump, who boasted in a 2005 video about his ability to sexually assault women, has “normalized” traumatic harassment, Warkov said, and sent a disturbing message to children and teenagers. And the Republican Party platform has stated its opposition to the Obama administration’s decision to apply legal protections from harassment to students who are gay, transgender or gender nonconforming — including the right of transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity.


Anthony P. Carnevale, The Washington Post

In the post-World War II era, whites fled the center city to the leafy-green suburbs and better neighborhood schools. Today, a similar trend has taken root in American higher education, only this time whites are fleeing the underfunded and overcrowded two-year and four-year open-access colleges for the nation’s top 500 universities. Since the 1990s, the number of black and Latino high school graduates who enroll in college has more than doubled. But three-quarters of that increase has been at open-access colleges. Meanwhile, white college enrollment has increased only at the nation’s top 500 universities. As a result, American higher education has evolved into a two-tiered separate and unequal system that fuels the intergenerational reproduction of white racial privilege.


Gaby Galvin, U.S. News

Teachers and principals agree that regardless of poverty level, students face learning barriers outside of school and more needs to be done to address these problems, according to a survey released Wednesday by Scholastic Education. The Teacher & Principal School Report: Equity in Education, which factored in the responses of 4,721 pre-K through 12th grade public school teachers and principals, emphasized the difference between equality and equity in education – that is, while students should have equal access to learning resources, each student deserves equity, or the individual support needed to reach success. While barriers to reaching equity are pervasive across school poverty levels, they are significantly heightened in low-income schools. Of educators in high-poverty schools, 69 percent say their students lack access to books at home, compared with 20 percent of educators in low-poverty schools who chose that response. Similarly, 69 percent say families in high-poverty schools aren't involved enough in student learning, compared with 18 percent of educators in schools with low poverty rates.


December 2, 2016

Moriah Ballingit, The Washington Post

In Sarasota, Fla., someone pulled a 75-year-old gay man from his car and beat him, saying: “You know my new president says we can kill all you f------ now.” In San Antonio, a man told an Asian girl: “When they see your eyes, you are going to be deported.” A teacher in Wesley Chapel, Fla., told black students: “Don’t make me call Donald Trump to get you sent back to Africa.” The Southern Poverty Law Center documented 867 “hate incidents” in the 10 days after Donald Trump was elected president, more than 300 of which included direct references to the president-elect or his campaign rhetoric. The incidents — documented in the media or reported through a form on the center’s website — included vandalism of places of worship, attacks on Muslim women in headscarves and bullying of Hispanic students in schools.


Christina Viega, The Atlantic

Families from across New York City flock to Brooklyn School of Inquiry in the Gravesend neighborhood—the kind of school where parents raise enough money to pay for extra helpers in most classrooms and where a multi-million dollar STEM lab is being built on the roof. But for all the gifted-and-talented school offers, Principal Donna Taylor says there is one thing lacking: a student body that reflects the diversity of the city. Taylor hopes to make a dent in that. Starting next fall, BSI will become the first citywide gifted-and-talented school to experiment with new admissions policies to promote integration. The Department of Education has allowed the highly sought-after school to set aside 40 percent of its kindergarten seats specifically for low-income children.


Viviane Callier, Scientific American

The complaint that “there just aren't enough qualified minority candidates” is frequently heard with respect to faculty diversity in academia. In fact, the number of biomedical Ph.D. scientists from under-represented minority (URM) groups has grown exponentially in the last 30 years—but this growth in the minority talent pool did not lead to a corresponding increase in the number of minority faculty hires, a new study to appear in eLife

 shows. This suggests that although programs to increase diversity at the undergraduate and graduate levels have been largely successful, new interventions at a slightly later career stage may be required to increase faculty diversity, the researchers say. Today, nearly 900 Ph.D.'s in the basic biomedical sciences are awarded annually to under-represented minorities, and that amounts to more than nine-fold growth since 1980. “There has been an assumption by many institutions that there simply isn’t a pool of qualified minority candidates,” said Hannah Valantine, NIH’s Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity. “But the data are quite compelling.”  Despite this growth and the growth of the overall population of assistant professors, the number of minority assistant professors in basic biomedical research actually fell slightly between 2005 and 2014.


November 18, 2016

Claudio Sanchez, NPR
There's been lots of chatter on social media and among pundits, warning that the treatment of immigrant kids and English language learners is going to "get worse" under a Donald Trump presidency. Some people on Twitter are even monitoring incidents in which Latino students in particular have been targeted. But I wonder: When were these students not targeted? When did immigrant students and their families ever have it easy? People are often surprised to hear that many of these children, with brown skin and "foreign-sounding" names, are U.S. citizens by birth. Yet 95 percent of Latino students in U.S. public schools are American citizens, according the latest survey by the National Council of La Raza.


Moriah Balingit, The Washington Post
Virginia’s schools have grown more racially and economically segregated during the past decade, with the number of students attending schools that are considered racially and economically isolated doubling from 2003 to 2014, according to a new report. The number of Virginia schools isolated by race and poverty has grown from 82 in 2003 to 136 in 2014, according to the Commonwealth Institute, a left-leaning think tank based in Richmond. The number of students in those schools has grown from about 36,000 to more than 74,000, according to the report, published this month.


Melinda D. Anderson, The Atlantic
Growing up in Columbia, Maryland, Hua-Yu Sebastian Cherng was a self-described troublemaker in grade school. He even got sent to the principal’s office once for in-class misbehavior. But none of his teachers ever called his parents about his school misconduct. In fact, throughout his K-12 schooling, Cherng can’t recall once when a school staffer reached out to his parents. Meanwhile, even though it was customary in high school for the counselor to personally congratulate parents of students who gained early admission to college, his name was left off the call list. And when he complained to his chemistry teacher about the oversight, his comment was met with: “It's not that big of a surprise that you got accepted [to MIT].” Now a sociologist and an assistant professor of education at New York University’s Steinhardt school, Cherng’s latest study parallels his childhood experience by exploring an under-researched topic in parent-involvement literature: the role that students’ race and country of birth play in a teacher’s likelihood of contacting their parents or guardians.


November 11, 2016

Emily Deruy, The Atlantic

Born in the United States, Mayra Kahori Vidaña Sanchez spent most of her childhood in Juárez, Mexico. When she was around 12, Vidaña Sanchez moved a few miles north of the border to El Paso, Texas, for school. Although technically a U.S. citizen, she spoke little English and carried a pocket dictionary to class. She spent hours listening to pop music and watching American television, trying to absorb not only a language but a culture that felt undeniably unfamiliar.

Despite her efforts, a few kids at school made fun of Vidaña Sanchez and her brother for their accents and supposed foreignness. Yet once, during elementary school back in Mexico, she’d had to give back a scholarship after the mother of a classmate complained that it shouldn’t have gone to a kid born in the United States. Not quite Mexican, not quite American.


Marc Tucker, Education Week

Let's try a thought experiment. Imagine that you are the new superintendent of schools in a city school district in which the majority of students live in concentrated poverty. You conceive of your job as getting your students ready for some sort of college or a career that begins right after they graduate from high school. You know they don't stand a chance if they cannot read and write well enough to survive the first year of a typical community college program. You've learned that the typical first-year community college text is set at a 12th-grade level of literacy. So you set a simple goal for your district: making sure that your graduates can read a text written at a 12th-grade level and can write simple paragraphs that have a beginning, a middle and an end and present a set of thoughts in a reasonably logical order. That should not be so hard. After all, 12th

-grade literacy is high school literacy. Writing simple declarative sentences that describe something or make a straightforward argument in a logical order is not that hard. Then you face reality. It feels like a brick wall.


November 4, 2016

Marissa Martinelli, Slate
Though the Civil Rights Act of 1964 invalidated laws that kept black and white students in separate schools, racial segregation in America’s school systems is still very much alive and well. John Oliver kicked off his Last Week Tonight segment on the subject with an admonishment for his more liberal white viewers, who might think the issue only applies south of the Mason-Dixon: “If you’re in a city like New York, you’re probably thinking, ‘Oh, splendid, I know where this is going: a story vilifying the backwards and racist American South. Let me just grab a handful of kale chips that I can munch on while feeling superior.’”

Valerie Wilson, Economic Policy Institute
Participants in the ongoing discussion about how to remedy centuries of economic inequality experienced by African Americans generally fall into one of two camps. One group calls for explicitly race-based or racially targeted solutions, while the other group supports race-neutral, or universal, progressive economic policies and programs. This brief focuses on the damage done to typical black workers’ wages in recent decades and demonstrates that progress on both fronts is necessary to undo the damage.


William Davies, New Left Review

In a July 2015 interview, the former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis gave an insight into his exchanges with the representatives of Greece’s creditors at EU Finance Ministers’ meetings. What stood out was his depiction of almost surreal levels of incomprehension: ‘You put forward an argument that you’ve really worked on—to make sure it’s logically coherent—and you’re just faced with blank stares. It is as if you haven’t spoken. What you say is independent of what they say. You might as well have sung the Swedish national anthem.’


