For Each And Every Child #BookReview #GovDoc

Book:  For Each and Every Child: A Strategy for Education Equity and Excellence by The Equity and Excellence Commission
Genre: Government Document
Publisher: U.S. Department of Education
Publication date: 2013
Pages: 52

Source: Electronic public domain pdf file: For Each and Every Child

For Each and Every Child
A government document that’s both readable and important

Summary: Education is an economic issue. “America has lost its place as a global leader in educational attainment in ways that will lead to a decline in living standards for millions of our children and the loss of trillions of dollars of economic growth.” (p. 12) Regaining our place as a global leader in education and economy will require equity. We can’t get there by giving a top-tier education to our most advantaged students — there simply aren’t enough of them to sustain a world-class economy. We only get there by giving a top-tier education to all of our students.

We have a long way to go. Children in the highest-poverty schools in the US read on par with the world’s lowest-achieving countries.

Equity is a key strategy needed to shore up the entire nation’s standing in the global economy; we cannot compete successfully with one arm tied behind our back. Any goal of competitiveness and excellence must start with equity or be doomed to fail. (p. 12)

The US, with its strong and unusual tradition of welcoming and incorporating diverse groups into the tapestry of the nation, should have a unique advantage. But we don’t because we continue to segregate by wealth, income, and race while providing disadvantaged students fewer resources.

As a result, we take the extraordinary diversity–including linguistic backgrounds and familial relationships–that should be our strategic advantage in the international economy and squander it. (p. 14)

Compared to other developed nations, we’re blowing it.

America has become an outlier nation in the way we fund, govern and administer K-12 schools, and also in terms of performance. No other developed nation has inequities nearly as deep or systemic; no other developed nation has, despite some efforts to the contrary, so thoroughly stacked the odds against so many of its children. Sadly, what feels so very un-American turns out to be distinctly American. (p. 15)

Thoughts: I had a hard time deciding whether to review this first or Fragmented by Design by E. Terrence Jones, our most recent book club selection. The two have become intertwined in my mind and it’s hard to write about one without referencing the other. But, I completed For Each and Every Child first, so I’ll review it first. Watch for more discussion in my review of Fragmented by Design, later this week.

I’ve been sitting on these for weeks due to the above confusion, but I got motivated to act because the Ferguson Commission posted it’s draft of 200 Calls to Action (Google doc) last week, ahead of the final report that’s due in September.

The For Each and Every Child report was recommended to me by Ferguson Commissioner, Becky James-Hatter, co-chair of the Child Well-Being and Education Equity Working Group. I mentioned an interest in reforming the tax structure that supports education and she suggested this document, for which I’m grateful.

The situation in the St. Louis region is exactly as described in For Each and Every Child:

The common situation in America is that schools in poor communities spend less per pupil–and often many thousands of dollars less per pupil–than schools in nearby affluent communities, meaning poor schools can’t compete for the best teaching and principal talent in a local labor market and can’t implement the high-end technology and rigorous academic and enrichment programs needed to enhance student performance. (p. 14)

Kirkwood High School, near my house, is only 16 miles from Normandy High School, the unaccredited school where Michael Brown graduated. The differences are stark and have long-reaching impact on our whole region.

I had hoped that the Calls to Action from the Working Group for Child Well Being and Education Equity might include a grand vision to fix disparity in educational funding by either moving away from property tax as a funding source or by consolidating school districts so that Kirkwood and Normandy shared the same administration, pool of money, and goals. In my quick look through the 49 (!) Calls to Action from that one Working Group, I didn’t see either of those.

After reading Fragmented by Design, though, I’m not surprised. Neither of those ideas were likely to be feasible no matter how much sense they make to me and everyone I talk to about this topic. From what I learned in Fragmented by Design, the ideas that are presented near the bottom of the list for Coordination and Innovation are more likely to succeed in our region.

Appeal: This is a terrific report! I had so many more quotes and thoughts I wanted to share because there was so much more that inspired me. For Each and Every Child is very readable and I recommend it to any one who has an interest in children, education, or the future of the United States.

Besides reading this report, how do you think we can all be more involved in improving education in the US as students, parents, school personnel, and ordinary citizens?

