Today, we’re pleased to release Lost in the Crowd, a brief paper based on our work with families across New Orleans over the past two years. In it, you’ll hear the stories of five talented students whose families are working hard to ensure they get a good education—and facing an intimidating array of obstacles along the way. They include:
- DeAnthony, a talented fourth grader whose middle school options are bleak;
- Amalia, who earns straight A’s in class, yet scores below grade level on most state tests;
- David, whose signs of brilliance are overshadowed by challenges with attention and focus in class;
- Kendra, a sixth grader who has attended four different schools since kindergarten; and
- Joy, a high-schooler with a bright future—but also an inattentive guidance counselor.
We have changed their names and obscured other details to protect their privacy, but these are real students and families whom our Navigators continue to support every day. They are people, not data points, and we share their dreams as well as their frustrations.
While these case studies are anecdotal in nature, we believe they mirror the experiences of countless other students who are getting lost in the crowd. Taken together, they illuminate many of the reasons high-performing students from low-income communities slip off track, from inequitable access to information and learning opportunities to dysfunction within schools and education systems. In the paper, we share the questions their experiences raise for us, the common challenges we see them struggling against, and some possible solutions that might help.
So, take a few minutes to get to know DeAnthony, Amalia, David, Kendra, and Joy. They’re amazing kids. How can we make sure they stay on track? And how many more children like them are we overlooking, misdirecting, or underestimating every day?
Download the full report below, and check out our op-ed at The 74