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Summary: Lessons From School Improvement Grants That Worked

TCF senior fellow Greg Anrig takes a critical look at School Improvement Grants (SIGs) and how, if implemented strategically, they can succeed in turning around struggling schools.


Teacher unions and civil rights groups battle over future of No Child Left Behind

The Senate passed an education bill this month to replace No Child Left Behind. An amendment to continue tracking the test scores of low-performing schools pitted civil rights groups, who were in favor of continued tracking, against teachers' unions, and was ultimately defeated. The Deseret News spoke with TCF fellow Halley Potter about the amendment's failure and why those groups responded in the way they did:

Potter says she understands why teachers are concerned. "We haven't had a good track record of healthy alternatives to punishment," she said, "and teachers have been too often blamed for school and societal failures that lie wholly outside their control.

"Regardless of what you think of the NEA's advocacy on these issues," Potter said, "if you care about the future of education you have to ask why they are reacting this way."

The full article is available here.

Tags: teachers unions, standardized testing, no child left behind, education

The Constraints of Poverty on Open Choice: A Baltimore Case Study

A case study of Baltimore students who are given the opportunity to choose which high school to attend shows evidence that school choice is a worthy program, but often misused.


The Sesame Street Effect

In The Atlantic, Alia Wong discusses the role that shows like Sesame Street may play in fighting educational inequality. The article cites TCF's recent report on segregation in pre-K classrooms:

Preschoolers in state-run programs—the majority of whom are racial minorities—tend to be clustered in pre-k classrooms serving high concentrations of impoverished children of color, according to the TCF report, which was published in partnership with the Poverty & Race Research Action Council. Only a sliver of the children sampled in the TCF report were enrolled in classrooms that were both racially diverse and medium- to high-income.

The full article is available here.

Tags: universal pre-k, socioeconomic integration, educational inequality, education

New Focus on Diversity in Head Start

The National Head Start Program provides low-income children with affordable access to pre-K, however a recent DHHS proposal would make this program even better by increasing the potential for classroom diversity.


De Blasio signs law requiring new school diversity reports

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently signed a bill requiring the city to release more detailed data about diversity in its schools to the public. An article in Chalkbeat cites TCF fellow Halley Potter's recommendation of such a measure in Lessons from New York City’s Universal Pre-K Expansion.

The diversity of the city’s pre-K programs, which have seen a rapid expansion under the de Blasio administration, has earned fresh scrutiny in recent weeks. In a May report, researcher Halley Potter said the city’s pre-K admissions policies do not encourage significant integration and recommended that the education department collect data to track and encourage diversity.

The full article can be read here.

Tags: universal pre-k, new york public schools, education, early education, diversity in education, bill de blasio




Most K-12 education reforms are about trying to make "separate but equal" schools for rich and poor work well. The results of these efforts have been discouraging. The Century Foundation looks at ways to integrate public schools by economic status through public school choice. At the higher education level, we examine ways to open the doors of selective and non-selective institutions to students of modest means.

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