October 28, 2016

Emily Deruy, The Atlantic

Black college graduates are more likely than their white peers to leave school with student debt and to default on those loans. Those are both well-known, widely covered issues. Now a Brookings Institution report from a pair of researchers at Columbia University points out a troubling new finding: The gap in debt between black graduates and white graduates more than triples just several years after college, a crucial time for saving and laying the groundwork for retirement.


Cory Turner, NPR

The Great Recession technically ended in June of 2009, but many of America's schools are still feeling the pinch. A new study of state budget documents and Census Bureau data finds that the lion's share of spending on schools in at least 23 states will be lower this school year than it was when the recession began nearly a decade ago. This analysis looked specifically at what's called general formula funding, which accounts for roughly 70 percent of the money states spend in their K-12 schools. The report, from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, suggests that many of the nation's schools are being asked to educate a growing number of students without state lawmakers growing their budgets.


Sarah D. Sparks, Education Week

Thriving in an academically rigorous environment is about more than simply being prepared for classes; it's about a student fitting in and seeing herself as a top student. As advanced academic programs work to find and enroll more poor and minority students, new research suggests just how complex it can be for students from traditionally disadvantaged groups to feel at home in such programs. These students can be particularly vulnerable as they encounter more academically challenging classes and peers who are economically better off. How a school presents its programs and provides emotional support to students can mean the difference between students struggling and excelling.


October 21, 2016

Evie Blad, Education Week

In the midst of a lead crisis that threatens the health and well-being of children in Flint, Mich., state and local education officials have not done enough to identify children in need of special education services and to provide those services to qualifying students, a federal lawsuit alleges.

The suit, filed by the Education Law Center and the ACLU of Michigan on behalf of 15 Flint students and their families, says that defendants—the Michigan Department of Education, Flint Community Schools, and the Genesee Intermediate School District—have committed violations of federal civil rights laws, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, through an alleged improper handling of special education services. Plaintiffs seek class-action status.


Retro Report, The New York Times

In the 1970’s, rising property taxes started a revolt in California. “Proposition 13. That’s what it was called. And it could take its place alongside ‘No taxation without representation.’” California’s young governor and other officials tried to stop it. “I must say that the proposed initiative will do nothing short of destroy education in California as we know it.” But there was no stopping the man who led it. 


Emma Brown, The Washington Post

When the Great Recession hit, states trimmed — and in some cases slashed — their budgets for public services, including for education. As the recession ended and the economy improved, some states began restoring funds to schools. But by 2014, 35 states were still spending less per student than they did in 2008, before the recession took hold, according to a report released Thursday. Data for total state education spending in the current school year isn’t yet available. But looking just at general (or “formula”) funding, which comprises the bulk of education spending in most states, 23 states are continuing to spend less per student in the 2016-2017 school year than they were in 2008, according to the report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a left-leaning think tank.


October 14, 2016

Valerie Wilson and William M. Rodgers III, Economic Policy Institute

Income inequality and slow growth in the living standards of low- and moderate-income Americans have become defining features of today’s economy, and at their root is the near stagnation of hourly wage growth for the vast majority of American workers. Since 1979, wages have grown more slowly than productivity—a measure of the potential for wage growth—for everyone except the top 5 percent of workers, while wage growth for the top 1 percent has significantly exceeded the rate of productivity growth (Bivens and Mishel 2015). This means that the majority of workers have reaped few of the economic rewards they helped to produce over the last 36 years because a disproportionate share of the benefits have gone to those at the very top. While wage growth lagging behind productivity has affected workers from all demographic groups, wage growth for African American workers has been particularly slow. As a result, large pay disparities by race have remained unchanged or even expanded.


Kendra Yoshinaga and Anya Kamenetz, NPR

With her infant son in a sling, Monique Black strolls through a weekend open house in the gentrified Shaw neighborhood of Washington, D.C. There are lots of factors to consider when looking for a home — in this one, Monique notices, the tiny window in the second bedroom doesn't let in enough light. But for parents like Black and her husband, Jonny, there's a more important question: How good are the nearby schools? It's well known in the real estate industry that highly rated schools translate into higher housing values. Several studies confirm this and even put a dollar figure on it: an average premium of $50 a square foot, in a 2013 national study.


October 7, 2016

Josh Hoxie,

“There’s no way these people should own planes and there’s people who don’t have houses or apartments.” Who said it?  Reading this today, you might think the words came from presidential candidate Bernie Sanders who has made rising inequality the major focus of his campaign. However, the words come from a recently unearthed video of deceased hip-hop artist Tupac Shakur being interviewed on MTV News in 1992.

Thor Benson, AlterNet

This month, a unique lawsuit was filed in Michigan against Gov. Rick Snyder and numerous state education officials, claiming that students in Detroit are being denied their constitutional right to literacy. The 133-page complaint, filed by the pro-bono Los Angeles-based firm Public Counsel, is attempting to gain class action status. The lawsuit highlights poor conditions in Michigan schools, like classrooms so hot teachers and students literally vomit, vermin in schools, outdated and limited books, an overall lack of teachers, and much more. Detroit's school districts have some of the lowest performing schools in the country.


Alieza Durana, The Atlantic

The front door of Nora Nivia Nevarez’s adobe-like house in suburban Albuquerque, New Mexico, opens to blocks and children’s books scattered around the brightly colored carpet, shaped like a puzzle piece. Throughout the afternoon, she keeps a careful eye on her four small charges, ages 4 months to 10 years, by turns reading books and helping them with puzzles. One little boy named Javier cries as his guardian, Guadalupe, picks him up. He’s tired and ready to go home. “I love caring for children, I just wish it were a little bit easier,” she sighs, speaking in Spanish. Nevarez, 50, has been taking care of children for decades. She began with her own three children, cared for her two grandchildren, and now helps friends and neighbors as a registered family-childcare provider in Southwest Albuquerque, one of the many in the state. And truly, her work is a labor of love. She doesn’t turn anyone away. Javier is autistic and his guardian hasn’t been able to find anyone else who will care for the child. Nevarez will.


September 30, 2016

Madeleine Brand, Guest: Tyrone Howard, KCRW

New standardized test results prove that California is struggling when it comes to race, education and closing the achievement gap. The racial divide between the lowest and highest scorers is remarkable; black students had the lowest scores of any group. About a third met grade-level standards in English and fewer than 20 percent were proficient in math. Compare that to the highest-scoring group, Asian-Americans: roughly 70 percent met or exceeded the standards. The tests are based on the Common Core learning standards, and they’re supposed to measure whether students are on track to be college-ready, so the implications could be far-reaching.


Kaveh Waddell, The Atlantic

When massive open online courses, or MOOCs, exploded in popularity in the early 2010s, educators were particularly excited about the courses’ potential to give disadvantaged students equal access to a quality education. But a bevy of recent research has shown that online learning has largely fallen short of that goal. The same factors that have held back low-income or minority students in physical classrooms also plague virtual ones. Studies have found that online-learning resources had trouble attracting low-income students—or, in the case of school-age children, their parents—and that those who did participate in online classes performed more poorly than their peers.


September 23, 2016

Valerie Strauss, Answer Sheet, Washington Post; William J. Mathis and Tina M. Trujillo, National Education Policy Center

Washington was euphoric. In a barren time for bi-partisan cooperation late in 2015, both Democrats and Republicans were happy to get rid of No Child Left Behind (NCLB).  The K-12 education law was almost universally excoriated as being a failure — particularly in that most important goal of closing the achievement gap. Looking at long-term trends from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, gains were seen in some areas but the achievement gap was stuck. NCLB provided no upward blips on the charts. Thus, it is stunning that the successor law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) passed by Congress last December, is basically an extension of NCLB.  Fundamentally, ESSA maintains the same philosophy and direction. It is still a standardized test-driven system that is punitive in nature.


Elizabeth A. Harris, New York Times

From elementary through high school, New York City children tend to go to school with others similar to themselves, in one of the country’s most racially segregated systems. Turns out that racial segregation is an issue in prekindergarten, too. A report by the Century Foundation, a public policy research group, which will be released on Tuesday, found that in 2014-15, the first year of the major prekindergarten expansion pushed by Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, prekindergarten classrooms tended to be more racially homogeneous than even the city’s public kindergartens. In half of all prekindergarten classrooms, over 70 percent of students belonged to a single racial or ethnic group, despite the fact that the overall program was diverse, with no racial or ethnic majority. In one out of every six pre-K classrooms, more than 90 percent of the students were of the same race or ethnicity. In kindergarten, that is true in one out of every eight classrooms.


Michel Martin, NPR

Historically black colleges and universities are having big increases in student enrollment. Dillard University president Walter Kimbrough thinks it's because of increased racial tensions on campuses.


September 16, 2016

Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times

University of California officials on Wednesday hailed the progress made in opening their campus doors this fall to its most diverse class of new students ever, including nearly 8,000 more Californians. The surge in California freshman and transfer students who signed an intent to register amounted to a 16% increase over last year, according to data posted Tuesday. About 38% were underrepresented minorities — Latinos, African Americans, Pacific Islanders and American Indians — representing a 24.3% increase over last year. “I’m excited about this class — it is the most diverse,” UC President Janet Napolitano said in an interview at UCLA, where the UC Board of Regents opened a two-day meeting. “But we have challenges: How do we make sure that we continue and enhance the quality of the education these students are getting?”


