Tuesday, June 07, 2011

School success stories not in doubt

Ed warrior Jon Schnur with an op ed in the Denver Post rebutting Ravitch's NYT op ed.  I was especially interested to read this: "I've invited Ravitch to join me on visits of rapidly improving schools and to discuss our observations and the implications. She accepted this invitation, and I look forward to the visits and dialogue."  What a great idea!  (Not that I believe for an instant that Ravitch will change her views, even when confronted with overwhelming proof that they're wrong.)

With a generation of students at risk, our country is debating how schools can improve educational outcomes for our children. The underlying fault line shaping our nation's future and character is a conflict over whether American schools can improve educational outcomes at all, especially for low-income students.

The evidence is clear: Quality teaching and schooling make a profound impact on student achievement, including for low-income students. But assertions to the contrary could inadvertently paralyze efforts to improve our schools.

In Wednesday's New York Times, an op-ed by Diane Ravitch called into question accounts of schools that have achieved stunning results. Ravitch casts doubt on such schools by arguing that the only miracle was a triumph of public relations.

But the growing number of school successes represent neither miracles nor mirages. To the contrary, students, teachers, school leaders and parents are achieving breakthrough improvements in increasing numbers of schools and classrooms. Their results are the consequence of hard work, high expectations, excellent teaching, and persistence.

…The tragedy is that we haven't figured out how to accelerate improvements and help many more students and schools succeed. Proof Points for Educational Success will learn from successful schools and help school systems and communities drive dramatic improvements for students at scale.

As Ravitch argues, other programs to address poverty are critical, too. But to deny the success of rapidly improving and successful schools will paralyze us rather than push us to action. And it will offer no hope or solutions to students and educators who need and deserve better now.

We cannot be paralyzed in our effort to improve our schools. We must act on multiple fronts now.


School success stories not in doubt

By Jon Schnur

Posted: 06/05/2011 01:00:00 AM MDT


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