Education: Closing the Achievement Gap
On December 14, 2009, Congressman Bobby Scott convened a summit to discuss the legal and legislative alternatives to eliminate the achievement gap. Below are background information and a link to video coverage by C-SPAN of the summit.
Panel 1: The Past: Establishing a Foundation
This panel will address the following questions:What are the legal precedents set in Brown v Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954) (ending racial segregation in public schools), PARC v. State of Pennsylvania, 343 F.Supp. 279 (E.D. Pa. 1972) (requiring free and appropriate education of children with disabilities) and Mills v. Board of Education of the District of Columbia, 348 F.Supp. 866 (D.D.C. 1972) (requiring free and appropriate education of children with disabilities)? Can these precedents be applied to a consistent and acknowledged pattern of under-educating low-income and minority students?Does the very existence of an achievement gap demonstrate that low-income and minority children have been deprived of equal educational opportunities in violation of the U.S. Constitution?
Nancy Jones, Legislative Attorney, American Law Division, Congressional Research Service
Katherine Beh Neas, Vice President, Government Relations, Easter Seals
Kathleen Boundy, Co-Director, Center for Law and Education
John Brittain, Visiting Professor of Law, The University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law
Tanya Clay House, Public Policy Director, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Veronica Rivera, Legislative Staff Attorney, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
J. Robert Carr, Executive Director, National Bar Association
Cynthia Robbins, Co-Founder, Racial Justice Initiative, TimeBanks USA
Panel 2: The Present: Demonstrating the Achievement Gap
This panel will address the following questions: What is the current status of educational achievement by socio-economic, racial and ethnic status? What are the short- and long-term disadvantages inflicted onlow-income and minority students who are victims of the achievement gap?
- Hilary O. Shelton, Director, NAACP Washington Bureau
- John Payton, President and Director-Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
- David J. Goldberg, Senior Counsel and Senior Policy Analyst, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights
- Marian Wright Edelman, President, Children's Defense Fund
- Russlynn H. Ali, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education
Panel 3: The Future: Where We Go From Here
This panel will address the following questions: Is it possible to eliminate the achievement gap? Are there cost-effective alternatives to present government policies that would result in the elimination, or at least a significant reduction, of the achievement gap? How do we determine when the achievement gap has been closed: academic achievement; high school graduation; college entrance; something else? What type of legislation do we need to pass to shape a country in which all children receive a quality education and there is no longer an achievement gap based on economic status, race or ethnicity?
- Roberto Rodríguez, Special Assistant to the President for Education, White House Domestic Policy Counsel
- Governor Bob Wise, President, Alliance for Excellent Education
- Dr. LaRuth Gray, Government Relations and Legislative Liaison, National Alliance of Black School Educators and Scholar in Residence, New York University
- Delia Pompa, Vice President for Education, National Council of La Raza
- Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond, Member of the Board of Directors, National Council on Educating Black Children and Professor, Stanford University School of Education
- Rorng Sorn, Executive Director, Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia
- Dr. Carol Brunson Day, President, National Black Child Development Institute
- Lillian Sparks, Executive Director, National Indian Education Association
- Lily Eskelsen, Vice President, National Education Association
- Sharon Lewis, Senior Disability Policy Advisor, U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor
- Amy Wilkins, Principal Partner, The Education Trust
- Dan Cardinali, President, Communities in Schools
Additional Background Info