Friday, January 06, 2006

Guess Who's Still Left Behind

A great Op Ed in yesterday's NYT by the Policy Director at Ed Trust.

We don't have the luxury of deciding whether we want to take on the heartache and hard work of improving public education. Given the rapidly increasing pressures and demands of the knowledge-based economy, we need to make sure that we take more students to higher levels of achievement. That means pegging standards to the real-world challenges our students will face as adults. But nothing will make up for a lack of commitment to raising teacher quality.

We will forever consign millions of poor and minority children to the margins of society if we do not act now to give them the teachers they need and deserve. The latest test results indicate that we have maintained and even built a little on recent gains but that the heavy lifting in education reform is still in our future.


Guess Who's Still Left Behind

By Ross Wiener

Washington Post Op Ed, Monday, January 2, 2006; Page A13

This past fall new national data were released on the academic achievement of our young people. In some ways the latest results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the Nation's Report Card, were consistent with other recent performance indicators: There is some progress in math and almost none in reading, and more progress in elementary schools than in middle schools (where reading levels actually have declined since 2003).

This modest progress is disappointing. Despite the intense focus on improving the academic achievement of struggling students since enactment of the No Child Left Behind law, we have to stop and ask why more progress has not been made in narrowing the achievement gaps that separate low-income students and students of color from their peers.

The results are sobering from at least one other perspective: The knowledge and skills of students of color and those from low-income families are not just low compared with white and more-affluent students. They are also low in absolute terms, shutting these students out from meaningful civic engagement and economic opportunity...

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