I am heartened by the urgent call to action articulated by John H. Jackson to all of us in his recent Huffington Post blog, “A New Take on ‘No Excuses’ — Tackling Poverty to Provide Meaningful Opportunity.”
Whether we seek to increase teaching effectiveness, provide widespread and high-quality early childhood education, or enrich the rigor and relevance of curricula (among the goals of the Schott Foundation for Public Education opportunity-to-learn framework), a common underlying dynamic must change. This dynamic is about how we all work together—or not—to achieve these ends. All have a role to play—parent and teacher, principal and paraprofessional, civic authority and civil society, corporate chief executive officer and district chief academic officer.
By virtue of my work as president and CEO of the NEA Foundation, I have seen, and our Foundation has begun to document, deep collaboration among teachers unions, districts and communities to create systematic opportunities for parents and teachers to work together in new ways, and for expanding academic and non-academic supports to students resulting in richer learning experiences in and outside of schools. I wholeheartedly agree with Dr. Jackson: to close achievement gaps, we must systematically close opportunity gaps. For these efforts to be sustained, I would respectfully add that we must begin to close “collaboration gaps” as well.
President & CEO