The DeHavilland Blog

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The future of education, part 3

Before moving on to school finance, I wanted to highlight another significant trend in K-12 education, which is the heavy emphasis on equity.

We’ve always talked about the importance of educating every child, but in reality we haven’t really done it. The gap between different student groups has been with us for decades, and has not changed significantly for quite some time. Another indication of our lip service in this area is the difference in dropout rates by race/ethnicity, with recent calculations indicating that 75% of white students graduate high school, but only 50% of African-American and 53% of Hispanic students do so.

Now, thanks to the No Child Left Behind Act, we have not only affirmed our commitment to educating every child, we have put tools into place – namely, the reporting of disaggregated data – so that we can clearly see whether we’re fulfilling that commitment. Previously, most of this information was hidden within schoolwide averages; however, by reporting on the progress of each student group individually, we have no choice but to address the challenges that we face.

We should also note that this applies not only to racial/ethnic groups, but to special education students as well. Outcomes for these students are also reported separately, and with a small number of exceptions, they are required to participate in annual assessments along with the rest of the student body.

Next up: school finance. Click here for Part 4.

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