The Equity Line contains original analyses, commentary, and “on the ground” stories of students, parents, educators, and activists all over the nation striving to improve education. It chronicles our efforts, as well as those of partners and friends who are working toward the shared goal of closing gaps.

  • Honoring Pell’s Legacy

    June 22, 2017 by and

    This week marks the 45th anniversary of the creation of the Pell Grant. Sen. Claiborne Pell of Rhode Island championed these grants, using the GI Bill as an inspiration for how to make higher education accessible for all students and particularly for students who might not otherwise go on to…

  • NBER Study Makes Assertions About Supergroups Without Proof

    June 21, 2017 by

    A recent paper touting gains in Kentucky’s Focus schools (schools with the lowest performance for student groups) is, on the surface, encouraging. We want to know more about what’s driving these gains. But we’re also worried about assertions made by the authors, who suggest that these improvements…

  • Diversity Offers a Clear Path to Brighter Futures for All Children

    June 7, 2017 by

    This essay was originally published in a compilation from the Albert Shanker Institute as part of an event it hosted today titled “School Integration By Race & Class: A Movement Reborn?” Our children live in a more diverse country than ever before. And America is projected to become even more racially…

  • Why I Teach Where I Teach: To Give Students Their Fair Shot

    June 5, 2017 by

    This post is a part of an ongoing series, called “Why I Teach Where I Teach,” which asks educators in high-need schools to share what has attracted (and kept) them in the challenging environments they’re in. They share important stories and experiences that should remind us all of…

  • Trends in State ESSA Plans: The Problem With Supergroups

    June 1, 2017 by

    Among the most important questions to ask to understand whether a state accountability system is designed to promote opportunity and achievement for all groups of students are: Do all groups of students matter in the ratings given to individual schools? How does the state identify schools that need to improve…

  • It Takes a Village

    May 31, 2017 by

    “We rise by lifting others.” — Robert Ingersoll Earlier this month, I hooded four doctoral students at Howard University’s School of Education, adding to a long line of talented Black educators rooted in a tremendous history and legacy. As I reflect on the experience, I feel honor and pride…

  • OASIS at Work: Fostering Confianza to Learn From Each Other

    May 30, 2017 by

    I have spent a good portion of my personal life and career developing relationships. If you have ever read Malcom Gladwell’s book, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, any of my friends or colleagues would likely define me as what Gladwell refers to as…

  • Trump’s Education Budget Cuts Are an Assault on the American Dream

    May 30, 2017 by

    This op-ed was originally published by U.S. News & World Report. Millions of Americans are engrossed in the NBA Playoffs this time of year. If you are one those people, you may find yourself inexplicably pulling for an upset. That tendency speaks to part of who we are as…

  • Quick Take on the President’s 2018 Budget Request

    May 24, 2017 by

    It should go without saying that, if enacted, this budget would be a disaster for America’s young people.  It cuts vital programs that prepare students for college and career. And it walks away from any semblance of a commitment to affordable and accessible higher education. It truly is an…

  • Reflecting on the 63rd Anniversary of the Brown v. Board Decision

    May 18, 2017 by

    This week, we rightly celebrate the milestone Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision issued on May 17th, 1954, striking down school segregation. Yet today also marks another anniversary — the annual issuing of statements reminding us that, decades later, we still have not closed the gaps in access and…

  • Trends in State ESSA Plans: Defining Away Low Performance for Groups of Students

    May 18, 2017 by

    When is performance for a group of students so low that it requires attention and action? This is one of the critical questions that states have to answer as they implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The law requires states to identify any school that is consistently underperforming for…

  • ‘Education Remains the Civil Rights Issue of Our Time’

    May 17, 2017 by

    Today marks the 63rd anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision. On this anniversary, we celebrate the progress we have made as a nation in bringing educational equity and opportunity to millions of students in America. Our nation’s high school graduation rate is at a record high…

  • Brown v. Board: The Fight for Integrated Classrooms Continues

    May 17, 2017 by

    On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court banned segregation in public schools, ruling that separating students by race was unconstitutional. In the coming years, even with staunch opposition in many places, Black and White students slowly found themselves sitting beside each other in classrooms. By 1970, my mom…

  • Why I Teach Where I Teach: Representation Matters

    May 15, 2017 by

    This post is a part of an ongoing series, called “Why I Teach Where I Teach,” which asks educators in high-need schools to share what has attracted (and kept) them in the challenging environments they’re in. They share important stories and experiences that should remind us all of…

  • ‘Lead With Your Legacy in Mind’

    May 11, 2017 by

    This is the prepared text of the commencement address given at Howard University on May 11, 2017. To the graduates, congratulations on earning your degrees! You set your sights on a mighty goal and you achieved it. But, you did not do it alone. Family members, spouses, mentors, and friends…

  • From Teacher Appreciation Day to Teacher Appreciation Every Day

    May 11, 2017 by

    When I was a teacher at a charter elementary school in Washington, D.C., there was usually a catered lunch for Teacher Appreciation Week, during which parent volunteers would give us relief from recess duty. And I usually received a stack of handmade notes from my students, which I relished…

  • Celebrating Teachers Who Advocate Beyond School Walls

    May 10, 2017 by

    I feel lucky to know some great teachers: They see past their students’ behavioral issues to recommend them for gifted programs, create challenging assignments related to students’ interests and experiences, and walk first-generation students through the college scholarship application process. They know that strong teachers make a big difference…

  • A Tangible Display of Teacher Appreciation? Investing in Title II

    May 9, 2017 by

    Every once in a while, when I’m drinking my Saturday morning coffee, I look down and realize I’m drinking out of my teacher appreciation mug. That mug always brings back memories: I remember the days when my students amazed me with their insights and impressed me with how…

  • The ‘Joyous’ Responsibility We Have as Citizens

    May 8, 2017 by

    This is the prepared text of the commencement address given at the University of Memphis, a member of our OASIS Network, on May 6, 2017. Each of you has worked hard to earn the distinction of graduate from The University of Memphis. You balanced challenging classes with clubs, sports…

  • Appreciating Unexpected Teachers in America’s Unsung Classrooms

    May 8, 2017 by

    Many teachers talk of being “called” to the classroom, drawn by a force that latched itself to their very souls early on in school and held fast, as if no other destiny were possible. Others arrive by happy accident. Mr. Steve counts himself among the latter. The burly White guy…