National education expert Richard Kahlenberg will be in the Scenic City today to argue for an integrated public school system that doesn't concentrate the most disadvantaged students in certain schools.
Kahlenberg, a Harvard University graduate and senior fellow at The Century Foundation, has written several books and is considered the father of the economic integration movement, according to UnifiED, a local nonprofit working to build community support for public education.
UnifiED decided to bring Kahlenberg to Chattanooga because it wanted to launch a conversation about the harmful effects of concentrated poverty on students at high poverty schools and the need to break up poverty in the Hamilton County school system.
"Over a third of the public schools have 80 percent or more of their students eligible for free or reduced lunch," said Elizabeth Crews, who heads UnifiED.
National research shows that poor students who learn alongside students from middle- and upper-class families, perform better academically and socially. Yet, there is often resistance from wealthier families when their neighborhood schools are effected by efforts to diversify, whether economically or racially.
Kahlenberg will share data on the effectiveness of economic school integration, but he will also share approaches that have worked in other cities, Crews said.
He will speak at 5:30 p.m. at the The Church on Main, 1601 Rossville Ave.
If you go
What: A community conversation with Richard Kahlenberg, a national expert on economic integration in public schools
Where: The Church on Main, 1601 Rossville Ave.
When: Today at 5:30 p.m.