Over the next year, the Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed) and our partners are conducting an equity campaign to honor the 65th anniversary of the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision. The campaign, created to ensure that the spotlight on this landmark case doesn’t dim until the next anniversary, will shine a light on the continuing needs of students—no matter their race, zip code, or background.
Watch the campaign kickoff video from All4Ed President Deb Delisle.
A Challenge for Every Month
January: Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline
On any given day in the United States, nearly 50,000 young people are held in juvenile justice facilities. In 2015, 69 percent of the young people incarcerated were youth of color, and 73 percent were held for non-violent offenses.
For January, our #OurChallengeOurHope campaign will explore the progress made in closing the school-to-prison pipeline and the challenges educators and communities still face. We will review key factors that continue to contribute to the school-to-prison pipeline and hear from policy experts, formerly incarcerated students, and practitioners about their successes in reducing disciplinary inequities in schools.
WEBINAR: School-to-Prison Pipeline
This webinar examines the role of educators and community leaders in preventing students from entering the school-to-prison pipeline. Our expert panel of education and community leaders discuss how influences both in and out of school can contribute to students being put on a trajectory to incarceration, as well as the policies and practices that can steer students back toward success, whether in schools, juvenile justice education facilities, or re-integration programs.
Stops on the School-to-Prison Pipeline
The school-to-prison pipeline refers to the set of policies and practices that disproportionately push underserved student populations, particularly students of color and students with disabilities or learning differences, out of the public school system and into the criminal justice system. Rather than supporting these students with the counseling and educational services they need, these policies and practices punish students, creating a cyclical pattern of mounting consequences that too often ends with promising students being placed behind bars.
The American Civil Liberties Union describes the following common “stops” that students face within the school-to-prison pipeline.
- Inadequate resources in public schools, including overcrowded classrooms and a lack of qualified teachers and support staff. These circumstances can discourage and disengage students, as well as put additional pressures on educators seeking to meet accountability and performance benchmarks.
- Zero-tolerance policies that automatically impose severe punishment, such as suspension or expulsion, regardless of the circumstances or ages of the students.
- Reliance on police in schools, including school resource officers, who often have little or no training working with youth. Consequently, students are more likely to be arrested in schools for non-violent offences, such as disruptive behavior.
- Disciplinary alternative schools that are not usually held to the same standards as public schools. After being suspended or expelled, students are often sent to these schools and, as a result, may experience a significant lack of academic and social emotional growth
Some students go through this cycle a few times, while other go through it only once, before finding themselves in juvenile detention facilities. These facilities are not known to be academic powerhouses, thus making their re-entry into traditional schools quite difficult.
Racial Disparity of Incarcerated Youth
This map from No Kids in Prison includes the rates of incarceration for each state broken out by race, ethnicity, and gender. You can click on a state to see that state’s overall number of incarcerated youth, and breakdowns of incarcerated youth by race, ethnicity, and gender as compared to the general youth population in that state.
Increasingly, disciplinary policies are forcing students of color out of the educational system and into the criminal justice system. In this piece from MSNBC, Dennis Parker, director of the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program, explores the root causes behind the school-to-prison pipeline and the connection to Brown v. Board of Education. Read More
INFOGRAPHIC: School-to-Prison Pipeline
In this infographic from the ACLU, learn how zero-tolerance policies are criminalizing minor infractions of school rules and how black students are disproportionately affected by school disciplinary policies. Download the Full Infographic
When she was in middle school, Gloria was waiting in the lunch line when another student cut in front of her — and picked a fight with her friends. In the aftermath, Gloria was expelled, typecast, and nearly lost to both herself and her community. This video highlights the human cost of zero tolerance policies and what school systems need to provide to help their students grow rather than adding pain and difficulty. Watch Now
February: Closing the Digital Equity Gap
When Brown v. Board Education was passed sixty-five years ago, digital devices were non-existent. Educators hoped their students had appropriate tools, such as pencils and paper, to utilize in their classrooms. Today, digital tools are a no-brainer in classrooms, but what happens when students need access to those same digital tools at home to complete homework assignments or to actively extend their learning beyond textbooks?
In February, our #OurChallengeOurHope campaign will explore the progress made in closing the digital equity gap and highlight innovative schools and districts working to eliminate the remaining disparities, especially for their historically underserved students.
COMING SOON: Digital Learning Day 2020
On February 27, schools and classrooms across the country will showcase how technology is transforming learning for thousands of students and teachers as part of Digital Learning Day 2020. To celebrate, All4Ed will host a webinar highlighting innovative schools and districts that are providing equitable digital access to students with the help of creative funding solutions, strategic resources, and community and state partnerships. REGISTER NOW
AP: 3 million US students don’t have home internet
Nearly 3 million students do not have internet access at home. According to this Associated Press analysis of census data, these students are more likely to be students of color and students from low-income families. LEARN MORE
The Digital Divide and Education Equity
In a recent survey by ACT Center for Equity in Learning, 85 percent of students who reported having access to only one device at home were historically underserved.LEARN MORE
Strategies for Tackling Digital Equity
If education leaders hope to ensure equitable education opportunities for all students, then they need to consider strategies for providing equitable access to digital learning both inside and outside of school, writes Beth Holland, digital equity project director at the Consortium of School Networking (CoSN) in Getting Smart. This means addressing three critical issues: access to the Internet, access to devices, and the digital literacy to understand how to leverage these tools READ MORE
Closing the Digital Homework Gap
There’s no question that education technology generally has become a staple of 21st century learning experiences, but it also threatens to widen an existing divide between students who have home internet access and those who don’t, writes All4Ed President and CEO Deb Delisle in Education and Career NewsREAD MORE
Digital Equity: How Far Have We Come?
