We recently released a report that looked at nine indicators to measure educational improvement and opportunity in 50 cities across America. Despite a few bright spots, the results paint a sobering picture of the state of urban public education today, especially for students from low-income households and students of color.
With few exceptions, students eligible for free and reduced-price lunch and students of color in the 50 cities were less likely than more advantaged students to enroll in a high-scoring elementary and middle school, take advanced math classes in high school, and sit for the ACT/SAT. Equally important, the odds of a student being in a supercharged school where these education gaps might be wiped out were slim: overall, only about 8 percent of all students in the 50 cities enrolled in a school that “beat the odds” and outpaced demographically similar schools statewide. How can city leaders address these problems? Although the report can’t provide any answers, it offers some clues.