New Report: Achievement, Citizenship and Diversity in American Education

Posted by on February 3, 2006

[posted from Public Education Network newsblast]


A new report from the Metropolitan Center for Urban Education at New York University seeks to begin a new conversation about quality and diversity in our nation’s public schools. The fact that so many public schools in the United States are segregated by race, ethnicity and income stands in sharp contrast to the integration of the American workplace, our armed forces and the many civic and religious communities that make up our society. This is a vexing problem that we cannot ignore. This paper suggests that America in 2005 is not the America of 1954 and that many of the appropriate actions taken to integrate our schools at that time may not be useful now. In 1954, our schools alone were asked to carry the full burden of integration. In 2005, any effort to reach across racial boundaries in school and out of school must be based on a new school-and-community compact. Achieving diversity in our public schools must not be pursued at the expense of providing high-quality teaching and learning opportunities for all of our children, including and especially those who are of low income and racially isolated, whether they are white, black, Latino or any other race or ethnic background. Diversity is a parallel concern to raising academic achievement — giving our young people the skills they need to get ahead in a global economy and teaching them the basic values that are at the foundation of American citizenship. Ultimately, the United States can only become stronger and better able to meet the challenges of the 21st Century if we continue to invest in quality public schools and recognize that our diversity is a great national strength. Giving our children the opportunity to learn together, regardless of racial, ethnic or social background, helps us to become a more unified and democratic society.

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