News from the Broader, Bolder Approach to Education
Broader, Bolder Approach to Education

BBA e-newsletter, April 6, 2015

Supporters of a Broader Bolder Approach to Education,

As you sit back for some reading over spring break, we offer up some suggestions to enlighten and inspire you, and hopefully spur you to action on behalf of a more equitable, evidence-based, Broader and Bolder Approach to Education.

While we mourn the recent loss of Tom Little, progressive education champion and co-founder of Oakland’s Park Day School, we celebrate the wonderful legacy he left behind. Loving Learning: How Progressive Education Can Save America’s Schools, uses delightful stories about progressive schools across the country to illustrate that a truly whole-child approach is as evidence-based and effective as education gets. Little also emphasizes a reality that is sorely needed as key education reform issues are debated in the context of ESEA renewal: poor and minority/”those” children do not need something different – boot camp, more grit, or tons of testing. They need exactly the enriching, world-broadening educational experiences that our best-off children enjoy as a matter of course, just larger, more intensive doses of it.

The New England Journal of Public Policy might not normally be your go-to hammock companion, but this month it should be. Editor Padraig O’Malley has brought together one of the most impressive collection of serious thinkers in recent memory to guide education policy at this key juncture. Among them: Linda Darling-Hammond explains how PISA data and tackling inequity can help us move policy in the right direction, Chris Edley presents his plans to transform the National Commission on Education Excellence and Equity that he co-chaired into a stealth movement, Michael Rebell connects Poverty, Educational Achievement, and the Role of the Courts, and Mark Warren persuasively points to The Need for an Educational Justice Movement.  To ensure that everyone can use these resources to arm themselves to support that PEEC movement, NJPP has made this volume available to all, so get your PDF copy today! And if video’s more your speed, check out the Teaching and Learning 2015 website for a forthcoming stream of a panel, including BBA National Coordinator Elaine Weiss, that delved into these issues.

The Schott Foundation provides some sobering food for thought in its latest report on the state of black boys and education in the United States. The new website Schott developed enables readers to review the various chapters, map them out visually, and take action to address the problems reported. As BBA co-chair Pedro Noguera writes in the afterword, “Any country that consistently allows this many of its citizens to be under-educated will most assuredly suffer significant consequences,” eerily echoing the warning issued by Robert Putnam in his new book Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis.

First Focus offers up over a dozen Big Ideas that can spur improvements for children and families. From discrete proposals like reducing the burden of childhood asthma to multiple strategies to boost income and future wealth for today’s increasingly poor kids, to BBA-oriented advocacy for community schools and several two-generation strategies, there’s lots to absorb.

Notwithstanding another imminent break, Congress is still discussing the direction of a renewed ESEA. We are delighted to announce the addition of NEO Philanthropy to the list of organizations that join BBA in calling for a return to ESEA’s civil rights-oriented, supported-based roots. Urge your representatives in Congress to do right by ESEA!  

Finally, just around the bend, we call your attention to two great events. The Network for Public Education holds its second annual conference next month in Chicago. BBA proudly joins Diane Ravitch, Lily Eskelsen Garcia, Randi Weingarten, and students, teachers, and parents from across the country in support of “Public Education: Our Kids, Our Schools, Our Communities. ” Register here to get access to ten amazing sessions, including a BBA-OTL-First Focus workshop on making quality early childhood education a core component of public education and ed policy.
And the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) has forged an exciting new partnership initiative with East Carolina University, which will launch their first Summer Leadership Learning Exchange, titled Breathe Joy & Justice into School and Community Leadership. The intensive four-day leadership program takes place July 19-23. “With a heavy emphasis on equity and access for students and families from our most vulnerable school-communities, the Institute will support leaders at the school and district levels to embrace the complexities, challenges and opportunities inherent in contemporary school leadership.” If this interactive opportunity to lead in a new way is what you’ve been looking for, check it out! 

Thank you, as always, for your dedication to ensuring that all children receive a rich, comprehensive education and have the support they need to fulfill their potential.  We look forward to continuing to work with you in 2015 and beyond, and to keep you informed of activities and policies that support a Broader, Bolder Approach to Education. Don’t forget to share our Facebook posts and follow us on Twitter!
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