Three district leaders share strategies and lessons learned on how best to tackle digital equity in EdTech: Focus on K–12. READ MORE
March: Supporting English Language Learners
When the Supreme Court issued its landmark decision in Brown vs. Board of Education sixty-five years ago, most likely the justices did not realize how the demographics of our nation’s schools would evolve. While their historic decision was focused on helping children of color, it now extends hope to more than 5 million students who are English language learners (ELLs). Children from around the world now attend U.S. schools and many enter their new schools with limited English language exposure. As educators work to meet the needs of this increasingly diverse student population, appropriate support and resources to ensure that all students receive the high-quality education needed to succeed beyond their classrooms is critical.
Some districts support ELLs through direct language instruction, while others incorporate language instruction across subjects. The whole school approach allows ELL students to receive language support within the context of their subject-based instruction. This proven research-based approach provides higher-quality access to English language instruction for nonnative English speakers.
In March, the Alliance for Excellent Education’s #OurChallengeOurHope campaign will explore the benefits of using the whole school approach to support ELLs. Highlights of this important initiative will detail how district leaders and teachers can collaborate to ensure all students thrive, regardless of their race, zip code, ethnic background, or English language skills.
Webinar: A Whole-School Approach for Supporting English Language Learners
March 24, 2020, 2 pm EDT
Dr. Margarita Calderón, PhD, professor emerita at Johns Hopkins University, and teachers from Loudoun County Schools in Virginia will share how they collaborate with content-area teachers to ensure ELL students are supported across the curriculum. They also will explain how they leverage the latest research and coaching techniques to support teachers as well as student learning.REGISTER NOW
#OurChallengeOurHope Slow Twitter Chat
March 31, 2020, 12 pm EDT to 8 pm EDTThe #OurChallengeOurHope slow Twitter chat will explore resources that support holistic instructional techniques for supporting ELL students.
Improving students’ English-language skills isn’t just the job of ELL specialists. ELLs typically spend a mere thirty or so minutes a day with English Language Acquisition (ELA) teachers. Thus, the majority of their time is with general education and mainstream content teachers. These teachers may or may not have the expertise to help students acquire advanced language skills as they learn new content. With the research-based whole school approach, mainstream teachers work closely with ELA instructors within their specific content areas to share instruction more effectively
Colorín Colorado is the premier national website serving educators and families of ELL students in grades preK–12. Colorín Colorado has provided free research-based information, activities, and advice to parents, schools, and communities around the country for more than a decade.
In this podcast series, experts engage in important conversations about the most rapidly growing student demographic in the United States—ELL students. They speak with educators, students, researchers, policymakers, parents, and community members about how to help all students reach their highest aspirations.
Why UDL Matters for English Language Learners (Language Magazine)
Taking the Holistic Approach! (Language Magazine)
April: Supporting Marginalized Students During the Coronavirus Pandemic
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, schools in all fifty states and the District of Columbia have closed, disrupting instruction for at least 55 million students nationwide. During these prolonged school closures, we must do everything possible to ensure learning continues for every child, including those with disabilities, students of color, students from low-income families, English learners, and students experiencing homelessness, foster care, or those engaged in the juvenile justice system. As districts and schools implement plans for distance learning—and states apply for federal emergency funding appropriated under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act—we must ensure that instructional plans focus on educational equity, protect students’ civil rights, and do not exacerbate opportunity and achievement gaps for historically underserved students.
Our country currently faces unprecedented challenges brought about by the coronavirus pandemic and it is more important than ever that we work to aid all students, particularly those most in need. In April, the Alliance for Excellent Education’s (All4Ed’s) #OurChallengeOurHope campaign, which honors the legacy and impact of the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling, highlights how schools and districts can support marginalized students and keep educational equity at the forefront during this unprecedented time in our nation’s history.
Supporting Schools During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Read the latest updates from All4Ed about how federal policymakers are responding to the pandemic and take action to support home internet access for students.
The New Reality of School at Home: Overwhelmed. Isolated. Unfocused. Very Stressed
This recentlypublished article in the Los Angeles Times explains how the second largest school district in the nation—Los Angeles Unified School District—is implementing a variety of approaches to meet the needs of underserved students including a grab-and-go lunch program, distributing laptops, providing free internet access, and hand delivering learning packets to those who can’t access the internet.
COVID-19 and Homelessness: Strategies for Schools, Early Learning Programs, and Higher Education Institutes
As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) disrupts education, services, and life across the country, children and youth experiencing homelessness are especially vulnerable. SchoolHouse Connections offers resources to meet the needs of homeless students as we respond to this global crisis.
COVID-19 Resources for Traditionally Underserved Youth in the U.S.
American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) has compiled a collection of resources from various organizations that are supporting underserved youth during the pandemic.
10 Things to Know about Homeless Students Amid the COVID-19 Crisis
“The integral role that schools play in the lives of students experiencing homelessness and the many challenges they face have never been clearer as the threat of coronavirus continues to grow and schools across the country close,” explains the Institute for Children, Poverty & Homelessness (ICPH). ICPH has compiled a list of ten things we should keep in mind about homeless students amid the COVID-19 crisis.
May: #OurChallengeOurHope: Celebrating a Year Committed to Equity
One year ago, the Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed) launched #OurChallengeOurHope, a campaign to honor the anniversary and legacy of the Supreme Court’s landmark case Brown v. Board of Education. Since then, our campaign has highlighted the many inequities that still exist for students of color and other historically underserved populations.
