While student enrollment in Massachusetts public schools is growing more diverse, the state's public schools are becoming increasingly segregated along race and class lines. The inequality of educational opportunities and outcomes is compounded when, as is usually the case, racially segregated schools are also schools of concentrated poverty. This report explores two decades of school segregation trends in the state and provides recommendations for policymakers and advocates.
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.
Massachusetts routinely leads the nation in test scores and high school graduation rates. But the state isn't immune to the same opportunity gaps (and resulting achievement gaps) that hinder students across the country, particularly students of color and students from low-income communities.
This guest post was written by Tom Mela, Senior Project Director at Massachusetts Advcoates for Children (MAC).
Travis Bristol, author
Personal Opportunity Plans: Conditions and Considerations for Effective Development and Implementation of Personal Opportunity Plans by the Commonwealth, Districts, and Schools
This report contributes to the movement to shift from standards-based to supports-based reform that provides necessary resources so that every student has the opportunity to learn, succeed in school, and craft a productive future with the support of counselors, teachers, and personal advocates.
Whether you can get to school shouldn't depend on whether you can afford a subway pass. Students in Boston staged a protest and day-long sit-in this week arguing just that point.
Boston students are playing an active role in helping the city select its new superintendent. Though not officially a part of the search committee, students from the Boston Student Advisory Council, Youth and Board, and Boston-area Youth Organizing Project have crafted a set of criteria and priorities they think are important when selecting a superintendent.
Here's what they have to say!
OTL allies in Massachusetts played a huge role in passing a 2012 law known as Chapter 222 that required schools to provide continuing educational resources to suspended students. Now, these same allies are playing a role in drafting state guidelines to help schools implement the new law. Check out some of the recent media coverage of their work!