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
20 years after Massachusetts (often lauded as a leader in education policy) passed the Education Reform Act of 1993, Citizens for Public Schools, an OTL ally, took a long hard look at the results of that law to find the state still has a ways to go toward ensure equity and opportunity for all Massachusetts students. [Executive summary available below. Download the full report here.]
In 2006, the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) won a major fair funding lawsuit against the State of New York, and policymakers promised to institute a more equitable school funding system. Though the state has since walked back that promise due to the recession and years of cuts to the education budget, it's worth understanding just how CFE made it's successful case. Michael Rebell, one of the lawyers on the CFE case, explains how his team argued that for all students to meet state standards, the state must commit to providing them with equitable funding. Anything less was a violation of the state's constitutional obligation to provide students with "a sound, basic education."
In an age of mass school school closings, "A Proposal for Sustainable School Transformation" has been held up as a model of smart policy by organizers fighting for the resources and opportunities to support their local schools. It advocates for a strong focus on school culture, curriculum and staffing, and wrap-around supports for children.
The National Education Policy Center's new book "Closing the Opportunity Gap" offers a wide array of policy recommendations for closing the opportunity gap and ensuring all students have the resources they need to succeed. This policy guide distills the most important recommendations from the book at three different levels: at the level of students' individual needs, at the level of in-school opportunities and resources, and at the level of communities and neighborhoods.
Top-down pressure from federal education policies such as Race to the Top and No Child Left Behind, bolstered by organized advocacy efforts, is making a popular set of market-oriented education “reforms” look more like the new status quo than real reform. Reformers assert that test-based teacher evaluation, increased access to charter schools, and the closure of “failing” and under-enrolled schools will boost at-risk students’ achievement and narrow longstanding race- and income-based achievement gaps. This new report from the Broader, Bolder Approach to Education examines these assertions by comparing the impacts of these reforms in three large urban school districts – Washington, D.C., New York City, and Chicago – with student and school outcomes over the same period in other large, high-poverty urban districts. The report finds that the reforms deliver few benefits, often harm the students they purport to help, and divert attention from a set of other, less visible policies with more promise to weaken the link between poverty and low educational attainment.
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!