We examined the challenges that students of color face on their path to a high school diploma and the obstacles that prevent many of them from enrolling in and completing college. We looked at the role that race still plays in our schools and how biased discipline policies push many of our neediest students out of school and into the criminal justice system. We highlighted the unique needs of Latino students, students experiencing homelessness, students with disabilities, and English language learners—marginalized groups that too often fall through the cracks. Finally, we explored issues of digital equity and the homework gap, topics that have become even more relevant since schools nationwide have closed and transitioned to remote learning in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now that this anniversary year has come and gone, we must make sure the promises outlined in the Brown case don’t dim until the next anniversary. As long as any of our students lack the resources and support they need to thrive, our schools will remain separate and unequal. During the coming year, we will continue to elevate the challenges that historically underserved students face and the hope we find in our combined efforts to eliminate educational inequities.
Share Your Story
How does your community support historically underserved students? Share your thoughts on Twitter using hashtag #OurChallengeOurHope and tag @All4Ed.
Together we can fulfill the promise of Brown and break down the barriers that keep too many students from finding hope and success every day. Will you support this work with a tax-deductible donation to All4Ed?
Supporting Schools During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Read the latest updates from All4Ed about how federal policymakers are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and take action to support home internet access for students.
A Whole–School Approach for Supporting English Language Learners
This webinar examines how educators meet the needs of English language learners (ELL) using innovative teaching practices, ample support, and engagement from the school administrators to foster a collaborative approach between English as a second language (ESL) teachers and content–area teachers.
Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline
This webinar examines the role educators and community leaders play in preventing students from entering the school-to-prison pipeline. The expert panel of education and community leaders discusses how in-school and out-of-school influences contribute to setting students on a trajectory to incarceration and the policies and practices that can steer students back toward success.
Recognizing and Supporting Students Experiencing Homelessness
For the 2016–2017 school year, there were as many homeless students—1.3 million—as there were people living in Dallas, Texas, America’s ninth-largest city. Without the proper support, homeless students often struggle in school, evidenced by their 64 percent high school graduation rate. In this webinar, an expert panel shares their knowledge on how educators can recognize and support students who are experiencing homelessness.
Building Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Schools
More than half of public school students are students of color and yet only 18 percent of public school teachers and 20 percent of public school principals are individuals of color. With an educator workforce that largely does not represent the students it serves, how can schools support the needs of diverse learners who walk their halls each day? In this webinar, panelists share their experiences as leaders committed to equity and tips to foster conversations about race and inclusion that break down walls and strengthen school communities.
Improving Low College Persistence Among Students of Color
This webinar examines why increasing retention and postsecondary graduation rates among students of color is so important for students and the nation as a whole. The expert panel offers examples of strategies and programs that two- and four-year postsecondary institutions can adopt to better serve their students of color prior to and after their enrollment, ensuring that these students graduate prepared to succeed in today’s job market.
Falling Through the Cracks: Students Without High School Diplomas
More than 2,000 of America’s public high schools graduate two-thirds or fewer of their students. The majority of students in these schools, with an average graduation rate of 40 percent, are Black, Latino, and from low-income families. This webinar spotlights the work that must be done and offers solutions to schools, districts, states, and federal policymakers on how they can advocate for students who are furthest from opportunity.
June: High School Graduation Rates
We hear a lot about how the U.S. high school graduation rate is at an all-time high of 84.6 percent, but a high school diploma remains out of reach for many of our nation’s most underserved students. In some states, the high school graduation rates for African American, Latino, and other students of color are more than 20 percentage points below those of white students.
Throughout June, as part of our #OurChallengeOurHope campaign to honor the intent of Brown vs. Board of Education not just on its 65th anniversary, but year-round, we are highlighting the difficult path to high school graduation facing so many of our nation’s young people and how, with the right support systems, every student can walk across the stage on graduation day. We also encourage you to engage a conversation in your school, home, or community about the challenges facing high school students today. Here are some resources to get you started
Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Raising High School Graduation Rates
Held on June 11th by the convening partners of the GradNation campaign—America’s Promise Alliance, The Alliance for Excellent Education, Civic, and The Everyone Graduates Center—this event will feature the release of the 2019 Building a Grad Nation report plus two moderated panels. One panel will focus on challenges facing homeless students while the other will consider how efforts at improving high school graduation rates must lead to stronger secondary and postsecondary outcomes.
Falling Through the Cracks: Students Without High School Diplomas
More than 2,000 of America’s public high schools are graduating two-thirds or fewer of their students. Most of the students in these schools, with an average graduation rate of 40 percent, are African American, Latino, and low-income. This June 17 webinar examined these low-graduation-rate high schools and the students they enroll. Panelists offered research-based solutions for educators and policymakers on how to ensure that these and other students earn their diplomas.
We continue to collect short videos of individuals sharing their challenges and hopes sixty-five years after Brown was decided. Want to add your reflections to our list? Tweet them using #OurChallengeOurHope and be sure to tag @All4Ed.
10th U.S. Secretary of Education
President and CEO, The Education Trust
Director, The Everyone Graduates
Center at Johns Hopkins University
Founder and CEO, Civic
Executive Director, SchoolHouse Connection
Young Adult Leader, SchoolHouse Connection
High School Gradation Success Stories
The following narratives can assist as you develop conversations in your schools and communities about the importance of helping all students realize a better future. While the details of each narrative may not resonate directly with your community or students’ needs, what should resonate is that every school has students who struggle daily, often with challenges that we may know very little about in their lives. Offering hope to all students should be a priority for each one of us.
‘Nobody could ever separate us’: High school graduate celebrates by hugging father at U.S.-Mexico border
A Texas high school graduate’s dedication to her father has gone viral after he was not able to attend the ceremony to watch her get her diploma. “My whole life I had thought that my whole family was going to be there,” Ruiz said. “Unfortunately, my dad couldn’t be there because he can’t cross.”
