Civil Right’s groups come together on statement for ESEA changes
Posted by Scott Nine on Jul 27, 2010 - 08:30 AM
Just finished reading the Framework for Providing All Students an Opportunity to Learn through Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act
. This document was co-authored by several leading Civil Rights organizations. I don't think it goes far enough, but it does address clearly and directly key challenges around funding formulas, the role of charter schools, the involvement of parents and community, and names that the overall goal of schools needs to be preparation for participating in a vibrant democracy.
I think it is worth reading in full, but here are few excerpts that seem worth highlighting.
"Low-performing schools will not improve unless we also change the resources, conditions, and approaches to teaching and learning within the schools or their replacements. Moreover, as communities in New York and Kansas City have indicated through campaigns protesting the closure of their schools, schools are more than buildings; they are social institutions whose closure could threaten the organized provision of necessary health and social services to their communities.”
“Overall, the goal of our nation's system of education should be to increase the capacity of individuals to be engaged in our democratic process. Ultimately, we want all students to be prepared for college, careers, and active civic participation. That capacity-building should begin with meaningful input on public education. Moreover, there is clear evidence that when communities are organized and engaged, their schools are better."
“Students cannot learn, and teachers cannot teach, in learning environments that are not safe and educationally sound. But too many schools rely on only one set of punitive tools 'suspension, expulsion, and arrest' to maintain order and safety. The overuse of these exclusionary practices has been shown to harm academic achievement, not only for the students being disciplined, but for the school as a whole. Even our youngest students are now being suspended, expelled, or arrested for what used to be considered youthful misbehavior. Racial disparities in discipline practices are also pervasive: African- American students are nearly three times as likely to be suspended, and Latino students are nearly one-and-a-half times as likely to be suspended, as their white peers.”
“The ESEA reauthorization process must take account of the fact that race and class still matter deeply in the education school children receive.”
“More than fifty years ago, it took the persistent efforts of parents and students in cities and hamlets across the country to persuade the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education to rule that all students should have access to an inclusive, high-quality education. Today, our nation is still struggling to fulfill Brown's promise."
“As a community of civil rights organizations, our objective is not to support prescriptions that only have the capacity to change a few schools for a few students. We want a blueprint for a federal commitment to education reform that embraces the entire nation and all of its people.”
“Some have articulated a belief that our nation is unable to garner the resources to provide a high-quality education for all students and therefore we should just save those we can. But as civil rights advocates, our objective is not to support prescriptions that only have the capacity to change a few schools for a few students. We invoke the leadership and drive of the candidate and Senator from Illinois who told a nation, “Yes we can.” Securing equal access to high-quality education is the civil rights battle of this generation.”