Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The latest on BBA

I was beginning to wonder when and if the Broader Bolder Approach (BBA) group was going to gather some momentum. But now they seem to be on the move and fighting for a seat at an education policy table thus far dominated by conservative opponent Education Equity Project (EEP). That group, led by N.Y. Mayor Bloomberg, Al Sharpton, and Newt Gingrich, favors privatization and wants even greater emphasis on standardized testing. Until now, they have had the closest ties with Ed Sec. Arne Duncan and the greatest influence on DOE policy initiatives like Race To The Top.

A update issued today by co-chairs Co-Chairs Helen Ladd, Pedro Noguera, Tom Payzant, details BBA's early progress. It includes the BBA report, issued in June, which maintains that the burden of school reform cannot be shouldered by schools alone and that test scores alone cannot represent a true measure of school success or failure. BBA calls for a policy approach with combines school improvement with improvements in family living conditions, including early childhood care and education, health, and out-of-school time. Duncan and his staff received a briefing on the report and asked BBA leaders to follow it up with specific recommendations.

According to the latest update, BBA has responded to the request with specifics on improvement of tests and their use and on how Race To The Top funds should be used to improve schools and the lives of children. Recently, BBA Accountability committee members Linda Darling-Hammond, Dennis Van Roekel, Richard Rothstein, and Diane Ravitch promoted the BBA report at the National Journal's web site.

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