‘She’s a success story’: Kokomo senior triumphs in school despite turbulent upbringing
Zara Hooper remembers things from her childhood – things that no child should have to remember. By the time she was four years old, she was taking care of her baby brother, who was born addicted to meth. She remembers nights when she went to bed hungry, or the weird things she’d find in her mom’s room. She knew they shouldn’t be there, so she’d throw them away.
“Better Days are Coming”
“Better Days Are Coming” tells the story of Davonte Johnson, a student at East English Village Preparatory Academy in Detroit, Michigan. Davonte’s story is not unfamiliar; it is that of too many black kids who must, on a daily basis, contend with under-resourced schools, including a lack of effective teachers, school counselors, social workers, and up-to-date textbooks.
How 11 English-learning students became some of Nashville public schools’ top graduates
Veen Tovi used to watch other kids playing or talking to each other while she was in English-language classes. There was a significant part of Tovi that wanted to be just like those kids in her school — carefree and not struggling to learn English. Tovi, however, is a standout among thousands of Nashville public school students who graduated from this year’s 2019 class. She is now part of a group of eleven students who earned valedictorian or salutatorian honors after entering Nashville public schools needing to learn English.
Homeless Valedictorian Scores More than $3 Million in College Scholarships
The stress of senior year can be overwhelming. Combine that with challenges at home, and it can derail any high school student’s academic career. Memphis high school senior Tupac Mosley maintained a 4.3 GPA, scored a 31 on his ACT, and was named valedictorian—all while dealing with the death of his father and the lack of a permanent home.
Thinking Long Term: State Graduation Rate Goals Under ESSA
This report details the goals for graduation rates under the Every Student Succeeds Act. While high school graduation rates continue to rise, this report mentions concerns of a lack of college and career preparation. Additionally, this report includes data displaying the change in the national graduation rate, graduation rates by states and charts related to ESSA goal attainment specifically.
Improving High School Graduation Rates Among Males of Color
This brief includes trends, findings and recommendations for improving high school graduation rates among males of color.
Public Education, Career and Technical Education, and Dropout Prevention
This paper focuses on career and technical education (CTE) as a dropout prevention/intervention/recovery strategy and how CTE can be engaging to all students, including and perhaps especially for those at-risk of dropping out of school.
Public high school 4-year adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR)
Public high school 4-year adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR), by race/ethnicity and selected demographic characteristics for the United States, the 50 states, and the District of Columbia: School year 2016–17.
2019 Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Raising High School Graduation Rates
The 2019 Building a Grad Nation report, takes an in-depth look at the progress made in raising high school graduation rates and the state and district sources of those improvements and identifies where challenges remain. This report also links the improvements in high school graduation rates to the need to ensure that all students, including those historically underserved by the education system, graduate high school prepared for postsecondary education.
Paper Thin? Why All High school diplomas are not created equal?
This report builds on prior research and shows the degree to which traditionally underserved students graduate from public high schools having earned a college- and career-ready (CCR) diploma, in comparison with their peers, in the twenty-three states that offered students multiple pathways to a diploma for the Class of 2014.
Share Your High School Graduation Success Story!
If you or someone you know has a compelling story about high school graduation, please share it with us. If you have a son, daughter, grandchild, or someone special graduating from high school, let us know.
July: High School Strategies for Postsecondary Success
Are high schools preparing students adequately for the additional education they will need after graduating to compete for good-paying jobs?
In July, our #OurChallengeOurHope campaign will examine high school reform strategies that lead to success in postsecondary education for ALL students—the high performers and the students in need of additional support.
Fast Facts: Are High School Graduates Ready for College?
- Only 38 percent of 2018 high school graduates were considered college ready in three of ACT’s four core subject areas (English, math, reading, and science).
- Among African American students, only 11 percent reached that benchmark.
Once students reach college…
- More than one-third of all first-year college students take some type of remedial course work.
- At four-year public colleges, 66 percent of African American students and 52.6 percent of Latinx students require remedial course work.
Some students are prepared for college in high school.
- 27 percent of high school students are academically ready at the end of eleventh grade to start college-level coursework.
- One-third of these students come from low-income families, and 30 percent are students of color.
Interventions That Support High School Graduation and College and Career Readiness
This series of resources to help school leaders create next-generation high schools and bolster the college and career readiness of all students, with a focus on accelerating success for traditionally underserved students.Access Resources
Building a Fast Track to College
This new report, by Education Reform Now and the Alliance for Excellent Education, finds that the 12 in K-12 education may be unnecessary for nearly a quarter of high school students. It introduces two accelerated pathways for college-ready juniors that would provide meaningful access to full-time, college-level coursework, while generating savings for students, families, and states. The report notes that almost 850,000 high school juniors currently qualify for one of these “Fast Track” pathways, 30 percent of whom come from low-income families.Read the ReportWatch the Video
How Federal Funding Helps High School Students Get a Jump on College
Programs such as dual enrollment, concurrent enrollment, and early college high school that allow students to complete college-level course work during high school are effective and increasingly popular models for improving student access, affordability, and completion of college. Such programs are particularly important for and effective at improving outcomes for students from low-income families and students of color.Learn MoreWatch the Video
Meet Paola and Paul
Paola is a first-generation Guatemalan who was raised in a single-family household in Los Angeles. Paul Hirsh is the principal of STEM Academy in Hollywood, California. In the video linked below, you’ll learn how the STEM Academy’s Linked Learning program provided Paola with a mentorship program with Kaiser Permanente that gave her real-world experience in medicine and prepared her to succeed at UCLA. You’ll also hear how the school’s transformation under Linked Learning meant Paul could pivot from seeking additional funding for more security guards to using that money for lab equipment.Watch the Video
IB: Boosting High School Graduation Rates and Postsecondary Success
The International Baccalaureate (IB) program, an advanced course of study that spans four high school years, can boost high school graduation rates for students from low-income families, along with a host of other positive outcomes. IB graduates say the program prepares them well for postsecondary studies and helps them develop time-management and critical-thinking skills. More than 900 U.S. high schools have chosen to offer the IB Diploma Program, several of which are Title I schools serving high percentages of students from low-income families.
