Blurring Boundaries: Transforming Place, Policies, and Partnerships for Postsecondary Education Attainment in Metropolitan Areas

Education and Literacy;Race and Ethnicity

Blurring Boundaries: Transforming Place, Policies, and Partnerships for Postsecondary Education Attainment in Metropolitan Areas

By 2020, more than six out of 10 U.S. jobs will require postsecondary training. Despite a slight increase in college attainment nationally in recent years, the fastest-growing minority groups are being left behind. Only 25 and 18 percent of Blacks and Hispanics, respectively, hold at least an associate's degree, compared with 39 percent of Whites. Without substantial increases in educational attainment, particularly for our nation's already underserved groups, the United States will have a difficult time developing a robust economy.

Home to 65 percent of Americans, and a majority of all African Americans and Hispanics (74 and 79 percent, respectively), the 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) can play a strong role in developing this nation's workforce. In fact, to reach a national attainment target that meets our workforce needs, more than half of college degrees could be generated from the these cities. The majority of degrees needed among African-American and Hispanic adults could also be produced in MSAs.

Clearly, investing in and organizing around the potential of metropolitan areas is critical, and the stakes have never been higher. Yet the current funding climate requires strategic public and private partnerships to invest in education innovation and human capital development in order to have the most robust impact on sustainable national growth. For this study, the Institute for Higher Education (IHEP) sought to follow up on its previous work examining MSA educational attainment rates by further exploring policies that either inhibit or facilitate degree production, and identifying metropolitan-level, cross-section collaborations that help local leaders contribute to national completion goals.

February 2014

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Southern)-District of Columbia-Washington;North America-United States (Southern)-Maryland-Baltimore;North America-United States (Southern)-Tennessee-Shelby County-Memphis;North America-United States (Western)-Nebraska-Douglas County-Omaha

Connecting Youth to Opportunity: Better Understanding the Needs of Disconnected Young People in Washington, DC

Children and Youth, Education and Literacy

Connecting Youth to Opportunity: Better Understanding the Needs of Disconnected Young People in Washington, DC

Educational attainment defines workforce success, and a robust workforce drives economic stability and growth. Therefore, everyone has a stake in developing systems that promote strong education outcomes and successful transitions to the labor market: businesses and employers that aim to simultaneously build up the next generation of consumers and strengthen the future workforce; elected officials who wish to sustain the city's current prosperity and growth; parents and concerned community members who want a vibrant, healthy community; and youth themselves, who by and large want to lead stable, productive lives.

Momentum has been building -- now is the time for the District of Columbia to develop such a system. Recent studies suggest thousands of youth between the ages of 16 -- 24 are disconnected, which is commonly understood to mean young people who are neither in school nor working. High dropout and unemployment rates and low post-secondary education attainment rates among District youth have led to a series of thoughtful and focused examinations of how the District of Columbia can reconnect youth to opportunity. Raise DC, the District's public/private partnership dedicated to establishing cradle to career alignment, is leading the charge with its focus on youth reconnection. This -- combined with the engagement of the foundation sector on the needs of disconnected youth and the recognition of other government and community working groups on this emerging and high-need sector of the youth population -- has opened the window of opportunity to combat youth disconnection through cohesive, evidence-driven, and cross-sector systems change.

October 2013

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Southern)-District of Columbia-Washington

Working Together to Manage Enrollment: Key Governance and Operations Decisions

Education and Literacy

Working Together to Manage Enrollment: Key Governance and Operations Decisions

Common enrollment systems designed to manage student enrollment across district and charter sectors introduce a host of governance challenges. City charter and district leaders realize the importance of cross-sector representation when deciding policies related to enrollment, such as the number of choices families should list or whether some students will have enrollment priority over others. The question of who will administer the enrollment process once these policy decisions are made can be highly controversial. Cities that don't attend to these management questions early on risk major political fights that can stall or derail progress on the effort.

There is little precedence, nor is there a ready-made legal framework, for coordinating enrollment across sectors; how these systems will be governed and operated must instead be resolved through the collaboration of agencies, many of which have histories of competition, mistrust, and hostility. In this issue brief, we draw from a series of interviews with local education leaders in Denver, New Orleans, and Washington, D.C., focusing on the governance issues that emerged as these three jurisdictions sought a cross-sector common enrollment system.

While some urban school systems have long had enrollment processes to manage choice for schools under their control, the expansion of charter schools presents a different and more complicated challenge for both parents and administrators. In many places, students no longer have a single "home district" in the traditional sense. Instead, they can now choose to enroll in the local school district or one of the city's charter schools. State charter laws give charter schools -- whether they are an independent local education agency or not -- authority over their enrollment processes; a charter school must conduct its process in a manner consistent with the law, typically a random lottery.

As charter schools grow in number, so does the number of separate enrollment systems operating across individual cities. In Denver, for example, a 2010 report showed that 60 separate enrollment systems operated in the city at the same time. Similar situations occurred in New Orleans and D.C. As individual selection processes grew to unmanageable levels in these cities, education and community leaders sought ways to rationalize and centralize student placement across an increasing number of school choices

March 2014

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Western)-Colorado-Denver County-Denver;North America-United States (Southern)-Louisiana-Orleans Parish-New Orleans;North America-United States (Southern)-District of Columbia-Washington

Death By A Thousand Cuts: Racism, School Closures, and Public School Sabotage

Children and Youth, Education and Literacy

Death By A Thousand Cuts: Racism, School Closures, and Public School Sabotage

The members of Journey for Justice, are comprised of thousands of youth, parents, and other concerned citizens from comĀ­munities of color across the United States. They wrote this report because they need the American people to know that the public education systems in our communities are dying. More accurately, they are being killed by an alliance of misguided, paternalistic "reformers," education profiteers, and those who seek to dismantle the institution of public education. Some are being killed quickly; others are still in the early stages. But it is, at this point, quite clear that there will soon be little to nothing left of our public school systems -- and many more like ours -- unless current trends are disrupted.

