Category Archives: Equity

Is it time for schools to rethink, well, time?

On a recent weekday morning in Washington D.C., several hundred teenagers hurriedly made their way through their high school’s hallways in a frantic effort to get to class on time.

I know – nothing new there. Except that in this particular school, the hallways had ubiquitous electronic clocks that measured time in bright red numerals down to the second, and these particular students had just three minutes to move from one class to another. “They had five minutes last year,” principal Caroline Hill told me, in between passionate exhortations for her students to keep moving. “And it was a complete waste of time.”

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OK, Brown v. Board is 60; Now What?

As I travel around the country this month, participating in public conversations about the promise and peril of school choice, it seems fitting that right as we marked the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, I would end up having lunch with Michael Alves.

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Something’s Happening Here . . .

In the span of a few weeks, all of DC seems to be abuzz with the prospect that our elected officials may actually try to ensure greater racial and socioeconomic equity in the city’s public schools — apple carts be damned. First, there was the Op-Ed two colleagues and I published in the Washington Post, […]

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Turning School Chance Into School Choice

There are a lot of smart people in Washington, D.C., and one of them is Evelyn Boyd Simmons.

A longtime D.C. resident, an effective parental advocate, and a firm believer in the unmatched promise of public education, Evelyn has a way of cutting to the quick on complicated, contentious issues. And so it was when in a recent conversation, she summarized the state of affairs in American public education with a clever turn of phrase.

“What people like to call school choice,” she said flatly, “is nothing more than clever marketing. What folks really have is school chance.”

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Should Integration Be a Goal of DC Public Schools?

From 2000 to 2010, the white share of the District of Columbia’s population grew from 30.8 percent to38 percent . And from 2000 to 2012, the median household income in the city rose 23.3 percent while the nation saw a 6.6?percent decline, adjusted for inflation. This rapid gentrification provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create racially and socioeconomically integrated public schools. The D.C. Advisory Committee on Student Assignment, which is redrawing school boundary lines and feeder patterns, should seize this opportunity.

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Rethinking School Boundaries

Now that DC is taking up the delicate question of whether its boundary lines for neighborhood schools needs revisiting — the first time they’ve done so since 1968 — it’s worth thinking through the issue with them. This morning, I was part of a public radio conversation that featured DC Deputy Mayor Abigail Smith and […]

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To Fix Public Education, Let’s Eliminate Private Schools

While hardcore progressives and Tea Party activists continue cozying up to each other in a shared rejection of the Common Core, I have a radical proposal to make – and it might just be crazy enough to garner an equally eclectic coalition of support:

Let’s eliminate private schools altogether. Or, better yet, let’s make every school both public and private.

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What is the proper role of government in public education reform?

I read an interesting Op-Ed about education in today’s Washington Post, in which the author wrote the following: “The proper role of government is to ensure the provision of essential services, not always to provide those services itself.” Leaving aside the author’s particular perspective on K-12 education reform, I’m curious: How many people out there […]

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“Standardization” is not a dirty word

The reviews are in — in 2013, inequality is out, and equality is in.

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When it comes to a longer school day, something’s gotta give

Now that five states are planning to add 300 hours of class time in an effort to close the achievement gap and re-imagine the school day, I can only come to one conclusion: Something’s got to give. Continue reading . . .

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