In the webinar linked below, John Young, head of research at IB, and Janice Wells, head of school at South Shore International College Prep in Chicago, discuss the IB program’s impact on Title I schools and opportunities to expand IB under the Every Student Succeeds Act.Watch the Webinar
PREPARE Students for Postsecondary
More than one-third of all first-year college students take some type of remedial course work. For historically underserved students, this number can be much higher. At four-year public colleges, two-thirds of African American students and over one-half of Latinx students require remedial course work. While remedial education strives to help students attain the skills they need to succeed in college, it also can deter completion by adding to the cost and time necessary to earn a degree.
The Promoting Readiness in Education to Prevent Additional Remediation and Expense (PREPARE) Act, introduced by U.S. Senators Doug Jones (D-AL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Maggie Hassan (D-NH), aims to reduce the need for students to take remedial courses in college by more closely aligning high school education with the expectations of postsecondary education.Watch the Webinar
August: Improving Low College Persistence Among Students of Color
In August, our #OurChallengeOurHope campaign focuses on the barriers to college persistence among students of color. We are exploring existing recruitment and retention challenges affecting two- and four-year colleges/universities, as well as examples of strategies and programs that have proven successful in meeting these challenges.
Building a Stronger Pipeline for Black and Brown Students
We convened an all-star panel to discuss policies and practices that K-12 and higher education leaders could pursue to build a stronger pipeline for black and brown students to graduate from high school prepared to succeed in postsecondary education.Watch
Fast Facts: College Persistence and Remediation for Students of Color
- African American students’ rate of college persistence is more than 11 percentage points lower than their white counterparts and 18 percentage points lower than Asian students.
- Nearly half of all African American and Latino college students report participating in remediation during their college career, compared to just one-third of white college students.
Current remedies for recruitment and retention issues include university offices of diversity and inclusion, as well as federal TRIO programs. However, more and more programs specifically designed to increase completion rates among students of color are being scaled back and defunded.
What Can You Do?
Think about what the statistics we’ve shared mean for understanding challenges with persistence and adequate student support services available for college students of color.
- What are the implications of these challenges on preparation strategies for 12th grade graduates and the policies that govern their schools’ curriculum and instruction?
- What is the role of K-12 and college-level educators in ensuring that students of color receive the resources they need to be successful?
Use #OurChallengeOurHope to add your voice to the conversation and advocate for proper programming, and support services that directly benefit students of color pursuing their college degree.
Reach out to your local school districts, colleges, and universities about the need for adequate academic preparation programs, cultural support services, and engagement activities specifically for students of color.
College Students Are More Diverse Than Ever. Faculty and Administrators Are Not
While the racial and ethnic make-up of students in higher education has become more and more diverse, college faculty, staff, and administrators remain predominantly white.Learn More
Student Debt: An Overlooked Barrier to Increasing Teacher Diversity
Black and Latino students’ disparate experiences with student loan debt compared with their white counterparts may affect their choice to enter or stay in the teaching profession.Download the Report
Where Did They Go: Retention Rates for Students of Color at Predominantly White Institutions
This report examines various factors that obstruct retention rates among students of color at predominately white institutions and offers ways in which these institutions can improve their retention rates.Download the Report
Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education
This report from the American Council on Education examines data across eleven chapters that provide a foundation from which the higher education community and its many stakeholders can draw insights, raise new questions, and make the case for why race and ethnicity still matter in American higher education.Download the Report
Persistence & Retention – 2019
Among students who entered college for the first time in fall 2017, Asian students had the highest persistence rate (84.7 percent), followed by white students (78.1 percent), Hispanic students (70.3 percent), and black students (66.2 percent).Get the Data
The State of Higher Education Equity
This analysis from the Education Trust finds that the nation’s colleges and universities aren’t doing a good enough job getting Black and Latino Americans—whose population numbers are on the rise—across the finish line. This project offers state-by-state snapshots of where we stand in the quest for racial equity among degree-holders, how far we have to go, and what we need to do to get there.Learn More
First-Generation Students: College Access, Persistence, and Postbachelor’s Outcomes
Three years after first enrolling, 33 percent of first-generation students who began postsecondary education in 2003–04 had left postsecondary education without earning a postsecondary credential, compared to only 14 percent of students whose parents earned a bachelor’s degree. Dig into this brief from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) for additional data on first-generation students’ high school success and postsecondary enrollment, persistence and degree completion once they enrolled in college, and graduate school enrollment and employment outcomes after they attained a bachelor’s degree.Download the Brief
Promoting the Success of Students of Color by Promoting the Success of Faculty of Color
Despite focused efforts by many colleges and universities, the racial and ethnic composition of college faculty has not increased significantly in more than twenty years. This article from the Association of American Colleges & Universities explores how five colleges worked collectively to increase support for faculty of color.Read More
Data Dive: Profile of Undergraduate Students
Looking for information on undergraduate students enrolled in postsecondary institutions? This data from National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) includes topics such as attendance, average grades, participation in distance and remedial education, degree program, financial aid, and more.Get the Data
September: Race, Equity, and Schools
At a time when more than half of our nation’s public-school students are black, Latino, Asian, American Indian, or mixed race, conversations about race and inequality are happening in schools—between students, with teachers, among leadership, and communities. There are ways to support these conversations as positive, productive sessions that break down walls and contribute to a greater understanding of equity issues impacting students.
