"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, March 03, 2008


The difference between hype and hope. From Campaign for Educational Equity:
NCLB Should Ease Universal Proficiency Targets, New Book Argues; Focus Instead on Greater Educational Opportunity

Published: 2/28/2008 10:34:00 AM

With just six years left for all students nationwide to achieve proficiency in math and reading as required by federal law, two leading experts on educational equity say the target should be scrapped before its rhetorical intent “is undermined by the frustration of mounting failures.”

The experts -- Michael Rebell and Jessica Wolff, respectively executive director and policy director of The Campaign for Educational Equity, based at Teachers College, Columbia University -- argue that the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) should be restructured to provide all students with a range of opportunities and resources, both in and out of the classroom, which they believe are essential to learning.

“In place of the impossible goal of 100 percent proficiency, Congress should establish as its mandatory goal for 2014 the more achievable aim of providing meaningful educational opportunity for all children by that time,” write Rebell and Wolff in their new book, Moving Every Child Ahead: From NCLB Hype to Meaningful Educational Opportunity (Teachers College Press, 2008). “The term ‘proficiency’ should be redefined to emphasize consistent progress toward high levels of achievement, rather than absolute attainment of a concrete level of performance at a definite point in time. Each state’s adequate yearly progress should also be judged in terms of the extent to which the achievement gaps between advantaged and disadvantaged students are reduced.”

On Wednesday, March 5th, from 3:30 to 5 p.m., Rebell – the former lead attorney for the plaintiff in New York State’s educational adequacy lawsuit – will present the book’s main points at Teachers College, 525 West 120th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue, in 179 Grace Dodge Hall. His presentation is part of The Campaign for Educational Equity’s “Equity and Education Forum Series.”

TC professor Arlene Ackerman, recently named Superintendent of the Philadelphia public school system, will moderate a discussion between Jack Jennings, President of the Center on Education Policy, and Thomas L. Rogers, Executive Director, New York State Council of State Superintendents, in response to Rebell’s presentation. . . .

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