Tag Archives: The 74

DC Public Schools Increased College Enrollment Rates in Five Years. Here’s How.

Between 2013 and 2018, DC Public Schools (DCPS) went from only 41% of its high school graduates enrolling in college to 55%. How was the district able to cross the threshold to help more than half of graduates enroll in college, and what can other districts learn from the strategies they implemented?

Kaya Henderson, Chancellor of DCPS from 2010-2016, believed deeply in the importance of supporting K-12 students on their path to postsecondary success. She decided the district needed to take a more active role in crafting the vision for postsecondary advising and connecting the efforts of the many college access organizations (CAOs) operating in the district.

As my colleague Lina Bankert writes in The 74 this week:

The district started by creating a small central team, with just two dedicated staffers who set districtwide aspirations for postsecondary success. Over time, the district created a school-based college and career coordinator position to work in tandem with the central team. The people in this role were charged with coordinating with the nearly 70 college access and success third-party programs that operate across the city. Their goal was to ensure that resources at the school level — counselors, afterschool programs and more — were coordinating well and not duplicating efforts. Importantly, this initiative started as a resource-limited, grant-funded pilot at three of the highest-need schools and was later expanded across district high schools, and then moved into the district’s budget based on its success.

Cover of "Equitable Postsecondary Advising Systems Expanding access to help close the degree divide" tip sheet for districts, by Bellwether Education Partners June 2020

DCPS is a great example of what can happen when a school district prioritizes postsecondary advising and takes an active role in ensuring students have the support they need. We profiled DCPS and many other districts, college access organizations (CAOs), and intermediary organizations in our latest report on postsecondary advising

Read the full report here or check out one of our simple summaries for funders, CAOs, or districts.

Media: “What the Coronavirus Can Teach Us About Empathy and Equity in Schools” in Education Post

We’re learning a whole lot of lessons in this public health crisis, but there are some overlooked things to learn about empathy and equity. I wrote a bit about them for Education Post:

The widespread disruptions to our country’s entire education system are a momentary step into the shoes of students who have lived fragile lives for a long time. The difference is that many of us will eventually be able to step out of those shoes and into a world that will plan for and accommodate this big disruption.

Check out the piece for the two empathy “switches” you can flip to turn that feeling into action.

Media: “Why America’s Schools Should Stay Open This Summer” in The 74

Let’s cancel summer!

This bums me out as a summer lover, but it makes sense for a bunch of reasons, namely education, equity, economy, and politics. Read more in my piece over at The 74:

But the unavoidable fact is that school leaders have two choices. One is to essentially throw up our hands and say the novel coronavirus is just an act of God — what can you do? Let’s just muddle through. The other is to say that, yes, this is an unprecedented and remarkable situation in modern American education, but despite that, schools are going to live up to the warranties they make to students.

My hunch is no one wants to think about this now, but it will be a big issue in a month or so. Do you think our national adventure in home schooling should extend through the summer?

Media: “Question for the Democratic Presidential Hopefuls — Why Are Government-Funded Nonprofits Fine for Pre-K but Not for K-12?” in The 74

Why do Bernie Sanders and some of his primary rivals think it’s good for government to fund community-based, nonprofit organizations to educate two-year-olds but suddenly an enormous problem when children turn five and start kindergarten?

Read my op-ed in The 74. 

Media: “Polling Expert and Former WH Aide Greg Schneiders on Where Education Advocates Must Do Better — and What You Didn’t Know About Carter’s Time in Office” in The 74

I interviewed longtime D.C. hand Greg Schneiders about public opinion research:

You’ve had an eclectic career — before working at the White House for Jimmy Carter, you owned a bar. What did being a bar owner teach you about thinking about politics and public opinion?

Owning a bar teaches you about business. Tending bar teaches you about people — who they are, what they believe or feel, and why. To be a good bartender, you have to be a good listener, which involves the same skill set as being a good opinion researcher. Nearly everyone — in a bar or in a poll — wants to tell you what they think and how they feel. And they want you to listen and respect their opinions and their feelings.

Few people come to a bar to hear the bartender’s opinion. They come to share their opinions and feelings about politics, the economy, education, culture, political correctness, sex, family, sports, the weather. A bad bartender will decide that the loudmouth at the end of the bar doesn’t know what he’s talking about and will argue with or, more likely, ignore him. The good bartender will realize that it doesn’t matter if the loudmouth knows what he’s talking about — the point is that it is what he believes, whether it is true or not.

You can read the entire thing at The 74.