Raising the Floor: Structuring Public Education to Prepare Students in the Bottom Quartile for 21st-Century Knowledge Work
What must the nation do to the structure of public education so that every student is prepared for 21st-century knowledge work and higher education? Some states have undertaken efforts in their classrooms and schools, they have worked through legislation, through the courts and through ballot boxes to address the educational outcomes of the students that fall in the bottom quartile of the socioeconomic status in their states.
In this age of technology, knowledge is key to full civic participation. Students who fall in the bottom quartile of economic distribution have as much likelihood of succeeding, if they are afforded comparable levels of investment in education, as their high socioeconomic status peers. These include adequately resourced schools, instructional materials that engage and accelerate student learning, and a focus on the whole student and their instructional and assessment quality and total well-being. It also includes education that is structured in ways that allow students to demonstrate what they know and that compels them to take a stake in their own education.
The videos below provide a special focus on some of the emerging or proposed policies and practices occurring in five states regarding charter schools, state-operated “opportunity” (sometimes called “achievement”) school districts and equitable education funding. These five states are California, Georgia, Massachusetts, Mississippi and New Jersey. The basic premise is that states, school districts, students, teachers, administrators, curricula developers, researchers and policymakers have the capacity to effectively create and structure education conditions of sufficient quality, thus ensuring that students who are situated in the bottom quartile are sufficiently prepared to pursue further education and successful careers.
How well do schools serve students in the bottom quartile? How do different schools teach, support and structure opportunities for the bottom quartile? How do we develop strategies for public education that ensure every student has the opportunity to succeed? What school funding models support higher education outcomes for all children? What evidence is needed to demonstrate what school models can do for every student to succeed? How do we lift the conversation about educating young people to fully exercise voting, speech and other rights as stated in the Constitution of the United States? These questions and more were addressed at a December 2015 conference hosted by ETS and produced together with the Algebra Project and the Young People’s Project, with support from the Education Law Center.
ETS is pleased to share the following video chronicle of Raising the Floor: Structuring Public Education to Prepare Students in the Bottom Quartile for 21st-Century Knowledge Work: