School & District Management

Campaign for Equity to Push Beyond Dollars

By Karla Scoon Reid — June 14, 2005 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Teachers College last week announced a campaign to address equity in education across a range of issues that go beyond school finance.

The Campaign for Educational Equity wants to define “equity” in concrete terms, linking money needed to educate all public school children to high levels with specific strategies for closing gaps in their academic achievement.

Campaign leaders plan to combine research, public policy advocacy, and an annual report card assessing the nation’s progress toward closing such gaps.

Michael A. Rebell, a prominent school finance lawyer, will head the new campaign.

“We want to see the issue of equity on the national agenda,” Arthur E. Levine, the president of Teachers College, part of Columbia University, said in an interview last week. “We would like to see policy changes. We would like to point to some children whose achievement is higher in schools because of the work that we’ve done.”

The campaign aims to become a clearinghouse for research, examining strategies, such as preschool, that could boost achievement. That work would be presented to lawmakers and publicized nationally, through Web sites, for example, in hopes of making an impact on schools.

Mr. Levine said researchers involved with the campaign would meet with lawmakers, testify at government hearings, craft legislation, and speak to journalists.

The project intends to test its research in classrooms with the goal of producing national models. That work will begin through a partnership between the college and the New York City public schools.

To gauge progress, the campaign will publish an annual “equity report card.” Richard Rothstein, a visiting professor at Teachers College and the author of Class and Schools: Using Social, Economic, and Educational Reform to Close the Black-White Achievement Gap, is devising the report card’s indicators.

The report card, the first of which is slated to be released next year, will assess the state of equity in education in every state.

In addition, research symposiums will highlight strategies and tactics to address educational disparities. The first, scheduled for Oct. 24-25 at Teachers College, will focus on the economic, social, and political costs of an inadequate education.

‘Do the Right Thing’

Michael A. Rebell, the executive director and counsel of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, will direct the initiative, starting in September. He is the lead lawyer in a successful 12-year legal battle to increase funding for New York City’s schools, which are to receive $14.8 billion under a proposed settlement. (“Judge Orders Billions for Schools in N.Y.C.,” February 23, 2005.)

In the wake of legal victories in school finances cases in 19 states, Mr. Rebell described the Teachers College campaign as an opportunity to “do the right thing.”

“The bottom line is not just getting more money,” he said last week. “It’s how do we make sure we close the achievement gap?”

Some of the brewing ideas about what ingredients might help increase achievement among disadvantaged students stem from the comments Mr. Rebell heard around the city as a result of its finance case.

While he will continue to lead the legal team working on the New York City lawsuit, Mr. Rebell will step down as the executive director of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity.

Mr. Levine said Teachers College hopes to raise $12 million to finance the campaign over the next four to five years, roughly $3 million of which is now in hand.

“We don’t want to be the Heritage Foundation. We don’t want to be Brookings,” he said. “We want to let the data speak.”

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Whole Child Approach to Supporting Positive Student Behavior 
To improve student behavior, it’s important to look at the root causes. Social-emotional learning may play a preventative role.

A whole child approach can proactively support positive student behaviors.

Join this webinar to learn how.
Content provided by Panorama
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Why Retaining Education Leaders of Color Is Key for Student Success
Today, in the United States roughly 53 percent of our public school students are young people of color, while approximately 80 percent of the educators who lead their classrooms, schools, and districts are white. Racial
Jobs January 2022 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Schools Are Desperate for Substitutes and Getting Creative
Now in the substitute-teacher pool: parents, college students, and the National Guard.
10 min read
Zackery Kimball, a substitute teacher at Bailey Middle School, works with two classes of students at the school's theater hall on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021, in Las Vegas. Many schools have vacant teaching and/or support staff jobs and no available substitutes to cover day-to-day absences.
Zackery Kimball, a substitute teacher at Bailey Middle School in Las Vegas, works with two classes of students at the school's theater hall on a Friday in December 2021.
Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP
School & District Management 3 Ways School Districts Can Ease the Pain of Supply Chain Chaos
Have a risk management plan, pay attention to what's happening up the supply chain, and be adaptable when necessary.
3 min read
Cargo Ship - Supply Chain with products such as classroom chairs, milk, paper products, and electronics
iStock/Getty Images Plus
School & District Management Vulnerable Students, Districts at Greater Risk as Natural Disasters Grow More Frequent
New federal research indicates the harm from fires and storms to school facilities, learning, and mental health is disproportionate.
4 min read
Helina Thorp, right, 14, expresses frustration while unsuccessfully trying to log in to her school distance-learning classes in Placerville, Calif., after Pacific Gas & Electric intentionally shut off power to prevent wildfires amid high winds in September 2020.
Helina Thorp, right, 14, expresses frustration while unsuccessfully trying to log in to her school distance-learning classes in Placerville, Calif., after Pacific Gas & Electric shut off power to prevent wildfires amid high winds in September 2020.
Daniel Kim/The Sacramento Bee via AP
School & District Management Opinion What It Takes for Universities to Conduct Useful Education Research
Many institutions lack the resources to make research-school partnerships successful, warns Thomas S. Dee.
Thomas S. Dee
3 min read
Illustration of coworkers collaborating.
iStock/Getty