Tag: Schott Foundation for Public Education


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The Dropout Nation Podcast: Iron Sharpens Iron


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On this week’s Dropout Nation Podcast, I issue a call to black men of character everywhere to stem the dropout crisis among our young black men. A look at new…

Dropout Nation Podcast Cover

On this week’s Dropout Nation Podcast, I issue a call to black men of character everywhere to stem the dropout crisis among our young black men. A look at new data — including a new report from the Council of the Great City Schools — paints a picture of despair and opportunities to rebuild Black America by reforming American public education and our communities.

You can listen to the Podcast at RiShawn Biddle’s radio page or download directly to your iPod, Zune, MP3 player or smartphone. Also, subscribe to the podcast series. It is also available on iTunes, Blubrry, Podcast Alley, the Education Podcast NetworkZune Marketplace and PodBean. And the podcast on Viigo, if you have a BlackBerry, iPhone or Android phone.

3 Comments on The Dropout Nation Podcast: Iron Sharpens Iron

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The Dropout Nation Podcast: Save Young Men


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On this week’s Dropout Nation Podcast, I take a look at the Schott Foundation’s report on black males and offer reminders that the achievement gap is not just one of…

Dropout Nation Podcast CoverOn this week’s Dropout Nation Podcast, I take a look at the Schott Foundation’s report on black males and offer reminders that the achievement gap is not just one of race. All males, especially black and white males, are failing badly, with major consequences for America’s economy and society. It will take the reform of how we teach reading to young men and Iron Men of all races to stem this aspect of the dropout crisis.

You can listen to the Podcast at RiShawn Biddle’s radio page or download directly to your iPod, Zune, MP3 player or smartphone.  Also, subscribe to the podcast series. It is also available on iTunes, Blubrry, Podcast Alley, the Education Podcast NetworkZune Marketplace and PodBean. Also, add the podcast on Viigo, if you have a BlackBerry, iPhone or Android phone.

1 Comment on The Dropout Nation Podcast: Save Young Men

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Rewind: The Dropout Nation Podcast: Iron Forges Iron


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As you continue flipping through the Schott Foundation’s new report on the low graduation rates of black males (and the educational crisis threatening the futures of our young black men),…

Photo courtesy of needsfoundation.org

As you continue flipping through the Schott Foundation’s new report on the low graduation rates of black males (and the educational crisis threatening the futures of our young black men), listen to this rebroadcast of April’s Dropout Nation Podcast on what black men must do to help their sons and the younger men around them. Older black men, raised by fathers and successful in life, must take on the roles of father figures (and champions in improving America’s education system) that these young men lack at home. These lessons also apply to white and Latino communities.

You can listen to the Podcast at RiShawn Biddle’s radio page or download directly to your iPod, MP3 player or smartphone. Also, subscribe to the podcast series. It is also available on iTunes, Blubrry, Podcast Alley, the Education Podcast NetworkZune Marketplace and PodBean. Also, add the podcast on Viigo, if you have a BlackBerry, iPhone or Android phone. On Friday, I’ll have more to say about the Schott report and the black male achievement gap.

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Three Questions: Michael Holzman of the Schott Foundation for Public Education


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As Research Consultant for the Schott Foundation for Public Education, Michael Holzman has helped shed light on the impact of low teacher quality and systemic academic failure on the educational…

Photo courtesy of the Schott Foundation for Public Education

As Research Consultant for the Schott Foundation for Public Education, Michael Holzman has helped shed light on the impact of low teacher quality and systemic academic failure on the educational and economic prospects of young black men. Through his research, Holzman and Schott have done plenty to show in numbers the depths of the nation’s dropout crisis: Few young black men are graduating from school; far too many are being relegated into special education (and placed on the path to dropping out); and that in many urban districts, young black men are subject to the kind of educational abuse that would lead to incarceration for school officials and teachers if it were actual physical abuse. Along with Robert Balfanz, Jay P. Greene and Christopher Swanson, Holzman is one of the leading figures in revealing the nation’s educational decay.

Dropout Nation wondered what reformers such as Holzman were thinking these days, what are some of the surprising conclusions they have reached, and what they think about what’s happening inside the Beltway when it comes to school reform. The result is a new series, Three Questions on School Reform. Holzman offers some of his thoughts below. Read them, give them some thought and, if you so choose, comment and offer your own conclusions:

1) What is the one surprising thing you have uncovered during your research on special education and over-labeling of children as learning disabled and why?

Male African-American students are systematically over-labeled as Mentally Retarded in most districts.  In some cases this reaches levels five to ten times the percentage of male White, non-Latino males.  As percentages of non-institutionalized mental retardation in any large population are approximately the same, this over-labeling seems to be caused by district policies or staff training deficiencies.