May 2014

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Midwestern)-Illinois-Cook County-Chicago, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Michigan-Wayne County-Detroit, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Minnesota-Ramsey County-St. Paul, North America-United States (Northeastern)-Massachusetts-Suffolk County-Boston, North America-United States (Northeastern)-New Jersey-Essex County-Newark, North America-United States (Northeastern)-New Jersey-Hudson County-Jersey City, North America-United States (Northeastern)-New Jersey-Passaic County-Paterson, North America-United States (Northeastern)-New York-New York County-New York City, North America-United States (Northeastern)-Pennsylvania-Allegheny County-Pittsburgh, North America-United States (Northeastern)-Pennsylvania-Philadelphia County-Philadelphia, North America-United States (Southern)-District of Columbia-Washington, North America-United States (Southern)-Louisiana-Orleans Parish-New Orleans, North America-United States-Puerto Rico-Caguas

Charter School Vulnerabilities to Waste. Fraud and Abuse

Education and Literacy

Charter School Vulnerabilities to Waste. Fraud and Abuse

This report echoes a warning from the U.S. Department of Education's Office of the Inspector General. The report draws upon news reports, criminal complaints and more to detail how, in just 15 of the 42 states that have charter schools, charter operators have used school funds illegally to buy personal luxuries for themselves, support their other businesses, and more. The report also includes recommendations for policymakers on how they can address the problem of rampant fraud, waste and abuse in the charter school industry. Both organizations recommend pausing charter expansion until these problems are addressed.

May 2014

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Southwestern)-Arizona, North America-United States (Southern)-Louisiana, North America-United States (Southern)-Florida, North America-United States (Southern)-District of Columbia-Washington, North America-United States (Northeastern)-Pennsylvania, North America-United States (Northeastern)-New York, North America-United States (Western)-Hawaii, North America-United States (Western)-Colorado, North America-United States (Western)-California, North America-United States (Northeastern)-New Jersey, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Wisconsin, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Ohio, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Minnesota, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Illinois, North America-United States (Southwestern)-Texas

Expanding Learning, Enriching Learning: Portraits of Five Programs

Education and Literacy;Poverty

Expanding Learning, Enriching Learning: Portraits of Five Programs

These "Stories From the Field" describe five Wallace-funded programs working to expand learning and enrichment for disadvantaged children, so they can benefit from the types of opportunities their wealthier counterparts have access to, from homework help to swimming classes. The report details each program's approach, successes and challenges, offering a well-rounded picture of the effort nationally to expand learning opportunities for low-income children -- and the work that remains.

November 2013

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Western)-Colorado-Denver County-Denver;North America-United States (Western)-California-Santa Clara County-San Jose;North America-United States (Southern)-District of Columbia-Washington;North America-United States (Northeastern)-New York-Kings County-New York City (Brooklyn);North America-United States (Northeastern)-Massachusetts-Suffolk County-Boston

Shuttered Public Schools: The Struggle to Bring Old Buildings New Life

Community and Economic Development, Education and Literacy

Shuttered Public Schools: The Struggle to Bring Old Buildings New Life

Large-scale public school closures have become a fact of life in many American cities, and that trend is not likely to stop now. This report

looks at what happens to the buildings themselves, studying the experiences of Philadelphia and 11 other cities that have decommissioned large numbers of schools in recent years: Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Kansas City, Mo., Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Tulsa and Washington.

February 2013

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Midwestern)-Missouri-St. Louis County-St. Louis, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Missouri-Jackson County-Kansas City, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Michigan-Wayne County-Detroit, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Illinois-Cook County-Chicago, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Ohio-Cuyahoga County-Cleveland, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Ohio-Hamilton County-Cincinnati, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Wisconsin-Milwaukee County-Milwaukee, North America-United States (Northeastern)-Pennsylvania-Allegheny County-Pittsburgh, North America-United States (Southern)-District of Columbia-Washington, North America-United States (Southern)-Georgia-Fulton County-Atlanta, North America-United States (Southern)-Oklahoma-Tulsa County-Tulsa

Student Mathematics Performance in Year One Implementation of Teach to One: Math

Education and Literacy

Student Mathematics Performance in Year One Implementation of Teach to One: Math

This report examines mathematics test data from the first year of implementation (2012-13) of the Teach to One: Math (TtO) approach in seven urban middle schools in Chicago, New York City, and Washington D.C. Researchers addressed the question: How did Tto students' growth on the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) mathematics assessment compare with national norms?

To answer this question, the researchers analyzed student performance on the MAP test, an established instrument developed by the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA). The researchers then compared these results to the national norms published by NWEA (2011). Please note that these analyses cannot attribute Tto student results to the TtO model: the data available did not permit the use of an experimental design, which would be necessary to establish a link between the implementation of the program and the student test results. While the TtO results are promising, its performance beyond one year should be analyzed using an experimental design, in order to remove unmeasured differences between TtO students and schools with an appropriate comparison sample.

November 2013

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Midwestern)-Illinois-Cook County-Chicago;North America-United States (Northeastern)-New York-New York County-New York City;North America-United States (Southern)-District of Columbia-Washington

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