Expanding Opportunity

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Center for Educational Equity

Expanding Opportunity: Comprehensive Strategies for Improving Education

Our Expanding Opportunity Project is an ongoing CEE program to foster change in the systems that produce and perpetuate poverty and educational inequities in the United States. It seeks to improve policies and practices to expand educational rights, particularly for children from low-income families, to ensure they receive the early childhood, expanded learning, health, family support, and academic opportunities necessary to succeed in school. Since 2007, we have been moving this important national agenda ahead. 

The current debate about education reform has stagnated around a false dichotomy between improving academics and providing additional out-of-school resources that students from low-income households often need to succeed in school. We reject this either/or approach. We know that most middle- and upper-class American children thrive academically because they enjoy the educational benefits of early childhood education, quality K-12 schooling, expanded learning opportunities in out-of-school time, health care, and family support. For children from low-income households, however, many of these critical educational resources are unavailable or inadequate. The result is dramatic gaps in academic achievement. 

Only a small percentage of disadvantaged students in the United States currently reap the benefits of comprehensive initiatives that seek to provide with the full range of resources that students need to succeed in school and in life. Major legal, political, financial, and organizational obstacles stand in the way of expanding these initiatives. The goal of the Comprehensive Educational Opportunity Project is to contribute to removing these obstacles, expanding these initiatives, and extending their benefits to many more students in New York and nationwide.

CEE executive director Michael A. Rebell has published a number of articles demonstrating a statutory and constitutional basis for a right to comprehensive educational opportunity. These articles argue that the implementation of the right to comprehensive educational opportunity, which is feasible even in tough economic times, is a constitutional responsibility of the executive and legislative branches, as well as the courts. 

Rebell, M.A. (2012). The Right to Comprehensive Educational Opportunity. Harvard Civil Rights--Civil Liberties Law Review, Harvard Law School. Vol. 47. No. 1.

Rebell, M. A. (2011).  Providing Comprehensive Educational Opportunity to Low-Income Students: A Legal Framework.  New York, NY: Campaign for Educational Equity.  Teachers College, Columbia University.

 

This project has already produced important and influential work, including major research reviews by national experts on the role of out-of-school factors in educational inequities for disadvantaged children. 

 

Basch, C.E. (2010). ‌ Healthier Students Are Better Learners: A Missing Link in Efforts to Close the Achievement GapEquity Matters: Research Review No. 6. New York: Center for Educational Equity (formerly Campaign for Educational Equity), Teachers College. 

Kagan, Sharon L. (2009). American Early Childhood: Preventing or Perpetuating Inequity?. Equity Matters: Research Review No. 3. New York: Center for Educational Equity (formerly Campaign for Educational Equity), Teachers College.  

Gardner, M., Roth, Jodie L., Brooks-Gunn, J. (2009). Can after-school programs help level the playing field for disadvantaged youth? Equity Matters: Research Review No. 4. New York: The Campaign for Educational Equity. 

Weiss, H.B, Bouffard, S.M., Bridgall, B.L., Gordon, E.W. (2009). Reframing Family Involvement in Education: Supporting Families to Support Educational Equity. Equity Matters: Research Review No. 5. New York: Center for Educational Equity (formerly Campaign for Educational Equity), Teachers College.  

 

In addition, CEE undertook five major research studies demonstrating that comprehensive educational opportunity was achievable and affordable. 

 

Rebell, M.A. (2012). The Right to Comprehensive Educational Opportunity. Harvard Civil Rights--Civil Liberties Law Review, Harvard Law School. Vol. 47. No. 1.

Rothstein, R., Wilder, T., & Allgood, W. (2011). Providing Comprehensive Educational Opportunity to Low-Income Students: How Much Does it Cost? New York, NY: Center for Educational Equity (formerly Campaign for Educational Equity), Teachers College.

Belfield, C., & Garcia, E. (2011). Providing Comprehensive Educational Opportunity to Low-Income Students: How Much Does New York City Now Spend on Children's Services? New York, NY: Center for Educational Equity (formerly Campaign for Educational Equity), Teachers College.

Belfield, C., Hollands, F., & Levin, H. (2011). Providing Comprehensive Educational Opportunity to Low-Income Students: What Are the Social and Economic Returns? New York, NY: Center for Educational Equity (formerly Campaign for Educational Equity), Teachers College.

Rebell, M.S. & Wolff, J.R. (2011). A Proposal for Essential Standards and Resources: A Report on the Task Force on Comprehensive Educational Opportunity. New York, NY: Center for Educational Equity (formerly Campaign for Educational Equity), Teachers College.