Closing the achievement gap at Signal Hill Elementary

For decades, policymakers have been working to address the large differences in test scores between students from different income brackets and racial backgrounds – an issue known as the achievement gap. A 2018 report studying national data found that on average, Black and Latino 12th grade students perform at similar reading levels to White 8th grade students. Further, the income-based achievement gap is twice the size of the racial achievement gap and has increased exponentially in recent decades.

Lisa Sall

Lisa Sall wasthe Director of Outreach and Communications at the UChicago Consortium. She collaborated with researchers and the communications team to engage stakeholders and help the UChicago Consortium amplify its research findings to inform education policy and practice. Lisa has worked in marketing communications for 25 years on both the agency and client sides with the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

How can data be the answer to solving urban school problems?

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Since 1987, when the federal education secretary called Chicago Public Schools the “worst in the nation,” officials searched for answers.

Some came through a partnership between the Chicago Public School District and the University of Chicago. The Consortium on School Research, founded in 1990, identifies the problems facing the urban school district and assesses how well different initiatives are working...

Dropout prevention gives students reason to stay

Family problems, absences and poor grades can drive students to becoming a dropout. But what actually drives many teenagers to quit school, say experts, is a sense that nobody in the building cares about them—and it’s a belief that is often reinforced after they leave.

“When schools don’t follow up with students who leave, it reaffirms the idea that no one cares,” says Jody Manning of the PACER Center, which advocates for youth with disabilities...

Melinda Gates and the blindness of privilege

Last Sunday, the New York Times Magazine published an interview—David Marchese talking with Melinda Gates—about the enormous power of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for shaping our lives.  Marchese asks Ms. Gates directly about the Gates Foundation’s role in driving today’s neoliberal public education policy. Doesn’t a giant foundation—“Its endowment at $50.7 billion… the largest in the world.”—have an outsized impact on social policy?

Well-intentioned Ohio school finance plan must be revised to eliminate savage inequalities

After a decade of tax cuts brought by Governor John Kasich and a supermajority Republican Ohio Legislature,  Ohio—still dominated in the House, Senate and Governor’s mansion by Republicans—is considering a new school funding formula intended to address what have been glaring problems for the state’s public schools. The new plan is bipartisan. We all owe enormous thanks to Representatives Robert Cupp and John Patterson for their leadership.

North Chicago High School to revive freshman academy with goal of improving academic success

North Chicago Community High School will revive a freshman academy starting next year with the goal of catching struggling students early and eventually boosting the school’s graduation rate.

The new academy will include dedicating a wing of the school just for freshmen, and providing a “wraparound approach” with new programming and staff, Superintendent John Price said...

How much does attending one of these elite high schools matter? Not as much as you might think

The assumption sits at the heart of a raging debate about elite high schools in Boston and New York City: that schools like Stuyvesant and Boston Latin offer the very best preparation for college that the public school system can provide.

“Why isn’t every public school in New York City a Brooklyn Tech-caliber school?” Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said recently, referring to one of New York City’s test-in high schools. “Every one should be.”

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