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Fw: Race to Equity - Herb Kohl Statement
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- Subject: Fw: Race to Equity - Herb Kohl Statement
- From: "Monty Neill" <email@example.com>
- Date: Tue, 9 Mar 2010 11:09:05 -0500
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From: "Jerry Mintz (AERO)" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Tuesday, March 09, 2010 11:03 AM
Subject: [epata] Herb Kohl Statement
I just received this statement from Herb Kohl.
Some suggestions for educational reform: I suggest we replace the Race
to the Top with a Race to Equity, and find a way to introduce Opportunity
to Learn articles into the ESEA reauthoirization.
During the last attempt to rework ESEA I worked with Senator Paul
Wellstone on building Opportunity to Learn ideas into ESEA. Let me
explain our thinking then, which I think might be useful as progressives
consider what specific suggestions to make this time through.
When considering school failure, consideration must be given to the
situation and circumstances under which children learn. Jonathan Kozolâs
Savage Inequalities dramatically documents the lack of opportunity
presented to many poor children. Taking off from the, we raised the issue
of how to negate those inequalities. The question that droves this
analysis was: Do all children have the same opportunities to learn? We
were careful to avoid the question of poverty, family background, etc.,
because we wanted to make strictly educational arguments. We wanted to
focus specifically on the conditions of schooling and make the opportunity
to learn an equity issue. In this context we wanted to create a series of
measures of equity, amongst which were:
What are the facilities necessary to promote equitable learning?
- What is an equitable ratio of students to teachers?
- What is the range and scope of a learning program that promotes
equitable learning â this would include the arts, opportunity for
athletics and cultural learning, advanced placement courses, science labs?
-What are the credentials teachers are expected to have to produce
excellence in learning?
-What kind of wages and conditions of work contribute to educational
opportunity for children?
-What kinds of supplies and equipment must all school have access to (text
books, computers, etc.)?
-What kind of facilities should house an equitable learning environment
for all children?
-What kind of standards and measures should be used to measure a schoolâs
effectiveness as an equitable learning institution?
-What role should parents and community organizations play to ensure
equitable schools in their communities?
There were other conditions, but the idea was to establish a base for
what was equitable based upon an analysis of successful public schools
across the nation. We did not want to tie this notion into variables that
had to do with conditions outside of the context of schools, as we wanted
educational solutions to educational problems. In other words, we wanted
to assert that, when given the resources, schools across the country could
deliver excellent equitable education. We were not advocating a single
standard, so much as a series of base lines. Once agreements on what
successful and effective total school environments are like (there, of
course can be multiple models, a range of effectiveness, but there have to
be minimums), the idea was to craft legislation that would fund school
facilities improvement, special programs in the schools, school
reorganization, heightened credentialing programs for teachers, etc.
Instead of taking the punitive stance that did emerge from Congress and
the Presidency with NCLB, the idea was to bring the schools up to
standards as a means of bringing their students up to standards. The idea
was not, however to brush away problems. Accountability had to be built
in and communities that would not commit to equitable schools would not be
given funding. All of this remained, of course, at the talking stage
since only a small number of members of the Senate and House bought into
it. Nevertheless this general ideas might help people who are trying to
propose alternatives to the current punitive and coercive conditions s
that are likely to be incorporated into ESEA this time through.
My feeling is that progressives should advocate a ârace to equityâ â a
multibillion dollar initiative to bring some of the most impoverished
schools up to the material and pedagogical conditions of the most
effective public schools in the country.