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ERIC Number: ED539607
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jan
Pages: 49
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
The Same Starting Line: How School Boards Can Erase the Opportunity Gap between Poor and Middle-Class Children
Darden, Edwin
This project focuses on the policies and practices of school boards (or mayors or others who govern public schools), and how their priorities can make a tangible difference in the academic success of kids living in poor communities. Instead of focusing on deficits of poverty, the researchers wanted to stress school board action as an effective supplement that can give all students an equal opportunity to succeed. That led them to examine learning-related education resources (aside from direct dollars) and how they are distributed by neighborhood. Appleseed's "The Same Starting Line" report invites school board members, educators, communities and policymakers to shift the conversation about public schools from what kids lack to what schools and school boards, superintendents and other key decision-makers must provide. Constant talk of an achievement gap emphasizes standardized test results as the premiere measure of academic prowess and future potential. It also invokes class differences. Poverty is frequently cited as the central reason for test score disparities. Experts attest that children from economically struggling homes arrive at school with a smaller vocabulary, fewer world-expanding experiences, less math and science away from school, and an unfortunate environment where survival sometimes trumps high educational ambitions. The researchers thus recommend ways to spot differences between educational offerings in middle-class and high-poverty neighborhoods and discuss how that awareness can help reverse the discernable pattern in which decent schools are located in well-off areas and a lesser education awaits students in poverty. Appended are: (1) Methodology and Scope of Work Profiles of Districts in the Appleseed Study; and (2) Basic Resource Equity Assessment Document. (Contains 8 figures and 38 endnotes.) [This paper was written with assistance from Craig Baab, Vaughn Branch, John Pickens, Jesse Abrams-Morley, Malcolm Rich, Michael C. D'Agostino, Claire Howard, Robert Kettle, Sharon Hill, Rob Rhodes, Adam Sparks, Adrian Pedroza, Jennifer Ramo, and Javier Martinez Villanueva.]
Appleseed. 727 15th Street NW 11th Floor, Washington, DC 20005. Tel: 202-347-7960; Fax: 202-347-7961; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Community; Teachers; Administrators; Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
Authoring Institution: Appleseed
Identifiers - Location: Alabama; California; Connecticut; Georgia; Illinois; New Mexico; Ohio