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MOOC Session V: Race and Concentrated Poverty

While individual student poverty poses distinct barriers to academic success, children of minority ethnic and racial status face even tougher odds, especially those growing up in concentrated poverty. This session explores the connections between race and these life contexts, and their impacts on educational achievement and attainment.

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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 Studies

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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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

Martin Blank Photo 2014

Featured Advisory Board Member
Martin J. Blank

Martin J. Blank has been IEL’s president since 2009. He leads IEL in its mission to equip leaders to work together across boundaries to build effective systems that prepare children and youth for college, careers, and citizenship. Marty has been associated with IEL since 1985, focusing his work on building bridges between schools and other … 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