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.

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

Smallest Victims of the Foreclosure Crisis: Children in the District of Columbia

Children and Youth, Community and Economic Development, Education and Literacy, Housing and Homelessness

Smallest Victims of the Foreclosure Crisis: Children in the District of Columbia

Examines trends in the number of public school students affected by the foreclosure crisis, their demographic characteristics, and concentration by neighborhood or school. Discusses implications for housing and education agencies and providers.

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

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.

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

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

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.

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

Drivers of Choice: Parents, Transportation, and School Choice

Education and Literacy, Government Reform

Drivers of Choice: Parents, Transportation, and School Choice

Based on surveys of two districts, explores the extent to which distance, transportation time, and mode prevent low- and moderate-income families from choosing private, charter, or non-neighborhood schools. Calls for decentralized transportation policies.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Western)-Colorado, North America-United States (Western)-Colorado-Denver County-Denver, North America-United States (Southern)-District of Columbia-Washington

Adult Children of Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Memories and Influences

Children and Youth;Education and Literacy;Health;Immigration

Adult Children of Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Memories and Influences

Probing the changing makeup of American college campuses, this report by the Public Education Institute at The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. of Malden, MA, offers unparalleled insight into the journeys of today's graduate students born to immigrant entrepreneur parents.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Northeastern)-Massachusetts;North America-United States (Western)-California;North America-United States (Northeastern)-Pennsylvania-Philadelphia County-Philadelphia;North America-United States (Southern)-District of Columbia-Washington;Africa;Africa (Southern)-South Africa

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.

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

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