Monday, December 8, 2008

Some summit…

I just finished reading U.S.News’ account of their summit on “The Future of High School Reform.” Here’s the story’s lead:

“In October, a panel of experts discussed the future of high school reform at the first U.S. News and Intel education summit held at the National Press Club in Washington. Led by moderator Andrew Rotherham, cofounder of the Education Sector think tank and author of the Eduwonk blog, the panleists (their spelling-MK) discussed everything from the impact of charter schools to the future of No Child Left Behind.”

Leaving aside for a moment, the question of the expertise of the panelists (expert usually = white, male, teacher-free & politically aligned), the words No Child Left Behind are never uttered by any of them. Strange.

Also left out of the discussion is any mention of real-life, out of school conditions of students and their families, or the vast inequities in funding and educational programs and resources between inner-city high schools and those in wealthy communities.


In a side bar, there’s an interview with N.Y. Chancellor Joel Klein who is smart enough to mention NCLB (he wants even more testing) and pay some lip service to the lives of urban kids (“urban cities are not working, and they're particularly not working for kids that grew up in poverty, kids of color, recent immigrants”). But he takes no responsibility on himself or his boss, Mayor Bloomberg, for the “not working part” and seems stuck in the business rhetoric of the Ownership Society. He even refers to school dollars as, “R&D money” and “ our venture capital.”

Let’s not forget, that the very kids Klein mentions, ie. recent immigrants, are the ones being systematically excluded from many of the new charter schools he raves about.

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