Equity and Excellence Commission to Host Town Hall Meeting in San Jose, Examine Disparities in Meaningful Educational Opportunities

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The U.S. Department of Education's Equity and Excellence Commission will host a town hall meeting Thursday in San Jose to examine disparities in meaningful educational opportunities for students. Participants will include Executive Director of the Equity and Excellence Commission, Stephen Chen, U.S. Rep. Mike Honda, D-Calif., Assistant Secretary for the Office for Civil Rights, Russlynn Ali, and Director of Community Outreach for the U.S. Department of Education, Alberto Retana.

In studying disparities in education, the commission is exploring the achievement gap with a focus on systems of finance and ways in which federal policies could address inequalities. Established Feb. 2 by the U.S. Department of Education, the commission is comprised of 27 members from a range of backgrounds, including education, law, tax, government, business and civil rights.

“The Equity and Excellence Commission is committed to developing recommendations that will result in greater resource equity, achievement, and attainment for all students,” said Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Russlynn Ali. “But this will not simply be a call for more dollars; we’re looking very seriously at innovation and efficiency – ways that education dollars can be spent more wisely.”

Thursday's town hall will include presentations by regional educational leaders and a forum for citizens to share their thoughts on how to increase educational opportunity by improving school funding equity.

“The Equity Commission represents an important step in the fight to obtain educational equity, not parity, for each child,” said U.S. Rep Mike Honda. “At a critical time in history for our international economic competitiveness, this Equity Commission is built to act. I am dedicated to proposing and passing legislation based on recommendations of the commission and I have no doubt that through public dialogue, we can transform the education system to better serve the learning needs of each child. Our children deserve nothing less.”