In September, the #OurChallengeOurHope campaign highlights how schools are tackling issues of race and equity―from the classroom all the way to the statehouse.
WEBINAR: Building Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Schools
With an educator workforce that largely does not represent the students it serves, how can schools support the needs of the diverse learners who walk their halls each day? What are strategies that teachers, schools, districts, and states can employ to ground policies and practices in diversity, equity, and inclusion? Join this webinar on September 17 at 2:00 p.m. EDT to hear from panelists on their experiences fostering conversations about race and inclusion and promising practices for culturally responsive teaching, addressing implicit biases, diversifying the teacher workforce, and more.Watch
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at All4Ed
At the Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed), we know firsthand how uncomfortable grappling with issues of race can be, but that doesn’t stop us. We’re committed to better understand the complex issues facing historically underserved students and the wide range of inequities preventing them from receiving a high-quality education. Part of that commitment means looking inward to our relationships with each other as we build expertise in diversity, equity, and inclusion. Learn More
The State of Racial Diversity in the Educator Workforce
This report from the U.S. Department of Education provides a current snapshot of the racial diversity of educators in our nation’s elementary and secondary public schools. It reviews trends in the diversity of students, teachers, and education leaders and examines the teacher pipeline from enrollment in postsecondary education, hiring, and teacher retention.Download the Report
The Push to Get More Teachers of Color in Special Education Classrooms
Just over 82 percent of special education teachers in public schools are white and only about half of students receiving special education services are white. This Education Week article dives into how teacher preparation programs are bringing people of color and people with disabilities into the special education teaching ranks. Read More
How school leaders can promote district diversity, integration
In this opinion piece for Education Dive, co-principals of the Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School in Queens, New York share four strategies for creating an inclusive school community.Read More
States Leading for Equity: Promising Practices Advancing the Equity Commitments
This brief from the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) provides an overview of practices and policies states are currently engaging in to provide a stronger education for students. It showcases work in several states towards CCSSO’s ten equity commitments.Learn More
How the nation’s growing racial diversity is changing our schools
This analysis from the Washington Post finds that more students attend schools with children of different races than ever before yet, in many big cities and across the South, students remain in districts that are deeply segregated. Through an interactive map accompanying the analysis, readers can discover the overall racial makeup of school districts across the United States. Learn More
Many White Principals Feel Ill-Equipped to Support Students of Color, Poor Children
Do you know that around 80 percent of the nation’s K–12 principals are white? Do you also know that white principals are more likely to say their preservice programs did not prepare them adequately to meet the needs of diverse student bodies? This Education Week article breaks down findings from RAND Education and Labor demonstrating the extent to which the educator workforce does not reflect student diversity.Read More
Bridging the Divide Between White Teachers and Students of Color
More than one-third of students at Sussex Tech High School in Delaware are students of color, yet almost 90 percent of its teachers are white. The school’s equity team is working to train educators to be more culturally responsive by challenging their cultural biases and better understanding their students’ perspectives to create more inclusive learning environments.Read More
Valuing Culture is Essential to Learning
Learning environments that recognize and support students’ cultural identities contribute to their academic success. This All4Ed report explains why adolescents need to learn in safe, supportive, and culturally responsive environments and offers recommendations for educators, policymakers, and parents.Download the ReportGet the Infographic
Podcast: Exploring Racial and Ethnic Identity Development During Adolescence
How does racial and ethnic identity development impact students and their learning environments? On this episode of All4Ed’s Critical Window podcast, Dr. Joanna Lee Williams, associate professor in the Curry School of Education and Human Development at the University of Virginia, examines how young people begin exploring the “who am I” question in the context of their racial and ethnic identities.Listen Here
October: A Focus on Latino Students
In conjunction with National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 through October 15, our #OurChallengeOurHope campaign focuses on the educational and societal challenges facing Latino students, as well as the prominent role they will play in the growth of the American economy going forward.
How Latino Students Are Boosting the Nation’s Economy
Between 2000 and 2015, the percentage of Latino students enrolled in public elementary and secondary schools increased from 16 percent to 26 percent while the percentages of White students fell from 61 percent to 49 percent, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. From 2015 to 2027, the percentage of Latino students is expected to continue to increase—from 26 percent to 29 percent—while the percentage of White students will fall from 49 percent to 45 percent.
As Latino students become a larger component of the K-12 student population, we must ensure they receive an education that prepares them for future success. In some ways we are–and they are delivering benefits to the economy in return–but in many other ways, we are not.
Join the conversation
As you think about the rapid growth of Latino students, what challenges and opportunities do you see for the nation’s schools? How can educators work to recognize the rich history and culture that Latino students bring to our schools?
We encourage you to add your voice to the conversation using #OurChallengeOurHope. We also encourage you to reach out to your local school districts, colleges, and universities about the need for adequate academic preparation programs, cultural support services, and engagement activities specifically for Latino students.
Challenging Racial Segregation Before Brown v. Board
Eight years before Brown v. Board of Education, five Mexican American families in Orange County, California brought a class action lawsuit to dismantle their segregated school system.
In Mendez v. Westminster, Gonzalo Mendez and four other parents, on behalf of 5,000 Mexican American families, argued that students were segregated into separate schools basely only on their national origin.
“The school was a terrible little shack,” said Sylvia Mendez, whose parents brought forward the case, in a video about the case from PBS LearningMedia. “In fact, when we had to eat lunch, we would go outside and eat lunch at tables that were right next to the cow pasture so we’d get all the flies there from the cow pasture.”
