Using Regional Coalitions to Address Socioeconomic Isolation: A Case Study of the Omaha Metropolitan Agreement

Jennifer Jellison Holme, Sarah Diem, and Katherine Cumings Mansfield

As the nation’s schools grow more racially and economically segregated, elected leaders in Omaha, Nebraska recently chose to counteract this trend. Following intensive debate and negotiations, state lawmakers forged a regional plan, bringing together 11 school districts to create a cooperative “Learning Community.” The purpose of the school restructuring and governance plan is to reduce school inequality, increase social cohesion and reduce socioeconomic isolation in the region. Omaha’s efforts offer important and inspiring lessons for other elected leaders, community groups and others who aspire to reduce inequality, enhance educational opportunity and harness the potential of diversity.

The case study, “Using Regional Coalitions to Address Socioeconomic Isolation: A Case Study of the Omaha Metropolitan Agreement,” authored by Jennifer Jellison Holme of the University of Texas at Austin and commissioned by CHHIRJ takes us through the legislative and community process that created this groundbreaking plan, which could be a model for similar metropolitan regions. This careful study also explores the vulnerabilities that could undermine this plan’s success. People interested in regional solutions to inequity will be watching the events in Omaha closely over the coming months and years.

Accompanying PowerPoint Presentation

CHHIRJ summarizes this case study in a series of PowerPoint slides, which you may access and use free of charge. We hope you will incorporate the Omaha story and these slides into your efforts to raise awareness about regional and school equity.

A PDF version of this presentation is available on our website, but we are happy to provide you with the original version (in PowerPoint format) as well. To access this presentation, please email (we do NOT distribute your contact information to anyone without your permission).

As always, we hope you will assist us in disseminating our products to educators, elected leaders, community organizers and advocates in your communities.