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NEPC’s February Education Interview of the Month Features a Discussion About Educational and Urban Politics and Policymaking

BOULDER, CO (February 18, 2020) – In this month’s NEPC Education Interview of the Month, NEPC Researcher Christopher Saldaña interviews Dr. Jennifer Jellison Holme, an associate professor of educational policy and planning at the University of Texas at Austin, and Dr. Kara Finnigan, a professor of educational leadership and policy at the University of Rochester, authors of Striving in Common: A Regional Equity Framework for Urban Schools.

Holme and Finnigan discuss how regional inequity spurred by segregation as well as large gaps in community fiscal capacity can hinder the ability of public schools to succeed. They describe Normandy, Missouri, a small city in the St. Louis metro area, as an example of how the failure of states to comprehensively address inequity in local communities is often correlated with the inability of those communities to address challenges such as systemic racism and poverty. 

The authors explain that by examining the history of the political and geographic factors that have produced regional and local inequities, state policymakers can better understand how to address them effectively and propose a state policy framework that encourages financial cooperation and urban and educational policymaking across communities within state regions. The authors argue that what is required is a combination of revenue-sharing policies such as the tax-base sharing policy implemented in Omaha, Nebraska; educational policies such as the inter-district policies implemented in Palo Alto, California and Rochester, New York; and urban regional equity policies such as the approaches implemented in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota and Portland, Oregon. 

Holme and Finnigan note that most current policies do not sufficiently address the structural inequities faced by schools in impoverished communities. Instead, state and federal policies should be crafted to address existing inequities in tax bases and by aligned policies in other areas such as health, housing, and employment with educational policy to help local communities and diverse regions succeed and thrive. The authors argue that only when such policies are implemented can local public schools be expected to improve.

A new NEPC Education Interview of the Month, hosted by NEPC Researcher Christopher Saldaña, will be released each month from September through May. 

Don’t worry if you miss a month. All NEPC Education Interview of the Month podcasts are archived on the NEPC website and can be found here.

Coming Next Month

In March, Chris will be speaking with Dr. Ansley Erickson, an associate professor of history and education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and Dr. Ernest Morrel, the Coyle Professor in Literacy Education and the Director of the Center for Literacy Education at the University of Notre Dame, about their new book, Educating Harlem: A Century of Schooling and Resistance in a Black Community.

Stay tuned in to NEPC for smart, engaging conversations about education policy.

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), a university research center housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Visit us at: