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

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

Time for Teachers: Leveraging Expanded Time to Strengthen Instruction and Empower Teachers

Education and Literacy

Time for Teachers: Leveraging Expanded Time to Strengthen Instruction and Empower Teachers

This report looks deeply inside 17 schools that stand at the vanguard of the current revolution in teaching. It reveals the substantive ways in which these schools are providing their teachers with more time to reflect on, develop, and hone their craft, by very explicitly leveraging an expanded-time school schedule and calendar. These schools' expanded time (on average, they are in session almost 300 hours more per year than the national norm of 1,170 hours) affords not only more hours and days focused on classroom instruction, but also a full array of professional learning opportunities.

May 2014

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Midwestern)-Illinois-Cook County-Chicago, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Ohio-Cuyahoga County-Cleveland, North America-United States (Northeastern)-Connecticut-New Haven County-New Haven, North America-United States (Northeastern)-Massachusetts, North America-United States (Northeastern)-New Jersey-Union County-Elizabeth, North America-United States (Northeastern)-New York-Kings County-New York City (Brooklyn), North America-United States (Northeastern)-Pennsylvania-Philadelphia County-Philadelphia, North America-United States (Southern)-Louisiana-Orleans Parish-New Orleans, North America-United States (Southern)-Tennessee-Shelby County-Memphis, North America-United States (Southwestern)-Arizona-Maricopa County-Phoenix, North America-United States (Southwestern)-Texas-Harris County-Houston, North America-United States (Western)-California-San Diego County, North America-United States (Western)-Colorado-Denver County-Denver

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

Afterschool in Action: How Innovative Afterschool Programs Address Critical Issues Facing Middle School Youth

Children and Youth, Education and Literacy

Afterschool in Action: How Innovative Afterschool Programs Address Critical Issues Facing Middle School Youth

With support from MetLife Foundation, the Afterschool Alliance presents this compendium, containing a series of four issue briefs examining critical issues facing middle school youth, schools and communities, and the vital role afterschool programs play in addressing these issues. The four issue briefs featured in this publication address: the importance of aligning afterschool with the school day, bullying awareness and prevention, service-learning opportunities and literacy education. Each brief combines relevant statistics, comments from experts and community leaders, and examples of outstanding afterschool programs. The compendium also includes profiles of successful programs and a discussion of the MetLife Foundation Afterschool Innovator Award.

The 2011 MetLife Foundation Afterschool Innovator Award winners are:

  • Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools - New Orleans, LA
  • Higher Achievement - Washington, D.C.
  • Urban Arts/Project Phoenix - Oakland, CA
  • 21st Century PASOS - Gettysburg, PA
  • America SCORES - Chicago, IL

April 2012

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Midwestern)-Illinois-Cook County-Chicago, North America-United States (Northeastern)-Pennsylvania-Adams County-Gettysburg, North America-United States (Southern)-District of Columbia-Washington, North America-United States (Southern)-Louisiana-Orleans Parish-New Orleans, North America-United States (Western)-California-Alameda County-Oakland

Performance-Based Compensation: Design and Implementation at Six Teacher Incentive Fund Sites

Education and Literacy

Performance-Based Compensation: Design and Implementation at Six Teacher Incentive Fund Sites

Examines preliminary outcomes for student achievement, stakeholder support, recruitment and retention, and changes in school cultures; success factors; challenges; and the role of states and districts in implementation and financial sustainability.

August 2010

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Southwestern)-Arizona, North America-United States (Southern)-Louisiana, North America-United States (Southern)-Louisiana-Orleans Parish-New Orleans, North America-United States (Southern)-North Carolina, North America-United States (Northeastern)-Pennsylvania, North America-United States (Northeastern)-Pennsylvania-Philadelphia County-Philadelphia, North America-United States (Southern)-South Carolina, North America-United States (Southwestern)-Texas, North America-United States (Southwestern)-Arizona-Pima County-Tucson

Competing for School Improvement Dollars: State Grant-Making Strategies

Education and Literacy, Government Reform

Competing for School Improvement Dollars: State Grant-Making Strategies

Outlines early findings about the the revamped School Improvement Grant program's impact on states and three approaches to evaluating district and school grant applications, including the use of external reviewers and cutoff scores. Makes recommendations.

March 2012

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Midwestern)-Illinois, North America-United States (Southern)-Louisiana, North America-United States (Northeastern)-Vermont

Review of "Fix the City Schools: Moving All Schools to Charter-Like Autonomy"

Education and Literacy

Review of "Fix the City Schools: Moving All Schools to Charter-Like Autonomy"

A recent report from the Reason Foundation argues for significant changes in how public education is organized and delivered in large cities. The report argues that city schools should move toward a "portfolio" of schools model. In such a model, the district does not necessarily operate schools, but instead focuses on closing low-performing schools and opening new ones under the management of autonomous people or corporations. The report cites improvements in student achievement in New Orleans that have accompanied a substantial shift in the city towards charter and autonomous schools. However, the heavy reliance on New Orleans is a significant weakness in this report, as there are myriad reasons unrelated to the portfolio approach that likely explain some or all of the gains, including substantial population shift of low-income children post-Hurricane Katrina and a significant increase in resources. The findings from New Orleans are supplemented by examples from other cities, but these examples and other arguments throughout the report rest not on systematic research but instead on carefully selected examples intended to support a particular perspective.

April 2010

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Southern)-Louisiana-Orleans Parish-New Orleans

See More Reports

Go to IssueLab