Choosing Excellence in Public Schools: Where There's a Will, by David W. Hornbeck

By David W. Hornbeck

This publication explains the origins of the low expectancies we now have of youngsters, together with, significantly, teenagers of colour, these for whom English is a moment language, negative kids and youngsters with disabilities. The booklet dispels the root for low expectancies and makes transparent the industrial, demographic, civic, own, and ethical significant to teach all childrens to excessive criteria and the implications of no longer doing so.

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Identification of Best Practices With all the effort that goes into educating our students, schools and teachers cannot by themselves stay on top of local and national progress in identifying the strategies that are most effective. A central office can play a valuable role in keeping abreast of these developments, examining and recommending programs, materials, and strategies that have proven their value and effectiveness with students. The dissemination of identified strategies must include ways for schools and teachers to understand which programs meet the needs of their own population, and must be coordinated with school planning and budget processes.

An ESC was housed in each cluster office and functioned as part of the cluster team, but reported directly to the associate superintendent for OSESS. The creation of these positions led to substantial push-back on the part of many cluster leaders, but I was convinced that ensuring equity was one of the most critical functions of the central office. The ESCs had to be the front line in helping clusters and schools recognize and address equity needs. They also provided the central office with a mechanism for tracking progress on an ongoing basis.

Acknowledging this reality removed what had been perceived as “evidence” that the students couldn’t learn, the teachers couldn’t teach, and the administration was some mix of the incompetent and the lazy. The degree of resistance to this new information showed just how strong and pervasive the community’s low expectations of both students and staff actually were. The district staff was also caught up in a low-expectations culture. Having for years been exhorted to “do more with less” and not to “alienate Harrisburg,” the district had been largely passive for years in the face of the growing inequities.

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