Cory Turner, NPR

A sweeping ruling from a superior court judge in Connecticut could mean historic changes for the state's schools, including how it funds its poorest districts. A superior court judge wrote yesterday that Connecticut has left rich school districts to flourish and poor school districts to flounder. Cory Turner of the NPR Ed team has more on the ruling.


Nissa Rhee, The Christian Science Monitor

The enduring forms of segregation – and in the case of many schools, resegregation – contribute to mistrust between the races and a lack of understanding and empathy, and can lead to violent encounters between law enforcement authorities and residents. Indeed, researchers and community organizers like Mgeni say that segregation is an often overlooked common denominator in many of the cities that have seen high-profile police shootings in recent years.


September 9, 2016

Wendy Stone, Emma Baker, Liss Ralston, Peter Phibbs, Rebecca Bentley, The Conversation

Following revelations that more than 300,000 children are living in poverty, the New Zealand government has announced the creation of a ministry for vulnerable children. This should cause Australian leaders to pause and think – how many vulnerable children live in poverty here? And should we be doing something about it? Everyone remembers Bob Hawke’s promise that: By 1990, no Australian child will be living in poverty.

Even though Hawke later regretted it, the prime minister’s 1987 statement was powerful and valuable. It sparked debate and told Australians, and the world, that child poverty was not acceptable and that we were going to try to fix it. It pinned a flag to the flagpole.


Emma Brown, The Washington Post

During their long, languid summers, lots of children forget the lessons they learned in school. But the hot empty months pose an especially big academic hurdle for poor children, whose families might not have time or money for camps or enrichment activities. Now new research suggests that school districts can stave off the so-called summer slide by offering free, voluntary programs that mix reading and math instruction with sailing, arts and crafts and other summer staples. The research also shows, perhaps unsurprisingly, that students have to attend the programs regularly to reap the benefits.


Michel Martin, NPR; Guest: John B. King Jr., U.S. Secretary of Education

U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. discusses the department's latest rules to make school funding more equal. Republicans and teachers unions have criticized the rules.


Pedro Noguera, The Hechinger Report

As we continue to identify ways to break down barriers to opportunity and close the college access gap, we can look to an education model that took shape twenty years ago with 56 girls in East Harlem. When the seventh-graders walked through the doors of the newly formed public Young Women’s Leadership School, their parents rejoiced knowing that their daughters would have the kind of high quality college prep education typically accessible only to middle-class and affluent families.


September 2, 2016

Sean F. Reardon, Stanford University; Ximena A. Portilla, MDRC

In a sharp reversal of a decades-long trend, the gap in kindergarten academic readiness between high- and low-income students narrowed by 10 percent to 16 percent between 1998 and 2010, according to new research published today in AERA Open

, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association.


Emma Brown, The Washington Post

The Obama administration released draft rules Wednesday that would govern how school districts allocate billions of Title I dollars meant to educate poor children, one of Capitol Hill’s most hotly contested education issues since Congress passed a new federal education law late last year.


Edwin Rios, Mother Jones

Last week, the Justice Department announced it would sue the state of Georgia for running a network of schools that segregated students with disabilities from those without, denying them equal access to services and educational opportunities. The lawsuit, which seeks to desegregate the state's program of so-called psychoeducational schools, could prompt school districts across the country to look closely at whether they are illegally separating students with disabilities from their peers.

August 26, 2016

Veronica Terriquez, John Rogers, and May Lin, UCLA IDEA and USC PERE

Youth Voice in School Finance:The Building Healthy Communities Initiative and Young People’s Involvement in Shaping Local Control Accountability Plans

 draws on a survey of staff from youth development and youth organizing groups across California to highlight new ways that high school age youth are shaping school district decision-making. 


Nadra Kareem Nittle, The Atlantic

In 2013, California passed an unusual law that aimed to revolutionize how school districts receive state funding. The Local Control Funding Formula, or LCFF, gives school districts the autonomy to decide which programs and services to spend state funding on. And it’s far more than another boring funding provision: Its primary goal was to ensure equity by devising a complex recipe of budgeting mechanisms, in part by giving additional money to districts based on their numbers of high-needs students—English learners, low-income children, and foster youth. The law’s passage marked the first time in four decades that California underwent such a dramatic shift in school finance.


Rowena Lindsay, The Christian Science Monitor

School systems in Detroit and its neighbor, Grosse Pointe, Mich., are the most economically disparate adjacent school districts in the country, according to a new report from EdBuild, an educational funding reform nonprofit. Looking at every school district in the country, compared with the other districts it borders, "Fault Lines: America's Most Segregating School District Borders," shows that while 49.2 percent of Detroit's school-age residents live in poverty, only 6.5 percent of their peers in neighboring Grosse Pointe live below the poverty line. The problem goes beyond segregation itself: given American schools' reliance on local property taxes for funding, such disparate incomes are reflected in disparate opportunities for children in nearby districts.

August 19, 2016

Jon Valant, Tulane University; Daniel A. Newark, University of Southern Denmark

When asked about wealth- and race/ethnicity-based academic achievement gaps, Americans are more concerned about the gap between poor and wealthy students, more supportive of policies that might close it, and more prepared to explain the reasons behind it, according to new research published online today in Educational Researcher

, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association.


Susan Dynarski, The New York Times

Education is deeply unequal in the United States, with students in poor districts performing at levels several grades below those of children in richer areas. Yet the problem is actually much worse than these statistics show, because schools, districts and even the federal government have been using a crude yardstick for economic hardship.


Tom Chorneau, Cabinet Report

When asked, California voters have almost always generously backed tax hikes and bond measure that benefit schools–this November, they are likely to do it again. First up is Proposition 55, which would extend the 2012 income tax increase on the state’s highest earners through 2030. Then, there’s a $9 billion statewide facilities bond and, finally, there’s a scattering of local school borrowing measures like the $1.2 billion Long Beach is asking for and the $280 million that Bakersfield needs.

August 12, 2016

John Fensterwald, EdSource

The California Department of Education is sticking with its ruling in May that Los Angeles Unified has underspent, by hundreds of millions of dollars, money it should have used to increase and improve services for high-needs children under the state’s new school funding law. In reaffirming its decision, the department gives the district until the 2017-18 school year to comply.


Sarah D. Sparks, Education Week

It’s always tough to be the new kid in the middle of the school year: to find new friends, adapt to new teachers and rules. But for more than 6.5 million students nationwide, being the new kid can be a frequent occurrence—and one that exacts a cost to their social and academic development and that of their classmates. As more states begin to use longitudinal data to improve schools under the Every Student Succeeds Act, a growing body of research suggests student mobility may be a key indicator to identify vulnerable students and keep them on a path to academic achievement.


Paul Wallace and Joel Strom, Los Angeles Times

We are products of the Los Angeles public schools, longtime residents of the city, and most importantly friends. We became friends even though the odds were stacked against us. It happened in 1969 when the two of us — one black, one white — ended up at school together as the Los Angeles Unified School District finally began to confront its history of segregation. Race relations in L.A. were tense then. The scars were still fresh from the six-day-long 1965 Watts riots, and at L.A. high schools the races were, for the most part, separated.

August 5, 2016

Valerie Strauss, Answer Sheet; Jeff Bryant, Education Opportunity Network

Anyone familiar with efforts to desegregate public schools in this country knows about Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., where, in 1957, nine black students enrolled at the then all-white school to test the landmark 1954 Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka

 that declared public school segregation unconstitutional. The students were barred from entering the school on Sept. 4, 1957, by National Guard called in by then-Gov. Orval Faubus, but on Sept. 25, federal troops ordered by then-President Dwight D. Eisenhower, escorted them into the school and they started their first full day. But there is a new story of Central High — and school segregation — that needs to be told, and in this post, Jeff Bryant does just that. Bryant, director of the Education Opportunity Network, a partnership effort of the Institute for America’s Future and the Opportunity to Learn Campaign. He has written extensively about public education policy. This first appeared on, and I have permission to republish it.


Ana Aparicio, US News and World Report

Is racial bias hindering the success and well-being of our nation's children? Civil rights, racial justice scholars and activists have long answered yes; they have also continuously worked to address the structural racism they see as pervasive in our nation's institutions.


Prudence L. Carter, Stanford University; AERA Knowledge Forum Research Fact Sheet

For more than six decades since the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, “equal opportunity” has become a mantra in American education and schooling. Some efforts have focused on creating more racially diverse enrollment in schools; other efforts have attempted to increase learning opportunities within racially isolated schools, essentially returning to the “separate but equal” standard that preceded Brown. One thing we have learned is that diverse school enrollments are a necessary but not sufficient feature of reform if we hope to close opportunity gaps. This is because diversity in schools does not necessarily mean the integration of students in schools (Fine, Weis, & Powell, 1997; Powell, 2005). Even in diverse schools, everyday school practices can often unwittingly perpetuate inequality and exclusion if educators do not pay attention.

July 29, 2016

Joe Heim, The Washington Post
With millions of students across the United States set to begin returning to school in coming weeks, the U.S. Department of Education issued guidance Wednesday for states and school districts on how to respond to the specific needs of homeless students. The guidelines, provided in response to new provisions in the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, emphasize practices aimed at providing stability and safety for the homeless public school population, which included more than 1.3 million students in the 2013-2014 school year.

