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Addressing the Inequity Gap

The Century Foundation's report "How Higher Education Funding Shortchanges Community Colleges" was released today. TCF senior fellow Richard Kahlenberg, who authored the report, spoke with Inside Higher Ed about the need to remedy the disparity in funding between community colleges and four-year institutions.

"There's a growing awareness that for the first time we're educating large numbers of low-income and working-class students. In the report, I note that 86 percent of high school graduates go on to some form of college. This is relatively new for higher education," Kahlenberg said. "A century ago you only had something like 5 percent of students who went on to higher education and received bachelor's degrees."

Yet the most funding tends to go toward highly selective four-year colleges. The report notes that per-student public funding for public community colleges stood at about $7,400 in 2011 compared to about $16,300 for public research institutions (although funding per student in public master's degree programs came in at about $7,900).

Read the rest of Inside Higher Ed's article here, and see TCF's report here.

Tags: higher education, higher ed, educational inequality, education policy, education funding, education, community colleges

How Higher Education Funding Shortchanges Community Colleges

May 28, 2015 COMMENTARY BY: Richard D. Kahlenberg TOPICS: Education

Despite offering access to higher education for a lower cost, community colleges often experience low graduation rates. In his latest report, TCF senior fellow Rick Kahlenberg calls for more targeted investments in order to reach low-income students who often need funding the most.


NYC City Council Bill Is Good News for School Integration

The latest NYC City Council bill that calls for more comprehensive classroom data is a step in the right direction for encouraging socioeconomic and racial integration in schools.


NYC’s Universal Pre-K Garners Almost Universal Support

May 19, 2015 COMMENTARY BY: Clio Chang TOPICS: Education, Improving Access to Quality Public Schools

Enrolling kids in pre-K has proven to be a way to alleviate child poverty and income inequality in the long run. Policy associate Clio Chang details the steps we can take to provide diverse and high-quality classrooms in NYC and nationwide.


For the Sake of Working-Class Students, Give ‘Fisher’ Another Chance

TCF senior fellow Rick Kahlenberg, who has written extensively on reforming the higher education system, encourages the U.S. Supreme Court to accept an appeal made by Abigail Noel Fisher in the Fisher v. University of Texas litigation challenging UT-Austin’s affirmative-action policies. Kahlenberg champions the use of class instead of race as a means of encouraging a diverse student body on college campuses.

In the Fisher decision, the court said the 14th Amendment of the Constitution placed on universities "the ultimate burden of demonstrating, before turning to racial classifications, that workable race-neutral alternatives do not suffice." The justices then sent the case back to the Fifth Circuit to apply this standard.

Read Kahlenberg's entire article featured in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Tags: race-based affirmative action, higher education, diversity in education, college admissions, class-based affirmative action

Universal Pre-K’s Integration Problem

May 16, 2015 BY: Alex Kisielewski TOPICS: Education, Improving Access to Quality Public Schools

A number of factors are thwarting New York City Mayor de Blasio's attempt to shrink the gap between the rich and the poor by providing free of charge universal pre-K to every family in the city. TCF fellow Halley Potter says that there remain a number of concerns, the most glaring being the lack of socioeconomic and racial integration in early education classrooms.

The preferences in admissions lotteries for pre-K also limit opportunities for fostering diversity. In 2014, almost half of all pre-K programs in district schools filled up entirely with students who live in the attendance zone or who have a sibling in the school, leaving little room to increase diversity by drawing students from beyond the immediate neighborhood.

Read Potter's article featured in the NY Daily News.

Tags: universal pre-k, school integration, education reform, classroom diversity




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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