Tag Archives: education policy

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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High Stakes Tests For 3-Year-Olds?

If you’re a parent of a young charter school student in DC – or just someone who cares about early education – you need to know what’s happening here in the nation’s capital, and fast.

In less than a week, all charter schools that serve young children will start being held accountable to their students’ test scores on reading and math.

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Reimagining Our Schools, NOW

It’s a presidential election season, which means we can all be sure of two things: conversations about education will take a backseat to more “pressing” issues like the economy and foreign policy, and Congress will once again do nothing to address our desperate need for a new federal education policy.

However, just because our elected officials can’t get the job done doesn’t mean the rest of us are powerless to be the change we wish to see in the world. In fact, local educators could do a lot to sidestep national policymakers by committing to do just three things this coming school year:

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How Should Teachers Spell R-E-S-P-E-C-T?

For the past several years, conversations about American public education – and how to improve it – have grown increasingly loud and contentious. In fact, there’s only one issue on which it seems all sides can agree: when it comes to the learning environment, nothing matters more than a great teacher.

It’s ironic, then, that as a society we act as though nothing matters less. We internalize the notion that “Those who can’t, teach.” We speak in two-dimensional terms that portray educators as either mythical saviors or selfish laggards. And we accept the notion that the best way to address the needs of our poorest children is to temporarily drop our smartest, most inexperienced educators into the center of communities that are not their own.

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Should States Be Sued for Providing Low-Quality Schools?

How’s this for a summer blockbuster – the American Civil Liberties Union is suing the state of Michigan for violating the “right to learn” of its children, a right guaranteed under an obscure state law.

That assistance hasn’t happened, says Kary L. Moss, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the ACLU. “The Highland Park School District is among the lowest-performing districts in the nation, graduating class after class of children who are not literate. Our lawsuit . . . says that if education is to mean anything, it means that children have a right to learn to read.”

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New Rules for School Reform

You know there’s a dearth of creative thinking in education when an article trumpeting cutting-edge teaching quotes somebody, without irony, saying the following:

“Get a computer, please! Log on . . . and go to your textbook.”

Yet that’s what the Washington Post did this morning – and they’re not alone. Despite ubiquitous calls for innovation and paradigm shifts, most would-be reformers are little more than well-intentioned people perfecting our ability to succeed in a system that no longer serves our interests.

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What Joel Klein Doesn’t Understand About Teaching — and What We Should Do Instead

In case you missed it, former NYC Schools Chief Joel Klein had an Op-Ed in this weekend’s Washington Post in which he, rightly, urges us to do what it takes to establish a true long-term teaching profession. His recipe for doing so, however, reveals the extent to which he has misdiagnosed both the problem and its potential solutions.

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Is Michelle Rhee putting Students First?

Like everyone else who does education for a living, I read that Michelle Rhee is launching a new national advocacy organization, Students First. And after checking out the site and hearing how she articulates its purpose, I see some reasons to feel hopeful — and many more reasons to feel deeply concerned. First, the good […]

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