IELP AND THE CIVIL RIGHTS PROJECT AT UCLA RELEASE TWO RELATED REPORTS ON SCHOOL SEGREGATION IN NEW JERSEY
On October 11, 2013, IELP and the Civil Rights Project at UCLA (CRP), co-founded and co-directed by Professor Gary Orfield, jointly released two reports, growing out of close collaboration between the research centers. Both reports found that the racial and socioeconomic divide in New Jersey public education has grown unabated and reflects a sharp split between urban and oftentimes adjacent suburban school districts.
The CRP report, entitled “A Status Quo of Segregation: Racial and Economic Imbalance in New Jersey Schools, 1989-2010,” reports that the state’s black and Latino students attend schools with triple the percentage of low-income students as the state’s schools overall, while more than 25% of black students in New Jersey attend schools that the report labels “apartheid schools,” with 99%-100% students of color, as compared to roughly 16% nationwide.
IELP’s report, “New Jersey’s Apartheid and Intensely Segregated Urban Schools: Powerful Evidence of an Inefficient and Unconstitutional State Education System,” finds that a greatly disproportionate number of the state’s black and Latino students are isolated in urban school districts, with virtually no white students but with a high concentration of poor children. Often, these urban districts are located in close proximity to overwhelmingly white suburban school districts with virtually no poor students. This raises serious constitutional, as well as moral and educational, issues.
Both reports provide a number of important recommendations for improving the educational and social circumstances of the great bulk of New Jersey students denied the opportunity to learn in a racially and socioeconomically diverse environment. Although the students suffer from their extreme isolation in enclaves largely defined by race and socioeconomic status, the state as a whole is also a big loser in terms of its diminished economic viability.
PHILADELPHIA'S RENAISSANCE SCHOOLS AT 18 MONTHS: RFA'S NEW REPORT
Can chronically low-performing schools dramatically improve in a short period of time? That was the question that the Renaissance Schools Initiative - Philadelphia's approach to the turnaround school reform model - sought to answer when it was implemented in 2009.
Eighteen months into the Initiative, as the School District of Philadelphia and the School Reform Commission deliberate its future against the backdrop of severe budget cuts, RFA has released results of its evaluation of the Renaissance Schools. RFA's research represents the most exhaustive study of school turnarounds - a key element in federal and state education reforms - in the commonwealth and region to date. The study focused on determining whether the first group of 13 schools - both District-run Promise Academies and Charter-managed schools - made early progress toward the longer-term goal of dramatically improving student outcomes.
Overall, both district- and charter-managed models of Renaissance Schools made notable progress in Year One of the Initiative, improving significantly on all other student outcomes measured. However, these schools remain among the lowest performing in the District. It is also too early in the life of the Initiative to determine whether these preliminary results will be sustained over time.
More recent developments...