from the September Edutopia Magazine
Jonathan Kozol: Author of The Shame of the Nation and Savage Inequalities
"The top priority: three full years of federally funded, culturally rich, developmental preschool education of the same high quality wealthy people purchase privately, made available to every child of low income in the nation. Until we do this, the testing of children in third grade, as demanded under NCLB, will be blatantly unfair, rewarding children of the privileged for having already had twice as many years of education as the children of the poor."
Robert Reich: Former U.S. secretary of labor, professor at the University of California at Berkeley, and author of Supercapitalism
"The first priority for education spending on public schools -- apart from the obvious ones of early-childhood education, better teacher pay, smaller class size, smaller schools, and better teacher accountability -- is one that's rarely talked about: making sure young people are healthy enough to learn.
It's impossible for kids to learn if their teeth hurt, they can't see well, they can't breathe easily, and they're hungry. Yet 30 percent of the young people in some of our poorest school districts have untreated dental problems, uncorrected vision problems, untreated asthma, and inadequate diets. The two -- education and health -- go together."
Rafe Esquith: teaches 5th grade at Hobart Boulevard Elementary School in LAUSD, the second-largest elementary school in the United States, Esquith's fifth-grade students consistently score in the top 5% to 10% of the country in standardized tests. He is author of Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire
"Stimulus money being sent to schools should initially be spent on two projects:
- Matches can be purchased to burn all standardized tests, ending the absurd notion that these exams have anything to do with educating a child and preparing him or her for life.
- Leftover funds should be spent on travel expenses for great young instructors to observe and learn from outstanding public school teachers with classes that are rigorous, relevant, and joyful."