Carmen Constantinescu, Education Week
Segregation among students in public schools based on race has been a persistent and growing concern and new statistics show that income segregation may be growing as well. After analyzing two national data sources—the School District Demographics System (SDDS) and the Common Core of Data (CCD)—researchers found that income segregation between and within public school districts has been on the rise since 1990.

Lauren Camera, US News and World Report
The racial tension and violence that roiled the country this month left politicians, policymakers and protesters of every stripe shocked and exasperated. Two separate incidents caught on video of white police officers shooting and killing black men, one in Baton Rouge and the other in Minneapolis, resulted in the killing of five Dallas police officers during a Black Lives Matter protest and most recently the killing of three Baton Rouge law enforcement officers – all in a two week span.


July 22, 2016

Anya Kamenetz, NPR
The school district of Freehold Borough, N.J., has a 32 percent poverty rate. It is fully surrounded by another school district, Freehold Township, which has a 5 percent poverty rate. Freehold Borough is what a new report calls an "island district" — and it's not alone. The report, from a nonprofit called EdBuild, maps 180 of these islands around the country: Districts that, by historical accident or for political reasons, lie completely inside other systems with a disparate poverty rate and often different funding levels.

Alia Wong, The Atlantic
Forty-five million. That’s how many words a typical child in a white-collar family will hear before age 4. The number is striking, not because it’s a lot of words for such a small human—the vast majority of a person’s neural connections, after all, are formed by age 3—but because of how it stacks up against a poor kid’s exposure to vocabulary. By the time she’s 4, a child on welfare might only have heard 13 million words.

Patrick Wall, Chalkbeat
Ready or not, America is watching its student population grow more diverse. For the first time in the nation’s history, the overall student population is now less than half white. And while many schools remain deeply segregated, others are growing more mixed as Asian, black, and Hispanic families move to the suburbs and whites settle in gentrifying urban neighborhoods. But there is a difference between diverse schools and ones that are integrated, says Amy Stuart Wells, a Teachers College professor who has long studied race and education. History has shown that seating students of different colors side by side isn’t enough — real integration requires schools to adopt inclusive curriculums, teachers to reflect on their own biases, and students to learn how to interact across race and class lines, she says.


July 15, 2016

Richard Kahlenberg, The Century Foundation

On the heels of a terrible week of racial strife—in which black men were shot and killed by police in Louisiana and Minnesota, and white police officers were gunned down by a sniper in Texas—an important plan

was unveiled this morning to help promote greater racial harmony and social justice for the next generation of Americans. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), Representative Marcia Fudge (D-OH), U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr., and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) president Randi Weingarten made a powerful case that in order to provide social cohesion in our democracy, and social mobility in our economy, our nation needs to address rising economic and racial segregation in our schools.


Kendra Yoshinaga, NPR

There's a reason Jose Luis Vilson's students learn in groups: He wants them to feel comfortable working with anyone in the classroom, something he's realized in his 11 years of teaching doesn't always come naturally. "I don't really give students a chance to self-select until later on, when I feel like they can pretty much group with anybody," he says. Vilson teaches math at a public middle school just north of Harlem in New York City. Most of his students are Latino and African-American, and Vilson pays close attention to the fact that their racial identities affect their experiences in the classroom.


Danielle Paquette, Los Angeles Times

The people paid to watch America's children tend to live in poverty. Nearly half receive some kind of government assistance: food stamps, welfare checks, Medicaid. Their median hourly wage is $9.77 — about $3 below the average janitor's. In a new report, researchers at UC Berkeley say that child care is too vital to the country's future to offer such meager wages. Those tasked with supporting kids, they say, are shaping much of tomorrow's workforce.



July 8, 2016


July 1, 2016

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez, KPCC
Summer school is not longer only for students who want to erase an “F” grade. It’s increasingly becoming, for those who can afford it, the time when a high school students stack their transcript with classes for college admission. William Mathis, National Education Policy Center
Parents and teachers know that smaller class sizes allow more personalized attention and greater student learning. However, since the majority of a school’s budget is comprised of teacher pay and benefits, the cost of small classes can be a contentious issue for school administrators. In a brief released today, The Effectiveness of Class Size Reduction, William Mathis explores the research on class size and finds that the clear conclusion to be drawn from reviewing high-quality peer-reviewed papers is that smaller classes are academically, socially, and economically beneficial.
  Charlayne Hunter-Gault, PBS; Maureen Costello, Southern Poverty Law Center
Every teacher’s job and the job of school is to help students develop the skills that they need to thrive in a diverse society…We have a curriculum called Perspectives for a Diverse America. And at its heart are a series of texts that we have chosen because they’re either windows or mirrors. Windows. Windows are how I can look outside and I can see experiences and lives that are different than mine. And that’s something we have always said is important in education, is to learn about other people and how other people live. Mirrors are where I can see myself reflected in the books that I’m reading. And, of course, that’s important too, and it’s particularly important for a child of color, for a child who perhaps has immigrant parents, for children living in poverty, to recognize that they’re not on the outside, that they can be the heroes of their own story, too.

June 24, 2016

William J. Mathis, National Education Policy Center
Underinvestment in schools has characterized Western countries since the beginning of public education and is the result of political decision-making. Despite polls showing public support for schools, the argument that money doesn’t matter has, nevertheless, always found an audience. In a brief released today, Does Money Matter, William Mathis considers the evidence used to support the claim that there is no systemic relation between spending and school quality.
  Sonali Kohli and Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Board of Education on Tuesday passed a $7.6-billion budget that includes significantly higher spending for next year, though questions remain about how much of that money will go to the students it should. Alisha Kirby, Cabinet Report
Priority will be given to low-income children looking to enroll in state-funded after-school programs under legislation that passed the Senate Education Committee last week. To boost these students’ participation rates, AB 1567 would also waive any fees for students identified as homeless, low-income or foster youth.
  Todd Mann, The Hill
In 1968, the United States launched Apollo 8, the first manned spacecraft to orbit the moon and return safely. In that same year but with much less publicity, Tacoma Public Schools launched the nation’s first magnet school, McCarver Elementary School, in an attempt to diversify its segregated school system. Almost fifty years later, a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) and a Federal court ruling in Mississippi show that school segregation remains a national problem and that magnet schools are still a viable solution that fly under the public radar.

June 17, 2016

Nikole Hannah-Jones, New York Times Magazine

In the spring of 2014, when our daughter, Najya, was turning 4, my husband and I found ourselves facing our toughest decision since becoming parents. We live in Bedford-Stuyvesant, a low-income, heavily black, rapidly gentrifying neighborhood of brownstones in central Brooklyn. The nearby public schools are named after people intended to evoke black uplift, like Marcus Garvey, a prominent black nationalist in the 1920s, and Carter G. Woodson, the father of Black History Month, but the schools are a disturbing reflection of New York City’s stark racial and socioeconomic divisions. In one of the most diverse cities in the world, the children who attend these schools learn in classrooms where all of their classmates—and I mean, in most cases, every single one—are black and Latino, and nearly every student is poor. Not surprisingly, the test scores of most of Bed-Stuy’s schools reflect the marginalization of their students.


Anya Kamenetz, NPR

When Caitlin Cheney was living at a campground in Washington state with her mother and younger sister, she would do her homework by the light of the portable toilets, sitting on the concrete. She maintained nearly straight A's even though she had to hitchhike to school, making it there an average of three days a week. "I really liked doing homework," says Cheney, 22, who is now an undergraduate zoology student at Washington State University. "It kept my mind off reality a little bit." More than 1 million public school students in the United States have no room to call their own, no desk to do their homework, no bed to rely on at night. State data collection, required by federal law and aggregated by the National Center for Homeless Education, shows the number of homeless students has doubled in the past decade, to 1.3 million in 2013-2014.


Kyle Stokes, KPCC

State education officials have effectively stayed a ruling advocates hoped would force Los Angeles Unified School District officials to redirect millions of new dollars this year into specialized programs for three high-needs groups: foster youth, English Learners and low-income students. The ruling, which the California Department of Education handed down late last month, had said the state's new school funding formula doesn't permit L.A. Unified to count roughly $450 million in special education spending as a program targeted for those three needy groups. But in a letter to the district on Tuesday afternoon, state schools superintendent Tom Torlakson said the department would not require LAUSD to make "any significant spending adjustments until the 2017-18 fiscal year," giving the district time to "make thoughtful adjustments" to its spending plans.


Julia Daniel, Kevin Welner, Michelle Renée Valladares, National Education Policy Center

Research-based policies that provide sustained support can transform struggling schools into effective schools. Serious reform models like the Community Schools Initiative in New York City offer an alternative to the false promise of quickly boosting test scores and calling a school “transformed.” Yet approaches grounded in the idea of sustained improvement present a different challenge: what should policymakers expect, and by when? In Time for Improvement: Research-Based Expectations for Implementation of the Community Schools Initiative in New York City, Julia Daniel, Kevin Welner and Michelle Renée Valladares of the University of Colorado Boulder describe the major findings from research about the stages of school improvement—research that informs a reasonable timetable for the NYC Community Schools Initiative.


