I opened my mailbox a few days ago, and much to my delight, there before me was the latest issue of NEA Today Magazine. This issue features a Q & A with Secretary of Education
Spellings Duncan. Here is what Arne says concerning how poverty affects kids’ performance in schools. And I thought Spellings was delusional.
On the subject of poverty, Lori Mayo, a high school English teacher from New York City asked our basketball-playing leader:
Test scores are tied to parents' incomes. When will politicians realize that although schools can help to mitigate some of the disparities in society, we cannot be the great equalizer that will leave no child behind?
Secretary Duncan: I disagree. I see extraordinary high-performance schools where 95 percent of children live below the poverty line, where 95 percent are graduating, and 90 percent of those who graduate are going on to college.*
I think we have to raise expectations. We have too many examples-whether it's inner-city urban schools or rural schools-where, year after year, class after class, not just one child somehow breaking out in some miracle, but where schools and school systems are routinely beating the odds. So I would really challenge that teacher to look at what's happening, in New York City and other places around the country, rural and urban, where children from desperate poverty are being very, very successful because adults had the highest of expectations, pushing so hard to help them.
I know how tough that work is. I know it doesn't happen overnight. But this is the most important work going on today. And we have too many examples of success now to think that it's not possible. It is happening consistently, more so today than ever before, which gives me tremendous hope for the future.
WHERE THE HELL IS THIS HAPPENING?