CES Endorses Forum for Education and Democracy's ESEA Reauthorization Recommendations
Mar 29, 2010 - 04:00 PM
On March 26, CES sent a letter of endorsement supporting "Creating a National Culture of Learning," the Forum for Education and Democracy's recommendations for the reauthorization of the Elementary. The letter, sent with "Creating a National Culture of Learning" to House education committee chairman Rep. George Miller and ranking member John Kline, is available here as a pdf and is reproduced below.
March 26, 2010
Dear Forum for Education and Democracy Conveners,
With enthusiastic agreement, the Coalition of Essential Schools endorses “Creating a National Culture of Learning,” the Forum for Education and Democracy’s March 2010 recommendations for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). As a national non-profit with a 25-year track record of unyielding concentration on creating and sustaining opportunities for high-quality public education for all young people in all communities, we give our support to the Forum’s recommendations that the Obama administration’s “Blueprint for Reform” commit to equity, high-quality teaching, school cultures that encourage powerful teaching and learning, the thoughtful use of multiple sources of evidence to measure student success, and meaningful community engagement.
I write on behalf of the Coalition of Essential Schools network, a partnership of many thousands of educators, students, parents, and other members of their support systems in primary and secondary schools nationwide. Most Coalition schools are public district or charter schools that, as “Creating a National Culture of Learning” describes, have thrived as a result of opportunities for innovation, autonomy, and collaboration. We join the Forum in calling for ESEA to support and provide incentives for innovation and achievement in all types of public schools—district and charter schools—in all communities. A real commitment to equity demands nothing less.
A particular focus of the Coalition of Essential Schools network has been the development of assessment systems that measure student growth and school effectiveness in educationally enriching ways. A reauthorization of ESEA that promotes the regular use of assessments that measure higher-order thinking skills and advanced content knowledge—and the employment of such assessments by well-trained educators to guide continuous cycles of school improvement—aligns with the practices that our network has demonstrated to be successful. The narrow and shallow high-stakes standardized tests that were a consequence of No Child Left Behind threatened our schools’ use of assessments that established the foundation for effective, student-centered teaching and learning. We eagerly value this opportunity to “get it right,” and we welcome the federal government as a partner in our fierce commitment to providing all students nationwide with opportunities to learn the skills and habits of mind that will support their transitions into productive and innovative citizens of our democracy.
Thank you for these recommendations. Our gratitude extends to the Department of Education and the Obama administration for attention to our voices and experiences.