Be sure to take a look at Peter Meyer’s Ed Next blog about the recent NYT op-ed on poverty and education. I had much the same reaction, people keep saying and writing that other people want to ignore poverty but who are these people? There is a pretty obvious distinction between saying schools can do better, or saying demographics need not be destiny, and saying that poverty doesn’t matter. It’s also instructive to flip the question – and in this case the title of the op-ed – around. “Class Matters. Why Won’t We Admit It?” OK, why won’t we admit it and do what? If the answer is double-down on improving schools as well as addressing various community issues then I don’t know anyone in the centrist education reform world who objects (many of whom don’t have quite as dark a historical view of anti-poverty efforts as Meyer does). And as I’ve noted before such a strategy would create a formidable political coalition. But if the answer is codify lower expectations either tacitly – through weak accountability systems – or explicitly – through accountability rules with different expectations for different student groups then you lose a lot of those who would otherwise be allies.
Speaking of school improvement efforts, Connecticut’s governor is calling for boldness there in a letter released yesterday (pdf).