Paul Scully

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The Suburban Promise of Brown

Paul Scully

Paul Scully has over 20 years experience organizing with community organizations, lab or unions, and religious institutions. He spent four years with the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) in New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania and two years organizing in Washington, DC with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). He spent ten years as the founding director a successful regional organization in Northwest Indiana affiliated with the Gamaliel Foundation of Chicago.

Mr. Scully was a member of the senior staff of the Gamaliel Foundation from 1996 through 2001 where he dir ected organizing activities in Indiana and later throughout the northeast. As Gamaliel's East Coast Director, Mr. Scully helped establish successful regional organizations in Northern New Jersey, Central Connecticut, Long Island, and Baltimore. He also helped establish an organization in South Africa.

Since its founding in 2003, Mr. Scully served as Executive Director of the New Jersey Regional Coalition, (now Building One New Jersey) , a statewide organization celebrated for winning major victories around e ducation funding and fair housing reform. Before becoming the Executive Director, Scully served as Building One America's first Strategic Director overseeing all of its organizing and field operations.

Speaker Abstract

Support diverse schools and districts
The current policy debate around education tends to ignore the great strengths, opportunities, and huge social and fiscal challenges of these rapidly changing and important communities. Federal policies and programs can and should promote a path to school reform and narrowing the achievement gap that recognizes and leverages the realties of diverse middle class suburbs and school districts. 

Racially and economically integrated schools prepare children to be global citizens in our increasingly diverse metropolitan regions. Moreover, educational results for low­‐income children are clearly enhanced by mixed­‐income schools. On a metropolitan level, stable, racially integrated schools can reduce segregation and sprawl by removing the fuel for residential steering and white flight. Stable, racially integrated schools will, in most cases, also be economically balanced schools. Among the steps to promote racially and economically integrated schools are:

  • An explicit goal of regional housing policy should be to promote policies that will lead to low­‐income children attending low poverty schools and not increase school­‐based poverty concentration. New low­‐income housing development should be prioritized in neighborhoods with low poverty schools, and should be discouraged in neighborhoods with schools at or above 50% FARM rates.
  • Schools and school districts becoming more economically and racially diverse should be supported by federal policies that reward such programs. There should be increased federal financial incentives for schools to reward inter­‐district, economic integration programs that help communities and school districts meet the unique challenges that accompany more economically diverse and changing schools.
  • Federal non­‐formula and competitive grants and state aid to schools and school districts should be tied in part to a district’s economic diversity relative to its region and to its per pupil funding capacity. Schools that reflect the regional balance should be supported and rewarded to better incentivize diverse schools and to help stabilize schools before they become distressed and or reach a “tipping point.”