Wednesday, June 15, 2011

"Without equity there can be no excellence"

I recently attended a US Department of Education Equity and Excellence Commission, Dallas Town Hall Meeting. It looked to me like over 100 people, including a small group of parents and high school students, were there to listen to a panel of experts and give their own input on the state of education in our community. Dr. Bonnie Lesley was a panelist who spoke from her experience as an classroom educator, district administrator and then college professor in various communities across the state. Her words are quoted in the title of this blog, "Without equity there can be no excellence", and this certainly rang true to me. Equity comes in so many forms and is most easily captured in a statistic shared by Dr. Wayne Pierce of the Equity Center. The per classroom difference in investment between the lowest 20% and highest 20% funded Texas school districts is $42,000. This also greatly resonated with me.

I had the opportunity to leave written comments for the US Department of Education Equity and Excellence Commission. Here's what I wrote:

"Very little in education is indisputable - we disagree on much more than we agree on. However, the value and impact of parents on their children's education is universally recognized - both in research and practice. And yet, enriching in-home educational experience and preschool preparation remains the most underfunded area in education. How will the Commission recognize the value of parents and school readiness? Please recognize research proven models, like Home Instruction Program for Parents of Preschool Youngsters or HIPPY."

It's true, without equity there will never be excellence. HIPPY can provide every child with a successful start in school which is known to greatly increase a child's chances for success in graduating from High School. And those $42,000 per classroom? If HIPPY were provided to every child in one Kindergarten class, it would only cost $31,200.  With only 40% of incoming high school freshmen in Dallas graduating 4 years later, a better start is the place to start. 

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