Black students in Arkansas schools are more likely to be suspended and receive corporal punishment than their White counterparts, according to a new report from Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families (AACF), a member of the AR OTL Campaign.
Accountability should go both ways. Students and teachers shouldn't be held accountable to high-stakes test scores and grades unless they have the resources they need meet those standards. Which means that state governments should be held to account for providing high-quality resources and opportunities for all children, regardless of where they live.
In Lost Opportunity: A 50 State Report on the Opportunity to Learn in America, the Schott Foundation for Public Education establishes a metric for determining the opportunity to learn for students. Providing a state-by-state comparison of both academic proficiency (percentage of students scoring at or above proficient on the eighth grade NAEP reading exam) and equity (as measured by the Schott Foundation’s Opportunity to Learn Index, or OTLI), Lost Opportunity identifies the four baseline minimum resources that are necessary for a child – regardless of race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status – to have a fair and substantive Opportunity to Learn.
In the United States, every student should have the equal right to a high-quality education. But as our most recent data demonstrates, for far too many students, quality and equity are aspirations, not realities. Few states are providing public school educations that result in academic proficiency for students. And even fewer states are providing access to a high-quality education to all students, particularly those from historically disadvantaged groups.
Cassie Schwerner speaking at the 3rd annual
Arkansas OTL Campaign Summit.
On October 3rd and 4th I had the great honor to attend the 3rd Arkansas OTL Summit. Arkansas' organizers and advocates really know how to put on a show!
The Common Core State Standards have been adopted by 44 states and the District of Columbia. To say they're contentious is to put it mildly. For various reasons, a nationwide backlash has taken hold and some states are reconsidering the standards.
Sen. Joyce Elliott (Arkansas Times)
The Arkansas OTL Campaign held a press conference in December as part of the National Day of Action to Reclaim the Promise of Public Education. Advocates and organizers spoke at the state capitol about the improvement Arkansas schools have made over the past decade and what work there is left to do to ensure every student has access to a quality education.
Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families (AACF) is partnering with the Community Family Enrichment Center, Inc. and the Arkadelphia Public School District to present an AACF Policy Café in Arkadelphia.
Among the many ways that policymakers can help close the opportunity gap and ensure every student has access to equitable resources is to fix the disparities in school facilities.
The quality of school facilities can have a major impact on the education that our children receive and whether they succeed in school. Research, court decisions, and states have long recognized that disparities in access to basic school facilities can lead to differences in educational outcomes, especially for low-income students. This brief makes the case that state funding for school facilities in Arkansas should be increased to meet the needs of all districts. The official standards, that facilities need only be warm, safe, and dry, is not good enough.