Debt reduction: What we owe our children

You owe it to yourself to read the recent blog by one of my favorite teacher-scholars, Gloria Ladson-Billings: A Letter to Our Next President‘ at The Forum for Education and Democracy.

She argues brilliantly that what we call the “achievement gap” might more accurately be described as an “education debt” that needs to be paid.The article outlines some of the historical threads that have created the current web of inequality in which so many of our public school students find themselves trapped.

Drawing from history, economics, politics, as well as pedagogy, Dr. Ladson-Billings paints this analogy:

“I liken the yearly exercise of constructing the federal budget to the notion of the achievement gap. Every year public schools publish the results of standardized test scores. At some schools we celebrate and say we have ‘balanced the budget.’ At other schools we bemoan the fact that the standardized test scores reveal we have produced yet another ‘deficit budget.’ Again, lurking behind this yearly exercise of producing achievement test scores is the education debt of longstanding inequities and educational disenfranchisement. I believe this debt is historical, economic, and moral.”

I hope the next President (and the rest of us) are brave enough to face these truths and pay up.