The Next President’s Education Agenda Must Center Racial Disparities in Educational Opportunity

The $23 billion funding gap between white and nonwhite school districts not only results in fewer opportunities for students of color but also prolongs the racial wealth gap that holds back nonwhite families generation after generation,”

The Next President’s Education Agenda Must Center Racial Disparities in Educational Opportunity

Fifth and sixth grade students warm up for class at a private K-12 school in Washington, D.C., October 2012.

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Center for American Progress released a new report laying out what the next president of the United States should do to center equity in a policy agenda to improve K-12 education in America. In stark contrast to the current administration’s efforts to unwind tools designed to address disparities between opportunities available to nonwhite students, the report makes a robust case for scaling the role of the federal government in education in order to address these gaps—noting states’ and districts’ longtime inability to address these inequities. It offers a forward-looking vision for education, following successful teacher strikes across the country, continued economic growth after the Great Recession, and a better understanding of what the future of work will require. Specifically, the report outlines how policymakers can:

  • Apply an explicit race equity lens to policy development
  • Prepare all students for college and the workforce
  • Modernize and elevate the teaching profession
  • Dramatically increase investments in public schools and improve the equity of existing investments
  • Bring a balanced approach to charter school policy

“For too long, policymakers have sought to address educational inequity with a policy agenda that has not included an explicit race equity lens,” said Scott Sargrad, vice president of K-12 Education Policy at CAP. “If the next president is going to reshape education so that it works for all of America’s children, they must confront these historic disparities head on.”

“The $23 billion funding gap between white and nonwhite school districts not only results in fewer opportunities for students of color but also prolongs the racial wealth gap that holds back nonwhite families generation after generation,” said Khalilah Harris, managing director of K-12 Education Policy at CAP. “Students of color deserve equal access to schools with high-quality instruction, rigorous course offerings, and the supports they need to thrive in the classroom. Allowing these inequities to persist stifles their ability to access college and career and negatively impacts the broader economy by leaving talent on the table.”

Please click here to read: “A Quality Education for Every Child” by Scott Sargrad, Khalilah M. Harris, Lisette Partelow, Neil Campbell, and Laura Jimenez.