John Jackson: A New Take on ‘No Excuses’
We all know that factors related to poverty can limit learning in a number of ways. Lack of quality early-childhood care and education impedes healthy development and kindergarten readiness. Inadequate access to preventive and basic remedial health care substitute sick days and emergency room visits for classroom time and reduce student awareness and focus in class. Hunger makes it hard for kids to concentrate. And a dearth of enriching, stimulating activities after school and over the summer drains away much of what is gained between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. from September to June.
Fine, the “no excuses” crowd says, maybe poverty does matter. But we aren’t going to eliminate child poverty, and right now it’s getting worse, not better. What do you suggest we do? Eric Rafael Gonzalez of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund set forth a coherent set of effective, proven policies: stabilizing and improving the teacher and leader workforces in low-income schools, along with quality early-childhood education, health and nutrition supports, and after-school and summer enrichment.