America’s public education system has long touted the promise of civic and economic opportunity. It is an institution that is meant to provide every individual, no matter their background or means, the knowledge, and skills they need to make their way in the world.
But, that just isn’t the case. Despite the immense talent and energy of practitioners, public intellectuals, administrators, teachers, and students in the classroom, our education system is falling behind globally. Every dollar we misdirect or disinvest from our education system fails another student by stretching already insufficient resources. Whether through inequality of funding, segregation, or the school to prison pipeline, large parts of America’s vast inequality, especially racial, bear root in our education system.
Roosevelters firmly believe the best possible education system is a robust public one equipped with resources, support, and the ability to meet the distinct needs of its students. At the core to achieving this is rethinking our funding methods so that they address rather than exacerbate disparities between high- and low-income communities, addressing the criminalization of students of color through the school to prison pipeline, overhauling how we fund pre-K through graduate education, and significantly decreasing the burden of student debt.
We need to reimagine our education system beyond the current options.
We believe in:
- Education as a tool for individuals to realize their full potential as civic, social, and economic actors
- Education as foundational to economic and social mobility
- Education that is both accessible and equitable in outcomes
- Education that identifies racial, residential, and economic inequalities and strives to address them
Some key organizations engaged in the fight include the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, IL PIRG, SEIU, Young Invincibles, United States Student Association and the Parent Teachers Association. To learn more about the issues here, we recommend NPR’s School Money: The cost of Opportunity.
Below, we outline Roosevelt’s core education issues and policy projects. A special thank you to the members of our Education Working group: Raaga Kalva, Sacha Heymann, Kristin Ho, Emil Kunkin, Beena Jacob, Nina Medermach, Margaret Sturtevant, Donna Imadi, Tarsi Dunlop, Jarred Bowman, and Jeanne Tilley.