Home » education

Jeanne Allen: Remembering Education Equity at the March

The commemoration of the March on Washington (Aug 28,1963) this weekend is cause to remember that while struggles in economic and educational equity did and do exist, there were people who for years had been working to integrate schools, even before the Brown v Board of Education ruling in 1954.

One such person was DC Archbishop and later Cardinal Patrick O’Boyle who led the integration of Catholic schools here before any mandate caused him to do so. O’Boyle believed that “we are all God’s children regardless of race.” That principle today may live  in most hearts but is sadly not always put to practice. Despite the clear superiority of equality as a principle that should guide the manner in which we educate children, our governments’ leaders in all but a handful of communities and states still assign children unequally to schools based on their zip code. While many religious and spiritual leaders joined the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr in calling for equality and indeed were like Archbishop O’Boyle welcoming all races to school together, too many of our current civil rights leaders reject publicly supported school choice programs that involve the same religious entities that once freed children. Many work to change their hearts and minds. We must do that, and more. To that end I share excerpts from D C’s Archbishop O’Boyle’s opening prayer on August 28, 1963 at the historic March on Washington:

“Bless this nation and all its people. May the warmth of Your love replace the coldness that springs from prejudice and bitterness. Send in our midst the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of all to the great truth that all men are equal in Your sight. Let us understand that simple justice demands

Read More …

Comments(0)

From the cutting room floor

trash canFour things you are guaranteed not to hear in Wednesday night’s SOTU:

  • “While a little nerve-wracking for us around the White House, November elections by the people of New Jersey and Virginia solidified what will be an exciting opportunity for those states to break from the status quo and embrace the education reforms of their new governors and the incredibly bold leaders they have chosen to steer schools in their states. At the very least, McDonnell has kept Gerard so busy he hasn’t been able to bother me about DC scholarships.”
  • “Frankly, my Education Secretary and I were disappointed with the results of special legislative sessions and bill proposals regarding charter schools. Our crack public affairs team spun things so R2TT would come out smelling like a rose, but, come on. Caps lifted when states weren’t even near them, Louisiana? Strengthening collective bargaining, Illinois? And two little guys out of New England – I’m talking to you Rhode Island and Connecticut – giving charter schools money you had already promised then taken away? Really? I hope that wasn’t used to support your applications. We went to Harvard, you know.”
  • “The one real win in R2TT goes on the scoreboard for teachers. Check this out. In addition to $100 billion dollars to keep them employed through the stimulus, we figured out a way to take it a step further with R2TT and teacher evaluation methodology. You could drive a truck through the holes in state proposals regarding teachers. You should see some of the emails Arne sends me late at night with examples cut straight from the applications. It’s all I can do to keep from falling out of bed. I can’t wait for round two.”
Comments(1)

How do I react?

Nancy: Joe, did Barack just endorse charter schools as an example of what’s working in public education?
Joe: I think he did.
Nancy: Everyone looks like they are about to applaud. What should we do?
Joe: Do you think the cameras are on us right now?
Nancy: I don’t know. Maybe they’re taking a shot of Landrieu. She’s all over charters down there in Louisiana.
Joe: My state has given charters a real rough time lately, and I don’t think my constituents donors would appreciate my showing any support.
Nancy: Mine neither. What should we do?
Joe: Let’s just scowl. It always worked for Cheney. I don’t know if he ever smiled at these things.

Comments(1)

Viva Viagra! Rambo’s in Town!

headbandAll stimulus—all the time. There is nothing like a raucous action film filled with exploding cars and high-powered weaponry to distract you from your troubles and take your mind off your real obligations back home. Like it or not, this is the net effect of the Stimulus package now furiously hurdling through Congress like some action hero implausibly decimating everything in his way while the world around watches in awe—numb, but invigorated by the spectacle—waiting to be rescued.

Has Obama gone Rambo? Or has Washington become a Hollywood set—a gleaming fasçade, supported by nothing, but intentionally built to allow our superhero to shine?

For those in need of a tonic from so much stimulus—still reeling from the whiplash of the high-speed chase with stolen dollars flying everywhere—read Michael Gerson’s magisterial treatment of how real education reform signaled by the Obama campaign has already been abandoned in exchange for Obama’s empty pragmatism.

