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“Sharing the Wealth:” Dean Brittain Co-Authors Policy Report on Interdistrict School Planning

Monday, March 11, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: UDC Law Staff
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Panelists seated before audience
From left: Peter Cookson, Jr. (moderator), John Brittain, Richard Kahlenberg, Mohammed Choudhury, and Judith Johnson. Courtesy of the Learning Policy Institute.

On Thursday, Feb. 28, the Learning Policy Institute (LPI) released a groundbreaking new report co-authored by UDC Law Professor and Acting Dean John C. Brittain. The policy report, titled Sharing the Wealth: How Regional Finance and Desegregation Plans Can Enhance Educational Equity, highlights the urgent need for local school districts to engage in cooperative interdistrict financing and desegregation planning to increase educational and racial equity in the American public school system. Dean Brittain co-authored the report with LPI staff Larkin Willis and Peter W. Cookson, Jr.

The Learning Policy Institute unveiled the report at a policy forum on Thursday, Bridging the Divide: School Integration Designs. Dean Brittain, along with his co-authors, presented the report’s hard-hitting findings in a lively panel discussion at the Thursday event. The afternoon panel brought together leading experts in educational equity to discuss the report in front of a live audience at the Carnegie Endowment Conference Center. Dean Brittain shared the stage with Richard Kahlenberg, Senior Fellow at the Century Foundation; Mohammed Choudhury, Chief Innovation Officer at the San Antonio Independent School District; and Judith Johnson, a current member of the New York State Board of Regents.

“Because segregation is more prevalent across districts than within districts, the most effective approaches for school diversity and equity cross district boundaries,” said Dean Brittain, in a press release announcing the report launch. “Roadblocks will be inevitable, so for these efforts to succeed, policymakers must make an authentic commitment to implementing interdistrict desegregation plans. They must be persistent and practice ongoing problem solving.”

Dean Brittain speaking
John Brittain. Courtesy of the Learning Policy Institute.

The LPI report examines the academic social outcomes of interdistrict desegregation designs in Boston, Hartford, and Omaha as models of innovative interdistrict funding strategies and interventions that promote equity, quality, and access across both urban and suburban school districts. Dean Brittain and his co-authors advance key recommendations for policymakers negotiating comprehensive regional plans, including regional magnet school programs, interdistrict school choice, and robust data monitoring and evaluation.

Dean Brittain is a nationally recognized civil rights professor and litigator with decades-long experience in education law. He is co-counsel in an ongoing federal court challenge to secure comparable and competitive opportunities for Maryland’s historically black institutions of higher learning – Morgan, Coppin, Bowie, and Maryland Eastern Shore Universities. Dean Brittain has litigated consequential cases on issues of educational equity spanning both federal and state courts. He served with the original counsel team in the landmark school desegregation case Sheff v. O’Neill, decided by the Connecticut Supreme Court in 1996, and has participated in filing nearly a dozen briefs in U.S. Supreme Court cases.


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