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All Education Commentary

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

Separate and Economically Unequal

Writing for U.S. News, Ulrich Boser discusses how socioeconomic integration initiatives in schools are gaining momentum. Boser interviews TCF senior fellow Rick Kahlenberg and discusses Kahlenberg and TCF fellow Halley Potter's book, A Smarter Charter

The policy push stems from the fact that segregation keeps too many students from succeeding, and low-income students who attend more affluent schools boost their chances of attending college by almost 70 percent. What's more, the learning of more affluent students generally tends to hold steady in more diverse schools, according to a recent book by the Century Foundation's Richard Kahlenberg and Halley Potter.

Read the full article here

Tags: socioeconomic integration, k-12 education, educational inequality, education

Let Rich and Poor Learn Together

New York City is poised to meet Mayor Bill de Blasio's goal of providing universal pre-K classes for the city's 4-year-olds. However, there is still work to be done. TCF fellow Halley Potter and The New School's Clara Hemphill write in the New York Times that the city's funding structure for pre-K fails to address barriers between rich and poor students. Potter and Hemphill detail the problem and propose policies which could create more economically diverse pre-K classrooms.

The city should offer more pre-K classes in public schools in economically mixed neighborhoods. Roughly 40 percent of pre-K seats are in ordinary public schools, charter schools and new free-standing “pre-K centers” operated by the Department of Education. These are open to all, regardless of income. A few, like the new K280 center in the Windsor Terrace section of Brooklyn, welcome children from different neighborhoods. Providing or subsidizing transportation would encourage parents to try a school outside their neighborhood and would probably lead to better integration.

The full op-ed is available here.

Tags: universal pre-k, educational inequality, education funding, education

Addressing New York City’s Excellence Gap in Elite Public High Schools

The lack of racial diversity in New York City's nine elite specialized high schools is deepening the achievement gap and contributing to income inequality.

Tags: stuyvesant high school, standardized testing, racial diversity, income inequality, achievement gap




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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