It's a big week for studies focused the relationship between location and educational opportunity: First, the Schott Foundation's report on education redlining in New York City public schools that revealed city policies and practices systematically deny educational opportunities to the districts and schools with high percentages of poor and students of color.
With all the attention Finland has been getting in recent years, you might wonder why we can't just replicate what the Finns are doing and - PRESTO! - fix all the woes of the U.S. education system.
Disparities is the application of harsh school discipline policies towards students of color aren't news, especially after the DOE's Office for Civil Right released a huge swath of data supporting the fact in schools across the country. That said, it's good to see state organizations taking up the torch too.
Advocates, educators and even a California Supreme Court chief justice are calling for reform of school discipline policies across the state, particularly the elimination of "willful defiance" as justification for suspensions.
From the Huffington Post:
In 2010, the President set a goal for the U.S. to become the global leader in postsecondary degree attainment by the year 2020. Yet, more than 7,000 students, many of whom are not proficient in reading and math, are leaving or being pushed out of U.S. schools each day. This study shows that the U.S. cannot achieve the President’s 2020 goal if our schools continue to hemorrhage large segments of our nation’s youth. Accordingly, this document is designed to serve as a blueprint for implementing a comprehensive package of policy reforms that seek to increase the quantity of students who succeed at every stage of the educational pipeline and the quality of the education they receive. Different from most calls for reform, it considers the educational pipeline in its entirety—from early childhood through postsecondary attainment—and offers evidence‐informed strategies to boost access, quantity and quality at every stage.
This report from the National Institute for Early Education Research analyzes national and state statistics and trends on the availabilty of quality Pre-K programs across the country. The report includes detailed state profiles that measure not just access access to early education opportunities but also whether available Pre-K programs meet a set of 10 benchmarks for quality.
The good news: More students than ever are enrolled in Pre-K programs in the U.S. The bad news: The rising number of Pre-K students coupled with state education budget cuts across the country has drastically reduced per-child spending on Pre-K programs.
If policymakers want to play a bit of poker, they should save their gambling for the card table and keep it out of education reform. In a Huffington Post column, Schott Foundation President and CEO John Jackson calls the weak hand of the policymakers who are pushing for more privatization in our nation's public schools.
How is it that education policymakers can profess to respect teachers while at the same time ignoring national teacher opinion polls and instead supporting policies like merit pay based on test scores, competitive grants, and the expansion of online learning and charter schools?