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This suburban supt wonders: What will it take to fix Illinois’ school funding inequities?

This is an interview with Kimako Patterson, the superintendent of Prairie-Hills Elementary District 144, a 2,600-student district in the south suburbs of Illinois where 95 percent of students are from low-income families. The average per-student instructional spending in Prairie-Hills is $5,700—$2,000 below the state average. She is a member of Funding Illinois’ Future, a coalition advocating to fix the state’s school funding formula,… Read more →

What do you do when your son bombs kindergarten? Give him a fresh start

My husband and I recently took our youngest son to check out his new kindergarten. This will be his second go. We pulled Gabe out of a different kindergarten in September after only a couple of weeks. When I tell some parents this, they gush, “Awww, you wanted to give him the gift of another year.” Other parents make an… Read more →

Why do working class whites see college as a ‘risky gamble?’

A majority of working-class whites think college is a “risky gamble,” according to a new survey, reports the Houston Chronicle. Only 44 percent of whites said getting a college education is a smart investment, while 54 percent said college may not pay off, the PRRI/Atlantic analysis found. Blacks and Latinos strongly believe going to college is worthwhile, the survey reported. Overall,… Read more →

A political play or pushback against mediocrity? Why we need charter schools in the suburbs

Do we need a charter movement in the suburbs? Education activist Derrell Bradford recently argued that yes, we do–but mostly because it broadens the base of clout-heavy supporters and makes it more palatable for self-interested politicians to “do the right thing” on school choice. I would agree, but for a very different reason posited by Mr. Bradford: We need competition… Read more →

How to go the extra mile in preserving your school privilege

Sometimes I wonder what is worse–white parents who say they want to send their children to diverse school districts but do everything they can to make sure their child has separate classes and better opportunities than low-income children of color? Or white parents so baldly intent on preserving their privilege  that they will go so far as to secede from a diverse… Read more →

Refugees learn more, adapt faster in ‘international’ schools

“Segregating” refugees may help them integrate, suggests the Hechinger Report’s Meredith Kolodner. Bowling Green, Kentucky has opened a special “international” high school for newly arrived refugees and immigrants next to a comprehensive high school. Faris Nakhal, 18, who survived a kidnapping in Syria, chose to attend GEO International High with “Somali, Iraqi, Burmese, Bhutanese, Ethiopian and Latin American teenagers,” writes… Read more →

Help parents by making school climate surveys a part of every state’s accountability plan

Whenever parents would get into a discussion about “good schools” and “bad schools,” I would urge them to look beyond the simple rankings of test scores and try to actually get inside a school. Meet the principal. Watch the children interact. Observe a classroom. Get a feel for the place. If it sounds squishy and subjective, well that’s because it… Read more →

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