At the end of their balanced histories, Carr and Garland voice concerns about our increasingly segregated schools, and the willingness of policy wonks to impose their theories on poor children of color. Garland concludes that "desegregation should have been a two-way street." She is frustrated that desegregation was dismantled without "salvaging its undeniable benefits." Contemporary reformers have ignored its lessons. They also focus on "tearing out dysfunction and blight, instead of finding existing strengths and building on what people value." Garland, explains, "Once again, ... those in power are treating black schools as they did black neighborhoods during urban renewal - with an imperious sense of what is good for the community, regardless of what the people there want."
Recently in equity Category
March 28, 2013
March 18, 2013
I have referred to the whole "reform movement" that is happening in NM as colonialism in it's newest form, with the secretary designate and governor wanting to implement the templates from Florida and ALEC. I've stated this in comments to colleagues, but not in any public forum. While TFA found support in the previous governor's and secretary's administration, only a few Native American educators (including myself and staff) disagreed with their acceptance as a means to get teachers into the rural schools. The TFA process is like the missionary teachers who came to our lands, supported from the Department of War, which is where the Bureau of Indian Affairs was located, to educate the Indian children.
March 16, 2013
These great documentaries may not mention the prime theory that "reformers" brought to school, but they explain the trauma that the kids carry to the classroom. They do not diminish the importance of classroom instruction as they focus on the socio-emotional keys to schooling. These documentaries can now take their place in a great tradition of print and internet journalism.
March 06, 2013
Paul Thomas asks a provocative question this week. Are the poor too free? Are our schools providing students with tools and skills to foster their independence? Or teaching them to be compliant cogs in a machine whose levers of control they will never touch? Thomas describes the paternalism that has become central to modern education, as well as efforts to "reform" it even further.
February 26, 2013
These buildings aren't just schools, they're touchstones. They're testaments to our local values. The Friday night lights that have illuminated our skies for decades, the school gyms that have echoed with play since the Greatest Generation was young--these aren't monuments to sports. They're monuments to community. They're beacons of our local control, of the togetherness we cherish in our hometowns and city neighborhoods. We don't want education fads imposed on us by Austin or, even worse, out-of-state billionaires.
February 18, 2013
In order for our public schools to thrive they need to have the flexibility to meet the needs of the widest range of students possible. They need adequate funding and the support of their community - and that means we pull together and make sure that our district schools do not become the reservoir of last resort, overburdened with students left behind by charter schools seeking competitive advantages.
February 07, 2013
We could choose to measure other things, of course. The idea of measurement is not useless. The trouble is that some of the things we truly value are harder to measure, and so we devolve back to the simplest metrics - test scores. This is defined as the "outcome" that we desire. But this is only one of a host of outcomes that we actually want for our students. Nothing makes this clearer than the personal decisions made by people with the MOST control over their own children's education. The schools attended by the very wealthy are not chosen for their test scores - in fact many of them do not give standardized tests at all. Neither do they use student test scores to evaluate their teachers.
February 02, 2013
The "charter movement" has recently recognized that they are vulnerable to charges of hypocrisy if they demand that traditional public schools be closed for poor performance, but fail to enforce the same standards on charters. This report proposes that we spread the churn that currently plagues public schools into the charter sector. This may be more "fair," but is not, from my perspective, likely to make things much better for students.
January 31, 2013
I have become increasingly concerned that public education in the United States is seen as a private commodity rather than a public good. Too often, value is defined as something that I have and you don't, if we both have it, it can't possibly be valuable, regardless of what the "product" actually is. The current achievement disparity between different groups of students is not only a moral imperative, it's an economic one. If we don't better serve children that are poor, African-American, differently-abled, Latino, immigrant or English Language Learners, our economy will greatly suffer because the tax base will decline substantially. I believe that communities have to define what they want from their public schools, organize systems around their vision, and then make sure that all schools within the community have the capacity to achieve it. If we continue to think of excellence as a zero-sum game we will continue to allow too many schools to fail rather than build their capacities to improve.
January 27, 2013
But the marketplace and the drive for profits are proving to be very poor at delivering equitable outcomes for many of our students. Why is this? Perhaps the very design of these school choice systems allows - even promotes - the systematic abandonment of students with lower levels of motivation and parental support.