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Innovative Approaches In Civil Rights And Education


More than 100 educators, policymakers, researchers and advocates attended the Alliance for Excellent Education’s forum in Washington, D.C., on May 24, 2006 to highlight innovative approaches in civil rights and education as well as to bring attention to the critical link between data-driven decisionmaking and promising practices. The event was designed to facilitate vital relationships between the traditional education and civil rights communities and provided an in-depth illustration of specific data-driven decision making programs/initiatives and their connection to meeting the Alliance’s mission of ensuring every child graduates prepared for postsecondary education, work, and success in life.

Speakers included Nancy Love, Principal Investigator and Project Director for the Using Data Project ( and Pam Bernabei-Rorrer, Math Coach for Canton City (Ohio) School District. Ms. Love and Ms. Bernabei-Rorrer described the collaborative inquiry process used to bridge the gap between data and student outcomes, noting that data opens discussions of race, class, and culture that tend to be overlooked in general discussions. Respondent Jim Kohlmoos praised the results of the Using Data Project and suggested that the strategies employed to increase student achievement in Canton, Ohio be catalogued and made available to researchers, educators, and policymakers so that these knowledge-based strategies can be drawn on by others.

Claire Sylvan, Founding Executive Director, Internationals Network for Public Schools ( discussed Internationals’ approach to providing quality education to immigrant students through a network of small, public high schools that revolve around building on the strength of individual students. Data show that Internationals’ students represent an overwhelming cross-section of new immigrants from a variety of countries with high numbers of English Language Learners (ELL) and free lunch recipients, yet Internationals high schools’ students have higher graduation and college attendance rates than others in New York City.

Michael Holzman, consultant to the Schott Foundation ( highlighted the critical disparities in student/school performance and resources and emphasized the idea that data is key to increasing at-risk students’ achievement and, as such, is a vital civil rights issue. Suggesting that data is one of the most powerful levers there is to address social justice issues, Mr. Holzman used data from around the nation to outline a positive future for African-American males.

Throughout the morning, panelists and audience members shared knowledge and exchanged ideas, facilitating an understanding of how data can be used as a lever to improve educational outcomes. The forum advanced the momentum established at the Alliance’s March 9-10th data symposium, which initially highlighted the connection between data and the civil rights aspects of closing the student achievement gap.


I. Welcome and Introductions
Governor Bob Wise, President, Alliance for Excellent Education AudioAudio (Streaming) (MP3)*

II. Using Data to Close the Student Achievement Gap
A discussion on the Using Data Project which provides professional development experiences and sustained learning opportunities to help educational leaders develop the skills, knowledge, and abilities to effectively use science and mathematics student learning data to improve programs, policies, and learning in all classrooms.

– Nancy Love, Principal Investigator and Project Director, Using Data Project

– Pamela Bernabei-Rorrer, Math Coach, Canton City (OH) School District
Nancy Love – Pamela Bernabei-Rorrer Presentation: AudioAudio (Streaming) (MP3)*

Supplemental Materials
– Presentation (pdf) (3.4 MB)
– Article: Taking Data to New Depths (pdf)
– Article: Using Data (TERC) (pdf)
– Handout: The Using Data Process (pdf)
– Brochure: Using Data (pdf)

Jim Kohlmoos, President and CEO, National Education Knowledge Industry Information Association
Remarks: AudioAudio (Streaming) (MP3)*

Supplemental Materials
Article: Using Knowledge for a Change (pdf)

Question & Answer SessionAudioAudio (Streaming) (MP3)*

III. Break/Transition
Governor Bob Wise, President, Alliance for Excellent Education AudioAudio (Streaming) (MP3)*

IV. The Link Between Data and Civil Rights

Michael Holzman, Ph.D., Consultant to the Schott Foundation 
Mr. Holzman illustrated the importance of data in understanding and further developing promising educational practices.
Remarks: AudioAudio (Streaming) (MP3)*

Supplemental Materials
PowerPoint Presentation

Claire E. Sylvan, Ed.D., Executive Director, Internationals Network for Public Schools
Ms. Sylvan disacussed Internationals’ development and support of a network of International High Schools serving late-entry immigrant English-language learners.
Remarks: AudioAudio (Streaming) (MP3)*

Supplemental Materials
PowerPoint Presentation

Question & Answer SessionAudioAudio (Streaming) (MP3)*

V. Closing
Governor Bob Wise, President, Alliance for Excellent Education AudioAudio (Streaming) (MP3)*

Other Supplemental Materials
Paper: Innovative Approaches in Civil Rights and Education (pdf)
This report focuses on the educational experiences of Black students. Using the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) statistics educational inequities between black and white students are outlined. The report finds that Black students experience limited educational opportunities and reduced educational achievement due to under-representation in Gifted/Talented programs and AP classes, disproportionate out-of-school suspensions and expulsions, and over designation as mentally retarded.

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