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Comprehensive Educational Opportunity Project

Overview

The Campaign for Educational Equity (CEE) believes that all children, whatever their family background, wherever they live, and whatever the current political and economic climate, are entitled to a meaningful opportunity to graduate from high school prepared for college success and/or competitive employment. We promote a comprehensive approach to educational opportunity that ensures all students the full spectrum of resources, services, and supports most critical for school success. CEE pursues systems change through a dynamic, interrelated program including research, legal analysis, policy development, and advocacy dedicated to developing the evidence, models and collaborations necessary to advance this agenda at the federal, state, and local levels.

The Comprehensive Educational 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.


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.


Legal Analysis

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.


Publications

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 Gap. Equity Matters: Research Review No. 6. New York: The Campaign for Educational Equity. 

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

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: The Campaign for Educational Equity.  


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: 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: 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: 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: Campaign for Educational Equity, Teachers College.