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2014 WPS Briefing Materials
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2014 WPS

The Challenges of Ensuring Education Equity and Excellence

LSS April 2014


NOTE: For 2015 WPS, please click here.

In preparation for the 
Washington Policy Seminar (WPS), we want you to have an opportunity to dig deeper into the equity conversation at the national level as well as seven complex education issues – the resolution of which will help to close opportunity gaps and have a positive impact on educational outcomes for all children-- that will be discussed in small group concurrent conversations. View the WPS agenda.

We hope that you will review the briefing materials below, collect your thinking – and, perhaps, generate some questions you want answered.
The briefing materials are divided into two sections:


2014 WPS Plenary Sessions

Nation Falls Short on Equity, Data Show

Michele McNeil and Evie BladEdWeek

According to a recent civil rights data study published by the Department of Education, there continues to be persistent and widespread disparities among disadvantaged students from Pre-K to High School. This informative article highlights these troubling statistics and trends within the education system. To read the article and other Edweek articles, please click here. 

Ten Steps to Equity in Education
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development     

This Policy Brief looks at how to improve equity in education in three key policy domains: the design of education systems, practices both in and out of school, and resourcing. It proposes ten steps which would help reduce school failure and dropout rates, make society fairer and help avoid the large social costs of marginalized adults with few basic skills.Learn more at:

The World's Youth 2013 Data Sheet
Population Reference Bureau 

Girls and boys in developing countries are enrolling in secondary school in greater numbers than ever before, giving them knowledge and skills for healthy, productive lives. While this is good news, many young people still face challenges to employment, and they must also navigate serious risks to their health, such as smoking, early marriage and childbearing, or having unprotected sex.  The
World's Youth 2013 Data Sheet provides a comprehensive portrait of the well-being of youth ages 10 to 24 across the globe, including such indicators as the current and projected size of youth populations, educational enrollments, labor force participation, marriage and fertility, and health risks and behaviors.

KIDS COUNT Data Center
Annie E. Casey Foundation 

A project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, KIDS COUNT is the premier source for data on child and family well-being in the United States. Access hundreds of indicators, download data and create reports and graphics on the KIDS COUNT Data Center to support smart decisions about children and families in your state, district or community. to browse the KID COUNT data center, please click 


Policy Actions and Leadership 
United States Department of Education

The President has proposed a new initiative, Race to The Top-Equity and Opportunity
, saying, "Opportunity is who we are. And the defining project of our generation is to restore that promise.”  President Barack Obama, January 28, 2014.   This initiative would create incentives for states and districts to drive comprehensive change in identifying and closing opportunity and achievement gaps.


Partisan Split on Common Core Evident in Congress

Alyson Klein, EdWeek 

A spate of Republican-sponsored legislation on Capitol Hill makes clear that the partisan edge to criticism of the common-core academic standards isn't restricted to state legislatures. To visit this article and many others that dealt with common core, please click here.


Warriors for Equity: An Argument for Distributing Leadership

Larry Leverett, The Laboratory for Student Success   

Equity warriors . . . passionately lead and embrace the mission of high levels of achievement for all students, regardless of race, social class, ethnicity, culture, disability or language proficiency and often act outside their formally assigned roles. To learn more about advancing educational equity and school leadership, please view the article here.

Helping Low-Income Children Succeed
Nancy Folbre, New York Times

"Diverging incomes among families lead to diverging destinies among children, undermining the promise of equal opportunity. Economic research helps explain why this happening and what we could do about it. So contend Greg J. Duncan and [Professor] Richard J. Murnane in Restoring Opportunity: The Crisis of Inequality and the Challenge for American Education." Learn more:

Education in the Flat World: Implications of Globalization on Education
Yong Zhao, Presidential Chair,  College of Education, University of Oregon

Yong Zhao discusses the newest push for educational reform and the impact globalization. In this article, Dr. Zhao highlights No Child Left Behind Act and how it is a crutch to our standing as a nation in our highly globalized world. Implications of globalization on the US educational system, key strategies, and solutions our discussed in this informative article. To read more please click here. 


Five Questions to Ask about the Common Core
Yong Zhao, Zhao Learning

If you are reading this, you know the world didn’t end in 2012. But the world of American education may end in 2014, when the Common Core is scheduled to march into thousands of schools in the United States and end a "chaotic, fragmented, unequal, obsolete, and failing” system that has accompanied the rise of a nation with the largest economy, most scientific discoveries and technological inventions, best universities, and largest collection of Nobel laureates in the world today. See more from Yong Zhao at

Set High Expectations for All Students
Freeman Hrabowski, President, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Hrabowski participated in Martin Luther King Jr.’s "Children’s Crusade.” He marched and was arrested in support of his right to a good education. As he waited in the prison, at 12 years old, Dr. King came over and said to them, "What you children do this day will impact children not yet born.” The lesson Hrabowski learned? "Children can be empowered to take ownership of their education.” Read about Hrabowski’s leadership at UMBC; Watch his Ted talk here.

 If you are interested in more sources and small group discussions, please click here.


2014 Washington Policy Seminar (WPS)
Concurrent Conversation Briefing Materials


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