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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Commission lays out damning domestic, international, moral challenge ─ failed U.S. education system

Findings, recommendations unrepresentative of Federal Education Dept’, another exercise in appearing to do something while doing nothing to actively address crisis?

Excerpt from report, editing, re-reporting, brief comment by Carolyn Bennett

In America, we believe fate is not fixed by circumstances of birth,” the Equity and Excellence Commission said in its report. “The surest guarantor of this ideal is educational opportunity—the birthright of each and every child. [But] for so many children today ─ and many more to come ─ these American values are made hollow by [the country’s] failure to ensure equity and excellence throughout the system of public education.” 

Few challenges are as critical or as fundamental, the Commission report said. “The achievement gaps described [in the report] weaken the country internationally, economically and morally.” 

E Pluribus Unum
CRISIS of neglect in U.S. education
“For Each, Every Child: a strategy for education equity and excellence” (challenge)

“In 1983, A Nation at Risk [Education report] famously spoke of the ‘rising tide of mediocrity’ that threatened [U.S.] schools,” recalls a report this month by the Equity and Excellence Commission to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education. “Nearly 30 years later, the tide has come in—and we are drowning.”

The Imperative for Educational Reform is the title of a 1983 report by U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s National Commission on Excellence in Education.

Its publication (‘A Nation at Risk’) is considered a landmark event in modern U.S. educational history. Among other things, the report contributed to the ever-growing (and still present) sense that American schools are failing.  (Wikipedia note)

aken as a whole, said this latest report “For Each and Every Child: a strategy for education equity and excellence,” the United States “fails [the] nation and [fails] too many… children.”

PressTV image with reporting on
Education report
U.S. leaders “decry but tolerate disparities in student outcomes that are not only unfair [but] socially and economically dangerous.” Commitments “to academic excellence are often eloquent [in words but in practice and policy] “… insufficient in addressing educational challenges at home and abroad.”

The United States, the report said, “cannot continue to leave unexamined the traditional structures of schools, systems, and spending.” The nation cannot afford complacency in light of past achievements.

E Pluribus Unum (? sloganeer)

E Pluribus Unum
Schools in the United States “must do more than ensure future economic prosperity,” the commissioners said.  Schools “must foster the nation’s civic culture and sense of common purpose and create the unified nation” celebrated in the motto: E Pluribus Unum (Latin for ‘Out of many, one’; alternatively translated as ‘One out of many’ or ‘One from many’)

“So much depends on fulfilling this mission:

Shared ideals that enable the U.S. governmental system to hold together even in the face of fractious political disagreements;

Strength of American diversity;

‘Domestic tranquility’ referenced in Preamble to the Constitution of the United States and

Ability to maintain influence as example and power projected in the world
In the minds of citizens and immigrants and in the imagination of billions of people worldwide, the United States is built on the principle of great and equal opportunities. Facing enormous demographic change and international competition, the urgent task is to remake our education system to meet the demands of justice and the tests of competition.”

U.S. wars
Americans neglect these principles and expectations “at our peril,” the commissioners warn.  “Officials, administrators and constituents at all levels of government must attack the failings in U.S. education ─ as a moral and economic imperative.…

Leaders must “develop policies that give states and school districts incentives to pursue legal and feasible means to promote racially and socioeconomically diverse schools” (the federal government should continue supporting diversity as part of a broader equity agenda) because racially diverse schools benefit all students and help them prepare for life and productive work in a diverse society.
U.S. killer drone wars

Equity is essential to shoring up the entire nation’s standing in the global economy,” the report said. “We must avoid a future that continues to consign millions of poor children to inadequate schools lacking the great teachers and principals they need. Any goal of competitiveness and excellence must start with equity, or be doomed to failure. … Policy details are important,” the report said, but “moral and political determination is vital.…

We cannot have a strong democracy without an informed and engaged citizenry. A strong public school system is essential to a strong democracy.

The Equity and Excellence Commission said of its findings and recommendations: “We hope to kindle a sense of urgency that is both passionate and compassionate, keeping eyes on the prize” … instead of “distracting” with searches for “villains” to vilify and “heroes” to celebrate.

Neglected and worsening crises

“In America, we believe fate is not fixed by circumstances of birth,” the commission said. But the statement is untrue on its face and I expect the commissioners or whoever wrote the statement knew full well that it is false. Members of the commission are listed below; make your own judgment.

merica’s chronic problems are like curable diseases and deliberate ignorance. Americans just refuse to cure them.  Instead of taking into account the whole, they go shopping. Warning after warning is met with avoidance as if Americans see themselves as separate and apart from other people, from the world, from the planet. 

2013 Report by the
Equity and Excellence Commission:
“For Each and Every Child:
a strategy for
education equity and excellence”
Will this report make a difference? Or is it, as I suggested at the top, just another exercise in appearing to do something while doing nothing to actively address a man-made crisis? 

Will Americans commit for the long term to ending another of resolvable domestic and international crisis? Or will Americans continue to do what they usually do ─ ingest a temporary “feel-good” and camp out on the couch?

Sources and notes

Report by the Equity and Excellence Commission: “For Each and Every Child: a strategy for education equity and excellence”; A Report to the Secretary of Education of the U.S. Department of Education, February 2, 2013, http://www2.ed.gov/about/bdscomm/list/eec/equity-excellence-commission-report.pdf

The Equity and Excellence Commission (the Commission) is a federal advisory committee chartered by Congress, operating under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA); 5 U.S.C., App.2.

