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.

  • 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…

  • College Signing Day, Academic-Style

    May 5, 2017 by

    Ed Trust President and CEO John B. King Jr. visited Charles Herbert Flowers High School in Maryland on Friday morning to celebrate #CollegeSigningDay, an opportunity for graduating seniors to announce their college decisions to schoolwide fanfare — much like NCAA athletes do for National Signing Day. The event, now in…

  • College Leaders Share Why Year-Round Pell Is Important for Their Students

    May 1, 2017 by

    UPDATED Today, we learned that Congress wants to restore year-round Pell grants in its plan to fund the government for the rest of this year. We’ve already talked about why we think year-round Pell is important. But we aren't the only ones. We asked college…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…