Corporate education reformers love to harp on the “education gap” between different racial groups as a cause for alarm, focusing on test scores and college graduation rates while blaming teachers for these outcomes. The Chicago Teachers Union, on the other hand, has been arguing that the issues our students and their families face at home and in the community greatly affects their academic outcomes.
Education in the U.S. is subject to huge disparities in opportunity (the “opportunity gap”): some groups of students have incredible experiences while a much larger group is subject to extremely limited in-school and life experiences. These educational opportunities are directly linked to students’ socioeconomic status, and what happens outside schools is more influential than what happens inside. Students’ neighborhoods, family situations, health, level of poverty and race all impact their school experiences and learning. A Just Chicago was published in 2015 as both PDF form and as a standalone website.