June 10, 2016

KJ Dell’Antonia, The New York Times

WHAT are your kids up to this summer? Sounds like a casual question. But for working parents at this time of year, it’s loaded. What have you managed to pull together that will keep your kids engaged, healthy, happy and safe, while still allowing you to keep feeding and clothing them? For most parents, summer, that beloved institution, is a financial and logistical nightmare.


Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times

State officials have ordered the Los Angeles Unified School District to redirect hundreds of millions of dollars in spending, with the goal of benefiting students who need the most academic assistance. The action won the praise of advocates who had filed a complaint with the state, while L.A. Unified officials said that complying with the order will hurt students. The issue is whether the school system is following the rules of a revised state funding plan that provides added dollars for students who are more difficult and costly to educate. 


Evie Blad, Education Week

New federal data show a continuing deep gulf between the educational experiences of traditionally disadvantaged student groups and their peers on a broad range of indicators, findings that follow years of efforts by government and advocacy groups to level the playing field in U.S. public schools.

June 3, 2016

Michael Janofsky, EdSource

Members of the Los Angeles Unified school board got a sobering economic report this week as finance experts warned that a slowing state economy and failure of a November ballot measure to extend an increase in personal income taxes could cost the district hundreds of millions of dollars.


Deepa Fernandes, KPCC

When then-state senator Joe Simitian spearheaded an initiative to move the kindergarten birthday cutoff date from December to September in 2010, he wanted to make sure that the 4-year-old kids who would be excluded from starting that year wouldn't languish. That's why he drove the creation of transitional kindergarten, or TK, a new public school grade for children born in the months between September and December, to get them ready for school. 


William Mathis, National Education Policy Center

When our nation was young and figuring out how to make this little-known thing called democracy work, some power brokers of the day said the people were too ignorant to govern themselves. Thomas Jefferson disagreed. In 1820, he wrote, I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves: and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their controul (sic) with a wholsome (sic) discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education.  Fewer than 30 years later, Horace Mann, the father of the common school movement, proclaimed universal education to be the bedrock of democracy.


May 27, 2016

Craig Clough, LA School Report

California may spend more on its students, but the high cost of living means students in the state — and particularly in Los Angeles — are getting far less on average than those in the rest of the nation, a new study shows. But even if there’s less purchasing power for education in California, at least what is spent is distributed more equitably than in other states, it states.  

Kevin Welner and William Mathis, National Education Policy Center

Educational opportunities, and therefore life chances, have long been tied to family wealth and to housing, with more advantaged communities providing richer opportunities. Recognizing the key role of housing in this system, equity-minded reformers have proposed five types of interventions: (a) school improvement policies; (b) school choice policies; (c) school desegregation policies; (d) wealth-focused policies; and (e) housing-focused policies. In a new brief released today, Housing Policy, Kevin Welner and William Mathis discuss each of these interventions, with an emphasis on housing-focused policies.

May 20, 2016

Ana Tintocalis, KQED

A handful of first-graders sit cross-legged on a rainbow-colored rug with their eyes fixed on Katherine Craig, the reading specialist at Oak Ridge Elementary in Sacramento. She’s in charge of a special program for struggling readers called Systematic Instruction in Phonological Awareness, Phonics and Sight Words

 (SIPPS). At the beginning of every class, Craig shuffles through a stack of flashcards and asks students to sound out letters and blend those sounds together.


Anya Kamenetz, NPR

The U.S. Education Department said this week it will make Pell Grants available to 10,000 high school students who are enrolled in courses at 44 colleges. It's an ambitious experiment aimed at closing the attainment gap between rich and poor students in higher education. The Obama administration wants to give students a head start on college.


The Associated Press, Newsday

Six decades after the Supreme Court outlawed separating students by race, stubborn disparities persist in how the country educates its poor and minority children. A report Tuesday by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office found deepening segregation of black and Hispanic students at high-poverty K-12 public schools. These schools often offered fewer math, science and college prep classes, while having disproportionally higher rates of students who were held back in ninth grade, suspended or expelled.


Kinga Wysieńska-Di Carlo, National Education Policy Center



The current attention being given to the state of teacher diversity, including ASI’s recent report on the subject, is based on the idea that teacher diversity is a resource that profits everyone, and that policymakers and administrators should try to increase this resource. We agree.


May 13, 2016

Helen Ladd, Pedro Noguera, Paul Reville, and Joshua Starr, Education Week

Education policy in the United States has taken a turn in a new direction, and anyone with a stake in public education should celebrate this. Policymakers increasingly recognize that stresses related to student poverty—hunger, chronic illness, and, in too many cases, trauma—are the key barriers to teaching and learning. And calls for tending not only to the academic but also the social, emotional, and physical needs of children are gaining ground across the country. Indeed, the inclusion of the whole-child perspective in the Every Student Succeeds Act shows that this mindset has moved from the margins to the mainstream.


Melinda D. Anderson, The Atlantic

Congress is considering a rule change to the school-nutrition law that would bar thousands of schools from offering complimentary lunch to all students.


Emily Badger, The Washington Post

Wealthy parents are famously pouring more and more into their children, widening the gap

 in who has access to piano lessons and math tutors and French language camp. The biggest investment the rich can make in their kids, though — one with equally profound consequences for the poor — has less to do with "enrichment" than real estate. They can buy their children pricey homes in nice neighborhoods with good school districts.


May 6, 2016

Jonathan Rabinovitz, Stanford Graduate School of Education

Almost every school district enrolling large numbers of low-income students has an average academic performance significantly below the national grade-level average, according to Stanford Graduate School of Education research based on a massive new data set recently created from more than 200 million test scores.


Robyn Bresnahan and Joel Westheimer, CBC

Many of the Syrian children who came to Canada are now in school but the key to their success may be found in Finland.


Jennifer Jellison Holme, University of Texas at Austin; Kara S. Finnigan, University of Rochester; Albert Shanker Institute

In this blog post, we outline a set of strategies based on our research that seek to address these issues through specific education policy leverage points: the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and two federal grants programs (Stronger Together and the Magnet School Assistance Program).


April 29, 2016

John Fensterwald, EdSource

The state Constitution does not guarantee children in California a minimally funded quality education, a divided California Court of Appeal ruled Wednesday in a landmark decision closely watched by proponents of more K-12 spending.


John Fensterwald, EdSource

Seven months before the November election, substantial majorities of likely California voters said they would support extending Proposition 30, the temporary income tax on the wealthiest state residents, and passing a proposed $9 billion school construction bond, according to a survey released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California.


Josie Huang, KPCC

Children in Los Angeles County are growing up in more economically segregated neighborhoods than their parents did, as affluent families move to where the best-performing schools are, according to a new study out of the University of Southern California.


Amy Rothschild, The Atlantic

Are efforts to boost kids’ vocabularies before kindergarten missing the mark?


April 22, 2016

Cory Turner, Reema Khrais, Tim Lloyd, Alexandra Olgin, Laura Isensee, Becky Vevea, Dan Carsen, NPR

Let's begin with a choice. Say there's a check in the mail. It's meant to help you run your household. You can use it to keep the lights on, the water running and food on the table. Would you rather that check be for $9,794 or $28,639? It's not a trick question. It's the story of America's schools in two numbers.


Stefanie A. DeLuca and Susan Clampet-Lundquist, The Century Foundation

In an era when social mobility in the United States has become increasingly elusive, the stories of Baltimore's youth could offer key insight into pathways out of poverty. In The Cycle of Poverty Is Not Inevitable

, TCF fellow Stefanie DeLuca and Saint Joseph University's Susan Clampet-Lundquist draw lessons on disrupting intergenerational inequality from nearly a decade's worth of research with youth in Baltimore. What their inspirational stories demonstrate is that with the right policies in place, disadvantaged youth can have the support they need to successfully launch into adulthood—and out of the cycle of poverty.


Emily Deruy, The Atlantic

The U.S. Education Secretary John King is frustrated by what he describes as the “ahistorical nature” of conversations today about how to integrate schools. Speaking at a Century Foundation panel on Tuesday to highlight two recent reports

 by the left-leaning think tank, King said that the need for “urgency” when it comes to making classrooms more socioeconomically and racially diverse is sometimes thwarted by communities who see the current lack of real integration as a fact over which they have no control. That, he argued, is simply not true.


Caitlin Yoshiko Kandil, Los Angeles Times

As a child, Sylvia Mendez thought her parents' court case was all about a playground. That's because in 1944, the school bus would drop her off at the white school, which had "manicured lawns" and a "beautiful playground," but she wasn't allowed there. Instead, she would have to keep walking down the street to the Mexican school — two wooden shacks on a dirt lot next to a cow pasture. "We went to court every day, I listened to what they were saying, but really I was dreaming about going back to that beautiful school," Mendez said. But it wasn't a playground that Mendez's parents, Gonzalo and Felicitas, were fighting for. It was racial equality.


