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MOOC Session IV: Funding Inequities Compound the Impacts of Student Poverty

As the materials in Session III documented, children begin school at very different levels of readiness, and disparities in their families’ and communities’ resources to support them further widen those gaps. One critical component of those resources is schools themselves. The unique US system, which relies heavily on local property taxes to fund schools, is a key driver of within-school inequities that cause our education system to compound, rather than compensate for, early gaps with which children enter kindergarten.

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Blog Post

Student Poverty isn’t an Excuse, It’s a Barrier

The four co-chairs of the Broader, Bolder Approach to Education -- Helen Ladd, Pedro Noguera, Paul Reville, and Joshua Starr -- write for EdWeek about why this is BBA's ed policy moment. Increasingly widespread recognition that poverty is not an excuse, but a serious barrier to student and school success, is a first, and important step. And the passage of ESSA may make future steps easier. But if we are to build on those, and on growing momentum for investments in early childhood education, wraparound services, and systems to develop and support educators, we must seize this moment, not blow it!

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Case Study

Vancouver Public Schools (Vancouver, WA)

In 2008, as an outgrowth of the district’s strategic planning process,2 VPS developed a proactive, community-schools approach to turning around poverty-impacted sites: Family-Community Resource Centers (FCRCs). That strategy has proved to build school assets, strengthen neighborhoods, and increase student success.

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Key Resources

BBA Policy Statement (full version)

BBA Policy Statement (bullet-point version)

BBA Relaunch Press Release

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Case Studies

Northside Achievement Zone (North Minneapolis, MN)

Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ) was formed in 2010 as an outgrowth of the PEACE Foundation, an organization committed to ending intergenerational poverty in North Minneapolis. After winning a federal Promise Neighborhood implementation grant in 2012, NAZ was able to significantly expand both its services and its scope, partnering with many local non-profits and increasing its prior goal of serving approximately 150 students to 2500 by the end of 2016. Inspired by the Harlem Children's Zone, the program's three main goals are: engaging parents to strengthen their ability to support their children's achievement, improving schools and the education experience through a continuum of services, and providing whole family wrap-around support to stabilize families and households and remove barriers to learning.

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BBA Policy Areas

Out-of-School Experiences

Establishing an even educational playing field so that all children enter kindergarten prepared to learn and thrive requires supports for children, their parents, and their caregivers from birth. And ensuring equal opportunities to learn requires support for children’s physical and mental health. A Broader, Bolder Approach to Education advances enriching experiences with nurturing, knowledgeable adults throughout the day and all year, in order to promote children’s strong cognitive, social, emotional, and behavioral development.


Early Childhood Education

Afterschool and Summer Activities

Physical and Mental Health


In-School Experiences

Schools and educators serving students with higher needs need the resources to do so effectively. A Broader, Bolder Approach to Education advances policies that establish strong standards and curriculum in all schools and ensure sufficient funding for high-needs schools to reach them. BBA promotes supports-based accountability systems focused on improving instruction and strategies to desegregate schools and deconcentrate poverty within them, so that educators and students have a strong context in which to teach and learn.


Equitable Funding

Holistic, Supports-Based Accountability Systems

Teacher and Principal Quality

Accountability for Charter Schools

School-Community Connections

Effective, sustainable school improvement efforts merge research-based evidence of effective ways to mitigate the impacts of poverty with community input regarding the district’s unique assets and needs. A Broader, Bolder Approach highlights the need for key community voices – including educators, parents, students, and faith and business leaders – to be at the center of developing and implementing education reforms.


Addressing Race, Segregation, and Concentrated Poverty

Using Community Input to Inform School Improvement

BBA's Mission

The impacts of poverty on students’ ability to learn effectively – from lack of readiness for kindergarten to health-related impediments to focusing in class and disproportionate placement in segregated and under-resourced schools – are increasingly understood. The Broader, Bolder Approach to Education advances a comprehensive, research-based policy agenda to mitigate those impacts and, thus, even the education playing field so that all US children have a true opportunity to thrive in school and life. Learn more about BBA

Featured Resources
Mission Statement
Executive Summary
Original BBA Mission Statement

BBA's Leadership

Kevin Welner with the University of Colorado Boulder. (Photo by Glenn Asakawa/University of Colorado)

Featured Advisory Board Member
Kevin Welner

Kevin Welner is a professor at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, specializing in educational policy. He is director of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC), housed at CU Boulder. He has authored or edited 10 books and more than 100 articles and book chapters, including 2016’s law school casebook, Education and the … Continued



Helen Ladd
Susan B. King Professor of Public Policy, Duke University


Pedro Noguera
Distinguished Professor of Education and Director, Center for the Study of School Transformation, UCLA

Paul Reville (medium)

Paul Reville
Francis Keppel Professor of Practice of Educational Policy and Administration and founding director, Education Redesign Lab


Joshua Starr
CEO Phi Delta Kappa International

National Coordinator

elaine-weiss-portrait 12_15

Elaine Weiss
National Coordinator

Elaine Weiss is the National Coordinator for the Broader Bolder Approach to Education, where she works with four co-chairs, a high-level Advisory Board, and multiple coalition partners to promote a comprehensive, evidence-based set of policies to allow all children to thrive in school and life.  Major publications for BBA include case studies of diverse communities across the … Continued