April 2010 Issue:
When NAEP test scores are released, the press is almost always negative. When the most recent results came out in March, for example, the big story was that average scores in 4th grade reading have risen only four points since 1992. A closer look at the data shows much larger increases for all “subgroups” of students though — a 6-point increase for White students, a 13-point increase for Black students, an 8-point increase for Hispanic students, and a 19-point increase for Asian/Pacific Islander students. How is this possible?
Thousands of teachers are getting pink slips, class-sizes are growing, and vital programs are being cut, due to the states' fiscal crisis. Meanwhile, the federal Education Department is assigning $4.35 billion in funds, called “Race to the Top,” to a few specific states based on a competition promoting questionable changes in state education laws.
Ocynthia Williams, a parent leader and organizer, has spent years helping parents confront the challenges of improving schools in underserved communities. While she learned how toreach out to school district leaders and community groups, train parents to be confident and analyze school data, and build trusting relationships between parents and teachers in New York City, her lessons learned apply to parent leadership for schools in most communities.
In response to an order issued by an Alaska trial court in late March, the Alaska Legislature has begun taking steps to address deficiencies that the court identified in Moore v. Alaska. Plaintiffs are “optimistic the State will now have to provide the support and assistance needed to build local school district capacity to overcome the achievement gap.”
On April 15th, based on an outpouring of opposition by teachers, parents, students, and others, Florida Governor Charlie Crist vetoed the controversial Senate Bill 6 (SB6), a week after the full legislature passed it. The bill linked teacher pay to student test scores and made it easier for principals to fire teachers. Though SB6 will not become law, similar legislation is being considered in other states.
High Court Decision Anticipated
Plaintiffs still await a decision from the South Carolina Supreme Court in Abbeville County Sch. Dist. v. State of South Carolina, which was argued over a year ago.
April 27, 2010
“The Flat World and Education: What the Nation Can Learn from New Jersey,” lecture by Stanford Professor Linda Darling-Hammond, is presented by the National Institute for Early Education Research and Education Law Center. New Brunswick, NJ. More information available here.
May 4, 2010
“Bridging Differences: What Works in Schools,” a Capitol Hill Briefing hosted by the Forum for Education and Democracy, features Diane Ravitch, Deborah Meier, James Comer, and Doug Anthony. Washington, DC. More information available here.
May 20-22, 2010
“3rd National Communities for Public Education Reform Convening: Building Power & Sharing Visions, Creating A Groundswell for Education Justice!” Denver, CO.
Send announcements of upcoming events for the Education Justice calendar to: info@educationjustice.org

The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.

-- Dietrich Bonhoeffer


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