Many parents are celebrating "back to school" this week. They are celebrating the fact that our kids are going to government schools to be taught values that frequently conflict with the values taught at home.
They are celebrating even though our kids are used a political pawns to get more money for the unions. They celebrate despite the fact that the curriculum is consistently dumbed down and "self-esteem" has become more important than being successful.
Where did things go wrong? Right here:
CHRONOLOGY OF KEY STATEWIDE INITIATIVES IMPACTING CULTURAL COMPETENCY
1980s: Underrepresented minority scholarship programs implemented by Board of Higher Education: Portland Teacher Program, Underrepresented Minority Undergraduate Program.
1998: Joint Boards of Education (Board of Education/Board of Higher Education) consider diversity in the educator workforce, recommending this as an important common issue for multiple boards/groups to address and proposing the development of an "Action Plan for Diversity in the Educator Workforce."
2000: Board of Higher Education expands its definition of diversity to move beyond definitions categorizing underrepresented people by race/ethnicity.
2004: Oregon Mexico Education Partnership (OMEP) agreement to bring Spanish language content materials to Oregon students while they continue to learn English. Also includes adult education opportunities for parents of migrant students.
2005: New standards for administrative licensure (currently before Teacher Standards and Practices Commission; proposed for January 2006) include knowledge, skills, and dispositions related to equity and cultural competence in leadership, instructional improvement, effective management, inclusive practice, ethical leadership, and socio-political context.
If you look at the list (not just the examples provided here) you see that during the 70's and 80's there wasn't much going on, we saw and increase in the 90's and things have just taken off in 2003 and 2004.
Thirty years from now I would like to see a list that shows the school choice battles we have won. We can list charter schools, support for homeschooling, NCLB, choice between government schools, and finally we would end up with public education that let's parents decide whether to send their child to a government school, parochial school, or anything in between.