Jan 22 12:00 PM

Discussion: How can we address inequalities in American schools?

Rogelio V. Solis/AP

In this week’s special series, America Tonight is taking an in-depth look at how American children are getting schooled.

Though the stories cover a range of issues, many of them reveal troubling inequalities and hurdles that make it harder for students to get a quality education. On Monday, Soledad O’Brien explored how some parents in lower-income school districts are risking jail in order to send their children to better public schools. Tonight, Sarah Hoye probes a disturbing trend some are calling the "school-to-prison pipeline," in which schools punish black students or students with disabilities more than they do other students who have committed the same crimes.

Now, we want to push the conversation further and delve into what it could take to address these challenges. Are there more egalitarian ways than using property taxes to fund schools? Are there examples of innovative schools, districts or states that are getting it right? And how hard would it be to implement alternatives to school policies that land some students in jail and not others?

We’ve put these questions to  small group of leading education journalists and advocates to discuss in a Branch conversation below.  The conversation has already begun, and will continue throughout the afternoon. Our panel includes:

• Soledad O'Brien, America Tonight special correspondent (@Soledad_OBrien)

• Sarah HoyeAmerica Tonight correspondent (@Sarah_Hoye)

• Alexander Russo, editor of the This Week in Education and District 299 Chicago Public Schools blogs (@alexanderrusso)

Shelly Sanchez Terrell, founder of #EdChat and author of "The 30 Goals Challenge" (@shellterrell)

• Mike Klonsky, an educator and blogger from the Chicago area (@mikeklonsky)

• Nancy K. Cauthen, sociologist and education author (@NancyCauthen)

Bahiyyah Muhammad, criminologist and assistant professor at Howard University (@PhDiva11)

• Eric Lerum, vice president of national policy for StudentsFirst (@EricLerum)

• Gina Womack, executive director of Families and Friends of Louisiana's Incarcerated Children (@ginabwomack)

Let us know your own ideas for how to address inequality in the comments below, or on Twitter, using the #GettingSchooled hashtag.


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