This week, I gave a speech at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government in Albany marking the 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in the Brown vs. Board of Education case that declared segregation in public education unconstitutional. Despite all of the nation's progress, just 58 percent of African-American and Latino students graduate from high school in New York compared to 86 percent of White students. In the speech, I called on communities of color to demand better schools that are accountable for helping all students learn.
If we don't hold ourselves accountable - and if we don't demand transparency around student achievement - and if we don't challenge ourselves to give our kids the very best education possible, the adults won't lose. Only the children will lose. In the speech, I outlined an opportunity agenda for New York schools to move the state toward the vision of Brown v. Board of Education:
- Continue the hard work of raising standards for teaching and learning to ensure all students - regardless of race, zip code, or family economic status - receive the excellent effective education necessary for success in college, careers, and life.
- Restructure school funding formulas to promote greater equity, and continue to increase the State's investment in early learning.
- Foster greater socioeconomic and racial integration by establishing magnet secondary schools serving multiple districts, redrawing school boundaries within districts, and changing district-level enrollment policies.
- Provide greater supports to our English Language Learners, invest in bilingual education, and pass the New York State Dream Act so that undocumented students can go to college.
- Raise college completion rates by building in more supports for low-income students through investments in the opportunity programs at SUNY, CUNY, and in the independent sector.
We cannot stand by while inequality persists. We cannot ignore the staggering differences in educational outcomes among our children of different races and backgrounds. That's not America. We are one people, one society, and one nation and when we raise our voices together in pursuit of our common values we can produce a sound that is greater than all of those voices of fear, defeat and retreat.
John B. King, Jr.
|Urban Students' Perceptions and Transition to the Common Core
| This week's post from our EngagedVoices educator blog features Joshua Cornue, a fourth grade teacher at Roberto Clemente School 8 in the Rochester City School District. Joshua shares perspectives from his fourth graders about how the Common Core has changed the way they learn.
As an urban teacher in the lowest performing district of New York's 'Big Five' cities, I have heard criticism of the Common Core Standards and Curriculum Modules. Based on the state exam scores in my school last year (1% at level 3 or higher for grades 3-8), some may think that these new, more rigorous standards are too challenging and perhaps even detrimental to our students' performance.
However, my fourth graders see it differently.
Chalkbeat New York
May 7, 2014
Catherine Miller, a sixth grade teacher in the Bronx, encourages her students to find deeper meaning in challenging texts. By doing this, she says she has "made the standards her own."
May 6, 2014
G. Michael Guy, a professor at Queensborough Community College, says high school graduates need to enter college with a far deeper understanding of basic math concepts.