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.

  • Stop Fighting Over Pell and Start Delivering on Its Promise

    April 25, 2017 by

    In March, the Trump administration released its “skinny budget” — essentially its wish list for the government’s funding for fiscal year 2018, which begins Oct. 1. Congress will use this as a starting point, but it has the ultimate responsibility to pass a budget for the president to sign. This…

  • Hold the Applause: Trends Out of Initial State ESSA Plans

    April 24, 2017 by

    At last count, 12 states and the District of Columbia have submitted plans to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act to the U.S. Department of Education for review and approval. There’s a lot to dig into in these plans, but we’ve started by asking three key questions…

  • Guiding Students Toward Degrees

    April 18, 2017 by

    It’s that time of year when college seniors are busy, readying themselves for graduation after four (or five or six) long years of working toward that degree. They’ve taken all the courses, they’ve paid all the money, they’ve worked and studied all the hours; and finally…

  • Evidence-Based Strategies for Improvement: What Are They, and Where Can I Find Them?

    April 17, 2017 by

    Although the Every Student Succeeds Act leaves a lot of decisions about how to improve struggling schools to schools and districts, the law is quite clear that the strategies leaders select must be based in evidence of what works. In “For Equity-Oriented State Leaders: 9 Ideas for Stimulating School…

  • Reprogramming Access to Robotics and STEM

    April 13, 2017 by

    Right now, thousands of aspiring young engineers and computer programmers across the world are tightening bolts and tweaking code in preparation for the big event: the FIRST Robotics Competition World Championships. They have spent millions of hours building robots, creating game strategies, and participating in regional competitions. And next week…

  • The Black Teacher Effect

    April 12, 2017 by

    Yet another piece of evidence has emerged showing the importance of diversifying the teaching profession: In a study published by the Institute of Labor Economics last week, low-income Black students who have a Black teacher for at least one year in elementary school are less likely to drop out…

  • Recommitting to the Civil Rights Legacy of ESEA

    April 11, 2017 by

    On this day 52 years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act into law. With his elementary school teacher, Katie Deadrich, by his side and with the one-room schoolhouse he attended as a child as a backdrop, Johnson proclaimed that no law he…

  • Organizing Schools Around Learning

    April 10, 2017 by

    People who haven’t hung around schools much might be puzzled by the essential argument that I am making in my new book, Schools That Succeed, which is that schools should be organized in ways to ensure that all students learn a great deal. They might think: “They’re…

  • The Scientific Method in Action

    April 5, 2017 by

    For many years I wrote a regular newspaper column about schools in Prince George’s County, Maryland. I noticed that one of the high schools had been recognized as having more African American test-takers and passers in Advanced Placement than any other high school in the region, and I…

  • Maryland Takes a Big Step in the Wrong Direction

    April 4, 2017 by

    UPDATED As state leaders work to implement the accountability provisions of the new Every Student Succeeds Act, they are making key decisions about how they will measure school performance, the expectations they set for schools, and how they will support schools that are struggling. The question of what to…

  • Writing Their Own Stories, Enriching the American Narrative

    April 3, 2017 by

    “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” — Maya Angelou “When I was growing up, the only artists I knew about were White guys from Europe,” said Nakia, a promising, young playwright speaking to the crowd of adults gathered at the Young Playwrights’ Theater annual…

  • College Hoops and Black Student Success: Why March Can Be So Maddening

    March 31, 2017 by

    Like many of you, I took some time during the last two weeks to relax and watch some college hoops. I’ve always loved college basketball, particularly March Madness. But, if I’m being completely honest, my inner education/racial justice advocate often finds the Madness … quite maddening. So, as…

  • Ed Trust Mourns the Passing of Founding Board Member Roger Wilkins

    March 28, 2017 by

    Roger Wilkins, who died at 85 Sunday morning, was everything the newspaper reports say he was: a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, a tenacious warrior in the fight for civil rights, a scholar who brought his probing intellect and perspective to matters of race and class in American history. He…

  • Marshaling the Power of Schools

    March 27, 2017 by

    I can’t remember a time when I didn’t think of public schools as the crucible of American democracy, founded to provide all children — independent of family circumstances — with a solid education that prepares them for future citizenship. Yet the ones I attended as a child, the ones…

  • More on Black Student Success: What It Means to Be at the Top of Our List

    March 23, 2017 by

    Over the last few years, Ed Trust has released several reports on graduation rates and gaps for low-income students and students of color at four-year colleges and universities. In each of these reports, including our most recent, “A Look at Black Student Success,” we included lists of…

  • Exhuming Potential in Our Children

    March 21, 2017 by

    “You know, there’s one place that all the people with the greatest potential are gathered. One place and that’s the graveyard.” I’ve been in the grip of that haunting opening line ever since Viola Davis spoke it during her Oscar acceptance speech. Davis is certainly correct…

  • Ensuring All Students Count in School Ratings

    March 17, 2017 by

    This post first appeared on the PIE Network's website, where they invited us and others to answer the question: Without ESSA regs, how do we leverage the law? School rating criteria that are based on how schools are doing for all groups of students — including low-income students, students…

  • On Mission and Movements: John King’s First Day at Ed Trust

    March 13, 2017 by

    For two decades Ed Trust staff and education advocates all over the country have been motivated by a guiding question: What would Kati do? #WWKD. But a few weeks ago, when the board announced that John B. King Jr. would be Kati’s successor, that question quickly shifted … What…

  • Why Closing Gaps in Graduation Rates Requires a Focus on Enrollment

    March 1, 2017 by

    If every college and university closed the gap that exists in graduation rates between Black and White students on their campuses, there would still be a gap nationwide. That’s because Black students aren’t as well represented as White students in the more selective colleges and universities that tend…

  • Academic Progress in Today’s World: What Students Need

    February 28, 2017 by

    As a first-grade teacher in Chicago, I believe that every brain should have the opportunity to learn. I am confident that my colleagues, my students, and their parents believe the same. When Congress passed the Every Student Succeeds Act with bipartisan support in 2015, I believed it would…