This past fall, GBJCL kicked off a series of meet-ups which brought our volunteers together to dig deeper into issues surrounding public education and to complement their experiences and observations working in schools. Our first two events presented distinct perspectives on the challenges facing our schools, and differing ways to address these problems.
In October, GBJCL community members attended a symposium at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education where MA Secretary of Education Matthew Malone spoke about his vision for education. He seeks that our schools prepare people, from birth to adulthood, to be caring and compassionate citizens. Secretary Malone described not only making a diverse range of school models available across the commonwealth, but also his eagerness to facilitate stronger communication between schools from kindergarten through college, in the interest of continuity, cooperation and accountability.
GBJCL’s second meet-up took place at a talk by Diane Ravitch, an outspoken voice on education. Ravitch’s talk focused on challenging the commonly accepted idea that the US trails other developed countries in education. Ravitch states that the problem with our education system is not that it is failing all our children. It serves our privileged wealthy, white children just fine. It is the economic and racial minorities that we are failing. Though minorities are graduating high school at higher rates than ever before in US history, the gap between rich and poor is ever growing, and that is the great problem in our schools today. Ravitch asserts that to adequately support our students, we need to focus on combatting poverty by providing adequate healthcare and more across-the-board support for all children.
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