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Real Reform vs. Quick Fix: Meet the Coalition for Excellent Public Schools

August 3, 2010

Last week, on Wednesday July 28th, a new national coalition of community-based organizations, the Coalition for Excellent Public Schools, made up of parents and students in low-income communities from across the country went to Washington D.C! All the way to D.C.? Why such a big carbon foot-print?

Our nation’s capital has had a huge influence on what happens locally, since ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act), later renamed as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) under Bush, has often dictated what local school districts need to do to reform their education system. ESEA is now under revision, creating an opportunity to do away with the negative effects that we’ve seen through the largely ‘one-size fits all’ NCLB strategies (rampant school closings, teaching to the test, high standards with little money, etc.) and through parent, community and stakeholder input create strategies that can truly improve our struggling schools.

While in D.C. the Coalition for Excellent Public Schools unveiled a new comprehensive, research-based plan for successful and sustainable reform for these struggling schools along with a report calling for a new approach for schools that are eligible for federal turnaround intervention, called “Sustainable School Transformation,” which has these central elements:

1) Creating rich, challenging and culturally relevant experiences in our public schools through strong school leadership, highly skilled educators, staffing structures that facilitate collaboration and comprehensive high quality extended learning opportunities to engage students.

2) Providing a full range of support services (wrap-around) for students to ensure that their state of being is conducive to learning and not chronically impacted by social, physical and emotional challenges; and providing them with adequate access to primary care and behavioral health services, social services, mentoring programs, school guidance counselors, extra curriculum enrichment activities and career development services.

3) Collaboration among educators, families, students and local officials to build consensus, ownership and accountability in assessing school and student needs and developing plans that adequately respond to those needs.

Click here to download the reports

1) Our Communities Left Behind: An Analysis of the Administration’s School Turnaround Policies

2) A Proposal for Sustainable School Transformation

And click below to watch the video!

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