by Kevin Schofield
Back in the 1990s, the state of Tennessee began a field experiment looking at the impact of class size in its elementary schools. Called Project STAR (Student-Teacher Achievement Ratio), it randomly assigned students to a certain teacher and classroom. It found, not surprisingly, that class size mattered a lot: Students in smaller classes did better (as measured by end-of-year test scores).
Continue reading Weekend Reads | The Impact of Black Teachers on Black Students
by M. Anthony Davis
At President Biden’s recent town hall, he was asked a direct question by a voter, who is currently in federal student loan debt, about Biden’s plans regarding the forgiveness of at least $50,000 in student loan debt. Biden gave a straightforward “no” in answer in a response in which he suggested the funds should be used to support early education instead, and he went on to describe his reluctance to assist Americans who have degrees from elite institutions. Biden did reiterate his commitment to free community college.
The student asked the president: “The American dream is to succeed — but how can we fulfill that dream when debt is many people’s only option for a degree?” This statement stands out to me. As a Black American, I know many graduates, who like myself, were forced to take on student loans in pursuit of a degree that would hopefully set us on a path toward building generational wealth for our families. But how will we succeed if we are stuck with insurmountable debt as a reward for our pursuit of a professional career?
Continue reading By Refusing to Forgive Student Debt, Biden Rejects a Tool to Help Black Americans
by Luna Reyna
Nine months into the coronavirus pandemic, Seattle students and their families are still confronting a disproportionately large divide in who can and cannot access technology and online learning, though the City and Seattle Public Schools (SPS) are launching an array of initiatives that could close the gap. According to the May 2020 Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) Survey, “at least 8,800 students still need adequate, reliable internet.” A July report published by sea.citi — a network of regional tech and innovation companies working to promote civic engagement and build relationships between community, government, and innovation workers — shows stark inequities among students without access. The most glaring inequity in the report is that almost half of all Black residents in Washington have a barrier to accessing reliable internet. Economic barriers are cited as the most prevalent in households without the internet, making Black students in the state five times more likely to not have access.
Continue reading Seattle Public Schools Works Toward Educational Justice and Digital Equity During the Pandemic
by Ramone Johnson
My name is Ramone Johnson and I’m 17 years old. I’m from Illinois originally, and ever since I’ve been to school out here in Washington, any situation in school has been blasted way out of proportion. I want to share my experience to help students and teachers understand each other and learn to value every student and make schools a better environment for everyone.
I started recognizing I was being treated differently as one of the only Black kids in my Seattle middle school. The school administration and security guards came as hard as they possibly could towards me. If I called out the way they were treating me differently than other students, they would call me disruptive and send me out of the classroom. It’s like they wanted to prove a point when I refused to adapt to their environment. I watched them give some students extra time to finish assignments, and they wouldn’t do the same for me. What made him better than me? We were both students that needed help. Instead, they’d treat me like a terrorist. They’d have the cop and school security guard following me around all day and blame me for things I didn’t do.
Continue reading OPINION: What Teachers Should Know About the Experience of Being a Black Student in Seattle Public Schools