Civil Rights Groups Demand Accountability for Equity in Public Education

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Issue Recommendations to Gov. Leaders on Improving Accountability Systems

“Equal and equitable educational opportunity for each and every child in America is not happening under our current education and accountability system, which is leaving millions of low-income students and students of color behind,” said Marc H. Morial

Today eleven civil rights groups including Advancement Project, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), National Opportunity to Learn (OTL) Campaign, National Urban League (NUL), National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF), National Council on Educating Black Children (NCEBC), National Indian Education Association (NIEA) and Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC), released recommendations to President Obama, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Congressional and State Educational Leaders urging increased educational opportunity and equity for students of color through improvements to local, state and federal accountability systems.

“Equal and equitable educational opportunity for each and every child in America is not happening under our current education and accountability system, which is leaving millions of low-income students and students of color behind,” said Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League, speaking on behalf of the coalition. “We call on our nation’s leaders and elected officials to take targeted action to resolve these inequities for the sake of all children by closing the large racial achievement and opportunity gaps that still persist in too many schools and communities.”

It is the collective belief of the members of our coalition that, in its current form, our federal accountability system unfairly penalizes schools without accounting for their student population, location and institutional resources. It places tremendous burden on schools disproportionately serving low-income students and students of color, leaving them under-resourced and ill-prepared to provide a college and career ready education for those most in need. A successful accountability system must attend not only to the ultimate goal of equity in well-measured, relevant educational outcomes, but must also ensure that the tools and resources for educational success are distributed fairly and equitably.

“For our nation to thrive, our education system must produce outcomes that are equitable across student groups – outcomes that demonstrate that every student achieves to his or her highest potential,” stated Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF President and General Counsel. “Securing such an education system requires monitoring and accountability for both critical education inputs and well-measured outcomes.”

Among its recommendations, the group requests local, state and federal policymakers reframe accountability systems to require equitable distribution of resources to all schools, accelerate student learning based on multiple measures and assessments that evaluate deeper learning skills, and place shared responsibility on those who support the success of school systems.

Read the coalition’s full list of recommendations here.

Signees of the letter include: Advancement Project, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), National Opportunity to Learn (OTL) Campaign, National Urban League (NUL), National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF), National Council on Educating Black Children (NCEBC), National Indian Education Association (NIEA) and Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC).

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