2) How is black male academic failure and special ed connected and why?

Given that male African-American students are under-represented in gifted/talented programs in most districts, and very under-represented in Advanced Placement classes, it appears that racial and gender stereotyping takes place in those districts, to the great detriment of opportunities for learning for male African American, and, to a lesser extent, female African American and both male and female Latino and American Indian students.

3) What is the one thing school reform activists inside the Beltway seem to ignore when it comes to addressing education and youth issues and why?

Equal opportunity to learn includes opportunities during traditional k-12 class-time and beyond.  All schools should be equally well-supported, without regard to location and family income.  This means that real estate tax-based school finance methods are inherently inequitable.  It means that variations in the quality of facilities, curriculum and teaching staffs among schools within large districts cannot be rationally justified.  It means that the distribution of students through assignment or “voluntary” methods, as with charters and public school choice, are only equitable when the child least able to protect him/herself is protected by the adults responsible for the schools.

It also means that the educational investments available to the children of middle class families should be provided for children living in poverty by those adults responsible for the schools.  Such investments include 0-3 pre-literacy activities (such as library programs for toddlers), pre-kindergarten programs preparing children for schooling, all-day kindergarten, after-school and summer academic programs, throughout elementary and secondary school.

Another issue, which is not well-framed in most policy discussions is the connection between inadequate schooling and incarceration.  This is not merely a school to prison pipeline.  It is a feedback loop.  As astonishing numbers of male African Americans are imprisoned, it follows that between one-third and half of African American children grow up in poverty, raised by their mothers without financial contributions from their imprisoned fathers (or fathers whose income possibilities have been impaired by involvement with the courts and prisons).

Poverty is a major negative factor in regard to educational achievement, limiting the time of the parents as first teachers, limiting out-of-school educational investments, increasing the likelihood of enrollment in inferior schools.  And limited educational achievement, especially for male African Americans, is highly likely to lead to prison.

There are two lines of work that can break this cycle:  1) End the inequitable targeting of African Americans for drug law infractions; 2)  Make educational investments equitable.

2 Comments on Three Questions: Michael Holzman of the Schott Foundation for Public Education

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The Dropout Nation Podcast: Building Ties Between School Reformers and Grassroot Activists


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On this week’s Dropout Nation Podcast, I explain why school reformers need to reach out to grassroots activists. Inside-the-Beltway policymaking, important as it is, will mean nothing for improving the…

Dropout Nation Podcast Cover

On this week’s Dropout Nation Podcast, I explain why school reformers need to reach out to grassroots activists. Inside-the-Beltway policymaking, important as it is, will mean nothing for improving the educational destinies of children if school reformers don’t reach out to urban groups such as the Black Star Project and activists working in suburban and rural communities.

You can listen to the Podcast at RiShawn Biddle’s radio page or download directly to your iPod or MP3 player. Also, subscribe to get the podcasts every week. It is also available on iTunes, Blubrry, Podcast Alley, the Education Podcast Network and Zune Marketplace.

2 Comments on The Dropout Nation Podcast: Building Ties Between School Reformers and Grassroot Activists

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Burning Questions In the World of School Reform


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Some things to consider this week: Why is it that Jay P. Greene, Michael Holzman, Sara Mead and Erin Dillon are the only players in school reform interested in addressing…

Burning Man

Some things to consider this week:

  1. Why is it that Jay P. Greene, Michael Holzman, Sara Mead and Erin Dillon are the only players in school reform interested in addressing the problems within America’s special education programs? Based on the evidence that school districts are essentially diverting chunks of the $11 billion in stimulus funds for such programs into regular classrooms, shouldn’t this — and the other widespread problems — be as concerning to ed reformers as the achievement gap?
  2. Will the next frontier in social entrepreneurism come in helping children and parents choose the best schools for their educational needs? Right now, this sorely-needed element in sustaining school reform remains all but ignored within the Beltway. But without such grassroots outfits — and companies providing similar information services on regional and national levels — all the progress made by the wonks will be for naught.
  3. As Democrats such as Connecticut Sen. Christopher Dodd head for greener pastures, will Republicans offer a compelling package of school reforms? Or could many members of the GOP find themselves teaming up with the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association in opposing the reauthorization of No Child and other measures?
  4. Which city will join New York City, D.C., L.A., Milwaukee and New Orleans as the leading hotbeds for school reform activities? Indianapolis could be a possibility if Mayor Greg Ballard fully embraces predecessor Bart Peterson’s charter school mandate. But can he? Will it be Michael Jackson’s hometown, which has one of the highest concentrations of charter schools? Or could it actually be St. Louis? Your thoughts?

1 Comment on Burning Questions In the World of School Reform

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