Education Week - September 19, 2012 - (Page 29)

EDUCATION WEEK n SEPTEMBER 19, 2012 n 29 You Don’t Know Me that different schools might need different approaches! In our experience, these same professors proclaim their support for the disadvantaged even while practicing academic redlining, refusing to place their own students in teaching posts outside the comfortable confines of wealthy suburbs. Third, many believe that schools cannot improve student learning because real educaPAGE 31 > Y By Armando Gutierrez ou watched me enter your classroom like any other student. You greeted me with a warm smile and a caring look. You asked me to have a seat. I heard you speak words I didn’t understand. I watched as the other students raised their hands to question what you said. I sat in the cold chair; the minutes felt like hours. I heard you call my name. I waited for you to ask who I was. You don’t know what it took for me to get here this morning. You don’t know how it feels to wake up in the dark, or the fear that I have in my heart, waiting for the bus. You don’t know that I don’t have an umbrella or why my clothes are wet and disheveled when I enter your class. You think I can’t feel your disappointment in me. You don’t know that despite my appearance, my color, my imperfections, I choose to look past your stare. You probably wonder why I stare at you as you eat in front of the class. You don’t know that I didn’t have enough change in my pocket for breakfast this morning, or that last night’s cold dinner was from the dumpster outside that fancy restaurant, the one near the bridge where we sleep. You don’t know why I come to your class tired or how uncomfortable it is for three people to sleep in a car, to sleep with one eye open, just in case. You don’t know how lucky I feel that we have a car. You don’t know that I am listening, that I care, that I am grateful for the opportunity to learn. You don’t know the courage it takes for me to raise my hand to answer your questions. You don’t know how they ridiculed me for the way I speak the last time I was in a classroom. You don’t know that in your classroom I feel like the luckiest person in the world. n ROBERT MARANTO holds the 21st Century Chair in Leadership in the department of education reform at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. He is the co-author of President Obama and Education Reform (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) and serves on the Arkansas advisory board for the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. ROD PAIGE served as the U.S. secretary of education from 2001 through 2005 and oversaw the creation, authorization, and implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act. A former teacher and coach, he also served as dean of the college of education at Texas Southern University, in Houston, and as a board of education member and superintendent of the Houston Independent School District. In 2001, the American Association of School Administrators named him National Superintendent of the Year. He has also been a public-policy fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, in Washington. Kocek ARMANDO GUTIERREZ is an assistant principal for adult education at the English Center in the Miami-Dade County, Fla., school system. He designed and uses a career-pathways model that helps reengage dropouts in a General Educational Development program. focus their service efforts on low-income communities—can be deployed to help build schools’ capacity to provide additional opportunities for student learning and deliver support to individual students. A new report, “Closing the Implementation Gap 2012,” details what we’ve learned at my organization, City Year, about how placing 10 to 20 full-time City Year members inside a school helps educators effectively implement new and comprehensive practices that transform learning. Again, working through AmeriCorps, City Year AmeriCorps members—who receive a small living stipend and modest funding for their educations—serve students in grades 3-9 in nearly 250 schools across the country. They work with students before school, after school, and throughout the school day, delivering targeted academic interventions aligned to the common-core standards, and social-emotional support. As near-peer (close in age) mentors, corps members are uniquely positioned to build strong relationships with students that can help them identify and report issues requiring moreintensive services. Improving persistently low-performing schools requires a unique approach, such as the Diplomas Now turnaround model that brings together smart school design, the idealism of national-service members, and trained case managers to tap community resources. A nationally recognized secondary school turnaround model supported by the federal Investing in In- novation Fund, Diplomas Now leverages the expertise of the Talent Development secondary program at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, the Communities In Schools nonprofit network of case managers, and City Year to transform persistently low-performing schools. Diplomas Now has produced strong results. More than halfway through the 2011-12 school year, there was a 63 percent reduction in the number of students failing English in the Diplomas Now program, a 44 percent reduction in the number of students off track in attendance, and a 61 percent decrease in the number of students struggling with behavior issues. We know that all students can learn. We know how to effectively address the early-warning signs of dropping out. And we know exactly which schools must be transformed to dramatically increase our nation’s high school graduation rate. National service is an affordable and effective solution that can play a vital role in filling the implementation gap and igniting school turnaround efforts. To maintain America’s competitive edge in today’s global economy, we must act to ensure that all high-poverty schools have the extra dedicated people at the scale required to meet each student’s unique needs and help all students meet their full potential. n JIM BALFANZ is the president of City Year, a national nonprofit organization based in Boston that focuses on keeping students in school and on track to succeed. Zaytsev

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - September 19, 2012

Education Week - September 19, 2012
Table of Contents
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Low Proficiency Seen on Computer-Based NAEP Writing Exam
Global Study Finds U.S. Trailing In Early-Childhood Education
Scholars and Educators Team Up For the Long Haul
Focus On: School Turnaround
Virtual Ed. Providers Work to Influence State Policy in Maine
Blogs of the Week
In Designated Schools, Children Play Waiting Games
Chicago Dispute Puts Spotlight On Teacher Evaluation
Race to Top Winners Plug Away At Promises
Chiefs’ Vacancies Offer Prospect Of Policy Shifts
Policy Brief
Learning From Success
Using National Service To Ignite School Turnaround Efforts
You Don’t Know Me
TopSchool Jobs Recruitment Marketplace
Schooling Beyond Measure

Education Week - September 19, 2012