Educational Equity News Roundup: 2/27/18

Welcome to our weekly news roundup, where we share the latest in educational equity and issues impacting our Dreamers. To receive this in your inbox each week, sign up here.

The Next Educational Equity Battleground: Little-Noticed ESSA Provision To Allow Parents to See Whether Districts Fund Schools Fairly

The74: The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) includes a little-known provision, going into effect in the 2018-19 school year, that will likely expose disparities in how some districts divide resources among their schools. At the superintendent level, school administrators are often left in the dark regarding how specific funds are allocated among schools—helping to further entrench inequities within school districts, where leaders tend to spend less money on teacher salaries in high-poverty schools. Formally exposing this modern-day school segregation may be a step towards serious reform in school-level spending. 

HBCUs contribute to our nation’s prosperity—past and future 

“The work before us to support black students’ success is about giving our children the freedom to choose to become whatever they dream they can be.”

The Baltimore Sun: Former U.S. Secretary of Education writes about the importance of Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs,) recognizing the power of education to free students from the structural barriers created by institutional racism. HBCUs have produced leaders in every field, including a disproportionate number of STEM graduates, and fostered advancements in civil rights. Still, there is more work to be done: while more black students are enrolling in college than ever before, there is a retention problem, with only about 4 in 10 earning a bachelor’s degree within 6 years of enrollment. King offers recommendations for closing the college completion gap for black students—which includes support during college.  

New research offers hope to first-generation college grads: Pay stubs of first-generation students match those of wealthier peers

The Hechinger Report: A new study reinforces the place of higher education as a great economic equalizer: at a time where social mobility in the U.S. is getting harder and it is more likely that children of poor adults remain poor, college education is still a lever of social mobility. Among first generation college students who earned a four-year degree in the 2007-8 academic year, 57 percent were working full time and earning an average of $45,000 a year within 5 years of graduation. Still, more needs to be done in supporting first generation college students in getting to college, as they continue to enroll in college at lower rates than their peers—and with more U.S. students earning college degrees overall, this gap continues to widen. 

Why Students Are Still Spending So Much for College Textbooks

The Atlantic: While students could previously hope to offset the high cost of college textbooks by purchasing them used or re-selling them at the end of the semester, many courses now require online codes to access course materials and even homework assignments. While these innovations in technology often save time for instructors, they come at a great cost to students—while benefitting publishers. This move towards online tools also mirrors the higher ed trend towards using low-paid adjunct professors—some argue that in saving instructor time, these online tools are also helping to justifying their low pay. 

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