The Quiet Revolution In Achievement
We have yet to take sufficient note of a
historic development in public education: A critical mass of schools is
establishing, with more assurance than ever, that children can achieve
at high standards regardless of race or economic disadvantage. The wall
is coming down as both method and mind-set have converged to work their
magic. These developments, and the simple, common elements that inform
them, obligate us to do far more than we currently do to hasten their
replication and refinement. How we respond to these new realities will
both define us and redefine the democratic experiment.
The Denver Post recently contained an arresting article with the headline "Schools Prove Poor Kids Can Thrive." It listed 15 schools in Colorado with exceptionally large populations of high-poverty students--and reading scores that the most affluent schools would envy.
Of the 15, four were from the same district--Pueblo, Colo. One of them is Bessemer Elementary School. Eighty-five percent of Bessemer's students receive free or reduced-price lunches. Two years ago, only 2 percent of its students were proficient writers, and only 12 percent were proficient readers. One year later, 47 percent were proficient writers, and 64 percent were proficient readers. That got the school on "Good Morning America." Officials there are still awaiting the most recent writing data, but their reading results are in: Students went up 10 more points, to 74 percent proficient. That's higher, mind you, than my own children's prestigious, affluent district scored until just...
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- Lawrence Family Development Charter School, Lawrence, MA
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- Scholastic Inc., Manhattan, NY
- 3rd Grade Teacher
- New Hope Academy Charter School, Brooklyn, NY
- Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School, Lawrence, MA