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From an education perspective, 2014's State of the Union address was just more of the same.

When it comes to early childhood education, President Obama said, "As Congress decides what it's going to do, I'm going to pull together a coalition of elected officials, business leaders, and philanthropists willing to help more kids access the high-quality pre-K they need." In regards to keeping young men of color on track he said, "I'm reaching out to some of America's leading foundations and corporations on a new initiative to help more young men of color facing tough odds stay on track and reach their full potential."

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The Only Black Kid in Class? Here's Why it Happens

"I don't even see you as black." That's number 10 on Buzzfeed's incredible list of "27 Things You Had to Deal With as the Only Black Kid in Your...


"I don't even see you as black." That's number 10 on Buzzfeed's incredible list of "27 Things You Had to Deal With as the Only Black Kid in Your Class," a list that's struck such a nerve across social media that Boston Globe political reporter Wesley Lowery tweeted about the reaction, "Buzzfeed has just won black Twitter."

Indeed, prominent political analyst and writer Zerlina Maxwell retweeted the list, adding the note, "THIS IS MY LIFE." And all across social media, black folks are commenting, "my biography," "story of my life," and "legit, my whole K-12 experience."

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Is School Segregation Still Legal? Chicago Teens Reflect on Their Racial Isolation

40 percent of Latino and 70 percent of black students in Chicago area attend extremely segregated schools.


Legal school segregation ended back in 1954 with the Supreme Court's landmark Brown v. Board of Education case, but for most students across the nation, racial isolation is still the norm. Nationally, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, 52 percent of black students and 58 percent of Latino students attend schools where 75 percent or more of students are minorities. In Chicago, the most segregated city in the nation, the schools reflect the stark racial division.

Indeed, 40 percent of Latino and 70 percent of black students in Chicago attend extremely segregated schools and the level of segregation is actually on the rise. WBEZ's Race: Out Loud series talked to graduates of the class of 2012 about what it's like to attend highly segregated schools. Their observations are a sad reflection on how much work there still is to do when it comes to desegregating schools and integrating our society.

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A 13-Year-Old's Slavery Analogy Raises Some Uncomfortable Truths in School

13-year-old Jada Williams' essay compared Douglass' story about being kept from reading with her experience in a struggling school.

In a bold comparative analysis of The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Jada Williams, a 13-year old eighth grader at School #3 in Rochester, New York, asserted that in her experience, today's education system is a modern-day version of slavery. According to the Fredrick Douglass Foundation of New York, the schools' teachers and administrators were so offended by Williams' essay that they began a campaign of harassmentkicking her out of class and trying to suspend her—that ultimately forced her parents to withdraw her from the school.

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A City Education: Why Adults Must Model Racial Unity for Students

"Mister, why do you hang out with him?" a Latino seventh-grader student asked my teammate Ricky at lunch.


In our A City Education series, two City Year corps members share their experiences working as tutors and mentors in schools in hopes of closing the achievement gap and ending the dropout crisis.

"Mister, why do you hang out with him?" a Latino seventh-grader student asked my teammate Ricky at lunch.

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KIPP's Graduation Rate Stats Spark Charter School Debate

Data from the charter school network shows a higher college graduation rate than for students attending regular public schools.


The debate over charter school effectiveness roars on thanks to new data from national charter network, KIPP. On Thursday they released a report showing that of the 209 students who attended the first two KIPP schools in New York and Houston 10 years ago, only 33 percent have gone on to earn a college degree. The results are way below KIPP's ambitious goal of 75 percent of students graduating from college, but the national college graduation average for students from predominantly low-income black and Latino student schools is a mere 8.3 percent. And, in the general population, only 30.6 percent of Americans between the ages of 25 to 29 have earned a college degree. By comparison, KIPP's first class has done great. But, does this mean that all charter schools—or all 99 KIPP schools nationwide—are high performing, and regular public schools should be converted to charters? Not exactly.

Every charter is different, but there are some commonalities. Many have cohesive school cultures around student achievement and work to invest and motivate the entire student body around academic goals. They also usually have much longer school days—KIPP students attend from 7:30 a.m to 5:00 p.m. and have mandatory Saturday classes. Charters often require that teachers be available to kids after hours. KIPP teachers are required to carry a cell phone, give the number to students, and be available till late in the evening for student and parent questions. And, most charter school teachers aren't unionized. Principals have the power to hire who they want instead of just being assigned a teacher by the school district, and they can fire a teacher immediately for any reason.

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