Children in poor families and children of color often begin school behind their peers as they are more likely to lack access to high quality early development and learning opportunities. Recent data shows the majority of public school students cannot read or compute at grade level, and poor and low-income children and children of color are particularly behind. Hostile school environments and exclusionary discipline policies disproportionately deny children of color and children with disabilities opportunities for success and contribute to their risk of entering the school-to-prison pipeline. Children who are homeless, in foster care or returning from juvenile detention also often are educationally disadvantaged and at greater risk of falling behind and dropping out of school.
We envision a public education system where every child has opportunities to gain the social, economic, and cultural and political capital necessary to realize their full potential to support their future families and give back to society. All students must be assured of the robust enforcement of our nation’s civil rights and education laws and freedom from discrimination. Education should be the great equalizer, leveling the playing field for all children. This means a public education system with equitable resources for all, including equitable access to high-quality teachers and programming within school districts and schools. It also means a public education system where children are not trapped in schools isolated by race and poverty and privy to discriminatory discipline policies and practices. There must be special recognition and attention to the educational needs of children who are poor or low income, as well as children with disabilities, English language learners, and children who are homeless, in foster care or returning from juvenile detention.
We work to eliminate discriminatory education policies and practices and the inequitable distribution of resources that undermine equal educational opportunities for all students. To ensure all children an equitable education, we must:
- Promote Equitable School Funding: We must eliminate the inequitable distribution of resources that undermine equal education opportunities for students, especially poor and low income students, children of color, children with disabilities, English language learners, and children who are homeless, those who are in foster care and those returning from juvenile detention.
- Work to Reduce the Achievement Gap: We must build support within schools so children have access to experienced teachers, a diverse teacher pipeline, and high quality programing they need to succeed.
- End the School-to-Prison Pipeline: We must eliminate discriminatory discipline practices in school districts and schools, enhance school climate and promote educational success for every child.
- Expand After-School and Summer Literacy Opportunities: Provide new resources to expand summer and after-school literacy and cultural enrichment programs for children to curb summer learning loss and close achievement gaps.