Diane Ravitch, Salon

The segregated states of the Deep South fought desegregation tooth-and-nail for years after the 1954 Brown v Board of Education decision. The white leadership did not want white children to go to school with black children, period. Their first response was to declare that they would never desegregate: never, never, never. As pressure from the federal government and the courts accelerated, Southern officials found a new tactic to preserve segregation: school choice. School choice, they knew, would protect the status quo: White children would “choose” to stay in white schools, and black children would “choose” to stay in black schools. Eventually the federal courts struck down every school choice plan, recognizing that it was a blatant effort to avoid the letter and spirit of the Brown decision. But here we are, 80 years later, with segregation on the rise and school choice in the ascendancy as its vehicle. Southern states are adopting charters and vouchers because their long-frustrated effort to return to segregated schools is at last feasible.


April 15, 2016

Sonali Kohli, Los Angeles Times
Headlines and talk shows across the country often feature parents worried about their children's stressful workload or pulling their kids out of new standardized tests. But an umbrella organization of civil rights groups contends that there is a huge population of people whose voices are missing when talking about the needs of schools. In a nationally representative survey of black and Latino parents in the U.S., the Leadership Conference Education Fund found that these parents care about having good teachers, more money for their schools and a more challenging curriculum for their students. 


Madeleine Brand, KCRW; Guest: Sarah Abraham, MIT
We’ve known for decades that the rich live longer than the poor. But it turns out the size of that gap depends on where you live. That’s the surprising finding of a new study out today. In some cities, like Los Angeles, the poor live almost as long as their wealthier counterparts. Their lives are getting longer too. Elsewhere, the trend is going in the opposite direction. The poor are living shorter and shorter lives. Why? Madeleine speaks to one of the researchers on the new study.


Kimberly Beltran, Cabinet Report
States and school districts have until Oct. 1 to begin meeting new federal requirements aimed at removing barriers to educational opportunities for the nation’s estimated two million homeless children.


Alyson Klein, Education Week
If you haven't read through all 1,000-plus pages of the brand new Every Student Succeeds Act, you may have missed a key theme: The new law includes a host of new transparency requirements that will give the feds, states, districts, educators, advocates and (yes) education reporters a much clearer picture of how different populations of kids are doing and what kind of access they have to resources, including money. So what exactly will districts and states need to report on under ESSA that they didn't have to report on under No Child Left Behind, the previous version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act?


April 8, 2016

William J. Mathis and Kevin G. Welner, National Education Policy Center

School choice advocates have contended from the outset that choice policies would advance integration by giving students the opportunity to attend a school outside of highly segregated neighborhoods. In a new brief, Do Choice Policies Segregate Schools?, authors William J. Mathis and Kevin Welner of the National Education Policy Center examine the research evidence. They conclude that, while choice policies might be designed and implemented in ways that advance integration, this has not been done—and the result has been increased stratification by race, ethnicity, special needs status, income and first language. While some choice school enrollments are integrated, the authors contend, the research literature documents an “unsettling degree of segregation – particularly in charter schools.” Choice advocates, Mathis and Welner note, are correct in pointing to the need to address school segregation due to housing policies and school district boundaries, which would result in segregated schools even without school choice. But unregulated choice policies lack the necessary “guardrails”—rules that should be included within those policies and designed to ensure accomplishment of a community’s goals. Without protections against unconstrained segregative choices, stratification is often exacerbated, not mitigated.


Michael Bader, Los Angeles Times

Some of America's most racially integrated neighborhoods and cities are on a path to becoming segregated all over again. In Los Angeles this means neighborhoods where Latinos and Asians now live alongside black or white neighbors may have few to no whites or blacks in 10 to 20 years.


Andrew Ujifusa, Education Week

When Congress approved the creation of a U.S. Department of Education as its own cabinet-level agency in 1979, it did so only after encountering opposition from both sides of the aisle. Many conservative lawmakers were concerned that it would be a bureaucratic intrusion into education, while some liberals were worried its creation would make getting additional federal aid for education more difficult, among other concerns. Then, when President Jimmy Carter, a supporter of a separate education department, made his selection for the nation’s first secretary of education, he picked Shirley M. Hufstedler, at the time a serving federal appeals court judge and former California Court of Appeals judge who did not have a background in education policy.

April 1, 2016

Rebecca Wolf and Janelle Sands, Education Policy Analysis Archives

California recently overhauled its K–12 public education finance system. Enacted in 2013, the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) replaced California’s 40- year-old funding formula. The LCFF increases district officials’ fiscal flexibility; provides more resources to districts serving larger proportions of low-income, English learner (EL), and foster youth students; and requires district officials to engage community members in district decisions. This article expands on a study conducted by a team of 12 independent researchers that investigated the early implementation of the LCFF. The study sought to answer three research questions: (a) how are district officials using their newfound budget flexibility? (b) how are district officials engaging parents and other stakeholders? (c) what are the opportunities provided to districts under the LCFF and the challenges it creates for them? Data include 71 semi-structured interviews with district stakeholders across 10 diverse districts in California and 22 interviews with county office of education (COE) officials across the state. Findings include that respondents were cautiously optimistic about the LCFF. District officials appreciated increased budget flexibility and the focus on community engagement. Inevitably, however, district and COE officials experienced challenges in implementing the law during its first year.


William J. Mathis and Kevin Welner, National Education Policy Center

A new but widespread policy approach called “portfolio districts” shifts decision-making away from district superintendents and other central-office leaders. This approach is being used in more than three dozen large districts, including New York City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans, Memphis, Nashville, St. Louis, Cleveland, and Denver. But the policy’s expansion is not being driven by evidence of success.


Kimberly Quick, The Century Foundation

A half-century of research demonstrates that having schools with high concentrations of poverty can be detrimental to students. Socioeconomically and racially diverse schools not only provide cognitive and civic benefits to all students, they also narrow achievement gaps by raising the scores of the least-advantaged students, while letting their wealthier classmates continue to thrive. And yet, despite this overwhelming evidence, Loudoun County Public Schools in Virginia—serving one of the wealthiest counties in the nation—is recklessly considering a redistricting plan that would intentionally concentrate hundreds of low-income and Hispanic children into two elementary schools.



Matthew Delmont, The Atlantic

“When we would go to white schools, we’d see these lovely classrooms, with a small number of children in each class,” Ruth Batson recalled. As a Boston civil-rights activist and the mother of three, Batson gained personal knowledge of how the city’s public schools shortchanged black youth in the 1950s and 1960s. “The teachers were permanent. We’d see wonderful materials. When we’d go to our schools, we would see overcrowded classrooms, children sitting out in the corridors, and so forth. And so, then we decided that where there were a large number of white students, that’s where the care went. That’s where the books went. That’s where the money went.”

March 24, 2016

Kevin G. Welner, National Education Policy Center

What will it take to ensure that all children have an opportunity to learn and to thrive, regardless of their background or which school they attend? The opportunity gaps faced by children arise in their schools and in larger structural inequalities like housing, poverty, parental unemployment, and disinvestment of public resources. These structural problems weigh down students and their schools in ways that do not burden more affluent communities. So what should we as a society do about this added weight?


Irwin Garfinkel, David Harris, Jane Waldfogel, and Christopher Wimer, The Century Foundation

Child poverty in the United States remains stubbornly high, with 12.2 million children living in poverty in 2013. Nearly 17 percent of children in the United States lived in poverty in 2013—a higher rate than for other age groups, and considerably higher than the child poverty rate in other advanced industrialized countries. The U.S. deep child poverty rate—children who live in families with incomes less than half of the poverty line—was 4.5 percent of all children in 2013, meaning nearly 1 in 20 children live in families that cannot even afford half of what is considered a minimally adequate living. One key policy for reducing child poverty is the child tax credit (CTC)—which reduces the child poverty rate from 18.8 percent to 16.5 percent of American children. There is broad acceptance of the importance of the CTC, and key expansions to the CTC were made permanent at the end of 2015. At a moment when leaders ranging from President Barack Obama to Speaker Paul Ryan are talking about poverty, now is an opportune time to explore policy options that would build on this success. This report models two approaches to reduce child poverty in the United States even further—a universal child allowance and an expanded CTC.


Ana Tintocalis, KQED

School starts in 10 minutes at Oak Ridge Elementary in Sacramento. Principal Daniel Rolleri is on the blacktop greeting students as he usually does. Oak Ridge is like many other campuses in cities across the Golden State. The students are mostly poor. Many are struggling to learn English. Others don’t speak it at all. “There’s a vicious cycle of poverty, there’s a vicious cycle of difficult situations going on in our families’ lives,” says Rolleri, as he makes his final rounds before the bell rings. “Education needs to be the greatest equalizer for our students to succeed in life.” Rolleri is now tasked with steering the school’s finances under California’s bold new experiment in school finance known as the Local Control Funding Formula enacted three years ago.


Olga Khazan, The Atlantic

Racial housing segregation is worst in the northeast and Great Lakes regions, according to a new report, and it’s making people sick. This year’s edition of County Health Rankings, an annual rating of the health of all the nation’s counties, added the segregation measure because it has “been linked to poor health outcomes, including greater infant and adult mortality, and a wide variety of reproductive, infectious, and chronic diseases,” the report authors write.

