Produced by Ed Trust staff.
One of the signature items in this week’s fiscal year 2015 education budget is the Race to the Top–Equity and Opportunity competition. Although we’ve heard a lot more about equity lately (“50-state strategy” anyone?), this voluntary do-equity-if-we-give-you-some-additional-money proposal is the only overarching approach we’ve seen by this administration to address long-standing educational inequities between low-income students and students of color and their peers.
But it doesn’t mean it’s the best. Continue reading
When a Norwegian athlete visited war-torn Eritrea, he saw kids tie up a long-sleeved shirt and kick it around because they had no ball. After he won a gold medal in Lillehammer, Johann Olav Koss brought a planeload of balls and other sports equipment. He later said that he confessed to the president of Eritrea that he felt foolish he had not brought food and other necessities but only play equipment. But, according to the story, the president replied, “This is the greatest gift we have ever received. For the first time, we are being treated like human beings — not just something to be kept alive. For the first time, my children can play like any child.”
It isn’t fair, of course, to compare Nogales, Ariz., to Eritrea in the mid-1990s. Nowhere in the United States is comparable. But the fact is that Nogales can be a pretty grim place. When I visited in the spring, the principal of Wade Carpenter Middle School, Liza Montiel, drove me through some of the neighborhoods her students come from. Some live in tidy little one-family homes, some in crowded, dusty trailer parks, and some in places that show the signs of the decades-long drug war that has been conducted along the border of Mexico and Arizona — places that look abandoned or blown apart.
I didn’t see a lot of Little League fields. Continue reading
“Hopefully, he will learn his lesson this time.”
And with the administrator’s words, the meeting was over. This would mark Jerome’s fifth suspension of the year and his 15th, 16th, and 17th days out of school for disciplinary reasons. Talking back to the teacher under his breath. Violating the dress code. Bumping a peer in the hall. Skipping class.
He just wouldn’t learn his lesson. Continue reading
Michigan is the latest in a number of states jumping on the “Pay It Forward” bandwagon, which is headed as far away from a solution to the spiraling college price problem as possible. What’s more troubling than the fact that at least 19 states are already considering it? That this proposal is any legislator’s dream. It masks the burgeoning college expense problem and applies a fix that, on the surface, appeases many; but in reality, it’s simply putting off a politically difficult issue for the next election cycle (and beyond) — all at the expense of students. Continue reading
While there have been dozens of reports on how teacher education programs should change, there has been no nationwide concerted effort to hold teacher education programs accountable for preK-12 student learning. Until now.
By 2016, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) will require all programs seeking accreditation to demonstrate that they have selected a diverse and academically talented group of teacher candidates and that they have evidence that their graduates are teaching all children well. Continue reading
During the summer of 2012, Manuel Gatica, the math department chair at a high-poverty middle school in Arizona, went to a number of trainings about the Common Core State Standards given by the state. He told me his reaction was “Oh my gosh” when he realized that that year’s incoming eighth-graders would be the first students who, as juniors, would be taking the new assessments developed to see if students are college- and career-ready.
He met with the other math teachers that August, and they all agreed they needed to do something drastic. All eighth-grade students needed to be in Algebra I (and seventh-graders in pre-algebra) for them to have a chance at being prepared as juniors for the new assessments.
The problem was that only the top students were scheduled to be in Algebra I that fall. Continue reading
In 2010, Federal Way Public Schools in Washington state reversed the paradigm for enrollment in Advanced Placement coursework: Instead of leaving it up to students to decide if they wanted to take advanced courses, the district automatically enrolled students who scored proficient on state assessments and required them to opt out if they wished. Not surprisingly, this policy shift resulted in impressive increases in AP enrollment, particularly among students of color.
But access doesn’t mean success. Continue reading