How to Increase Equity and Excellence in Public Schools

Earlier this year The Equity and Excellence Commission released its final report to Education Secretary Arne Duncan.  In order to decrease the achievement gap and increase equity and excellence in America’s Public Schools the Commission recommended the following:

  1. Reform the funding systems that so often mean a child’s access to education is determined by his or her ZIP code.
  2. Elevate and reform the teaching profession
  3. Ensure access to high-quality preschools
  4. Meet the non-school needs of students from high-poverty communities
  5. Shift the system of educational governance to improve equity.

All of this is critical for a nation where the average African-American eight-grader performs at the 19th percentile of white students, and the average Hispanic eighth-grader performs at the 26th percentile. And in comparison with other countries, US students rank 27th for math and just 1 in 4 American students perform on par with the average student in Singapore or Finland. I find the report's recommendations meaningful and worth revisiting. While wholesale achievement of the recommendations is unlikely in the near term, they represent a guidepost for the future.