March 18, 2016

Melany De La Cruz-Viesca and Erin Fogg, UCLA Newsroom

A report released today examining wealth inequality across racial and ethnic groups in Los Angeles shows substantial disparity with Japanese, Asian Indians, Chinese and whites ranking among the top, while blacks, Mexicans, other Latinos, Koreans and Vietnamese rank far behind. “The Color of Wealth in Los Angeles” is the first report to compile detailed data on assets and debts among people of different races, ethnicities and countries of origin residing in the Los Angeles area. 


Emily Deruy, The Atlantic

Black and white Americans have dramatically different views on whether all children have equal access to the same opportunities. While 77 percent of whites surveyed in an Atlantic Media/Pearson Opportunity Poll released this week think children of color in their neighborhood have access to the same opportunities as white children, just 41 percent of African Americans agree. More than 70 percent of Latinos and Asians polled agree with the statement, making the figure from black respondents the outlier, albeit not necessarily a surprising one.


Cathaleen Chen, The Christian Science Monitor

Social scientists have long pointed to economic inequality as a prognosis for lowered social mobility, given the rate that students from low-income communities drop out of high school. But until now, researchers have been unable to establish the mechanisms that drive that correlation. A new paper presented by the Brookings Institute Thursday ties income inequality to reduced rates of upward mobility using empirical data, specifically examining the role of students’ perception of their potential future success in affecting their actual success.


Justin Driver, Los Angeles Times

On March 12, 1956, the majority of Southern senators and congressmen joined forces in Washington, D.C., to publicize the “Declaration of Constitutional Principles.” Now known by its more evocative label, the “Southern Manifesto,” this statement denounced the Supreme Court's unanimous decision in Brown vs. Board of Education, which two years earlier had invalidated racial segregation in public schools. The nation will not celebrate Saturday's 60th anniversary of the Southern Manifesto as it does civil rights victories — and for good reason. But we should not permit this crucial date to pass unacknowledged, because doing so invites the comforting delusion that the mind-set supporting the manifesto has been banished from polite society.


March 11, 2016

Kelly Candaele, Capital and Main

I turned off onto a long dirt road about 15 miles outside of Montevideo, Uruguay and drove towards a wooden guard shack that stood across from a small farmhouse hidden by a long row of trees. Usually, if you want to meet a country’s president – or even ex-president – you have to fight through layers of bureaucracy, confirm that you are not a threat and have a very good rationale for being considered worthy to talk to. But in the case of Uruguay’s former head of state, José “Pepe” Mujica, you simply find your way to his home – something that apparently 30 or 40 people do every day.


Emily Deruy and Janie Boschma, The Atlantic

Charlotte, North Carolina, wants to change its status as one of the worst places in the United States for poor children to have a shot at getting ahead as adults. If the city succeeds, its efforts may offer a roadmap for other major metro areas gripped by barriers such as concentrated poverty and school segregation.


Julia Daniel and Jon Snyder, National Education Policy Center

Research literature finds that community school models offering various agreed-upon features provide an excellent social return on investment and significant promise for providing opportunities for learning and promoting well-being in students and communities. This brief by Julia Daniel, a doctoral student at the National Education Policy Center and Jon Snyder, Executive Director of the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education, summarizes the empirical basis for several features of community schools.


Philippa Strum, Los Angeles Times

In the coverage of the 2016 election cycle, you'll hear this time and again: Latinos — immigrants and their families — are playing an important role in electing the next U.S. president. They are the largest minority group in the nation, and they are poised to make a major impact on American democracy. It won't be the first time. Seventy years ago, Mexican immigrants moved American civil rights forward, away from racial segregation toward integration and equality. It happened eight years before the Supreme Court began to dismantle segregation by handing down its decision in Brown vs. Board of Education in 1954.

March 4, 2016

Janie Boschma, The Atlantic

In a modern-day tale of two cities, in virtually every major U.S. metropolitan area students of color are much more likely than whites to attend public schools shaped by high concentrations of poverty, an analysis of federal data has found.


Kate Zernike, The New York Times

The fifth graders in Joy Cooney’s classroom compete against a kitchen timer during lessons to see how long they can sustain good behavior—raising hands, disagreeing respectfully and looking one another in the eye—without losing time to insults or side conversations. As reward for their minutes without misconduct, they win prizes like 20 seconds to kick their feet up on their desks or to play rock-paper-scissors. And starting this year, their school and schools in eight other California districts will test students on how well they have learned the kinds of skills like self-control and conscientiousness that the games aim to cultivate—ones that might be described as everything you should have learned in kindergarten but are still reading self-help books to master in middle age.


Mary Jo Madda, EdSurge

Do you remember how it felt when you first read what would eventually become your favorite book? For many students, that’s a feeling that’s hard to come by—books aren’t always cheap or easily accessible, especially when school budgets are stretched thin. However, the government is hoping to help schools save money and time by offering thousands of popular and award-winning titles—$250 million worth of books, in fact—to Title I, military base and special education teachers and librarians, and by extension, students.

February 26, 2016

Denisa R. Superville, Education Week

Two K-12 initiatives that are launching this week aim to capitalize on the mounting support for taking a more holistic approach to educating poor children, a shift away from the view that has heavily emphasized that schools alone can counteract the effects of poverty.


Cecilia Kang, The New York Times

At 7 p.m. on a recent Wednesday, Isabella and Tony Ruiz were standing in their usual homework spot, on a crumbling sidewalk across the street from the elementary school nearest to their home. “I got it. I’m going to download,” Isabella said to her brother Tony as they connected to the school’s wireless hot spot and watched her teacher’s math guide slowly appear on the cracked screen of the family smartphone.


Brigid Kelly, KCRW

School desegregation brings to mind famous photos of African-American children integrating classrooms after the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision. But over seven years earlier, five Latino families fought and won a case that helped integrate schools in California. On its 70th anniversary we look back at the mostly forgotten Mendez v. Westminster case.


Halley Potter and Kimberly Quick, The New York Times

By most measures, America’s public schools are now more racially and socioeconomically segregated than they have been for decades. In the Northeast, 51.4 percent of black students attend schools where 90 percent to 100 percent of their classmates are racial minorities, up from 42.7 percent in 1968. In the country’s 100 largest school districts, economic segregation rose roughly 30 percent from 1991 to 2010. In some ways, it’s as if Brown v. Board of Education never happened. Increasing residential segregation and a string of unfavorable court cases are partly to blame. But too many local school officials are loath to admit the role that their enrollment policies play in perpetuating de facto segregation.


February 19, 2016

Melanie Mason, Los Angeles Times

Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday came out against a $9-billion school bond measure that will go before voters in November, erecting a political hurdle for advocates of new spending on school construction. "I am against the developers' $9-billion bond," Brown said in a statement to The Times. "It's a blunderbuss effort that promotes sprawl and squanders money that would be far better spent in low-income communities."


Susan Frey, EdSource

California’s new school finance system and the state’s rules regarding Medi-Cal are making it easier for low-performing schools to transform themselves, according to a recent report. Some of those schools are becoming community schools, which emphasize student and community engagement and work with outside partners to provide health, social and other services to students and their families.


Kyle Spencer, The New York Times

How white is too white? At the Academy of Arts and Letters, a small K-8 school in Brooklyn founded in 2006 to educate a community of “diverse individuals,” that question is being put to the test. The school—along with six others in New York City—is part of a new Education Department initiative aimed at maintaining a racial and socioeconomic balance at schools in fast-gentrifying neighborhoods.



February 12, 2016

Rebecca Klein, The Huffington Post

American schools are hotbeds for racial discrimination, according to a preliminary report from a group of United Nations experts. The U.N.'s Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent traveled around the U.S. last month to learn more about the various structural barriers and challenges African-American face. The group, which plans to release its full report in September, has given the media its preliminary findings, including several recommendations about reducing inequality in the U.S. education system. The overall findings -- which touch on topics of police brutality, school curriculum and mass incarceration -- are bleak.


Alyson Klein, Education Week

Acting U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. has been talking a lot about ensuring that schools are diverse, as a means to ensure equity and boost student achievement. And now it seems he's hoping to put some new money where his rhetoric is. The Obama administration's final budget, slated to be released Tuesday, is expected to ask for $120 million for a new competitive-grant program—called "Stronger Together"—that would help districts—or groups of districts—tackle the sticky issue of making schools more socio-economically integrated, sources say. Grantees could either use the money for planning grants, or they could move right into implementing ideas.


Amy Stuart Wells, Lauren Fox, and Diana Cordova-Cobo, Teachers College; The Century Foundation

TCF investigates the evidence on racially and socioeconomically integrated schools and finds that diverse classrooms produce smarter, more tolerant students.


February 5, 2016

Judy Lin, KPCC

Up and down California, public schools are enjoying a rapid rise in state funding. With the state’s economic gains and a temporary tax increase approved by voters in 2012, Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed $71.6 billion education budget for the next fiscal year is up more than 50 percent since 2011. Spending per student has increased more than $3,800, to a projected $14,550 this year.


Ben Casselman and Andrew Flowers, FiveThirtyEight

On Friday, a team of researchers led by Stanford economist Raj Chetty released a paper on how growing up in poverty affects boys and girls differently. Their core finding: Boys who grow up in poor families fare substantially worse in adulthood, in terms of employment and earnings, than girls who grow up in the same circumstances.


