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Acting Education Secretary Champions Economic, Racial Integration

The new secretary of education Dr. John King is following in former secretary Arne Duncan's footsteps quite closely, save for one very important hot-button education issue: school integration. TCF senior fellow Richard Kahlenberg writes in his latest for The American Prospect on why Secretary King's renewed dedication to both racial and socioeconomic integration in schools will result in achievement by students of every demographic.  

“Research shows that one of the best things we can do for all children—black or white, rich or poor—is give them a chance to attend strong, socioeconomically diverse schools,” declared the incoming education secretary in a speech to Al Sharpton’s National Action Breakfast Network. King called for “innovative, voluntary locally-driven efforts to promote socioeconomic diversity in schools.”

Read Kahlenberg's article in The American Prospect.

Tags: socioeconomic integration, school diversity, racial inequality

Gifted: Are We Measuring Social Advantage or Innate Aptitude?

TCF education fellow Halley Potter researches the benefits of school integration, even in the context of gifted and talented programs. She describes these programs as especially non-diverse because of the lower level of discoverability for low-income students to be enrolled. If only we focused more on "SEM" (schoolwide enrichment models) that better cultivate a student's individual talents, instead of focusing on exclusivity.

There are several ways to adjust gifted screening and admissions processes to diversify programs and better judge students’ talents in light of the obstacles they have faced. School districts can base admission to gifted and talented programs on a wider variety of factors such as teacher observations and work portfolios. They can screen all kids rather than only those who opt in. And they give a leg up in the process to students from low-income backgrounds.

Check out Halley's full article featured in the "BRIGHT" Medium publication.

Tags: integration, gifted students, gifted and talented programs, diversity in education

The Unfair Effects of IMPACT on Teachers with the Toughest Jobs

Despite the good intentions of the IMPACT teacher evaluation system, the ratings system that it uses to distinguish teachers is not a realistic assessment of their performance or skill.

Tags: teacher evaluation

How One School Bucks City’s Racially Segregated Gifted and Talented System

TCF education fellow Halley Potter was recently cited in a DNAInfo article that discusses the power of various charter school models, highlighting specifically the advantage of creating diverse student environments. 

Mixing kids of different groups is not just an academic exercise but has real-world implications, Potter said. "Students attending integrated schools can help reduce racial prejudice."

Read the full article from DNAInfo.

Tags: low-income students, integration, charter schools

Resisting School Integration: A Brooklyn Case Study in Scared Parents and Bad Data

The Seventy Four printed an article that showcased students and parents from New York public schools P.S. 307 and P.S. 8 —which have radically different demographics. A rezoning plan has parents questioning the effects that merging the two schools will have on students. TCF fellow Halley Potter comments saying that the integration incited by the merging of the schools will be a plus for the students of both schools.

Potter says that this assumption is about deep-seated personal prejudices, yes, but it’s also about structural inequity. It is true that in many places schools with lots of poor students get the least qualified teachers, experience significant teacher turnover, and don’t receive an equitable share of resources.

Read the full article featuring Potter.

Tags: testing, socioeconomic integration, school diversity, parenting, low-income students

Charters without Borders: Using Inter-district Charter Schools as a Tool for Regional School Integration

By Halley Potter

TOPICS: Education, Improving Access to Quality Public Schools, Promoting Effective Collaboration in Education , Workers & Economic Inequality, Economic Policy

A new Century Foundation report says charter schools should take advantage of their flexibility, funding, and political viability to address inter-district segregation.

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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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