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Addressing Equity and Excellence

April 23, 2011

On April 21, 2011, The Equity and Excellence Commission of the U.S. Department of Education held an event in San Jose, CA.  Under the leadership of Representative Mike Honda and Commission Executive Director Stephen Chen, the Commission heard from four speakers in a private hearing in the afternoon, and then held a larger town hall meeting in the evening.  I was one of the speakers in the private session in the afternoon, and I will post my remarks here at InterACT within the next few days.  My co-blogger here at InterACT, Martha Infante, was one of the featured speakers in the evening session.  Below is the video of the event.  All of the speakers are worth hearing, but if you want to jump to the best of the bunch, Martha is introduced at the 38:50 mark.  Martha has posted her remarks at her other blog site, Don’t Forget South Central.

Video streaming by Ustream

9 Comments leave one →
  1. David B. Cohen permalink*
    April 23, 2011 5:53 pm

    Someone pointed out that they saw no video control options on the embedded video. It may be a plug-in issue or a Safari browswer issue. The controls show up fine for me in Firefox. But if anyone else has trouble, here’s the source page.

  2. April 23, 2011 7:00 pm

    I only watched Martha, but what she said was phenomenal. Should have gotten much bigger applause than that. Will share as many places as I can.

    Also, I’ve often heard educators argue that teachers are the biggest in-school factor, making note, as Martha did, that socio-economic factors play a larger role in their overal education. However, recently I’ve heard a lot of people pointing to research that suggests teachers are not the biggest in-school factor when you consider that many of them have little say over curriculum or pedagogical techniques.

    The below report for the US DOE suggests that more than 90% of variance on student test scores may be due to factors outside of the teacher’s control.

    Click to access 20104004.pdf

  3. April 25, 2011 11:04 am

    You’re right–Martha was by far the best of the evening’s speakers. We need hundreds of forums like this, where teachers share reality, contrasting it with rhetoric.

    Bravo, Martha.

  4. Linda Johnson permalink
    April 25, 2011 4:42 pm

    I just found this blog, thanks to Reflective Educator. I’m so glad to see that TEACHERS are taking the lead in educational reform. That’s as it should be. My hope is that with the coming teacher shortage in California, teachers will become fully professional and make almost all professional decisions regarding curriculum, instruction and entrance into the profession.

    A teacher should be to a school what a doctor is to a clinic and a lawyer is to a law firm.

    Thank you, David and Martha!

    • David B. Cohen permalink*
      April 25, 2011 4:58 pm

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Linda. We certainly agree about the importance of that status and independence in the profession. Critics would say that we don’t have the level of quality control that comes from a bar exam or a medical internship and residency – and that’s a valid point. I would respond that we can’t wait to invest the profession with greater responsibility and autonomy, but rather these changes need to happen at the same time. We won’t attract the most qualified candidates and be able to ratchet up the quality of training and certification until there’s more on the line, more to aim for, and more professionalism top to bottom.


  1. Equity and Excellence, Part One « InterACT
  2. Equity and Excellence, Part Two « InterACT
  3. Learning From the Full Experience | DAVID B. COHEN

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