Education Equity Is Now Up to the States

Education Equity Is Now Up to the States

For this special collection of essays, Education Week Commentary partnered with the Aspen Institute’s Education & Society Program to follow up on the institute’s February 2017 report "Leading for Equity." Produced with the Council of Chief State School Officers, the report is the result of interviews with a diverse group of education leaders as the Every Student Succeeds Act is about to go into full effect. The many contributors to that report created actionable priorities to guide states on matters of equity as the federal role in schooling recedes. With this shift in federal policy, Aspen’s Ross Wiener and Danielle Gonzales write in their overview essay, a new generation of state education leaders "will redefine state education policy," with "profound implications for equity."

The insights of some of those participants in the "Leading for Equity" report are represented in this special collection. These leaders offer a broad range of perspectives on equity and the many challenges they face in their states and districts. From the head of a state teachers’ union who is working to diversify her teaching force in her formerly mostly white state, to a state superintendent whose governor is bucking "party orthodoxy" to pay for K-12 initiatives, to a Catholic educator of teachers who sees faith-based education as "an invaluable civic purpose," no one educator offers a single road to upending inequity. And as Wiener and Gonzales write, "Equity is about giving every student what they need, not giving every student the same."

Our Schools Have an Equity Problem. What Should We Do About It?

As the federal role in schooling recedes, state education leaders will be key to driving equity, write Aspen’s Ross Wiener and Danielle Gonzales.

A Bipartisan Approach to School Funding Boosts Equity

A broader funding base gives states more tools to improve public education, writes Steve Canavero, Nevada’s superintendent of public instruction.

'Equity for All Is Everyone's Business'

A mix of school, community, and state partnerships are necessary to treat all students fairly, argues Milwaukee school superintendent Darienne Driver.

Fix School Discipline to Fix Inequity

Before tackling bigger K-12 challenges, states must address unfair suspension rates, writes Peggy Lehner, a Republican state senator from Ohio.

To Fight Inequity, Empower the Families It Harms Most

In an effort to close opportunity gaps, let’s position families to lead the movement for change, writes Veronica Palmer of RISE Colorado.

A Budget Blueprint for Equity

States should re-evaluate education spending to prioritize the students who need it most, writes Pedro A. Rivera, Pennsylvania’s secretary of education.

Faith-Based Schools Matter. Here’s Why

Faith-based schools play an integral role in upending the inequality at-risk students face, argues John Schoenig of the University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education.

Do Our Schools Reflect the Students They Serve?

Schools must adjust to changing demographics by creating diverse learning environments, writes Tammy Wawro, president of the Iowa State Education Association.

CREDIT: Top illustration by Michael Gibbs for Education Week. Bottom illustration by Getty.

Vol. 36, Issue 33