Civil Rights Project: UCLA Experts Present Findings on Higher Ed Accountability at U.S. Capitol

Gary Orfield, CRP co-director, moderated a panel including Dr. Sylvia Hurtado, director of the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) at UCLA.

Published 8/20/14; updated 9/5/14

UCLA’s Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles hosted an Educational Research and Policy Briefing on Tuesday, Sept. 2 at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, D.C. Scholars of diversity and equity presented their research in order to answer the event’s eponymous question, “Do Higher Ed Accountability Proposals Narrow Opportunity? What New Research Tells Us.”

The forum examined the shortfall of equal opportunities for students of color in higher education and the economic and policy struggles of the institutions that serve them. While critics of the Obama administration have claimed that recent accountability and financial aid policy changes are to blame, seven research papers were presented by a panel of experts, who have examined the issues in their research with the goal of finding ways to prevent unintended negative consequences in higher education through accountability.

Gary Orfield, a Distinguished Research Professor of Education, Law, Political Science, & Urban Planning at UCLA and CRP co-director, moderated the briefing. Dr. Sylvia Hurtado, director of the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) at UCLA, was also on the panel, which included Stella Flores, Vanderbilt University; Marybeth Gasman, University of Pennsylvania; Sara Goldrick-Rab, University of Wisconsin- Madison; Nicholas Hillman, University of Wisconsin- Madison; Wille Kirkland, Dillard University; and Anne Marie Nuñez, University of Texas- San Antonio.

“Too often, educational accountability policies like No Child Left Behind have unintentionally harmed the education of students of color and the institutions they attend by not taking account of the challenges these institutions face and the resources they need,” noted Orfield. “We have commissioned major new research by leading scholars to try to make sure these issues are understood and considered in the development of higher education accountability standards. We hope that Congress and the Obama administration will use this research to develop positive policies.”

The Educational Research and Policy Briefing was made possible with support from The Ford Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Graduate School of Education at Penn State, The Center for MSIs, Wisconsin Hope Lab, the Center for Access, Equity, and Diversity at Vanderbilt University, UNCF, Excelencia in Education, and the American Council on Education/Center for Policy Research and Strategy.

For C-SPAN’s coverage of the Educational Research and Policy Briefing, click here.