Signature of Joy Weese Moll

Peony, King of Flowers #SaturdaySnapshot

According to Chinese legend, the Empress Wu Zeitan ordered all the flowers to bloom for the first New Year celebration of her reign. All the flowers in the royal garden participated except for the peony. The Empress forced the disobedient plant into exile. Only a few survived in a garden in the ancient city of Luoyang. When the Empress later fell ill, only a peony root potion could cure her. In gratitude, the Empress lifted the ban. The peony returned from Luoyang and was given the title King of Flowers.

In this piece in the Lantern Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden, the Flower Fairies are caring for the peony, helping it survive in spite of the wrath of an Empress.

Flower Fairies, Lantern Festival
Flower Fairies lantern at the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Lantern Festival

I love the flowing ribbons on the flower fairies!

Flower Fairy
A Chinese flower fairy of ancient legend

In Missouri, peonies bloom between Mother’s Day and Memorial Day, so you can understand why the plant might be unwilling or unable to bloom for the Chinese New Year. One of the best places to see peonies in St. Louis is along the path in the Japanese Garden at the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Pink peony with yellow center
A peony bloom from late May, Japanese Garden, Missouri Botanical Garden

I was reminded of that photograph by the lanterns on the wall in Ridgway Center, the entrance hall for the Garden. These are Paeonia suffruticosa Andrews subsp suffruticosa, a subspecies that has been cultivated for over 2,000 years in China.

Pink peony lantern
Peony lantern, Ridgway Visitor Center, Missouri Botanical Garden

Information for this post was gleaned from the guide, Lantern Festival: Magic Reimagined. The director of the Missouri Botanical Garden approved our second lantern festival in three years with the principle that the exhibit honor the plants in China. The Garden has worked with China for decades, resulting in the Flora of China, “a comprehensive catalog of all Chinese wild plants.”

This is the first in a series of four posts about the flowers that are featured in this year’s Lantern Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden. If you find yourself in St. Louis this summer, don’t miss it! I’ll link all four posts to Saturday Snapshot at West Metro Mommy Reads. Check out her post today for photography by other bloggers.

The Young Victoria #FilmReview #BriFri

British Isles Friday logoWelcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British-themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!

Last week, Heather visited Cardiff Castle, Sim visited Bekonscot Model Village & Railway near London back in the 1950 (but it’s still a destination today!), and Beck reviewed two books, At The Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald and The Children of Hurin J.R.R. Tolkien and Christopher Tolkien.


Young Victoria
Young Victoria, a film about the final years of Victoria’s childhood and the first years of her reign as Queen of the UK.

“Overprotected” doesn’t begin to describe the childhood of The Young Victoria, heir to the throne of Great Britain. Under the “Kensington System” developed by her mother’s comptroller, John Conroy, Victoria was never alone. Her interactions with other people, including children, were strictly controlled. She wasn’t even allowed to walk up and down stairs without someone holding her hand.

The rules and restrictions were designed to keep Victoria safe but also dependent on her mother, in the hope that she and Conroy would one day be the power behind the throne. If King William IV obliged them by dying before Victoria was 18, then her mother might have been named regent, making that power even more of a stronghold.

The Kensington System pissed young Victoria off, though, so the whole thing backfired. King William IV lived long enough that Victoria could take the throne in her own name. Her romantic relationship with Prince Albert and their wedding gave Victoria all the cover she needed to rid herself of the influence of her mother and Conroy.

The Kensington System was named for the palace in London where Victoria lived during her growing-up years. Kensington Palace continues to be a royal residence, housing Prince William and his growing family among others. The State Rooms are open to the public. When we were in London last fall, Kensington Palace hosted an exhibit called Fashion Rules that is still ongoing. We aren’t so interested in fashion, so we skipped that.

Kensington Palace, London, England
Neil Gaiman might have been thinking of Kensington Palace when he described the “remarkably unpalatial palaces” of London in Neverwhere

We love old greenhouses, so we were more interested in The Orangery, a conservatory built on the grounds of Kensington Palace for Princess (later Queen) Anne in 1704 and 1705. We might have had afternoon tea there, but it was closed for a private event. Instead, we got to speculate who might be showing up for a party that night and talk with a security guard who, ever so politely, kicked us off the grounds when it was time to clear the area ahead of the arrival of party-goers.

