This is the conclusion to an essay I wrote here in my “jonathan’s edutalk” blog. It is somewhat re-worked from the version quoted a few entries earlier in the blog entry by Diane Ravitch sub-titled “when critics rage.” While I do not plan to circulate the resolution below, much as I think it would help to raise public consciousness on the issue of income inequality and student achievement, I think it represents a very important point of view.
My point is to demonstrate that we can all deliberately and systematically draw on the various ways we know our kids are smart. That is, we can draw on their various talents as readers, listeners, responders to and shapers of their world. In doing so, we can not only speak out but “teach out” against practices and policies that we know are damaging our students, preventing them from experiencing themselves as the diversely talented group of individuals that, in our heart of hearts, we know them to be.
And in light of what is sure to be a tidal wave of curriculum materials purporting to “raise students’ scores” on the spring 2015 CCS assessments, I propose the adoption of the following resolution:
WHEREAS every large scale study over the past 30 years of income level in relation to student achievement has shown a compelling correlation between the two, and
WHEREAS the percentage of students in poverty in our nation’s schools has grown steadily and persistently over the past 39 years, and
WHEREAS the present levels of income inequality in our nation can be related directly to conscious public policy,
BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED
That the Common Core Standards, individual schools that “beat the odds,” Teach for America Interns whose students outperform those of traditionally credentialed teachers, and all such examples of the need to “reform” the American system of public education, be understood for what they are:
Seductive distractions from the overriding issue we must face as a nation if “fixing” public schools is be anything more than an irresponsible instance of political posturing–the shameful growth in income disparity between our poorest and wealthiest citizens.