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.
This past weekend, our President & CEO Eugena Oh joined hundreds of first generation, low-income (FGLI) students at her alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, as keynote speaker at the student-led 1vyG conference. “Pablo Zamorano-Diaz, a Harvard sophomore, said Oh’s speech was ’empowering,’ leaving him with a sense that he could also succeed at the same level as Oh.” In addition to attending a weekend of workshops, students came together to discuss strategies they have used to advocate for FGLI students on their own campuses, like Harvard’s First Generation Student Union, and how they can be implemented elsewhere.
First generation & low-income college students at top institutions are protesting admissions practices that favor family members of alumni. From The Atlantic: “it’s ironic, said Mayra Valadez, a senior and first-generation student at Cornell, that ‘at institutions of higher learning, there are people doing research on combating income inequality,’ yet admissions officers in those same colleges are providing ‘affirmative action for the wealthy.'” Yet others argue that these admissions practices encourage donations from alumni, which go on to provide scholarships for lower income students. Still, legacy students continue to far outnumber the population of first generation students at top ranked colleges.
While students of color now represent the majority in U.S. public schools, school leadership does not reflect this demographic shift. In 2012, 80% of principals in the U.S. were white. Watch this candid discussion from Harvard Graduate School of Education about how principals can use their positions to reach across racial and socioeconomic lines. Key pieces of advice include include family and community involvement and elevating the voices of students and families.
A new report from America’s Promise Alliance, The Aspen Institute’s Education and Society Program, and the Council of Chief State School Officers notes how states have shown their commitment to educational equity since July 2016. This brief summary from Education Dive captures how districts and schools can learn from state efforts to examine their own practices and advocate for change on the state level. View the full report here.
Daniel R. Porterfield, incoming president of the Aspen Institute, talks with the Chronicle of Higher Education about his decision to leave his position in Higher Education to advocate for educational equity and access. “There is an abundance of talent in every community in every ZIP code in this country,” says Porterfield. In his experience, qualities that are predictive of student success include curiosity, hard work, and resilience.