The Orangery at Kensington Palace
I don’t think the white tents are usually there — they formed a reception area for the guests.

I’m more partial to costume dramas than Rick, but even he managed to stay awake through The Young Victoria, appreciating most the developing relationship between Victoria and Albert and the impact their romance had on the politics of a nation.

The Young Victoria is the most recent film I’ve watched simply because it was written by Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey. I’ve also seen in recent weeks Gosford Park (which we liked) and Separate Lies (which I didn’t review — good film but it made us both grumpy to watch).

Have you seen Young Victoria? Did you learn more about the lives of the British nobility from that film?



Readers’ Workouts — July 28

Readers' workouts
banner designed by Isi

Welcome to Readers’ Workouts, the weekly event where book lovers share workout stories, goals, successes, and challenges.

How is every one doing?

I’m rolling into the end of July in great shape to meet my goals for the month.

  • 1120 of 1300 minutes
  • 7 of 8 strength-training sessions
  • 19 of 21 days with 8000 steps or more

I spent one of my walks listening to this Saturday Review episode (a cool BBC program) that included a discussion of Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee. Are you reading that book?

How is your exercise going this summer?

For Readers’ Workouts, talk about your fitness activities on your blog (feel free to grab the logo) and link to your post below or join us in the comments! Be sure to visit the other participants to see how we all did.



Submarine #FilmReview #BriFri

British Isles Friday logoWelcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British-themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!

Last week, Sim celebrated Benedict Cumberbatch’s birthday with a list of fun facts (he wrote a dissertation on Stanley Kubrick?!). Heather documented her visit to the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff (with fun asides about her mother who didn’t get it). Jackie was inspired by my post about American & British English to share some of her experiences, including a fun version of the Ten Commandments as the Scottish would tell it. Georgie shared some funny British history memes. Becky reviewed a new book — Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan.


Submarine is a coming-of-age movie set in Wales, even if the title makes it sound like it should be a war movie. Like the best coming-of-age movies, Submarine is quirky. I liked how the adults were all caricatures of themselves, while the young characters (especially the protagonist and his on-again, off-again girlfriend) are fully fleshed out. That’s kind of how we experience youth, isn’t it? The adults are important, but alien.

According to this BBC article about the premier of the movie, Submarine was largely filmed on location in Swansea, Wales. I loved the scenes on the beach and along the hilly streets.

What are your favorite coming-of-age films?

 



Summer Fun and Sun #ReadersWorkouts

Readers' workouts
banner designed by Isi

Welcome to Readers’ Workouts, the weekly event where book lovers share workout stories, goals, successes, and challenges.

Here’s how I’m doing on my July goals:

  • 835 of 1300 minutes — right on track
  • 6 of 8 strength-training sessions — ahead of schedule
  • 14 of 21 days with 8000 steps or more — right on track

I didn’t even have to count last night’s photography walk around the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Lantern Festival. I was on my feet for hours but going so slowly that it’s hard to call it exercise.

How is your exercise going in July?

For Readers’ Workouts, talk about your fitness activities on your blog (feel free to grab the logo) and link to your post below or join us in the comments! Be sure to visit the other participants to see how we all did.



Separated by a Common Language #BriFri

British Isles Friday logoWelcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British-themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!

Last week, Heather began the first of several reports on her day trip to Cardiff and shared the YA steam punk fantasy, The Unnaturalists. Becky read three books set in the British Isles: The Prestige, Ross Poldark, and A Duty to the Dead. Sim brought us the marvelous news that a new Sherlock episode will air as a Christmas special — in this one Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock and Martin Freeman’s John are donned in Victorian dress, complete with deerstalker hat.


George Bernard Shaw didn’t say “The United States and Great Britain are two countries separated by a common language.” According to WikiQuote, Oscar Wilde came closest to expressing that sentiment, but in different words. I can definitely imagine the humor from either Shaw or Wilde, though, so I can see why people misattribute that quote.

