Thursday, August 30, 2012

Public Education's Eight Ball: Student Poverty

As noted in an earlier blog, one of my summer reads was P.L. Thomas’ book, Ignoring Poverty in the U.S..  It is one of the most important education books I have read. He has reframed my thinking.

Contrary to what too many scapegoaters claim, I've never believed public education to be the cause of America's socioeconomic ills. However, I had fallen into the trap of repeating the mantra that quality public education is the cure-all for the poor. Thomas’ research highlights what all of us should be repeating in our communities and schools over and over. This is now my Thomas-induced mantra:

Reforming public education does little to reduce poverty. Reducing poverty does lots to reform public education.

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Tale of Two Janesvillians: Paul Ryan & Me

Like Mitt Romney’s running mate, Representative Paul Ryan, I am in my early 40’s and live in Janesville, Wisconsin with my wife and three kids. Purportedly, Rep. Ryan likes the Pack, Spotted Cow, brats, Wisconsin cheese, and the great outdoors--like most Wisconsinites and me. Similar to Ryan, I am loved by my family and generally well liked by my colleagues and others. I, too, serve ably the People of my community and am full of big rambling ideas related to socioeconomic reform.

While I don’t know Rep. Ryan personally, our histories overlap with Irish ancestry, tours of duty at McDonalds, long-time interests in politics, and short (unsuccessful) stints at soccer. Further connected, Rep. Ryan and I both grew up in small midwest towns, attended Catholic schools, and served as altar boys. Most coincidental, Paul Ryan lost his father to a heart attack at a young age--just like me. We are two Janesvillians with somewhat similar stories.