All our work is grounded in the principles of equity and excellence for all children in our public schools.
Public education today remains highly inequitable; some children, especially children of color, have far fewer opportunities and resources than others. We define equity as fairness achieved when systemic disparities in opportunities and outcomes are recognized, addressed, and eliminated. A focus on equity can mean distributing resources unequally, since those with the fewest resources often have the greatest need. Disparities in educational access, opportunity, and achievement between children of color and their peers cannot be addressed by “colorblind” strategies. Systems must shift to an asset-based view of these students and infuse cultural responsiveness into all aspects of the system.
Family, Community, and Youth Engagement
Educational reforms work better when the young people and families most affected have an active voice. Nationwide, youth and parent organizing groups in communities that have been poorly served by our education system are building the power to demand and win real improvements. Furthermore, districts are building the capacity of parents and teachers to more effectively partner with one another and are finding that strong family engagement and leadership can generate a wealth of positive outcomes for students, families, teachers, schools, and communities.
Increasingly, a high school diploma is not enough to prepare students for success in life; most careers of the future will require some form of college or other postsecondary education. How do we know when a student is college ready, and how do we use these indicators to design effective supports and interventions? What kind of partnerships are needed to make this happen?
School Discipline Disparities
The last decade has seen increasing public scrutiny of discipline policies and practices that result in disproportionate numbers of low-income students, particularly students of color, leaving school and, in some cases, entering the criminal justice system. Districts and communities across the country are finding ways to move away from punitive, exclusionary approaches that contribute significantly to persistent achievement gaps.