Modern urban parents face a quandary: Will the public schools in their walkable, socioeconomically diverse communities provide a strong education for their kids? Mike Petrilli shed light on this question in his book, The Diverse Schools Dilemma. Here’s a roundup of recent and forthcoming media attention that Petrilli’s book has garnered.
Reviews and articles
In his second review of the Diverse Schools Dilemma (you can read the first here), the Washington Post’s Jay Mathews expounds on Petrilli’s insights into parenting-style variance: “If middle class and low-income parents have different methods with their kids and different expectations for their schools, how do principals and teachers serve both populations?” (11/29/12)
Rick Hess, writing for his Education Week blog Straight Up, calls Petrilli a “model of perpetual angst himself when it comes to [choosing schools for his kids]” and the book a terrific blend of “personal anecdotes, surprising evidence, and conversations with researchers and parents.” (12/7/12)
Mike Petrilli was quoted in a New York Post article on the school boundary controversy raging in Brooklyn’s Park Slope: “He says upper-class parents ‘like racial diversity because they want their kids to be comfortable in a multiracial society, but they are not excited about socioeconomic diversity’ because it will start to affect the quality of the education.” (12/6/12)
Stefanie Sanford is moving to the College Board.
Twin announcements today by the College Board and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation brought the exciting news that veteran Gates "advocacy" chief Stefanie Sanford is moving along (on March 1, 2013) to join David Coleman as the College Board's new head of policy, advocacy, and government relations. They are two of the smartest, widest-ranging, most imaginative, and (in a good way) relentless people in American education and together will make a formidable team. The College Board will re-appear as a lead actor on the ed-reform policy stage—Coleman outlined the new direction in a remarkable inaugural address—and we are apt to see it spearheading major developments in both K–12 and higher education. An energized and reformist College Board—not visible in recent years—has the potential for perhaps even more promising actions in the intersection between the two sectors: getting more kids ready to succeed in college, then entered into the college that's right for them at a price they can afford, then persevering and succeeding once there. The College Board has permeated deeply into American education (think the SAT and AP exams, for starters), enjoys wide respect and legitimacy, and generates its own revenues. It’s got a great deal of potential in this realm. As for the Gates Foundation, Dr.
Diane Ravitch, the education-reform movement's "explosive turncoat."
Photo by OHSchoolBoards on Flickr.
Diane Ravitch, the education-reform movement’s explosive turncoat, has singled out Checker Finn’s recent dissent from for-profit school models for adulation with a blog entitled, “Checker Finn Opposes the For-Profit Model in Education.” We can quibble about whether Checker’s comment means he opposes the for-profit model (he is more than capable of defending himself on that score), but it is true that in Fordham’s recent report “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do: The Edison Story in Dayton,” Checker says, “Shareholder return ends up trumping the best interests of students…Most of the models I admire today are run by non-profit groups.”
I don’t find that quite so newsworthy as the fact that Ravitch extols the Fordham Institute, which she helped found, for “showing other advocacy groups what it means to be transparent and self-critical and honest.” That may be damning with faint praise, especially in the reformation-like context in which Diane has nailed her complaints to the church door, but it is worth pointing out that if Ms. Ravitch herself aimed to be self-critical and honest in the matter of “the best interest of students,” she would need to examine the public school model that she has, of late, been
1. Why did you write The Diverse Schools Dilemma: A Parent's Guide to Socioeconomically Mixed Public Schools?
Three years ago, when I started working on the book, I was struggling with the “diverse schools dilemma” myself. My wife, my young son, and I lived in Takoma Park, Maryland—a wonderful, urbanized city adjacent to the District of Columbia with walkable neighborhoods, a great sense of community…and socioeconomically diverse schools with lackluster test scores. I wanted to understand the pros and cons of such schools, and I decided to share what I learned with others.
2. You show that as cities change, middle-class families are returning to culturally vibrant urban neighborhoods for the first time in decades and considering sending their children to the diverse local public schools. What are the upsides of socioeconomically mixed public schools for middle-class children?
First of all, they get to become friends with kids with diverse backgrounds and experiences, with enriches their lives and, some research shows, will make them more comfortable in a multicultural America in the future. To be sure, getting to know people from different cultures or income levels can be stressful, but some amount of stress can be good for kids as they learn and grow. Second, living in the city can be great for kids, with less
About the Editor
Michael J. Petrilli
Executive Vice President
Mike Petrilli is one of the nation's foremost education analysts. As executive vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, he oversees the organization's research projects and publications and contributes to the Flypaper blog and weekly Education Gadfly newsletter.
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