The commission’s charge was to provide advice to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Education on the disparities in meaningful educational opportunities that give rise to the achievement gap, with a focus on systems of finance, and to recommend ways in which federal policies could address such disparities. The findings and recommendations of the commission do not represent the views of the department, and this document does not represent information approved or disseminated by the Department of Education.

Foreword by the Commission Co-Chairs: by Christopher Edley, Jr. and Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar

Democracy Now headlines February 20, 2013, http://www.democracynow.org/2013/2/20/headlines#2207

“Dept. of Education Panel Says School System Burdening Low-Income Children ─ A federal commission has found U.S. education policies are burdening students from low-income families. In a new report, the Equity and Excellence Commission concluded: ‘No other developed nation has inequities nearly as deep or systemic; no other developed nation has ... so thoroughly stacked the odds against so many of its children.’

“The panel goes on to call for greater investments in public education, better training of teachers, equality in allocating funds, and a new push for more ethnically diverse schools.

“The commission was created by the Department of Education, but its findings largely reject the department’s bipartisan education reform effort, saying the focus on charter schools and standardized testing has been ‘poorly targeted.’”
Wikipedia note

E Pluribus Unum?

E Pluribus Unum included in the Seal of the United States; one of the nation’s mottos at the time of the seal’s creation

Latin for ‘Out of many, one’ (alternatively translated as ‘One out of many’ or ‘One from many’ — is a phrase on the Seal of the United States, along with Annuit cœptis and Novus ordo seclorum, and adopted by an Act of Congress in 1782.

Never codified by law, E pluribus unum was considered a de facto motto of the United States until 1956 when the United States Congress passed an act (H. J. Resolution 396) adopting ‘In God We Trust’ as the official motto. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E_pluribus_unum

See also

Exhibition Hall is home to E Pluribus Unum - Out of Many One, the only exhibition in the world dedicated to telling the story of the United States Congress and the U.S. Capitol.

Exhibition Hall features original documents and artifacts, videos, touchable models, computer inter-actives and two small theaters providing visitors with an in-depth look at how Congress works; the history of the Capitol and Congress, as well as information on Representatives and Senators. http://www.visitthecapitol.gov/exhibitions/index.html

s America grew from the early 1800s, “so did the government, and by 1850, it had outgrown the [earlier] building, and construction started again.

“The new architect faced the daunting task of expanding both wings of the building and creating an even more imposing central dome. The House of Representatives moved to their new chamber in 1857 and the Senate moved in 1859.

“When the Civil War began in 1861, the dome had not yet been completed and most construction temporarily ceased. The building … briefly served as a barracks and hospital for the union. In 1863, the Statue of Freedom was placed on top of the Capitol dome. At a height of 19 feet and 3 inches, the bronze cast weighed almost 15,000 pounds and its placement signified the completion of the building; it became a symbol of the country.

“Until 2000, when the Capitol Visitor Center was commissioned, the building remained much like it did when it was completed in 1863, with no large additions to the main structure.”

Member Commissioners of the February 2, 2013, education report “For Each and Every Child: a strategy for education equity and excellence”; A Report to the Secretary of Education of the U.S. Department of Education, February 2, 2013:

This report reflects the consensus of the commission. It does not reflect the full scope of each commission member’s views with respect to the issues discussed in the report. To elaborate on some of the dialogue and ideas discussed by this commission, a number of us have submitted, and some have collaborated upon, independently authored materials for a compendium which can be found in Appendix C.

The Equity and Excellence Commission (the Commission) is a federal advisory committee chartered by Congress, operating under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA); 5 U.S.C., App.2.

Russlynn Ali The Emerson Collective
Cynthia Brown Vice President, Education Policy Center for American Progress
Mike Casserly Executive Director The Council of Great City Schools
Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar Stanley Morrison Professor of Law Stanford Law School
Linda Darling-Hammond Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education Stanford University Sandra Dungee Glenn President and Chief Executive Officer The American Cities Foundation
Christopher Edley, Jr. Dean of U.C. Berkeley Law School University of California at Berkeley
Eric Hanushek Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution Stanford University
Karen Hawley Miles President and Executive Director Education Resource Strategies
Kati Haycock President The Education Trust
Benjamin Todd Jealous President, Chief Executive Officer The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
John B. King, Jr. Commissioner of Education and President of the University of the State of New York
Ralph Martire Executive Director The Center for Tax and Budget Accountability
Matt Miller Columnist, The Washington Post Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress
Marc H. Morial President, Chief Executive Officer The National Urban League
Michael A. Rebell Professor, Executive Director The Campaign for Educational Equity Teachers College, Columbia University
Ahniwake Rose (Cherokee) Executive Director National Indian Education Association
Jesse H. Ruiz Partner, Drinker Biddle & Reath Vice President, Chicago Board of Education
James E. Ryan Matheson & Morgenthau Distinguished Professor of Law University of Virginia School of Law
Thomas A. Saenz President & General Counsel Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
David G. Sciarra Executive Director The Education Law Center
Robert T. Teranishi Associate Professor of Higher Education New York University
Jacquelyn Thompson Director (retired) The Office of Special Education and Early Intervention Services Michigan Department of Education
José M. Torres Superintendent School District U-46, Elgin, Illinois
Dennis Van Roekel President The National Education Association
Randi Weingarten President American Federation of Teachers
Doris Terry Williams Executive Director The Rural School and Community Trust

"United States education system hit by dire crisis: Report," February 20, 2013, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/02/20/289975/us-education-system-hits-dire-crisis/


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