Equity and Equality

Equity and Equality

Equity and Equality
Equity and Equality

Misreading History

I don’t own a television, but I do watch the box when I find myself in a hotel room. Just small doses of it remind me why we turned ours off some 30 years ago.

Take, for example, the incessant worship of Steve Jobs. Sorry to rain on the parade, but you cannot turn on the television without yet another story about the Apple leader. Just this morning it was an interview on "Good Morning America" with his biographer.

Yes, I know he single-handedly invented personal computing--sort of like how some would have us believe that Henry Ford invented the automobile and built all of them himself. And where would we be without phones so smart we can use them while driving down busy highways or spoil a dinner out with friends while we check the latest sports scores or new hot music video?

Inching Toward Equity

A few years ago, I was asked to be a plenary speaker at a conference of legal and educational scholars. In my typical fashion, I decided to give a speech that was designed to provoke. I had heard enough discussions about the differences in life chances between White and Black children, and between White children and the ever more visible Latina/o youth. I was especially tired of the “achievement gap” talk that far too often resulted in conversations about more tests, more short cuts to teacher preparation, and more charter schools (often via private corporation takeovers). I needed an audience that would get mad enough to look at the ugly reality of what is happening to too many children in this country.

55 Years After Brown v Board, Doesn't Every Child Deserve a Quality Education?

Today America marks the 55th anniversary of Thurgood Marshall's historic victory in Brown v. Board of Education. If Marshall were alive, however, he would urge us to stop celebrating 1954 and start accepting responsibility for our complicity in the creation of a "separate but equal" education apartheid system – with one method of instruction for the poor and another for the privileged.

Youth Engagement and Rising Hands

In a recent article, Ed Week writer Debra Viadero reported on the research of Joseph Kahne and Ellen Middaugh, who have "documented a steady rise this decade in the percentages of young people who vote in primaries and general elections." The percentage of 18- to 29-year-olds who voted in national elections, for example, rose from 37 percent in 1996 to 52 percent in 2008…. Statistics also show that a majority of young people report …. volunteering while in high school…at much higher rates than their parents ever did.

Outside school/Inside school

I returned from spring break this week as was immediately confronted with the many ways in which out of school factors influence the success we have with many of our children.  I had been thinking about this having taken with me to read during the down time David Berliner's report, Poverty and Potential: Out-of-School Factors and School Success.

Educational Equity

Do we have an "achievement gap" in schools in the United States or an "educational debt" that we owe many of our children and communities? This is the question that Forum Convener Gloria-Ladson Billings puts before us in her featured piece in this edition of The Forum's newsletter. It is a question that challenges us to revisit our nation's oft-repeated but yet-to-be realized commitment to equal educational opportunity—a commitment fundamental to our future as a democracy.

Summer School

Summer is nearly over and in the next couple of weeks schools will fill up with students—and teachers will begin the task of trying to overcome the social and economic inequities that only they seem to be charged with battling. They take on the task willingly, but I wonder why they alone are expected to close the gaps our children face.

Looking for Evidence

Two interesting news articles caught my attention recently, both having to do with how in spite of improving test scores nothing seems to have changed in terms of student performance.

On June 26th, the Boston Globe reported that in spite of Massachusetts' students having to pass a test for graduation, 37% of freshman at public colleges still need remedial help. That's down only 2% from 2002, the year before the test was required.

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