At the Raikes Foundation, we believe that all young people should have access to rich, supportive and challenging educational experiences that affirm who they are and prepare them to thrive as adults in family, community and career.
While we’ve made progress as a country in raising high school graduation rates, race and class remain the most reliable predictors of students’ educational outcomes at a time when our school system and our nation are becoming more diverse. In fact, the post-secondary completion gaps by race and income have increased over the last several decades.
Why? The education system we have today is a relic of another era. It was designed to provide the quality educational experience every young person needs to only a privileged few, sorting and tracking young people on the basis of their sex, their race and their family’s income. And while that system is no longer overt, its legacy remains. So how do we create an education system that serves all young people well? Results over the past two decades show us that we can’t address educational disparities simply by increasing rigor and focusing on teacher quality. Standards are important but they don’t address how and why children learn and the environments that help them thrive.
The science of learning and development is showing us the way. Many of the lessons this research teaches us reinforces what we learn when we listen to the voices of underserved students and their families and the educators who work with them. It is time to reimagine an education system that is responsive to the needs and experiences of all young people, particularly students of color and those from low-income backgrounds. Investing in an equitable education system is one of the most important contributions we can make to help create a more just and economically viable society.more » « less