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Re: Civil Rights Groups Skewer Obama Education Policy
Nice try, but even a cursory reading of what the civil rights groups wrote would tell you that they are holding the line on standards and accountability and, if anything, want the administration to go even further in these areas than earlier.
The civil rights groups' first sentence is "Today there is nothing short of a state of emergency in the delivery of education to our nationâs communities of color." This puts the lie to the argument repeated on ARN for years that the schools are just fine and the only motivation behind federal education policy is to make the schools look bad so that privatizers can rush in.
The civil rights groups went on to say, The federal government must hold state and local agencies accountable for protecting every childâs civil right to have access to a high-quality education." Knock yourself out waiting for states and districts to welcome a proposal by the feds to hold them accountable.
From: PRISCILLA GUTIERREZ <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Mon, Jul 26, 2010 8:12 am
Subject: Re: [arn-l] Civil Rights Groups Skewer Obama Education Policy
Uh oh, Bob. You just removed Art's favorite repetitive refrain about how all
these civil rights groups support NCLB and federal policies...how could you be
Priscilla Shannon GutiÃrrez
...change is inevitable, growth is optional...
words of advice from Michael Fullan
> Date: Mon, 26 Jul 2010 10:44:50 -0400
> From: email@example.com
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com;
> Subject: [arn-l] Civil Rights Groups Skewer Obama Education Policy
> CIVIL RIGHTS GROUPS SKEWER OBAMA EDUCATION POLICY
> Washington Post "The Answer Sheet" Blog -- July 26, 2010
> By Valerie Strauss
> It is most politely written, but a 17-page framework for education
> reform <http://bit.ly/a4iOjy> being released Monday by a coalition of
> civil rights groups amounts to a thrashing of President Obama's
> education policies and it offers a prescription for how to set things right.
> You won't see these sentences in the piece: "Dear President Obama, you
> say you believe in an equal education for all students, but you are
> embarking on education policies that will never achieve that goal and
> that can do harm to America's school children, especially its neediest.
> Stop before it is too late."
> But that, in other nicer words, is exactly what it says. The courteous
> gloss on this framework can't cover up its angry, challenging substance.
> The "Framework for Providing All Students an Opportunity to Learn
> <http://bit.ly/a4iOjy>" is a collaboration of these groups: Lawyers'
> Committee for Civil Rights Under Law <http://www.lawyerscommittee.org/>,
> Rainbow PUSH Coalition <http://www.rainbowpush.org/>, Schott Foundation
> for Public Education <http://www.schottfoundation.org/>, National
> Association for the Advancement of Colored People
> <http://www.naacp.org/content/splash/>, National Coalition for Educating
> Black Children, National Urban League <http://www.nul.org/>, and the
> NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc <http://www.naacpldf.org/>.
> Leaders of these groups were scheduled to hold a press conference Monday
> to release the framework but it was cancelled because, a spokesman said,
> there was a conflict in schedules. The delay was, presumably, not
> connected to public appearances this week by Obama and Education
> Secretary Arne Duncan at the convention marking the 100th anniversary of
> the Urban League in Washington D.C. Obama is making a speech on
> Thursday; Duncan on Wednesday.
> The framework's authors start the framework seeming conciliatory,
> applauding Obama's goal for the United States to become a global leader
> in post-secondary education attainment by 2020.
> But quickly their intent is clear. They take apart the thinking behind
> the administration's education policies, and note a number of times the
> differences between what Obama and Duncan say about education and what
> they do.
> To wit:
> About Race to the Top,
> <http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/race-to-the-top/> the
> competitive grant program for states that is the administration's
> central education initiative thus far, it says:
> /"The Race to the Top Fund and similar strategies for awarding federal
> education funding will ultimately leave states competing with states,
> parents competing with parents, and students competing with other
> students..... By emphasizing competitive incentives in this economic
> climate, the majority of low-income and minority students will be left
> behind and, as a result, the United States will be left behind as a
> global leader."/
> About an expansion of public charter schools
> which the administration has advanced:
> / "There is no evidence that charter operators are systematically more
> effective in creating higher student outcomes nationwide....Thus, while
> some charter schools can and do work for some students, they are not a
> universal solution for systemic change for all students, especially
> those with the highest needs." /
> And there's this carefully worded reproach to the administration:
> /"To the extent that the federal government continues to encourage
> states to expand the number of charters and reconstitute existing
> schools as charters, it is even more critical to ensure that every state
> has a rigorous accountability system to ensure that all charters are
> operating at a high level." /
> Double ouch.
> But there's more.
> The framework says that the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind,
> formally known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, "should
> seek buy-in from community advocates." But it notes that Obama's
> Blueprint for Education reform makes "only cursory mention of parent and
> community engagement in local school development."
> It blasts the administration's approach to dealing with persistently
> low-performing schools, saying that closing them in the way now being
> advanced is wrong, and it says that the administration is not doing
> enough to close gaps in resources, alleviate poverty and end racial
> segregation in schools.
> And it says that the government should stop using low-income neighbors
> as laboratories for education experiments:
> /"For far too long, communities of color have been testing grounds for
> unproven methods of educational change while all levels of government
> have resisted the tough decisions required to expand access to effective
> educational methods. The federal government currently requires school
> districts to use evidence-based approaches to receive federal funds in
> DOE's Investing in Innovation grant process. So, too, in all reforms
> impacting low-income and high-minority communities, federal and state
> governments should meet the same evidence-based requirement as they
> prescribe specific approaches to school reform and distribute billions
> of dollars to implement them./
> /"Rather than addressing inequitable access to research-proven
> methodologies like high-quality early childhood education and a stable
> supply of experienced, highly effective teachers, recent education
> reform proposals have favored "stop gap" quick fixes that may look new
> on the surface but offer no real long-term strategy for effective
> systemic change. The absence of these "stop gap" programs in affluent
> communities speaks to the marginal nature of this approach. We therefore
> urge an end to the federal push to encourage states to adopt federally
> prescribed methodologies that have little or no evidentiary support --
> for primary implementation only in low-income and high-minority
> This is really tough talk, and it is about time that America's civil
> rights leaders are speaking up.
> The only question is whether anybody in the Obama administration is
> actually listening.
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