WASHINGTON (October 1, 2013)—The Education Trust, Children's Defense Fund, Democrats for Education Reform, National Center for Learning Disabilities, Teach Plus, and TNTP issued the following statement regarding the federal government shutdown.
“A government shutdown is not only harmful to millions of hard-working Americans, but it is also damaging to our most vulnerable citizens – our children.
If the government shuts down on Tuesday (because of lawmakers’ failure to come to an agreement), 1,389 school districts that receive federal Impact Aid will not get the funding they’re expecting. And it’s not the first time they’ve seen their budgets pared down. Sequestration, or the across-the-board federal funding cuts enacted earlier this year, has already forced some schools to cut services, support personnel, and professional development opportunities for teachers.
Baltimore is host to the upcoming Education Trust National Conference, and attendees will have myriad opportunities to learn about the innovative work happening in that city to raise student achievement and close gaps. One effort is the partnership between Baltimore City Public Schools (BCPS) and the Baltimore Teachers Union (BTU) to engage principals and teachers in improving the quality of instruction for all students. In a luncheon plenary session made possible by The Wallace Foundation, BCPS interim CEO Tisha Edwards and BTU President Marietta English will join Ed Trust President Kati Haycock in a conversation about their collaborative approach to re-imagining the structures for measuring, supporting, and rewarding educator performance.
Register today to hear from these and other education leaders from across the country who are working to ensure all students have strong, well-supported teachers and principals.
Some members of Congress are upset about the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) decision to file suit against Louisiana over its new school voucher program. But is this fight — over how a child chooses a school — really the right battle? Rather than fighting about whether students have access to vouchers to choose one school or the other, policymakers should be worrying about whether the schools available to children provide high-quality education. If we could identify schools providing a rigorous academic program just by looking at their governance structure, that would be handy. But, it’s not that simple. No one feature determines a school’s quality — and certainly not its status as private, traditional public, or charter. Instead, success springs from a combination of factors.
A new analysis of 2013 SAT scores shows that only a fraction of African American and Hispanic graduates are ready for college, and while the College Board aims to reduce these inequities, educators also play a big role in ensuring that all students, including students of color, are prepared for life after high school.
According to the College Board report, only 16 percent of African American students and 24 percent of Hispanic students scored a 1550 or higher, a score that corresponds to a high likelihood of success in college. Among all SAT-takers in 2013, 43 percent reached that score or higher.
Many states are currently in the midst of implementing college- and career-ready standards and new educator evaluation systems. While these dual policy moves are very much needed, a new paper from Ed Trust shows the need for additional focus on educator preparatory programs. Sarah Almy, recent past director of teacher quality, answered some questions about the importance of improving leader and educator programs and the role the federal government can play.
If you lead high-achieving, low-income students to elite colleges, will they go?
Delaware officials are banking on it. They recently announced a partnership with the College Board that will give application fee waivers to low-income students, in addition to packets of information on elite colleges, ranging from financial-aid policies to graduation rates. Students who receive free or reduced-price lunch already qualify for college application fee waivers, but many don’t know that or how to access those waivers. Officials hope delivering the information to students will prompt them to apply to the most selective schools for which they qualify.
Every day, advocates are toiling diligently to improve outcomes for low-income students and students of color. From statehouses to school board meetings to classrooms, they’re pushing for policies and practices to advance equity. To support this hard but essential work, the Education Trust brings together some of the country’s top equity advocates at our National Conference and asks them to share concrete strategies and lessons learned from the work they do.
The Census Bureau confirmed in a report released last week that in the United States children are more likely to live in poverty than those in any other age group. According to the new report, more than 1 in 5 children under the age of 18 lived in poverty in 2012. Poverty is especially rife in communities of color. Census data shows that 37.9 percent of black children and 33.8 percent of Hispanic children lived in poverty in 2012, while 12.3 percent of white, non-Hispanic children suffered the same conditions. Poverty rates are troublingly high for all groups of children.
It is a widely — if not universally — acknowledged truth that most new teachers walk into their first jobs not fully prepared for the classroom. They may have prepared a few lesson plans and completed their student teaching, but for the most part new teachers aren’t competent in how to establish classroom routines that minimize time-wasting, much less how to build a really effective lesson that engages kids and ensures deep learning. New teachers, like other novices in any profession, don’t know what they don’t know, which is the first step toward expertise.
Needless to say, this poses a foundational problem for a system whose success depends heavily on the expertise of individual practitioners.