Core of the Matter: What Does “Equity and Excellence for All” Mean? (#CoreMatters)

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March 03, 2015 01:15 pm

When I came across the above image on Twitter, it reminded me of a question I was constantly asked during my years as a high school social studies teacher and as an education advocate working with students, parents, and community organizers fighting for education and social justice on and off Capitol Hill: “What is equity in education and what does it look like?”

Often times, people confuse “equality” with “equity.” I hear retorts such as, “Every child has an equal opportunity for a good education, if only they’ll work hard.” “If my kids can be successful, why can’t those kids do it?”

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Common Core Equity Series

Core of the Matter: What Students Want and Need from Their Communities: High Expectations, Support, and Accountability (#CoreMatters)

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Posted:
June 03, 2014 11:23 am

When a young, African American man—speaking as a panelist at the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans Summit at Jackson State University in April 2014—was asked what young men of color need from their community in order to be successful in life, he replied, “Have high expectations for us, give us the support we need to meet those expectations, and hold us accountable.” For me, his words resonated as clearly as a bell. Often times, we adults don’t believe that our young people want to be pushed harder. But here, sitting among five other young men, this scholar asked us to go against our conventional wisdom and demand more of him and his peers.

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Common Core Equity Series

Diving Deeper into Deeper Learning

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April 08, 2014 01:13 pm

Four students from Polaris Charter Academy in Chicago—two young men and two young women—sat on the stage in front of me awaiting their chance to speak. They didn’t look nervous at all, which was surprising given that they were about to give a keynote address in front of hundreds of educators, advocates, students, and philanthropic partners.

What came next not only moved me, but it deeply touched every member of the audience. The four students proceeded to speak passionately about a project-based learning assignment they were given on the U.S. Constitution that eventually became a community-wide movement for peace. These “Peacekeepers” (the name they chose for those involved in their effort) captivated the audience, leaving us all overwhelmed by the endless possibilities found in deeper learning, particularly for those students who hailed from rough scrabble neighborhoods like West Humboldt Park—the neighborhood these four students called home.

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