Wide disparities in the educational experience of children and teens in the United States have made for huge problems well before the coronavirus pandemic closed schools and moved students from in-person classrooms to virtual learning environments in so many schools across the nation. What can be done to bring greater equity to education in this country?
STUDENTS’ INDIVIDUAL NEEDS
Address Children’s Health and Pre-School Education
The nation’s high level of childhood poverty, coupled with the low level of social supports for low-income children’s health and welfare, creates daunting obstacles for learning.
Effective policies would:
1. Address Key Health Issues.
2. Correctly Identify the Needs of Language Minority Students.
3. Expand Access to High-Quality Early Childhood Education.
IN-SCHOOL OPPORTUNITIES AND RESOURCES – FUNDING
Provide Equitable and Adequate School Funding
The unequal allocation and inadequate levels of resources in schools and communities is at the heart of many gaps in student opportunity. Effective policies to address these
1. Reform State Funding Laws.
2. Provide Adequate Resources for Safe and Well-Maintained School Environments.
IN-SCHOOL OPPORTUNITIES AND RESOURCES – PROGRAM
Make a Broad and Rich Curriculum Available
The best, most challenging and engaging curriculum and instruction should never be rationed, and its availability should never be undermined. Policies in this area should:
1. Broaden School Curriculum.
2. Provide More and Better Learning Time during the School Year and Summer.
3. End Disparities Created by Tracking and Ability Grouping.
4. Reform Testing.
5. Reassess Student Discipline Policy.
COMMUNITIES AND NEIGHBORHOODS
Build Stable and Diverse Communities
Effective policymaking can advance stable and diverse communities by promoting affordable and more integrated housing, creating integrated magnet schools, enforcing
existing civil rights laws and prioritizing diversity in school choice policies.
Promote Engaging and Enriching Learning Outside of School
1. Provide More and Better Learning Time during the School Year and Summer.
2. Expand Access to Libraries and the Internet.
3. Use Technology Wisely.
This is our second “Ethics Lab” – a way for participants to actively engage in examining questions and concerns that are important to them and consider how they can personally respond to those questions and concerns. The Ethics Lab is a long-range program initiative that we hope will frame our discussions about important topics and will be integrated into our traditional programming.
We will use Breakout Rooms to enable people to choose the area they are most interested in working on, and everyone will have a virtual White Board available for writing down the content of their work. The format will use a research-style model where participants:
- Identify a concern
- Describe the impact(s) of the concern that need to be addressed
- Consult resources to help understand the concern, the impact, and potential helpful responses
- Form a conclusion
- Identify next steps and describe what participants are prepared to do
We will make every effort to have time at the end to share the work from each Breakout Room so we can all benefit from each group’s work.