Secretary Duncan's glib dismissal of opposition to the Common Core among "suburban white moms" has provided fodder for people on both sides of the education reform debate. Opponents see this incident as further proof that the secretary will notlisten to anyone who disagrees with him. Common Core supporters assert that low scores in higher-income schools serve as a much-needed wake-up call that not only urban, but many suburban schools, are failing. Both arguments obscure the more complex realities that should guide education policy.
The negative impact of poverty on a child’s educational achievement is indisputable. Whether the metric is school grades, state assessments, the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), the SAT—the scores of low-income children are far lower than those of their wealthier peers. The reasons for that gap—and how our nation should respond—is the subject of heated debate and is explored by filmmaker Jyllian Gunther in the award-winning documentary, The New Public.
What if we have actually been teaching the right skills in U.S. schools all along – math and reading, science and civics, along with creativity, perseverance, and team-building? ... What if, rather than raising standards, and testing students more, the biggest change we need to address is that of our student body? The October 2013 Southern Education Foundation study indicates clearly that poverty, which has long been the biggest obstacle to educational achievement, is more important than ever. It is our true 21st century problem.
On October 3, school districts across the country let the Race to the Top application deadline fly by, leaving unclaimed tens of millions of dollars in grants from the Obama administration’s signature education program. The Newark, N.J. district did not apply, nor did school districts in Portland, Ore. and Topeka, Kan., to name just a few. ... The waning application numbers seem in keeping with growing dislike of the existing reform programs among district education leaders, who make the decision about whether to apply for the district-level funding.
In contrast to education "reformers" such as Joel Klein who support increased spending on charter schools, testing, and performance-based rewards, the BBA calls for a redirection of funds towards early-childhood education, health care, and other social supports.
Data suggests that better schools do not address the problem of under achievement. Instead, resources should be directed towards a broader, bolder approach, incorporating childcare, parental support, and community involvement.
There are no announcements at this time.
The New Public (November 7, 2013)
American Winter (March 14, 2013)
ECE Webinar: Domains of Brain Development and Early Childhood Brain Science with Todd Grindal
Part I | Part II
ECE Webinar: Economic Benefits of Early Childhood Investments, K-12 Impacts with Robert G. Lynch
ECE Webinar: Paid Early Childhood Caregivers and Educators with Robert C. Pianta