Children in poor families and children of color often begin school behind their peers as they are more likely to lack access to high quality early development and learning opportunities. Recent data shows the majority of public school students cannot read or compute at grade level, and poor and low-income children and children of color are particularly behind. Hostile school environments and exclusionary discipline policies disproportionately deny children of color and children with disabilities opportunity for success and contribute to their risk of entering the school-to-prison pipeline. Children who are homeless, in foster care or returning from juvenile detention also often are educationally disadvantaged and more at risk of falling behind and dropping out of school.
We must work to eliminate discriminatory education practices and the inequitable distribution of resources that undermine equal education opportunities for students, especially poor and low income students, children of color, children with disabilities, English language learners, and children who are homeless, those who are in foster care and those returning from juvenile detention. Steps are needed to ensure progress in reducing the achievement gap and building support within school districts and schools so children have access to resources, including experienced teachers, a diverse teacher pipeline, and high quality programing they need to succeed. Special efforts are needed in school districts and schools to rectify discriminatory discipline, enhance school climate and promote educational success for every child. New resources also are needed to improve summer and after-school reading enrichment for children to curb summer learning loss and help close achievement gaps.
To help each child reach his/her full potential and succeed in work and life, we need to ensure our schools have adequate resources to provide high quality education to every child.