Fair and Just School Resources
In the United States public schools are funded through a mix of local, state and federal funding. For the most part, schools serving students of color and students from low-income communities have less funding per student than schools in wealthier neighborhoods. These resource disparities perpetuate opportunity gaps in schools and in our broader society. No child’s educational opportunities should be limited because of their zip code. The Schott Foundation is dedicated to ensuring that every student has access to fair and just school resources.
The Latest on Fair & Just School Resources
Top-down pressure from federal education policies such as Race to the Top and No Child Left Behind, bolstered by organized advocacy efforts, is making a popular set of market-oriented education “reforms” look more like the new status quo than real reform. Reformers assert that test-based teacher evaluation, increased access to charter schools, and the closure of “failing” and under-enrolled schools will boost at-risk students’ achievement and narrow longstanding race- and income-based achievement gaps. This new report from the Broader, Bolder Approach to Education examines these assertions by comparing the impacts of these reforms in three large urban school districts – Washington, D.C., New York City, and Chicago – with student and school outcomes over the same period in other large, high-poverty urban districts. The report finds that the reforms deliver few benefits, often harm the students they purport to help, and divert attention from a set of other, less visible policies with more promise to weaken the link between poverty and low educational attainment.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants to close 54 schools — closings that disproportionately affect low-income and Black students. Parents, teachers, and students are fighting back.
Despite the research showing that early learning and after-school programs help close the achievement gap by ensuring children are prepared to start school and continue to achieve once they're there, this report from NY OTL ally Campaign for Children shows how funding instability for these programs could lead to their collapse. Thousands of students from low-income families stand to lose these vital opportunities that represent a key resource in a support-based education reform model.
This fantasic video from OTL ally Alliance for Quality Education asks the very simple question: Will you fund our schools?
Racial Equity Impact Assessments (REIAs) are a systematic examination of how different racial and ethnic groups will likely be affected by a proposed action or decision. REIAs are a vital tool for preventing institutional racism and for identifying new options to remedy long-standing inequities. Communities across the country from Seattle to St. Paul to Connecticut have begun to use REIAs in their policymaking. Learn how you can implement them in your own community with this helpful toolkit from the Applied Research Center, an OTL ally!
A new report from Ohio Communities United (OCU) is a perfect snapshot of what effective parent and community engagement looks like in public education reform. The report, "Speaking Out of School," came about following a series of "listening circles" held in Cleveland, which gathered input from parents and community members about the policies and practices they would like to see implemented in their schools and in which they want to be involved. Highlighted throughout the report are the powerful, personal stories of individual parents as well as features on programs across the country that have successfully engaged parents and community members to create stronger public schools.
This must-watch video is a touching short film that elevates the voices of those at the center of America's education crisis – namely, the parents, teachers and students who must bear the brunt of today's standards-based reform agenda (which includes standardize testing, school closures, merit pay, competitive grants, inequitable funding, etc.) without the supports they need meet those standards or provide every student with a fair and substantive opportunity to learn.
Check out this amazing video chronicling Journey for Justice, a protest event held in Washington, D.C. in September! Advocates from across the country (including several OTL allies) traveled to the nation's capital to rally and march against school closures, which disproportionately affect low-income communities and communities of color. Before being given the axe, these schools are often set up to fail: they're chronically underfunded and unable to provide the types of resources and opportunities students need to succeed. As the advocates in the video say, "Justice is equitable funding for all our schools."