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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

September 22, 2020
Ashley LiBetti, Lynne Graziano, Jennifer O’Neal Schiess
COVID-19 has altered education as we know it, and no one school has found the perfect approach to distance learning. Every school struggles with the...
August 27, 2020
Kelly Robson, Juliet Squire, Indira Dammu
Over the last 25 years, the federal Charter Schools Program (CSP) has invested nearly $5.3 billion into the charter school sector, directing funds...
August 11, 2020
When EightCities.org first launched in 2018, it documented the stories of leaders in school systems across the country working to drive rapid...
August 6, 2020
Max Marchitello, Hailly T.N. Korman
The coronavirus pandemic will have a profound, lasting impact on students, particularly those who are already marginalized. This includes students in...
June 16, 2020
Lina Bankert, Jeff Schulz, Rochelle Dalton, Alison Fuller, Liz McNamee
Postsecondary education dramatically increases the likelihood of employment and economic success. But many young people, especially those furthest...

Op-Eds

October 1, 2020
The more than 7,000 youth in foster care in the Los Angeles Unified School District experience significant obstacles in receiving an uninterrupted,...
May 22, 2020
The city's many at-risk youth are in danger of being forgotten amid Nashville's budget crisis.
August 27, 2019
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 dedicated...

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...