Inseparable Imperatives: Equity in Education and the Future of the American Economy Report
November 26, 2012
As students of color and diverse ethnicities rapidly become the leading population of public school systems in numerous states, closing educational achievement gaps and providing a quality education to all students can secure the United State’s future economic prosperity. Noting that two-thirds of the U.S. economy is driven by consumer spending, this report argues that raising individuals’ education levels will boost their purchasing power and increase the national economy.
Common Standards: The Time Is Now Issue Brief (PDF)
December 17, 2009
After years of debate, the nation is now taking a bold step toward ensuring that all students graduate ready for college and careers. Under the leadership of the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, a panel has drafted a set of Common Core State Standards for college and career readiness. These standards will raise expectations for all students and will be the same no matter where students happen to live. That would represent a sea change in American education, one that is sorely needed. The wide variations that currently exist are unacceptable and are especially harmful to low-income students and students of color. All states and schools should expect every student to graduate from high school ready for college and careers. This brief outlines the need for common standards that are rigorous, clear, and focused and suggests ways that common standards will help lay the foundation for a stronger education system that will prepare all students for college and careers.
The chapters below are from Meaningful Measurement: The Role of Assessments in Improving High School Education in the Twenty-First Century Report
June 23, 2009
Jamal Abedi of the University of California at Davis describes the challenges inherent in assessing the English proficiency and content knowledge of the diverse high school English language learner (ELL) population and offers recommendations to federal policymakers for creating reliable, valid, and accessible assessments for ELL students.
Rachel Quenemoen of the National Center on Educational Outcomes describes issues concerning the assessment of high school students with disabilities in a standards-based accountability system, ways to evaluate assessments that are inclusive of all students in the accountability system, and recommendations for policymakers.
Latino Students and U.S. High Schools (Updated) Fact Sheets (PDF)
January 29, 2009
The U.S. Census Bureau projects that by the year 2050, about 50 percent of the U.S. population will be African American, Hispanic, or Asian. These relatively youthful minority populations—Hispanics in particular—will drive future demographic growth and diversification well into the 21st century. Nearly 5 million Latino students were enrolled in America’s public schools in 1993–94. By the 2007–08 school year, that number will grow to about 9 million, according to the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. Over the past two decades, the percentage of Latino students in U.S. elementary and secondary schools has grown significantly, while the percentage of white students declined and that of African-American students held steady.
American Indian and Alaska Native Students and U.S. High Schools (Updated) Fact Sheets (PDF)
November 24, 2008
There are an estimated 4.4 million American Indian and Alaska Native people living in the continental United States, representing 1.5 percent of the total population. They are citizens of the United States, and many are also citizens of the respective tribal nations to which they belong. Unfortunately, many American Indian and Alaska Native students do not receive the support they deserve from their respective learning communities. The nation must commit to ensuring the well-being of these students and the quality of the education they receive, particularly given the clear evidence of striking disparities in their educational achievement and attainment levels.
Facts For Education Advocates: Demographics and the Racial Divide (copublished with the College Board) Fact Sheets (PDF)
October 27, 2008
Recognizing that no tool is more important than information to help educators and other advocates improve the country’s educational system, the College Board and the Alliance for Excellent Education have formed a partnership to develop a series of fact sheets highlighting the state of American schools and their students.
The third in a multi-issue series provides a “Facts for Education Advocates” feature focusing on the demographics and racial divide in today’s schools.
African-American Students and U.S. High Schools (Updated) Fact Sheets (PDF)
September 24, 2008
By 2050, the U.S. Census Bureau projects that about 50 percent of the U.S. population will be African- American, Hispanic, or Asian. Given these steep demographic shifts, the performance of students of color and the characteristics of the schools they attend are important factors that must concern all Americans. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, African-American students made up 16 percent of the public school population in 2004. These students, disproportionately concentrated in high-poverty, low-performing schools, are vulnerable to poor educational outcomes that undermine their chances for success in life.
International Comparisons of Academic Achievement Fact Sheets (PDF)
March 31, 2008
Over the past thirty years, the modern workplace has radically changed, and the demands on those making the transition from the classroom to the workforce continue to rise. Students from Birmingham and Boston no longer compete against each other for jobs; instead, their rivals are well-educated students from Sydney and Singapore. But as globalization has progressed, American educational progress has stagnated. Today, the United States’ high school graduation rate ranks near the bottom among developed nations belonging to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). And on virtually every international assessment of academic proficiency, American secondary school students’ performance varies from mediocre to poor.
Asian Pacific Islander American Students and U.S. High Schools Fact Sheets (PDF)
September 20, 2007
Because Asian American students as a group score higher than any other race on proficiency tests, many observers assume that there is no need to be concerned about their collective academic progress. Asian American students are often stereotyped as the “model minority,” and it is assumed that most of them do extremely well academically, especially in math and science. Because of the lack of disaggregated data, the Asian American statistics primarily reflect East Asians’ overall academic successes and obscure the scholastic struggles of groups such as Southeast Asians and Pacific Islanders. It is clear that many Asian Pacific Islander American students are not being adequately served by the nation’s public schools. Changes in the way they are educated must be made if America is to meet the goal of preparing all K–12 students for college, work, and life.
While 70 percent of all U.S. high schoolers graduate on time with a regular diploma, only about half of African American, Hispanic, and American Indian and Alaska Native students do so. In addition—and contrary to the model minority myth—many Asian American students also face barriers in education, especially those of Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander backgrounds. This report discusses the high school crisis as it relates to communities of color and outlines the six main policy priorities of the Campaign for High School Equity (CHSE)—a coalition of nine national civil rights organizations and the Alliance founded with the mission of ensuring that all students, regardless of race or socioeconomic status, graduate from high school prepared for college, work, and success in life. The Alliance is the convener of the CHSE.
Urgent but Overlooked: The Literacy Crisis Among Adolescent English Language Learners Issue Briefs (PDF)
February 1, 2007
America’s secondary schools enroll roughly two million English language learners (ELLs), students whose proficiency in spoken and/or written English is not yet strong enough to permit them to succeed in an English-language classroom setting without extra support. These students comprise the fastest-growing segment of the middle and high school population, with enrollments soaring in almost every part of the country. However, while ELLs may be growing in numbers, in other respects they are being left behind—as a group, they are among the country’s lowest-performing students, scoring far below the national average on the reading portion of the National Assessment of Educational Progress. This Issue Brief reviews the existing research on literacy instruction for adolescent ELLs and describes a number of challenges and priorities for policymakers to consider.
Over the past several years, education leaders and policymakers have come to understand that the nation needs to dramatically improve the literacy levels of its adolescents. But the policy discussion has focused, in large part, on the literacy needs of native English speaking students – to date, much less attention has gone to the specific challenges involved in teaching reading and writing to adolescents for whom English is not a first language. Commissioned by Carnegie Corporation of New York, written by Deborah Short and Shannon Fitzsimmons of the Center for Applied Linguistics, and published by the Alliance for Excellent Education, this report makes a powerful case for particular teaching practices and educational policies designed to help English language learners master the reading and writing skills they need to succeed in high school, college, and the workforce.