Try this one trick to improve student outcomes
"Millions of poor, disadvantaged students are trapped in failing schools."
So said President Trump at the White House recently. It's a familiar lament across the political spectrum, so much so that you could almost give it its own acronym : PKTIFS (Poor Kids Trapped In Failing Schools).
Where there's no consensus, however, is on the proper remedy for PKTIFS.
The Obama administration's signature proposal was the School Improvement Grant. This was a $7 billion attempt to turn around struggling schools with some combination of replacing personnel, overhauling the curriculum, renewed teacher support and other practices.
It was one of the largest federal education grant programs ever created. There was just one problem. As a department-commissioned independent review concluded just as Obama was leaving office, it didn't work. "Overall, across all grades, we found ... no significant impacts on math or reading test scores, high school graduation, or college enrollment."
President Trump, and his education secretary, Betsy DeVos, are largely focused on the T for "trapped" part of the problem. They talk about creating escape routes, largely by expanding charter and voucher programs.
Richard Kahlenberg has spent decades stumping for a third way. His idea: Create public schools that are more integrated. He helped innovate the use of social and economic indicators to do that — instead of race and ethnicity, the use of which is prohibited by a 2007 Supreme Court decision.
His strategy could be summed up as: Give poor kids the opportunity to attend school with not-so-poor kids.
The organization where he's a senior fellow, the Century Foundation, keeps track of 100 districts and charter schools around the country that are currently trying various integration strategies. The foundation recently released a paper with nine case studies: New York; Chicago; Dallas; Hartford and Stamford, Conn.; Jefferson County, Ky.; Eden Prairie, Minn.; Champaign, Ill.; and Cambridge, Mass.
[The integration strategy in Jefferson County is challenged by a new bill in the state Try this one trick to improve student outcomes | 89.3 KPCC: