Tag Archives: Equity

The Beautiful Struggle

I’ve yet to meet a grown-up who, at some point, hasn’t felt a bit like a hamster in the wheel – spinning mindlessly towards some opaque goal, and for some abstract, poorly understood reason.

Life can feel that way sometimes.

So you can imagine my surprise when, while visiting a small public high school in the Excelsior neighborhood of San Francisco, I encountered a group of boys working on an indeterminate project out of plywood and a handsaw.

“What are you guys doing?” I asked.

“We’re building a human-sized hamster wheel,” they replied.

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Categories: Assessment, Democracy, Equity, Leadership, Learning, Teacher Quality, Voice

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This is what every student could look like (and be)

Here’s the thing about me: I love schools. And I’m in them all the time. Lots of them, all over the country. So it’s safe to say that I am as aware as just about anyone what is out there when it comes to American educational options.

And yet here’s the other thing: I’m constantly hearing about new places doing great work — new to me, at least, because the folks there have been doing their thing for a long time — and whose approach to learning is precisely the sort of thing we should be hearing a lot more about.

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Categories: Equity, Learning

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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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Categories: Democracy, Equity, Learning

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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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Categories: Equity

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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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Categories: Equity, Learning, Organizational Change

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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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Categories: Democracy, Equity

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How Much Parent Power is Too Much?

Should parents who are unhappy with their local school have the power to replace the entire staff, turn it into a charter school, or shut it down completely – even if just 51% of the school’s families agree? It’s an enticing, polarizing proposal – the so-called “parent trigger.” It’s also now a law in four […]

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Categories: Democracy, Equity, Learning, Organizational Change

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Other People’s Children

Last week, CNN reported on recent events in Garfield Heights, Ohio, where austerity measures have led local school officials to shorten the schoolday to five hours, get rid of subjects like art, music, and PE — and send kids home before lunch. What didn’t come out during the piece was that these drastic decisions were fueled in part by the community’s refusal, over a 20 year period, to pass a levy that would help support the schools. Like many places across the country, Garfield Heights’ residents were getting older, its younger people were moving away, and those that remained didn’t see sufficient value in a measure that would be used to support the education of other people’s children.

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Categories: Democracy, Learning

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Is a Free Education a Fundamental Right?

Should your zip code determine your access to the American dream? Or is the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee to provide “equal protection” a principle we have silently agreed to uphold in theory – but not in practice?

I’m starting to wonder after reading about Tanya McDowell, the Connecticut mother facing felony charges for lying on her five-year-old son’s registration forms so he could attend a better school. McDowell’s story is painfully reminiscent of Kelley Williams-Bolar, the Ohio mother who made a similar choice earlier this year – and is now a convicted felon.

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Categories: Democracy, Equity, Learning

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The Big Picture on School Performance

On Feb. 1, President Obama vowed to toss out the nation’s current school accountability system and replace it with a more balanced scorecard of school performance that looks at student growth and school progress. I love the idea. Mr. Obama and education secretary Arne Duncan have repeatedly criticized the No Child Left Behind Act for […]

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Categories: Assessment, Learning

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