As the election nears, citizens agree that our highest priority is improving the economy. We must be pro-business and pro-economic growth. And we must look for real economic development, not a quick fix. Toward that end, candidates and voters, we ask that you heed the advice of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which represents more than 3 million businesses: invest in early childhood education for every child.
A growing chorus of education policy advocates is urging the U.S. Department of Education to strengthen graduation-rate accountability in states that have earned waivers under the No Child Left Behind Act.
The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Memphis City Schools gets an "F" in most subjects on Tennessee's annual education report card for grades 3 through 8. Today, roughly a third of all Memphis City Schools have been identified among the lowest-performing "priority" schools in Tennessee. A dismal 73 percent of Memphis students graduate from high school, and a mere 5 percent leave high school "college ready." Tennessee recently received a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education to adjust student achievement targets across the state.
When unionized teachers in Chicago took to the picket lines in September, leaving classrooms empty in the first weeks of the new school year, it caught America’s attention. Now that the debate over education has been reignited, let’s put the focus back where it belongs — on the students.
Education reform will be at the core of an interactive forum that will feature a panel discussion and a special screening of the film "Won't Back Down" on Wednesday (Oct. 10). The event unfolds from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Malco Paradiso at 584 South Mendenhall. It's part of Breaking the Monopoly of Mediocrity, a cross-country tour to discuss education reform in local communities, highlight the important role the business community must play, and encourage local leaders to become a catalyst for change.
Memphis needs passion and commitment to effect positive and lasting change in its public education system, members of a panel on education reform suggested Wednesday. Opportunities for job creation in the community are too often lost, said John Moore, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Memphis Chamber, when public education does not prepare students adequately for the postgraduate academic careers needed to fill local job openings.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy
Advocates who are pushing for laws to give parents more control over their children’s schools are raising money and building campaigns around a Hollywood movie that dramatizes the issue, says Reuters. Despite poor reviews for Won’t Back Down, which stars Maggie Gyllenhaal as a mother who takes on the teachers union to reform a failing public school, foundations and activist groups have spent more than $2-million on advocacy efforts tied to the film.
At least once a decade, Hollywood produces a film like Stand and Deliver (1988), Dangerous Minds (1995), or Freedom Writers (2007), spotlighting a teacher whose grit helps students unlock their potential and transcend poverty. The only problem with those kinds of films is that they can reinforce the dangerous myth that poverty is an insurmountable obstacle to learning that can only be overcome by rare hero-teachers. Won't Back Down, Hollywood's latest broken-school flick, subverts that comfortable narrative, which is why it's such an important movie, and why it's drawing so much heat from teachers' unions.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced Sept. 24 that it is granting money to 14 organizations nationwide that are working on postsecondary financial aid solutions. Organizations are involved in business, higher education, civil rights, and public policy. White papers from each of the 14 organizations are expected in early 2013, and will address how financial aid can improve student success rates in college.
Education reform film "Won't Back Down" opened Friday to terrible reviews - and high hopes from activists who expect the movie to inspire parents everywhere to demand big changes in public schools. The drama stars Maggie Gyllenhaal as a spirited mother who teams up with a passionate teacher to seize control of their failing neighborhood school, over the opposition of a self-serving teachers union.