Letter

Report Adds Fuel to Belief in ‘Demographic’ Destiny

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints

To the Editor:

Your special report Quality Counts 2007 (Jan. 4, 2007) rightly presses its readers to look at education as a continuum, from pre-K through college. But the annual report also appears to have made the mistake of focusing on what we, as educators, cannot change, instead of what we can do to ensure all students succeed.

The report’s “Chance-for-Success Index” is based on many indicators that cannot be directly affected by educators or education policymakers in the near term. The resulting message to states is clear: If you have large numbers of poor or undereducated adults, just forget it. In sending this message, you diminish the critical role of educators and public schools in preparing young people to become contributing citizens despite the obstacles they face outside of school.

For example, the K-12 achievement indicators discount the success states have shown in raising the achievement of struggling students, while allowing states that demonstrate less effort in this area to claim victory based on the achievement of more-affluent students.

Furthermore, the higher-education measure—the percentage of a state’s adult population that has a postsecondary degree—is often as much a product of in-migration as it is of homegrown college graduates. Wouldn’t it have been better to examine how well states’ colleges and universities are doing in enrolling and graduating all groups of students?

Instead of highlighting the role of educators in helping students overcome the barriers of poverty and racism, you’ve added to the sense that “demographics are destiny” and that defeat for some students—and educators—is all but inevitable.

Yes, it would easier to educate some students if they had better lives beyond their schools. But the fact is that a shamefully high percentage of our students bear burdens that they shouldn’t have to. Our best teachers know they are these students’ best, and sometimes only, chance for a decent future. We only wish that Quality Counts had sent these teachers a message of support, rather than discouragement.

Kati Haycock
Founder and President
The Education Trust
Washington, D.C.

Vol. 26, Issue 26, Page 29

Published in Print: March 7, 2007, as Report Adds Fuel to Belief in ‘Demographic’ Destiny
Related Stories

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories

Viewed

Emailed

Recommended

Commented

Sponsor Insights

Stop cobbling together your EdTech

Integrate Science and ELA with Informational Text

To Address Chronic Absenteeism, Dig into the Data

Can self-efficacy impact growth for ELLs?

Disruptive Tech Integration for Meaningful Learning

5 Game-Changers in Today’s Digital Learning Platforms

Keep Your Schools Safe and Responsive to Real Challenges

Hiding in Plain Sight - 7 Common Signs of Dyslexia in the Classroom

The research: Reading Benchmark Assessments

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

All Students Are Language Learners: The Imagine Learning Language Advantage™

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

How to Support All Students with Equitable Pathways

2019 K-12 Digital Content Report

3-D Learning & Assessment for K–5 Science

Climate Change, LGBTQ Issues, Politics & Race: Instructional Materials for Teaching Complex Topics

Closing the Science Achievement Gap

Evidence-based Coaching: Key Driver(s) of Scalable Improvement District-Wide

Advancing Literacy with Large Print

Research Sheds New Light on the Reading Brain

3 Unique Learner Profiles for Emerging Bilinguals

Effective Questioning Practices to Spur Thinking

Empower Reading Teachers with Proven Literacy PD

Dyslexia: How to Identify Warning Signs at Every Grade

Increased Social Connectedness Through Digital Peer Learning

Student Engagement Lessons from 3 Successful Districts

Response to Intervention Centered on Student Learning

The Nonnegotiable Attributes of Effective Feedback

SEE MORE Insights >