Great Op-ed in The Hill
January 21, 2011 09:33 pm
In helping states navigate the important work of implementing higher standards, it is critical that we engage communities of color to ensure the needs of every student are well represented. Those of us who have worked to increase achievement among Native students know exactly what happens when an education system fails to consider the cultural values of those it is supposed to serve. Forty-nine percent of Native students leave high school without receiving a regular diploma. Disproportionately high dropout rates make it clear that those who do not see themselves or their perspectives reflected in what they learn in the classroom often disengage. In Native communities, the end result is a constant battle against high unemployment, poverty, and the hopelessness caused by a lack of opportunity. Communities of color must insist on being meaningful partners at every stage of the process to dramatically reform our education system so they may help educators implement standards that are not only strong and rigorous, but also culturally responsive. It is our collective responsibility as communities, parents, educators, and policy makers to use common standards as a catalyst for these reforms.