A good many of our policies and programs should be designed to help people with the drive, work ethic, tenacity, and motivation to rise. We should clear any obstacles in their path. We should empower them with opportunities. And, at all costs, we should avoid undercutting their efforts. In short, we should bring an ethos of meritocracy back to our anti-poverty efforts--the same ethos that still works relatively well at the top of our social structures and could work equally well at the bottom.
Test-score achievement may lead to a BA, MA, or PhD, but it isn't the route to a good job if enough good jobs don't exist.
Do you in fact not believe that tomorrow's schools, like those of yesterday, can be lighthouses that help young people find a brighter future? And if you share my faith in the power of great schools, how can we help educators see their role as a point of pride, rather than something that feels like an accusation?
I want some things to "matter" to students, their families, and the school community—and citizens writ large. Habit #5 of our "Habits of Mind" is: "Who cares? Why does it matter?"
If everybody in America chose not to have babies until they could afford them, most long-term child poverty would disappear, and parenting would improve dramatically.