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Rothstein to Outline New Report Card on Educational Equity

Teachers College Lecturer Speaks on January 30th. New Rankings Would Counter "Limited Focus" of No Child Left Behind

Teachers College Lecturer Speaks on January 30th

New Rankings Would Counter "Limited Focus" of No Child Left Behind

On Monday night, January 30th, Richard Rothstein -- former New York Times education columnist and author of the influential book Class and Schools -- will outline a new "report card" that ranks the nation's progress in providing equal educational opportunities and achieving equal outcomes among students from different racial and socioeconomic backgrounds.

The Report Card will be formally launched in 2007, under the auspices of the Teachers College Campaign for Educational Equity.

The talk -- the first in a three-part series known as the Tisch Lectures -- will be held at 7 p.m. in Milbank Chapel on the Teachers College campus at 525 West 120th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue. Rothstein -- the Tisch Visiting Professor at the College, as well as a fellow of the Economic Policy Institute -- will elaborate on the report card in his subsequent two lectures, which will be held on Monday, March 6th and Monday, April 24th. The lectures are sponsored by the Laurie M. Tisch Foundation.

Why another set of educational rankings, when student achievement is already tracked under the federal No Child Left Behind Act and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)?

"There are many things we want our schools to help our children do, including being good citizens, being ethical human beings, appreciating the arts, living healthy adult lives -- and we want education to be equitable in all of these areas," Rothstein says. "If a reporting system only holds students accountable for math and reading, as NCLB does, their performance in these other areas will drop as schools respond to incentives by shifting effort and resources towards basic academic skills exclusively."


Rothstein adds that "the current accountability system makes American education more inequitable in other areas, because the places that are weakest in basic skills are most likely to reduce effort in other subjects to increase drill in math and reading."

In his opening lecture, Rothstein will provide an historical account of the goals of American public education. He'll then present results from a survey in which representative samples of state legislators, school board members and the national adult population were asked to rank, in order of importance, eight possible goals of public schools today. Finally, he'll describe how these eight goals will be ranked in the Teachers College Report Card.

In the final two lectures in the series, Rothstein will discuss a multitude of indicators within each of the eight goals that will comprise the project's evaluative criteria, and present existing federal and state-level data.

"I'm only illustrating what you read about every day in the newspaper," Rothstein says. "For example, the rise of diabetes among minorities highlights the price we pay when schools get rid of gym classes to make more time for test preparation. If minority students improve their proficiency in math and reading but then die earlier from diabetes, that's not equity. Yet that's what the current system tends to produce."

Published Friday, Mar. 10, 2006

Rothstein to Outline New Report Card on Educational Equity

Teachers College Lecturer Speaks on January 30th

New Rankings Would Counter "Limited Focus" of No Child Left Behind

On Monday night, January 30th, Richard Rothstein -- former New York Times education columnist and author of the influential book Class and Schools -- will outline a new "report card" that ranks the nation's progress in providing equal educational opportunities and achieving equal outcomes among students from different racial and socioeconomic backgrounds.

The Report Card will be formally launched in 2007, under the auspices of the Teachers College Campaign for Educational Equity.

The talk -- the first in a three-part series known as the Tisch Lectures -- will be held at 7 p.m. in Milbank Chapel on the Teachers College campus at 525 West 120th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue. Rothstein -- the Tisch Visiting Professor at the College, as well as a fellow of the Economic Policy Institute -- will elaborate on the report card in his subsequent two lectures, which will be held on Monday, March 6th and Monday, April 24th. The lectures are sponsored by the Laurie M. Tisch Foundation.

Why another set of educational rankings, when student achievement is already tracked under the federal No Child Left Behind Act and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)?

"There are many things we want our schools to help our children do, including being good citizens, being ethical human beings, appreciating the arts, living healthy adult lives -- and we want education to be equitable in all of these areas," Rothstein says. "If a reporting system only holds students accountable for math and reading, as NCLB does, their performance in these other areas will drop as schools respond to incentives by shifting effort and resources towards basic academic skills exclusively."


Rothstein adds that "the current accountability system makes American education more inequitable in other areas, because the places that are weakest in basic skills are most likely to reduce effort in other subjects to increase drill in math and reading."

In his opening lecture, Rothstein will provide an historical account of the goals of American public education. He'll then present results from a survey in which representative samples of state legislators, school board members and the national adult population were asked to rank, in order of importance, eight possible goals of public schools today. Finally, he'll describe how these eight goals will be ranked in the Teachers College Report Card.

In the final two lectures in the series, Rothstein will discuss a multitude of indicators within each of the eight goals that will comprise the project's evaluative criteria, and present existing federal and state-level data.

"I'm only illustrating what you read about every day in the newspaper," Rothstein says. "For example, the rise of diabetes among minorities highlights the price we pay when schools get rid of gym classes to make more time for test preparation. If minority students improve their proficiency in math and reading but then die earlier from diabetes, that's not equity. Yet that's what the current system tends to produce."

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