Friday, January 9, 2009

Plethora of Choice - Who's on First?

On Jan. 2 I posted Wish-list to Obama for Public Education -- Parents-Students-Teachers & Technology in Public Education I’ve gotten some responses in Linked In and some emails, and all are appreciated. I know that by posting my ‘Wish List’ I’m inviting others to respond with their druthers. Disagreement about the negative effects of No Child Left Behind in no way unifies the critiquing communities in consensus. We who consider ourselves on the progressive side of educational transformation have not reached consensus easily before and the exchanges will be energetic and acrimonious, again. Each group of stakeholders has offered their criticisms of the current law as can be seen in the list of proclamations, joint statements and recommendations.
Rather than give my personal statement of criticism of NCLB, I am suggesting some on-the-ground roles and projects. I decided to publish my requests because: A) I want to highlight particular programs, projects & roles that my experience has shown to have direct impact on school transformation and student achievement. B) If NCLB is modified rather than a completely developed from scratch, these ideas can easily included in existing sections of the law. and C) I wanted to illustrate to my readers the direction taken in our community work, our parent leadership in education experiences, and the inter-generational experiences that illustrate student leadership and community use of technology to hold schools accountable.My wish list is within the very specific arena of family leadership in public education; If the focus was teacher & teaching quality, it would be a different wish list. My wish list is also based on a set of Family Leadership in Education Principles championed by my organization and guide my work as director of the Texas IDRA Parent Information Resource Center.
If you read this and chose to respond, please take a moment tell me what you think of my recommendations, especially as you send me your list of priorities.
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1 comment:

Tutor Mentor Connections said...

I wish he would use maps, like Generals do, to focus resources into the neighborhoods where poverty creates poor schools. These resources would expand the social capital surrounding kids, families in schools, and engage businesses, churches, hospitals, universities and others who share the same geography or who would benefit most from a better educated workforce and lower costs of poverty. See samples of such maps at

Second, I wish he would use his bully pulpit to draw weekly attention to web hubs where people can learn more about poverty, poor schools, high drop out rates, and find maps and databases that show them where they can give their time, talent and dollars to help schools improve by helping kids come to school better prepared to learn. One library of these ideas is at

Finally, I wish he would inspire others, in faith groups, schools, business and civic and social groups to take the same role, encouraging people they know to get informed and get involved. This is a form of adult service learning which will result in more effective strategies to help k-16 kids move toward careers.