Here is a profoundly insightful talk given by Pedro Noguera. If you are someone who needs to be in the know about education reform, I urge you to take some time and listen to this.
- We have the know-how for educating all kinds of children - even those who have the hardest time learning
- After 10 years of No Child Left Behind, the US still has drop out rates as high as 50%.
- The Obama administration is simply continuing the same policies of the Bush administration: improve schools by using high stakes testing, and high standards to punish and embarrass schools.
- We focus on symptoms of failure without addressing underlying causes. If you only deal with symptoms, you might actually make things worse.
- We know we have failure in our schools - but we don't know why, and we don't know what to do about that?
- If we fire principals and teachers, are their ready and capable professionals to replace those fired?
- We should divide up our schools into three categories: 1) Affluent schools are doing great 2) Mediocre schools 3) Poorest schools that are serving the truly disadvantaged
- There is a distinct connection between poverty and academic performance.
- We've had a lot of school reform and very little change.
- Many schools are plagued with a culture of failure where failure is normalized and predictable, and over time the adults come to blame the kids and their families. When this is the prevailing logic in a school that school will never improve.
- Poverty is not a learning disability. Under the right conditions, poor children can learn and succeed.
- 1966 Colman Report told us that over half of students' achievements in the classroom are affected by factors outside of the classroom (poverty, opportunity, health, family, etc)
If you are not familiar with Pedro Noguera's work, I think you should be.