Usually during the middle of the term, the students in my education-focused Capstone courses start to feel overwhelmed by all of the challenges to education that we discuss in class and see within our community partner sites. I’ve realized how important it is to not only discuss the problems but to propose solutions — both large and small scale. This prevents despair and encourages action. Here are four different moments from this week’s education news that highlight the ways that people (from those in national organizations to those in a single school district or city) are working to fix education. Read and let me know what you think!
- In the Huffington Post, author and education reformer Kevin Chavous writes “If You Want Our Economy Fixed, Fix Education.” He details a recent report’s findings on FOUR (not one, but four) achievement gaps that U. S. students face: the international achievement gap, the racial achievement gap, the income achievement gap, and the system-based achievement gap. His recommendations for how to fix education? Give schools equitable and stable funding, employ and support strong teachers, and come together as a community to demand better education and to work toward it.
- In Marian Wright Edelman’s latest blog posts on education (she is the director of the Children’s Defense Fund and one of the most prominent advocates and activists for children’s rights in the U.S.), she talks about the privilege and importance of voting to support kids and education and looks at one of the big issues in education conversations right now — the inequity in discipline and the way schools push out students and then blame them for failing. The short story: Support kids and education by keeping them in school rather than pushing them out and educating the whole child (emotional, intellectual, etc.). And push for voter registration, voter education, and voter turnout in the fal
- In Portland youth-related news, the youth bus pass program has been saved (although it has also brought up a bunch of complicated issues about balancing the strained budgets of our schools, Metro, etc.). This is good news for students who will still be able to take public transportation to and from school and school events for free. The fix? Give students access to resources, and they will use them. They will also feel like the community wants them to succeed.
- Also, in Portland Public School news, tonight, there is a conversation being held about enrollment balancing options for the Jefferson cluster. If this is your neighborhood and your school district, please attend and add your voice. The Jefferson area certainly needs stability and lots of support right now after the closing of Humboldt and Harriet Tubman in addition to years of inequity for students in the area. Lots of hope for these schools as they go forward! The fix? Figure out how to stabilize enrollment so that Jefferson-area students can settle in and feel supported, heard, and pushed intellectually. It also seems like a discussion about the transfer policy and how to encourage attendance in neighborhood schools should also be on the table.
As always, being an informed community member is one of the first and most important steps to being a more engaged community member. Keep up, ask questions, and keep me posted on other local issues that are important to you!