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Some Questions About This American Life’s School Integration Story

This week's episode of This American Life on NPR focuses on the continuing issue of desegregation in schools—a problem that seems to be a major contributor to income inequality. Education expert, Alexander Russo, points out that despite the merits of discussing such an important topic, there remain several unanswered questions regarding "the problem we all live with." Russo points out Rick Kahlenberg's commentary featured in the show, in which he says, "School integration efforts aren’t entirely dead."

"Does the show, which first aired on Friday and has been available online since last night, describe school integration as too much of a silver bullet? Is the comparison between integration and other school improvement efforts fair and complete? Does the narrative that integration is almost a taboo subject in education policy discussions ring true?"

Read Russo's full article here from Washington Monthly.

Tags: school integration, npr, desegregation

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.


Lessons From School Improvement Grants That Worked

By Greg Anrig

TOPICS: Education, Promoting Effective Collaboration in Education

This Century Foundation report synthesizes that evidence about the SIG initiative and provides recommendations for enabling many more chronically struggling schools serving low-income populations to better educate their students.

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A Glimmer of Good News on the Common Core

The Common Core State Standards have encountered serious nationwide pushback. But this new development in the education system has many hidden merits that need to be highlighted, including the essential practice of teacher collaboration and leadership.


High Quality Schools for All

TCF fellow Halley Potter and senior fellow Rick Kahlenberg recently published an article that cites the many advantages of socioeconomic and racial integration in charter and traditional public school classrooms. They cite statistics that prove the supreme benefits of integrated classrooms and the stark difference in performance of low-income students who learn among diverse peers.

It's an advantage to be in a school with lower concentrations of poverty in part because peers learn from one another. A low-income student in a mixed-income school is more likely to be surrounded by classmates who are high-achieving and expect to go on to college than a similar student in a high-poverty school. Likewise, it's an advantage to be in a mixed-income school where parents are more likely to be active in school affairs and to volunteer in class than stressed-out parents in a high-poverty school.

Read Potter and Kahlenberg's full article here.

Tags: socioeconomic integration, racial integration, low-income schools, charter schools

Time For a Moratorium on Charter Schools

The public education system has never been without fault, but it seems that most recently more and more issues have arisen that concern teacher unions and standardized testing. Despite the faith put in charter schools to fix this seemingly flawed public education system, TCF fellow Amy B. Dean writes that charter schools are in need of reform before they can be confidently considered a viable and effective alternative.

Charter advocates claim that they are data-driven technicians who pay attention to evidence of what works. But research does not support their preferred education policies. A national moratorium on charter schools would stop the hemorrhaging of funds from traditional public schools. It would also allow time to address the corruption that has plagued the charter industry. This would create an opportunity for some reflection on what actually works best for educating our children.

Read the rest of Dean's article featured in Al Jazeera America.

Tags: standardized testing, public education, education funding, charter schools




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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