ProPublica: documenting the Opportunity Gap

Additional Resources:

Huffington Post
Lights, Camera, Action: Time to Change the Script and Bring in New Directors in Public Education Reform
John H. Jackson, President & CEO
Schott Foundation for Public Education


Department of Education
Press release: "Today, the U.S. Department of Education released data that cast much-needed light on disparities in educational resources and opportunities for students across the country."
Read more>

Education Week
"New federal statistics shared Thursday about thousands of schools and districts show that students across the country don’t have equal access to a rigorous education, experienced teachers, early education, and school counselors."
Read more>

ProPublica's Opportunity Gap database includes all public schools in districts with more than 3,000 students from the 2009-2010 school year -- about three-quarters of all such students in the country. You can use it to find out how well your state provides poor and wealthier schools equal access to advanced classes that researchers say will help them later in life.

ProPublica's tool is based on data recently released by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil RIghts. The data paints a stark reality: gaps in educational opportunity and access to courses and other critical resources are shortchanging millions of children across the country of their civil right to an opportunity to learn. "Despite the best efforts of America's educators to bring greater equity to our schools, too many children – especially low-income and minority children – are still denied the educational opportunities they need to succeed," said Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Russlynn Ali.

Check out ProPublica's new Opportunity Gap web tool>

Visit DOE's Office of Civil Rights data site >

The new data added to the Civil Rights Data Collection, is a valuable resource for administrators, policymakers, researchers and parents, emphasizing the need to ensure equal educational opportunity for the Nation’s students. The new data items cover critical topics such as students' participation in algebra, college-preparatory offerings, and teacher experience. In 2009, the CRDC sample expanded from 6,000 to nearly 7,000 school districts. Not only does the survey now include all districts with enrollments of more than 3,000 students, but also includes state-operated schools for deaf or blind students and state-operated long-term secure juvenile justice facilities and juvenile justice boot camps.  An example of the data collected can be found in the graph below. The graph shows a comparison of the share of beginners teaching in various public school systems. Part 2 of the data will be released in Fall 2011.

Source: U.S. Department of Education

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