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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

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...
June 12, 2020
Hailly T.N. Korman, Michael Johnson, Max Marchitello
The recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other Black people, often by law enforcement, have added momentum...
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...

Op-Eds

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...
August 17, 2016
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...