Laura McKenna, The Atlantic

Is all this work from parent-school groups—work that is done with the best of intentions—unfairly increasing advantages in already privileged communities? 


Adolfo Guzman-Lopez, KPCC

A change in the way California determines which students are eligible for meal programs means far more kids this year will receive free lunch at school. There was a 32 percent increase in December to the number of California students automatically enrolled in the federally funded free and reduced meal program, California Department of Education officials announced.


January 29, 2016

Jane Meredith Adams, EdSource

Lengthy, complicated and expensive programs are used in schools every day to improve student performance, but last week the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services kept it simple. If schools want to take one action to boost student attendance, health, behavior and learning, they should help uninsured students enroll in health insurance, the departments said.


Fermin Leal, EdSource

A coalition 37 of education advocacy and civil rights groups from across the country want more input into how states and the federal government implement the new Every Student Succeeds Act to ensure it better serves high-needs students, such as low-income children and English learners.


Richard Kahlenberg, The American Prospect

Acting Education Secretary John B. King has signaled that racial and socioeconomic integration will now take center stage in federal education policy.


January 22, 2016

Bruce Drake, Pew Research Center

Ever since it was first observed as a national holiday in 1986, Martin Luther King Jr. Day has been a time for reflection on the state of race relations in the U.S. and how much progress has been made – or not – in achieving racial equality. Pew Research Center has tracked this subject over time. Here are five of our key findings.


Alia Wong, The Atlantic

It’s a reality that’s rattled the education world for years: Black and Latino students are far less likely than their white and Asian peers to be assigned to gifted-and-talented programs. The odds of getting assigned to such programs are 66 percent lower for black students and 47 percent lower for Latino students than they are for their white counterparts.


Emma Brown, The Washington Post

John B. King Jr. plans to use his first speech as acting U.S. Education Secretary to call on the civil rights community to be vigilant as the nation ushers in a new federal law affecting its 100,000 public schools.


January 15, 2016

The Associated Press, Education Week

Soaring tax revenues have carried per-pupil education spending in California beyond where it stood before the recession, but even the record sum proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown is unlikely to reverse the state's standing as a comparative miser when it comes to investing in public schools, advocates and education officials said.


Charlayne Hunter-Gault, PBS NewsHour; Pedro Noguera, University of California, Los Angeles

Despite a historic Supreme Court ruling outlawing segregated schools, today huge numbers of students remain in separate and unequal schools, most in inner cities. Special correspondent Charlayne Hunter-Gault talks with Pedro Noguera of the University of California, Los Angeles, about the consequences of such inequality and what can be done.


January 8, 2016

Claire Cain Miller, The New York Times

The lives of children from rich and poor American families look more different than they have in decades.


Sonali Kohli, Los Angeles Times

Among the many state bills that passed in 2015, and take effect Friday, are a number that focus on some of the state’s most vulnerable students —those who are homeless, in foster care, potential victims of sexual assault and those kept out of advanced classes which hurts their ability to go to college.


NPR Staff

We often hear about school districts that struggle with high poverty, low test scores and budget problems. But one district has faced all of these and achieved remarkable results.


December 18, 2015

Eric Westervelt, NPR

Now that President Obama has signed the new Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, a big question for many educators is: Will the changes help the populations most in need of better schools: students of color, students with disabilities and low-income students? I spoke with Pedro Noguera, professor of education at the University of California, Los Angeles, and director of the Center for the Study of School Transformation, about how the new legislation will affect underserved students.


Amy Stuart Wells, National Education Policy Center

Children’s zip codes are often closely linked to their educational opportunities due to the tight relationship between racially segregated and unequal housing and schools. Yet according to a growing number of scholars, the United States may now have the ideal chance to address this housing-school nexus, as more blacks, Latinos and Asians move to the suburbs and more whites gentrify the cities their parents and grandparents fled decades ago. In Diverse Housing, Diverse Schooling: How Policy Can Stabilize Racial Demographic Change in Cities and Suburbs, Professor Amy Stuart Wells of Columbia University Teachers College provides a review of social science evidence, highlighting the problem of reoccurring racial segregation and inequality absent strong, proactive integration policies.


Libby Nelson, Vox

The water in Flint, Michigan, poisoned the town's children with lead for months. Now the mayor of Flint has declared a state of emergency, saying that the elevated lead levels will have long-lasting effects in its children.


December 11, 2015

Rachel M. Cohen, The American Prospect

Six decades after the Supreme Court ruled that segregated schools are “inherently unequal,” integration may finally be coming to New York City. With 1.1 million students, New York City is home to one of the nation’s largest public school systems; it’s also one of its most economically and racially segregated.


Rebecca Klein, Huffington Post

With all the roadblocks thrown up by the Supreme Court, should school systems still try to pursue diversity? One district in North Carolina said yes and, as a new study shows, reaped solid rewards for the kids.


Emma Brown, The Washington Post

Mya Alford dreams of studying chemical engineering in college, but the high school junior is at a disadvantage: Last year, her chemistry teacher at Pittsburgh’s Westinghouse Academy quit just weeks after school started, and the class was taught by a substitute who, as Alford put it, “didn’t know chemistry.”


December 4, 2015

The Commonwealth Club, Panel: Katrina vanden Heuvel, Editor and Publisher, The Nation; Van Jones, Former White House Special Advisor for Green Jobs, CNN Commentator; Robert Reich, Professor, Author, Former Secretary of Labor; Ai-jen Poo, Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance; Judge LaDoris Cordell (Ret.), Former Independent Police Auditor, City of San Jose—Moderator

The wealth controlled by the top tenth of the top 1 percent has more than doubled over the past 30 years in the United States, approaching unprecedented levels. What does this mean for the political process? The environment? Our civil society? Our civic culture? The future of our democracy? What can be done?


Casey Quinlan, ThinkProgress

Six decades after the Brown v. Board of Education decision that determined that segregating white and black children is unconstitutional, American schools are drifting back toward racial segregation.

John Fensterwald, EdSource

The state’s system of school construction and upkeep is inadequate and inequitable, with districts serving low-income students more often underfunding construction, then overspending on patching up facilities that needed major renovations, a new research study has found.


November 20, 2015

Ras Baraka, The Hechinger Report

In the 21st century, meeting every child where they are requires a comprehensive strategy that addresses their social and health needs, embraces the cultural diversity they bring to school, ensures they have the opportunities they deserve, and supports school leaders and staff, all while engaging our children in critical thinking and learning.


Meg Anderson, NPR

Ask yourself this question: Were you aware of inequality growing up? Your answer may depend in part on where you went to high school. Students at racially diverse schools, particularly black and Hispanic students, are more tuned in to injustice than students going to school mostly with kids that look like them.


Mario Koran, Voice of San Diego

In 1977, a Superior Court judge found 23 San Diego Unified schools to be so racially isolated they deprived black and Latino students’ equal rights to a quality education. He ordered the district to desegregate its schools. Nearly 40 years later, with one possible exception, Latino and black students are isolated at every school left on the original list.

November 13, 2015

Elise Gould, Economic Policy Institute

Despite the crucial nature of their work, child care workers’ job quality does not seem to be valued in today’s economy. They are among the country’s lowest-paid workers, and seldom receive job-based benefits such as health insurance and pensions.


Mia Birdsong, TED

As a global community, we all want to end poverty. Mia Birdsong suggests a great place to start: Let's honor the skills, drive and initiative that poor people bring to the struggle every day. She asks us to look again at people in poverty: They may be broke — but they're not broken.

November 6, 2015

Eduardo Porter, The New York Times

Here’s the good news: American schools may not be as bad as we have been led to believe. Ah, but here’s the bad news: The rest of American society is failing its disadvantaged citizens even more than we realize.

Linda Darling-Hammond and Patricia Gandara, The Hill

Despite near-universal consensus that No Child Left Behind is overdue for change, the path toward reauthorization remains uncertain. What is certain, however, is that the global demand for high level thinking skills accelerates daily, and the U.S. must make serious changes to keep up. To that end, the Learning Policy Institute and Jobs for the Future have invited policymakers, advocates, practitioners and business leaders to begin a dialogue on how we can create 21st century learning opportunities for all students, particularly those who have been underserved.



October 30, 2015

Rebecca Klein, The Huffington Post

Nearly a decade before the Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education made segregated schooling of black students unconstitutional, a group of five Mexican-American families fought for integrated schools in Mendez v. Westminster.


Claire Cain Miller, New York Times

Boys are falling behind. They graduate from high school and attend college at lower rates than girls and are more likely to get in trouble, which can hurt them when they enter the job market.


Sonali Kohli, Los Angeles Times

One in five black high school students in California drop out before they can graduate.


October 23, 2015

Craig Clough, LA School Report

While classmates were at the beach, the mall or the park, about 150 LA Unified high school students spent part of their Saturday downtown at the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, taking part in a Youth Town Hall.


Anya Kamenetz, NPR

Recently a neighborhood in Brooklyn made national headlines for a fight over public schools. Lots of affluent, mainly white families have been moving into new condos in the waterfront area called DUMBO, and the local elementary school is getting overcrowded.

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