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BBA 101 MOOC Session VII: An International Perspective on the Poverty-Education Connection

The notion that US public schools are mediocre, or even in “crisis,” has been fed in recent decades by comparisons of American students and their international peers, often using scores on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), or other tests. But are such comparisons of the “average student” useful, or even valid? What do they actually indicate? And how could we better assess what is working, what is not, and what is likely to help fix the latter, with respect to US public education? This BBA MOOC session tackles these important questions.

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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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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

Featured Advisory Board Member
Miriam Calderon

Miriam Calderon is a senior fellow with the BUILD Initiative and Senior Advisor for Early Learning for the Bainum Family Foundation.  In this capacity, she leads BUILD’s work related to dual-language learners, and directs the Bainum Family Foundation’s investment in early learning in the District of Columbia. Prior to this work, Miriam served as a political appointee in … 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
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
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