The Story of English by Robert McCrum, William Cran, and Robert MacNeil
A cross between a text book and a coffee table book

BBC Culture published a piece yesterday about American English and British English that examined the history of how the two dialects emerged, converged, and diverged in strange and wonderful ways: Why Isn’t ‘American’ a Language? The article author appears to use Bill Bryson’s Made in America as his major resource. I’m pretty sure I read that in the 1990s when it came out, but since that’s before Goodreads, I have no way of knowing for sure. I definitely remember reading The Story of English by Robert McCrum, William Cran, and Robert MacNeil — a more scholarly approach made accessible with beautiful illustrations.

I have a couple of newer books on this topic on my TBR list right now. How to Speak Brit: The Quintessential Guide to the King’s English, Cockney Slang, and Other Flummoxing British Phrases by C.J. Moore came out last year and, this year, we got That’s Not English: Britishisms, Americanisms, and What Our English Says About Us by Erin Moore. Apparently, I’m not the only person to be endlessly fascinated by the English language and its varying forms.

What have you read about English, the language?



Mid-July Readers’ Workouts

Readers' workouts
banner designed by Isi

Welcome to Readers’ Workouts, the weekly event where book lovers share workout stories, goals, successes, and challenges.

Here’s how I’m doing on my July goals:

  • 550 of 1300 minutes — slightly below pace
  • 5 of 8 strength-training sessions — ahead of schedule
  • 9 of 21 days with 8000 steps or more — on track

So, I’m pretty happy! How are your workouts going?

For Readers’ Workouts, talk about your fitness activities on your blog (feel free to grab the logo) and link to your post below or join us in the comments! Be sure to visit the other participants to see how we all did.



The British in Cuba #BriFri

British Isles Friday logoWelcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British-themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!

Last week, Heather shared photos from her visit to Bath Abbey, Sim corrected the American pronunciation of Wimbledon, and Becky reviewed two books — The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien and The Semi-Detached House by Emily Eden.


Cuban flag
I really like the graphic design of the Cuban flag

We’re going to Cuba in October! I know very little about the history of Cuba, so I was surprised that there was a significant, but short, time when the British were the colonial force on the island.

Christopher Columbus landed in Cuba in 1492, during his first visit to the Western Hemisphere. For most of the next four centuries, Cuba was a Spanish colony. For a few months, though, the British took charge — from the summer of 1762 until the Treaty of Paris early in the following year.

Cuba Timeline
In an attempt to better understand Cuban history, I made a timeline in the hallway.

During the Seven Years’ War between European powers in the 1750s and 1760s, Spain sided with France against the British. A British fleet, under command of the admiral Lord Albemarle, conquered and occupied Havana and the western portion of Cuba. The British colonization was brief, but significant. Previously, Cuba had been restricted to trading only with Spain. The British opened up trade to their American colonies, transforming Cuban society with a surge of imports including food and horses. The British also intensified the trade of enslaved Africans as they developed the sugar plantations on the island.

The Seven Years’ War ended with the Treaty of Paris, signed on the 10th of February in 1763. The British returned Cuba to the Spanish in exchange for Florida.

DK Eyewitness Travel: Cuba
The DK Eyewitness books are my favorite series for armchair travel, in part because of the excellent history section in each volume.

I learned all of this from the history section of DK Eyewitness Travel: Cuba and from the Wikipedia articles on Cuba, the Seven Years’ War, and the Treaty of Paris.

Did you know that the British were in Cuba?



Blast into July #ReadersWorkouts

Readers' workouts
banner designed by Isi

Welcome to Readers’ Workouts, the weekly event where book lovers share workout stories, goals, successes, and challenges.

As I mentioned last week, I really had to scramble to meet my exercises goals for June. But, I did it! That got me into a habit of more exercise that carried into July.

I’m well ahead of schedule to exercise 1300 minutes this month. A couple of times I’ve taken a short walk in the early evening just to be sure that I get in my 8000 steps a day without having to march around inside the house just before bed. Usually, I overshoot, so I’ve had three days over 10,000 steps — I’d love for that to become a habit.

How has your exercise been so far in July?

For Readers’ Workouts, talk about your fitness activities on your blog (feel free to grab the logo) and link to your post below or join us in the comments! Be sure to visit the other participants to see how we all did.




a librarian writes about books