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American Educator
Spring 2011


Table of Contents

Equalizing Opportunity
How should America, the land of opportunity, define educational equity? Opinions range from equal funding to equal outcomes, but we are failing by either measure. After four decades of rapidly increasing inequality throughout our society, we are at risk: At risk of believing that enormous disparities in income are natural, inevitable, and good. At risk of becoming blind to inequities—like child homelessness and hunger—that we should find appalling. At risk of denying the fact that when children do not have access to clean, safe schools with a rigorous, common curriculum and well-qualified teachers, they do not live in a land of opportunity. At risk of losing our prized position as, in Lincoln’s words, “the last best hope of earth.” Americans believe in equal opportunity and social mobility. This American Educator is a call to action.

Preserving the American Dream
A Teacher-Turned-Congressman Starts a National Dialogue on Equity
By Michael Honda

Greater Equality
The Hidden Key to Better Health and Higher Scores
By Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett

Being Poor, Black, and American
The Impact of Political, Economic, and Cultural Forces
By William Julius Wilson

A Call for Change
By The Council of the Great City Schools

Demanding and Supporting Success
Collective Memories of Great Teaching
By Charles M. Payne

The Opportunity to Learn Campaign
By The Schott Foundation

Turning the Page on the Equity Debate
How to Give All Children a Real Opportunity
By Richard W. Riley and Arthur L. Coleman

The Economics of Inequality
The Value of Early Childhood Education
By James J. Heckman

Organizing for Equity
Most Policymakers Have Done Little for Our Poorest Schools— Can Parents Fill the Void?
By Michael B. Fabricant

A Call for Common Content
Core Curriculum Must Build a Bridge from Standards to Achievement
By The Albert Shanker Institute
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About American Educator

American Educator is a quarterly journal of educational research and ideas published by the American Federation of Teachers. Recent articles have focused on such topics as reducing the achievement gap between poor and affluent students, heading off student discipline problems, teaching an appreciation and understanding of democracy, the benefits of a common coherent curriculum, and other issues affecting children and education here and abroad. Total circulation, as of our most recent issue, is over 900,000.

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