There is no educational silver bullet. So often conversations about improving education tend toward naming “the” solution. Over time, we have seen emphases shift from getting everyone reading, to focusing on math, and then back to reading. We’ve seen new school schedules, school uniforms, merit pay, and parent fines. While some of these initiatives failed to produce results and others, in combination with other strategies, have borne fruit, none is “the” solution.
Frustrated with complexities, complications and inaction, we’ve also seen people essentially giving up on quality public education for every child. This is apparent in calls for privatization. But giving up on public education is also not a solution.
The fact is, children are unique. Neighborhood schools are unique. Communities are unique. They each have their own context for building a learning environment. Making changes in education, then, requires looking at the fundamentals and elements that need shoring up in each community in order to ensure all students there are successful.
As important as the question of what changes to make is the question of how do we make change happen? IDRA’s Quality School Action Framework identifies three strategies for changing schools: capacity of the community to influence schools, building coalitions, and building the capacity of the schools themselves.
In “Holding On to the Goal of Quality Education for Every Child,” I discuss further that we must not give up on the idea of quality education for every child and that change is something we are capable of creating – together. In the context of quality teaching specifically in science, Kristin Grayson, M.Ed., describes a process for using contextual data to inform science professional development.
In “Texas Policymakers Live Up to their Own Low Expectations,” Dr.
Excellent neighborhood public schools are the foundation of strong communities. And communities must have an active role in transforming and maintaining excellent schools for all children.
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[©2009, IDRA. This article originally appeared in the September 2009 IDRA Newsletter by the Intercultural Development Research Association. Every effort has been made to maintain the content in its original form. However, accompanying charts and graphs may not be provided here. To receive a copy of the original article by mail or fax, please fill out our information request and feedback form. Permission to reproduce this article is granted provided the article is reprinted in its entirety and proper credit is given to IDRA and the author.]