The Flat World and Education How America’s Commitment to Equity will Determine our Future Book Review by Jacqueline Gaffner EDU 8306 Diversity Frameworks Dr. Robles-Goodwin
Summary • Part of a Multicultural Series • The World is Flat – meaning? “The global competitive playing field was being leveled. The world was being flattened.”
How America is Losing Ground • Opportunity Gap • Differences in access to: • highly-qualified teachers • Higher pay areas • Turnover in struggling schools • Unqualified teachers with emergency credentials • high-quality curriculum • Courses offered • Cognitive level of instruction • early learning opportunities • “Education debt” – (Ladson-Billings)
Testing Issues • PISA, NAEP scores lagging • Pressures leading to discrepancies in testing: • Lowering expectations • making tests easier • reducing passing scores • Keeping students out of the testing pool • Holding students back • Encouraging them to drop out • Both Texas and Massachusetts accomplished their goal of raising test scores using these methods
Funding Issues • Funding Issues • Funding based on local property taxes • Differences affect per-pupil expenditures • Poverty rates and social supports • Salaries for teachers • Teacher turnover costs districts – recruitment, hiring, training Question: What is the biggest factor to improve student achievement?
Examples – Great, Good and California • State Examples: • NC and CT • Focused on teachers • Built knowledge and skills • Equalized teacher salaries • Eliminated emergency credentials • Subsidies for teachers in high-need areas • Mentoring for new teachers • Ongoing professional development • Pushed for national accreditation • Assessments redesigned • Invested in school leadership
California • (1979) Proposition 13 passed • Limited property taxes • Reduced educational funding for low-income areas. • Unequal salaries for teachers • Great disparities in qualified teachers • Emergency credentials to unqualified teachers • CA has scored in the bottom five on the NAEP since 2000. • Programs implemented and then cut • Scripted curriculum in low-income districts, • Governmental lack of support
Country Examples • Country Examples: • Finland • strong emphasis on “multiculturality” • “prevention of learning difficulties and exclusion” • Korea • Education Committee’s ideal educated person - “Hong Ik In Gan” which means “a person devoted to the welfare of the people” • Singapore • National bilingual language policy (1966) • Government sees the population as their only natural resource, and the Education system as their primary resource developer
Common Themes of Success Stories • Schools funded adequately and equitably • New perspective on examinations • National standards and curriculum revisions – less is more, higher level • Strengthen teacher education, sometimes providing funding – building professionalism and respect • Ongoing teacher learning supported • Mentorship • Providing time for collaboration • Consistent, long-term reforms – managed by education ministers, less influenced by political interests
Critique • Great book, very informative, a lot of statistical information provided • Series – great resources for multicultural education • Title – “How America’s commitment to equity will determine our future”
Recommendations “We cannot just bail ourselves out of this crisis. We must teach our way out” (Darling-Hammond, 2010, p. 3). • Focus on teachers as professionals • Preparation • Mentoring • Salaries • Support from qualified leaders • Seeking input in decision-making • Focus on assessment to guide curriculum, and personalize instruction to meet all students’ needs • Provide challenging and relevant instruction for all students • Provide equitable funding • View students as a natural resource • Look at examples of success stories, without losing focus on our particular situation and needs
References Darling-Hammond, L. (2010). The flat world and education: How America's commitment to equity will determine our future. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Friedman, T. L. (2005). The world is flat: A brief history of the twenty-first century. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.