Mendez v. Westminster was a starting point for dismantling segregation in other areas of life in California, including housing, restaurants, swimming pools. One year after the case was decided, the state repealed two statutes that segregated Asian American and Native American students in schools.Watch the Video
Why I Teach Where I Teach: To Be a Positive Light for Latino Students
“Many of the students I work with are DACA recipients or are undocumented immigrants,” writes Sarahi Monterrey, Wisconsin’s 2018-19 high school teacher of the year. “In a time when there is so much hateful rhetoric against immigrants, I want to be a positive light for students. I want them to feel proud of who they are and where they have come from. I want to be there to encourage them to accomplish their dreams. When I first started teaching at my current school, I was the only Latina teacher there. Now, there are a handful of us and I know that our presence in their educational experience has a profound impact on them.”Read More
The Hispanic Educational Resources and Empowerment (HERE) Act of 2019
The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities has created a resource page on the HERE Act with more details on the bill and an interactive map showing present and emerging school districts serving Hispanic students, along with Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) and Emerging HSIs.Read More
Educators Fear Dramatic Raids on First Day of School Will Leave Lasting Trauma
“The trauma these students have endured is inconceivable,” Mississippi Association of Educators president Erica Jones said when news of the raids first broke. “The effect this raid will have on their long term mental and emotional health is profound,” Jones said.Read More
Back to School but Nothing’s Normal. Schools Mobilize to Help Children of Immigrants After Traumatic Summer
“We’ve seen a huge increase in anxiety for our students,” says Jasmine Tarver, director of mental health and support services for the KIPP charter network’s Southern California schools. “[They’re] worried about their parents or someone in their community who might not be there when they get home … even if they don’t have anyone undocumented in their families.”Read More
Ten Things to Know About Trauma and Learning
Research from neuroscience highlights that adolescence represents a critical period for brain development—second in importance only to early childhood. Trauma can impede this development by interfering with critical processes that comprise the neurological foundation for learning. Read More
How to fix education’s racial inequities, one tweak at a time
Pasadena City College has seen the rate at which Latino students complete associate degrees or certificates and transfer to four-year colleges rise by over 9 percentage points in five years, from 37 percent to 46 percent. That’s despite several years of crippling leadership turmoil, and during a decade when the proportion of students who are Latino rose from a third to half.Read More
The Lasting Impact of Mendez v. Westminster in the Struggle for Desegregation
The Mendez case “symbolized the important crossover between different ethnic and racial groups who came together to argue in favor of desegregation,” writes Maria Blanco, Esq. in this special report from the American Immigration Council.Read More
Unmaking “Hispanic”: Teaching the Creation of Hispanic Identity
Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month also requires understanding how and why the distinct histories of a multinational, multicultural and multilingual group of communities were consolidated into Hispanic heritage in the first place, writes Stef Bernal-Martinez, a teaching and learning specialist for Teaching Tolerance and a Xicana documentary artist and educator.Read More
November: Serving Homeless Students
For November, as part of National Homeless Children and Youth Awareness Month, our #OurChallengeOurHope campaign will elevate the needs of homeless students. We will speak with educators, advocates, and homeless students to learn more about the challenges homeless students face and, more importantly, how schools and school districts can help meet their needs.
More Than 1.3 Million Homeless Students
For the 2016-17 school year, there were more than 1.3 million homeless students enrolled in public K-12 schools—a 7 percent increase over the past three years. Preliminary data for 2017-18 estimates there were more than 1.5 million homeless children and youth, the highest number on record.
According to SchoolHouse Connection, a national non-profit organization working to overcome homelessness through education, homelessness creates barriers to education access and success, including “being unable to meet enrollment requirements; high mobility resulting in lack of continuity and absenteeism; lack of transportation; lack of supplies and clothing; poor health, fatigue, and hunger; and emotional crisis/mental health issues.”
Facing these and other challenges, homeless children and youth often struggle in school. Nationwide, only 64 percent of homeless students graduate from high school—a rate that is the lowest among the subgroups of students for which data is reported and 14 percentage points below the rate for students from low-income families (78.3 percent).
WEBINAR: Recognizing and Supporting Students Experiencing Homelessness
In this webinar, Topeka Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Tiffany Anderson describes how she transformed a vacant school office building into “Hope House,” a shelter for foster and homeless students in the district. Barbara Duffield, Executive Director of SchoolHouse Connection and an advocate for students experiencing homelessness for more than 20 years, describes how schools can effectively identify and support students who are homeless. Most importantly, Kara Freise, a student at Columbia University Teachers College, discusses her harrowing experiences as a high school and college student experiencing homelessness and how educators can approach and engage with students who may be homeless.Watch Now
Never Stop Telling Your Story: Seven Questions with Destiny Dickerson, SchoolHouse Connection Young Leader
In this interview, Destiny Dickerson, who experienced homeless as a high school student, explains why educators sometimes have difficulty recognizing homelessness.
“Most homeless children and students are ashamed of their struggles or are told that they cannot talk about it, so they hide it well. I made sure that my shoes and clothes always appeared clean, even if I had to hand wash them in the hotel bathtub,” Dickerson says. “I think it is immensely important to notice the little things. That student always snacking might not be getting enough to eat. That quiet student who never talks might be going through depression. That student who is overly outgoing and trying to be pleasing might be compensating for an abusive and degrading parental relationship. If something seems off, then it probably is.”
