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All Education Commentary

The New Segregation

TCF senior fellow Richard Kahlenberg and the Center for American Progress’ Carl Chancellor take to the pages of the Washington Monthly to argue that it’s class, not race, that is at the heart of America’s educational system woes. The key to fixing the problem lies in changing our housing policies. Here’s Kahlenberg and Chancellor:

Concerned that poor and working-class families were being priced out of the county, officials pioneered “inclusionary zoning,” which allows for so-called scattered-site public housing—meaning that poor residents live throughout the county, including fairly affluent areas. Under the policy, 12.5 percent to 15 percent of developers’ new housing stock is required to be affordable to low-income and working-class families. 

Read the full article at Washington Monthly.

Tags: socioeconomic integration, socioeconomic diversity, segregation, montgomery county, housing policy, cap

For D.C. Schools, Race and Class Still Define the System

TCF senior fellow Richard Kahlenberg talks to WAMU about public schools in the District of Columbia, and offers suggestions for improving outcomes for students. Says Kahlenberg:

We’re all about let’s try to improve the high poverty schools, where we pack all the poor kids into one educational setting. But there is a half-century of research to suggest that probably one of the best things you can do to improve the education of all children is to give them access to an economically integrated environment.

Read the full article.

Tags: wamu, socioeconomic integration, racially integrated public schools, michelle rhee, d.c. public schools

A Smarter Charter: A Response to Nelson Smith

TCF senior fellow Richard Kahlenberg and fellow Halley Potter comment on Nelson Smith’s review of their recent book, A Smarter Charter.

Read Smith’s original review.

Check out Kahlenberg and Potter’s response.

Then head back over for Smith’s response to Kahlenberg and Potter’s response.

Tags: teacher voice, student diversity, socioeconomic integration, socioeconomic diversity, smarter charter series, al shanker

Teaching with Autonomy

What is it like to work at a school at which teachers and and administrators run the school as equal partners? Guest author Demetria R. Giles of Teaching Firms of America—Professional Prep Charter School says the results at her school speak for themselves.

Tags: teacher voice, smarter charter series, charter schools

A Better Bargain for Higher Ed

A grand bargain on federal fiscal policy is an idea that is dead on arrival, says TCF fellow Andrew Fieldhouse U.S. News. A better idea: states and the federal government should reverse roles in Medicaid and education. The bargain: the federal government will pick up some of the states' share of Medicaid costs and states will in turn invest more in higher education.

To efficiently rejigger their roles, states should agree to provide more money for higher education in exchange for the federal government taking on a greater share of Medicaid financing. Rising Medicaid expenditures are consuming an increasing share of states’ revenue, which in turn crowds out other priorities, such as investment in higher education. The Great Recession greatly aggravated this dynamic.

Read the full article.

Tags: state fiscal policy, safety net, medicaid, higher education, fiscal policy, education funding

A Helping Hand to High Achievers

TCF senior fellow comments on Michael Bloomberg's new initiative to expand college access and completion" for low-income, high-achieving students. Says Kahlenberg:

There’s very little incentive for universities to address a lack of economic diversity…Racial diversity is much more visible, and socioeconomic diversity is much more expensive to address because you have to provide financial aid.

Read the full article.

Tags: strivers, socioeconomic affirmative action, michael bloomberg, high-achievers, college admissions




Most K-12 education reforms are about trying to make "separate but equal" schools for rich and poor work well. The results of these efforts have been discouraging. The Century Foundation looks at ways to integrate public schools by economic status through public school choice. At the higher education level, we examine ways to open the doors of selective and non-selective institutions to students of modest means.

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