Readiness. Quality. Equity.
Readiness. Quality. Equity.
I was raised in the black church but wouldn’t call myself religious. I start my Sunday mornings, however, by tuning into Krista Tippett, producer and host of On Being on NPR.
Schools across the country are re-opening their doors this month to begin a new school year. This is a time that should be full of promise. But due to the current climate in this country, it is also one of fear and divisiveness.
Lots of people are talking about the importance of ensuring that students have social and emotional skills needed to be college and career ready. Too often, however, the focus is on what it takes to teach young people these skills. These skills, however, are often learned in the context of doing other things – playing, studying, socializing, working, even getting out of bad situations. We often don’t know what we’ve learned until the skill is named or know that it is important. This is especially true of students who are black, brown or poor.
Imagine this scenario. A smiling five-year-old is brought into a bare room with a table. On the table is a plate with a single marshmallow. The researcher who brought them in says she will back in 15 minutes, and gives them a choice: they can eat the one marshmallow while she’s gone or wait until she returns and have two. This simple test turned out to be an effective measure of willpower or self-control and a strong predictor of future success. Children who displayed early ability to defer gratification, on average, had higher SAT scores, lower body mass index and a host of other desi
I don’t want to go to any more celebrations in which young people are given “beat the odds” awards to acknowledge the individual commitment they have made to overcome obstacles. This is not because these young people don’t deserve our attention and awe. They absolutely do. It’s because we should not in any way settle for individual successes when there is so much more we could have done to ameliorate mass struggles.
"There's nothing so practical as a good theory." Kurt Lewin (known as one of the modern pioneers of social, organizational, and applied psychology in the U.S.) is right, but his advice takes us only so far.
You know you’ve struck a chord when the diagram hurriedly sketched to summarize the new research on readiness is still up on the client’s conference room wall when you return a month later. You think you’re in heaven when the staff, without prompting, are not only using the language and ideas but have voluntarily downloaded and reviewed the research summaries and tools and are ready to talk about infusion strategies.
We’re all for evidence-based policy making. But there are moments when the use of the “evidence” card just rings false. Brookings Senior Education Fellow Mark Dynarski’s reprised conclusion that existing research on afterschool programs does not support the current federal investment has that telltale clank.
We’re four weeks out from the Ready by 21 National Meeting and I’m stoked. We couldn’t ask for a better location or better host partners. The plenary and workshop line-up is fantastic, as is the mix of familiar and new names on the registration list.
My excitement, however, also comes from within.