Event Recap | Choosing Integration

On Jan. 20, 2022, MassINC and Policy for Progress hosted a virtual forum showcasing policy recommendations from their latest report, Choosing Integration: A Discussion Paper and Policy Primer.

This new report describes the racial and ethnic inequality created by economic segregation and contrasts this serious structural issue with the significant benefits that all students realize when they attend schools that are fully integrated by race, ethnicity, and income.

MassINC prepared this analysis to provoke dialogue around how the state can take advantage of new policies and resources to mount a coordinated effort to increase integration. Actively working to ensure that families can access fully integrated schools with inclusive school climates is the best way to ensure that our diverse population is a source of strength for Massachusetts.

During the hour-long convening, MassINC’s Research Director, Ben Forman, presented an overview of the report’s findings. The following facilitators then led group discussions to generate reactions to the findings and solicit ideas on how leaders coalesce around school integration at this critical crossroads. See below for the list of expert moderators and their individual questions.

*Note: breakout sessions were not recorded to protect attendee confidentiality. View the recording below to hear moderators share summaries of each group’s discussions.

• Group 1: Jennifer Carey, Founding Executive Director, Worcester Education Collaborative
To integrate public schools, we must make suburban communities accessible to low-income families and draw more middle-and upper-income families to urban districts. As we undertake this work, what challenges will we need to overcome? What pitfalls should we be sure to avoid?

• Group 2: Joe Kriesberg, President and CEO, MACDC
The MassINC report presents a series of recommendations for education, housing, and transportation. What solutions do you think are missing? What efforts should we prioritize to build momentum? How do we create shared accountability for results?

• Group 3: Manny Cruz, Massachusetts Advocacy Director, Latinos for Education
To gain the benefits of diversity, diverse schools need especially strong and inclusive learning environments. How much progress have your school districts made creating this kind of climate in terms of curriculum, discipline, parent engagement, governance, and teacher recruitment and retention? How does the state best support this work?

• Group 4: John Schneider, Managing Director of External Affairs, Mass Insight Education
Massachusetts was once a leader in school integration and we pursued many of the policies MassINC proposes decades ago. What can we learn from past efforts? How are social, economic, and political conditions for achieving integration different today? How does philanthropy lead in this context? How do we frame the problem in the context of the 2022 gubernatorial contest?

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Ben Forman- School Integration Release Event

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