Korsmo's news roundup: Minding gaps and getting civil


I hope this issue of the Weekly finds you well. For those of you making your way back from a Spring Break sojourn, I hope it finds you sunburned and uncomfortable. No. I’m not bitter. I just believe in consequences.

The News:

Mind the Gap(s): Lots of reflection this week on the gaps in educational opportunities, achievement and access. A report by the Schott Foundation determined that a “student’s educational outcomes and opportunity to learn are statistically more determined by where he or she lives than their abilities.” The study found an inequitable distribution of highly educated teachers and a disproportionately low enrollment into gifted and talented classes for children of color. What the study didn’t take into account: charter schools. New York is crammed with them. Not saying it’s the panacea, just that a complete picture would have taken them into account. Meanwhile, Brookings issued a report that found – not surprisingly – the more affluent the area, the more access to higher scoring schools. A less well-covered gap got some daylight this week, the growing yawn between rural and urban post secondary completion. While there’s been significant growth in college attainment in rural areas, the gap between rural and urban degree completion has grown. Common thread here is income. With a declining middle class and growing disparities, these gaps are at risk of growing in perpetuity.

Civility. What is it Good For?: I was at a meeting yesterday where there was much discussion about improving educational opportunities for our least advantaged kids. There were differing views on strategies, but one thing was shared by all; the debate over it has gotten out of control. Two pieces on civility in the education discourse this week drive home some of what my colleagues had to say. It’s personal. Are we so finished talking about ideas that we have to pick on each other?

Seattleicious: The John Stanford School for International Studies gets a shout out in Ed Week. Congrats on the positive exposure. The District has named its three finalists for the Superintendent’s job. All three are currently Superintendents in western states with several years of experience. Looks like the School Board is on track to select its candidate within the next several weeks.

A Little Light Reading:

  • The Atlantic has done a wide-ranging series called “America the Fixable.” Lots of good pieces on education.
  • Similarly, Ed Sector has a series of short essays worth spending time with.
  • Interesting read on the Tale of Two State Tax Systems.
  • Best bang for the buck when investing in Kansas’ economic power? Early Learning.
  • Excellent Schools Now Coalition’s A+ plan gets “like” from the Spokesman Review.
  • You cannot make this stuff up. Talking pineapple stumps test takers.

That’s it, folks. Have a great weekend and thanks for all you do on behalf of kids.

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1 Comment

  1. Charlie Mas April 20, 2012

    Wow! Even Chris Korsmo is getting on the civility bandwagon!

    Let’s see how long that lasts. Let’s see how long until a weekly news roundup includes a snarky comment about someone’s personality instead of their policies. Let’s see how long it takes before someone is accused of supporting the status quo when they really support a different kind of change. Let’s see how long it takes for some kind of outburst labeling other folks as racist or elitist. I’ll start the clock now.


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