Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Spellings Should Cool the Insults and Check Connecticut's Results -

Here is a great column from today's Hartford Courant. According to Michele Jacklin:

"In terms of raising the performance levels of minority students, few states have pushed harder or dedicated more resources to the effort than this one.

Since 1997, Connecticut has invested $600 million in pre-school and after-school programs, early reading instruction and a multiplicity of services for disadvantaged students. That figure doesn't include the billions of dollars spent over the past 15 years, by virtue of the state's Education Cost Sharing formula, on schools with the lowest-performing students. It also doesn't include the hundreds of millions aimed at desegregating city schools through programs such as Open Choice.

Yet, despite those Herculean efforts, the achievement gap is among the widest in the nation. That's because performance is largely tied to socioeconomic status. And in this state of extreme wealth and poverty, white students outperform their peers nationally, while minority students struggle to keep pace. Nonetheless, in the past four years, the gap between Connecticut's least advantaged and most advantaged students has been closing.

Federal officials refuse to acknowledge that progress. They've blindly stuck to the rigid protocols laid out in the No Child Left Behind law, even though layers of additional testing won't tell experts anything more than they've already gleaned from 20 years of Mastery Test scores.

In truth, the Spellings/Sternberg faceoff isn't about educational equality; it's about a federal bureaucracy that defines issues in simplistic, messianic terms and a state whose leaders understand that raising the performance levels of all kids is a challenge that defies simplistic solutions..."

Simplistic solutions that are bound to produce failing schools so that parents can have more "choice" with corporate run charter schools and voucher subsidized private education.

No comments: