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Finding Common Ground

A former K-5 public school principal turned author, presenter, and leadership coach, DeWitt provides insights and advice for education leaders. He can be found at www.petermdewitt.com. Read more from this blog.

Education Opinion

Save Our Schools

By Peter DeWitt — July 25, 2011 1 min read
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Conservatives are attracted to the idea that some schools can eliminate the gap with the present levels of funding because, if these schools can do so, more money spent on educating lower class children is not needed" (Rothstein, 2004, p. 70).

On Thursday, July 28th I will be in Washington D.C. with thousands of other educators from across the country as we kick off the Save Our Schools March and National Call to Action (SOS). The march will take place from the 28th of July through Sunday, July 31st. Jonathan Kozol will provide the keynote speech at the conference on July 28th and Diane Ravitch will be the keynote speaker on Friday, July 29th. Although the conference requires registration, the march is open to the public.

A majority of states have signed on to use Common Core Standards, which will hopefully be a great tool for educators because it will offer them the curriculum alignment they need. One of the issues is how the Common Core Standards will be evaluated. Evaluating soley by using high stakes testing would be a mistake because there are too many variables.

Many of our schools do not receive equitable funding which ultimately means that many of our students lack proper resources when they go to school, and yet, they are required to score the same on high stakes testing. When these students score lower on high stakes testing, it just tells us what we already know; they need more resources and a better education.

Sadly, this issue has been around since the days of Horace Mann.

He discussed the importance of adequate and sufficient school buildings, capable and dedicated school committee members, qualified teachers, and a strong popular commitment to free public education. In this Mann was particularly concerned with the local community's lack of interest in "the education of all its children" (Rippa, 1997, p. 88).

Save Our Schools would like to see major changes in our educational system. The following are SOS’s Guiding Principles.

  • Equitable funding across all public schools and school systems
  • Full public funding of family and community support services
  • Full funding for 21st century school and neighborhood libraries
  • An end to economically and racially re-segregated schools

Regardless if you find your politics on the right, left, or somewhere in the middle, you cannot deny that we have seen troubling times in education over the past few years. Funding is being cut across the country and we have to think differently. SOS offers a great way for educators to come together and have a discussion about where education needs to go.

If you cannot attend the conference or march next weekend, I encourage you to go to the Save Our Schools March website. There are a variety of ways you can help, and perhaps through a grassroots effort we can make sure that all students will receive an equal education.

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Click here to see Peter’s WNYT (NBC affiliate) news segment about SOS.

Peter can be found at www.petermdewitt.com

Rippa, S. Alexander. (1996). Education in a Free Society: An American History. Allyn & Bacon Rothstein, R. (2004). Class and Schools. In R. Rothestein, Class and Schools. New York: Teachers College Press. Save Our Schools March & National Call to Action, www.saveourschoolsmarch.org

The opinions expressed in Peter DeWitt’s Finding Common Ground are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.