Now a student at San Diego State University, Dickerson is pursuing a degree in clinical psychology. “Having had to silently deal with so many mental health issues and watching others struggle in their own ways, I have developed a passion to want to help those struggling to find inner peace,” she says.Read More
Community Partnership Helping Homeless Students is Up and Running
“This is really about homeless youth, it’s in our strategic plan to reduce poverty in Topeka and we have to do something,” says Topeka Public Schools USD 501 Superintendent Dr. Tiffany Anderson. “Ultimately our role is to empower families and … be a key player in breaking the generational cycle of poverty and reducing homelessness in the city of Topeka.”Read More
Tennessee Teen Graduates as High School Valedictorian, Earns $3 Million in Scholarships, All While Homeless
“Your location is not your limitation,” says Tupac Moseley.Read More
December: Giving Back
For December, in the spirit of selflessness and giving thanks, we are encouraging you to become more involved in the lives of students who are seeking a brighter future. The opportunities are endless and every action—no matter how large or small—can make a difference in a young person’s life.
Getting Involved in the Lives of Students
Looking for ways to get involved in the lives of students? You could volunteer at your local school or with a youth support program in your community. You could read to children at your local library. You could donate clothing, toys, or food to families in need. You could donate money to a charity or youth-serving organization.
Become a Mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters
Big Brothers Big Sisters provide historically underserved children with a compass and direction for positive futures through strong mentorship programs in communities and schools. You can become a mentor for a child in your community or check out some other great ways to volunteer including hosting events, raising money, or participating in a cultural event or educational trip.
Learn More https://www.bbbsnca.org/volunteer/
Read to a Student During Your Lunch Hour with Everybody Wins DC
If you live in Washington, DC, Everybody Wins DC is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving lives through shared reading. The organization’s Power Lunch program connects students with caring volunteers to read together once a week during students’ lunch hour. No curriculum, no lesson plans. Just spending quality time together, reading books they enjoy. Through this connection with a caring adult, students build essential skills that will help them succeed both in and out of the classroom.
Learn More https://everybodywinsdc.org/
Save Young LGBTQ Lives with the Trevor Project
The Trevor Project provides life-saving support to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) youth. They offer a wide variety of volunteer opportunities, including answering calls on their 24/7 Lifeline or responding to chat messages or texts from young people struggling with issues such as coming out, LGBTQ identity, depression, and suicide. The Trevor Project welcomes individuals of all backgrounds to get involved in their life-saving work.
Find Volunteer Opportunities in Your Community Through All for Good
If none of the above opportunities speak to you, or if they are not available in your area, All for Good has you covered. All for Good is a digital hub for volunteerism and community engagement that allows individuals to search for events, projects and organizations in their communities from volunteer sites across the country. It includes volunteer opportunities from Idealist, AARP, United Way, the Hands on Network, and many more. The All for Good platform also helps individuals host volunteer projects, whether with an organization or on their own, find volunteers, and connect with friends through civic service.
Learn More https://www.allforgood.org/
Inspiring Stories of Helping Others in Need
If you need more motivation, here are some stories of people, including kids, helping others during this holiday season:
Five young children decided to give back to their community with a holiday fundraiser benefitting the foster care office that helped them find their adoptive family. The kids taped videos for their cause and shared them on social media and emptied their own piggy banks to raise enough money to help the Grand Forks County Foster Care Office renovate their family visitation rooms.
As a fourteen-year-old, Ila Prabhuram started her own nonprofit organization to help students in her community who are economically disadvantaged receive financial scholarships to attend college. Beyond financial support, Ila is an advocate for students from low-income families, especially those from her community in Georgia, and wants to spread awareness about the importance of education through workshops at local Title I elementary schools.
After being racially cyberbullied by three of his former middle school classmates, Devin Moore started #RaceToSpeakUp because he didn’t want another kid to experience what he went through. Because of Devin’s passion for this issue, Suffolk County (New York) created its first Anti-bullying Task Force that consists of high school students combating bullying. Devin also meets with lawmakers in New York in an effort to get a state anti-bullying law passed.
Mesai Alonsabe, 11, is serious about his work. The Vallejo child is focused on collecting as many gifts as possible for underprivileged kids and making this year his biggest toy collection event yet.
Kenzie Parker, 9, pays for the meals with the money she saves throughout the year. This is the fifth year she’s given back on Thanksgiving.
Homeless for about half her childhood and in foster care the rest, Ceres resident Zenia Zuniga said she knows the impact an act of kindness can have on a child. And when she saw Genevieve Piturro, founder of the Pajama Program, on “Oprah” in 2009, she knew she wanted to get involved.
When Rob Scheer and his husband Reece’s first adopted child arrived at their home, the 4-year-old’s world fit into a trash bag. The image cued a flashback: Having grown up in foster care himself, Scheer once carried a similar bag moving into a new home. Troubled by the lack of dignity afforded to children in the U.S. foster system, the two men started a non-profit that provides children in the foster system with proper bags packed with essential and comforting items – shampoo, blankets, pajamas – that are sent to family services agencies across the United States.
Need More Inspiration?
Youth Services of America has a database of “Stories of Service,” detailing the many ways that youth are finding their voices, taking action, and making an impact in their communities.
Learn More http://leadasap.ysa.org/stories/
Sixty-five years after Brown, are you frustrated? Are you hopeful? You’re not alone. Hear from others like you in our series of #OurChallengeOurHope video reflections.
Inspiring Voices on Brown vs. Board: Johnique’s Poem
Johnique W, a 12th grader from Ohio, shares a poem she wrote after visiting the Civil Rights Exhibit at the Maltz Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. “I was so taken with every photograph and the depictions were so powerful to me that I went home and wrote my emotions out,” she tells us.
Read our complete Q&A with Johnique.
Join the Campaign!
If your organization would like to join the campaign, visit our partners page.