No purple pill or action hero bravado for him. Gerson is a real man, a man of principle, who reminds us what is required to effect fundamental reform. Among the remedies are test-based accountability and merit pay to drive improved teacher quality—not payola stolen from children yet born to buy off one’s political supporters.

Gerson writes, “It is still early in the Obama era. But it is already evident that pragmatism without a guiding vision or a fighting faith can become little more than the service of insistent political interests.” It is precisely for this reason that Mandate for Change was recently sent to every state and federal legislator in the land.

Got Mandate?

Comments(1)

James, age 9

cartman_jamesSeemingly always the last question asked in the political arena, President Obama was queried by 9-year-old James earlier during his Elkhart, IN town hall meeting.

James asked how the President planned to help our schools.

His laundry list of solutions:

– Rebuild schools to be state-of-the-art
– Train new teachers (and re-train existing ones)
– Reform how we do business
– High standards
– Better assessment
– NCLB needs to be re-worked in a more effective way

And last, he said, was to engage parents, noting that all the money in the world wouldn’t help education in this country until parents step up to the plate.

Greening our schools, building new facilities where none are needed and bailing out the teaching industry are supposed to lead to educational success?

How much do higher standards and student achievement cost?

How about focusing on what works:

– Federal accountability
– Transparency
– Charter schools
– School choice
– Teacher quality

Got Mandate?

Comments(0)

Fantasy Press Conference (Shameful Redux)

microphones(In light of the impending stimulus package making the rounds on Capitol Hill, the following is a riff on remarks made by President Barack Obama following a meeting with his education economic team. The original can be read in its entirety on the official White House blog.)

One point I want to make is that all of us are going to have responsibilities to get this economy education moving again. And when I saw an article today indicating that Wall Street bankers Congress had given themselves the education system $20 billion $100 billion worth of bonuses in new spendingthe same amount of bonuses as they gave themselves in 2004 effectively doubling federal funding of education — at a time when most of these institutions were are teetering on collapse and they are asking for taxpayers to help sustain them, and when taxpayers find themselves in the difficult position that if they don’t provide help that where they don’t have any other choices for educating their children, the entire system could come down on top of our heads if the next generation – indeed, this generation – can’t compete in a global economy — that is the height of irresponsibility. It is shameful.

And part of what we’re going to need is for folks on Wall Street in the education BLOB who are asking for help to show some restraint accountability and show some discipline transparency and

Read More …

Comments(1)

Welcome to Washington's Food Fight, Mr. Smith

foodfightJust as Jimmy Stewart’s Jefferson Smith did upon his cinematic arrival in Washington, this year’s Capitol newbies will encounter the three major political “food” groups – The Know-It Alls, The Pessimists and The Relativists.  If they are lucky, or smart, or just plain good, they may find themselves associating with a lesser known but more effective commodity – the more principled drivers of change, The Reformers.

Unlike the Reformers, the Know-It-Alls are the Washington establishment, which on the whole believe that everything being done now in the federal government is as it should be, is being done for a reason and must simply be sustained and grown – not changed one bit. It’s good, it’s comfortable and it all seems to work for them. Don’t worry about effectiveness or review. That’s for the pessimists.

The Pessimists don’t really believe things are working well, but they require hard, fast proof before they accept anything new.  They complain that things aren’t funded enough and that the government needs more regulation, not less (indeed, they are pessimists and believe the people cannot really govern themselves).  They believe that our rights have been taken away by various agencies and public bodies. The Pessimists cast a dark cloud over anything that may suggest more choice and freedom – particularly in education.  How can you trust them, afterall?

The Relativists are on everybody’s side.  There is no deal too compromising for them.  You have your opinion, I have mine. They are all equal. There’s really no right or wrong (except in the opposite political party).  If you really believe in a cause, the relativists are at the ready with their idea of reality – that you simply can’t win at all so don’t even try. Relativists tell reformers to

Read More …

Comments(0)

Edspresso Lounge

Edspresso Archive

Education Blogs