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Urban Education

By Elizabeth Cryan Photography with permission from Donnell-Kay Foundation at Rocky Mountain Prep school

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Urban centers are home to many low-income children and children of color who are underserved by the existing education system. These students routinely lag their white, suburban peers on state and national assessments, as well as in long-term outcomes like completing high school and graduating from college. As a result, urban education is at the center of many conversations in education policy and reform.

Each team at Bellwether works extensively in urban education, helping to shape these conversations. Through rigorous analysis and thoughtful community and stakeholder engagement, our Strategic Advising team helps districts, charter management organizations, and others develop strategic plans to deepen and extend their impact. We also partner with city-based intermediaries and collective impact efforts to bring together stakeholders to improve outcomes for children in their communities. And our Policy and Evaluation team provides deep and nuanced analysis of many issues in urban education — from governance structures, to facilities and transportation, to the challenges and opportunities of school choice at scale.

The content below reflects our work on this issue:

Publications

May 14, 2020
Tresha Francis Ward, Stephanie Spangler
In April, we released a four-phase strategic planning tool to support the COVID-19 education response, providing a framework for leaders responding...
April 7, 2020
Tresha Ward, Stephanie Spangler, Katie Rouse, Eleisha Nelson-Reed
The past few weeks have been uniquely challenging for education and nonprofit leaders across the country as they navigate the unfolding coronavirus...
October 22, 2019
Bonnie O’Keefe, Brandon Lewis, Jennifer O’Neal Schiess, Jason Weeby
In the past decade, school performance frameworks (SPFs) have become an increasingly popular way for school districts to measure and communicate...
October 11, 2019
Bonnie O’Keefe, Brandon Lewis, Jennifer O’Neal Schiess
SchoolPerformanceFrameworks.org is a new website from Bellwether Education Partners designed to help local education leaders design, use, and sustain...
July 23, 2019
Phillip Burgoyne-Allen, Katrina Boone, Juliet Squire , Jennifer O’Neal Schiess
Every day, America’s fleet of roughly 480,000 school buses transports about a third of students to and from school. This fleet is more than twice the...

Op-Eds

May 22, 2020
Tennessean--The city's many at-risk youth are in danger of being forgotten amid Nashville's budget crisis.
August 27, 2019
Next City -- For the past 20 years, only about 10% of students walked or biked to school. Back in 1969, that number was over 40%. We make a case for...
August 17, 2016
American Enterprise Institute -- School suspensions don't address the root cause of misbehavior.

Blog Posts

May 9, 2019
Bonnie O'Keefe
In February, Bellwether published “An Uneven Path: Student Achievement in Boston Public Schools 2007-2017.” Boston was in the midst of a...
March 4, 2019
Chad Aldeman
My colleagues Bonnie O’Keefe, Melissa Steel King, and I have a new report out this week looking at recent educational trends in Boston...
November 12, 2018
Bonnie O'Keefe
In many cities across the country, school application and enrollment processes are built like high-stakes obstacle courses, where families...