A new ‘no excuses’ school reform mantra

Oct 31, 2013 by

By George Wood –

The National Center for Educational Statistics says children living in low-income families now make up 48 percent of the children attending public school. In my district, which sits in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in rural southeast Ohio, that percentage is 63 percent.

For years, educators and children’s advocates have pointed out that educating poor children requires more time and resources. By simply pointing out this fact, they have been accused of “making excuses.” Former President George W. Bush accused them of engaging in “the soft bigotry of low expectations.” The “no excuses” crowd chimed in that poverty should never be an excuse for a lack of student success — and that only poor teachers or schools should bear such responsibility.

I don’t agree with those claims. Poverty should not be used as an excuse for a child not succeeding in school, but its effects should not be ignored either. I will admit that we, as a school district, operate on our own type of “no excuses” premise. We believe we should try with every student, every day, to overcome any and all obstacles to learning. Our commitment shows up in our graduation rate, which is regularly higher than 95 percent, and the fact that every one of our students who applies to college (more than 70 percent of our graduates) is accepted in one or more colleges.

via A new ‘no excuses’ school reform mantra.

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