Archive for July, 2011
Our new report: Unlocking Doors and Expanding Opportunities: Moving Beyond the Limiting Reality of College and Career Readiness in California High Schools provides important insights into how California high schools are failing to prepare far too many of our students, particularly our low-income students and students of color, for success in college and career. I want to commend the authors, Tameka McGlawn, Linda Murray and Carrie Hahnel for their great work in putting this report together. It’s a reflection of three levels of work here at ETW.
First, the report documents the results of six years of work in multiple districts that made a commitment to close longstanding opportunity gaps to ensure that all of their students had access to the full A-G coursework sequence. That work was pioneered and led by Linda Murray as a Superintendent at San Jose Unified School District. On August 2nd, Jossey Bass will publish a book authored by Linda, Diploma Matters, based on this work. The book documents the lessons learned from this work and gives practitioners the tools they need to ensure that all of their students have the option to attend college.
Tameka McGlawn joined us one year ago and has led our study of the Linked Learning approach to high school reform. As a former head counselor and dean of students at Kearny Construction Tech Academy, one of the most renowned Linked Learning model sites in the country, Tameka is well aware of the both the promise and potential pitfalls of the Linked Learning model in regards to equitable outcomes for students – particularly students of color and low-income students. Her deep understanding of how to link college and career readiness at the practice level and bridge what has often been a polarizing gap between the two has framed the writing of the report.
Lastly, Carrie Hahnel’s expertise in research and data analysis and keen equity lens refined the structure, findings and presentation of the report. Carrie brought ETW into the 21st century by pioneering our process of large-scale transcript analysis, allowing us to analyze and present the deep systemic inequities in student outcomes presented in the report.
For me, the first big take-away from this report is how far we have to go to match rhetoric with results. Our data shows how few students are graduating prepared for college and career, deeply inequitable outcomes for students of color and low-income students, and systemic practices that contribute to negative outcomes for students with lifetime implications. My second take-away is my hope for reform through approaches such as A-G for All and Linked Learning. In the end, the longstanding debate between college or career readiness has been counterproductive. Our energy is far better used in figuring out how we can make sure that our students are prepared for both.