Mass school closings have become a hallmark of today's dominant education policy agenda. But rather than helping students, these closures disrupt whole communities. And as U.S. Department of Education data suggests, the most recent rounds of mass closings in Chicago, New York City and Philadelphia disproportionately hurt Black and low-income students.
What can you do to end these discriminatory and unacceptable school closures?
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.
Parents, students and teachers across the country are fighting for equitable school resources, community solutions and an end to mass school closures. If you've been following our series of infographics on school closures, you know that closures disproportionately affect students of color and students from low-income families.
On February 1, youth leaders with the Philadelphia Student Union (PSU) and Youth United for Change led a citywide assembly to talk about education in Philadelphia and what students can do to protect and fight for their public schools.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett was set to visit Central High School in Philadelphia, but made a last minute schedule change, and the students, teachers and parents who planned to protest his visit are calling it a victory.
Here's a case in point why fair school funding is so crucial to improving our nation's education system:
With public schools under attack across the nation, it is inspiring to see just how many organizers (many of them students!) are attending rallies, school board meetings and press conferences to defend of their schools and demand the resources and opportunities every student deserves.
As Pennsylvania legislators returned to session on September 23rd, they were greeted at the Capitol by advocates representing 40 districts across the state holding a press conference. The event, organized by Education Voters of Pennsylvania (an OTL ally) and several other groups, brought together parents, teachers, and several legislators to demanding that the state support the creation of an equitable school funding formula.