Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The Secret Shame - Chris Stewart

by Chris Stewart

How America’s most progressive cities betray their commitment to educational opportunity for all.

Frontpagemag Editor's note: The following report, titled "The Secret Shame," was issued this past January by Chris Stewart, the CEO of brightbeam, a nonprofit network of education activists. Contrary to what progressive educators and politicians would like to believe, the report concludes that students in America’s most progressive cities face greater racial inequity in achievement and graduation rates than students living in the nation’s most conservative cities. Check out this important report below:

Introduction by author Chris Stewart:
For many years my home state of Minnesota has faced a bewildering conundrum. We are a state that enjoys a laudable standard of living, abundant natural resources, a strong economy, Fortune 500 companies that take corporate responsibility seriously, a clean civic system, and a host of public services that make being a Minnesotan a source of pride. At the same time, we constantly face a persistent challenge to our status as a progressive exemplar: Our public schools, unlike our other systems, do not work equally well for everyone. Educational outcomes for students of color and American Indians are among the worst in the nation. It is a strong departure from how we think of ourselves, and one we haven’t confronted adequately.
My work for brightbeam has brought me to a wide variety of cities where I’ve been fortunate in meeting families, students and educators from all walks of life. During my visits I have noticed that Minnesota is far from an outlier. In fact, I recognize an obvious pattern that any traveler should be able to see. From Seattle to Minneapolis, and Oakland to D.C., there are construction cranes everywhere, condominiums going up, immense wealth growing, but in the shadows of prosperity there are children who will never truly experience the first-world lifestyles of the cities they live in. Further, like Minnesota, these cities are undoubtedly politically, socially, and economically progressive.

How is it that these would be places of such great inequity?

This report on the outcomes for children of color in America’s most progressive cities is an attempt to highlight a problem we at brightbeam see as fixable. Wealthy and progressive cities have so much potential for truly tackling the immoral and unacceptable problem of racial and economic gaps in educational outcomes. To get there we first need communities and their political leaders to acknowledge that they have a problem, and from there we need the political class of all these cities to commit themselves to a meaningful plan that is co-created with the communities they serve and monitored year over year for progress toward the goal of closing gaps.As an organization, we are on a mission to demand a better education and a brighter future for every child. As you read this report, keep in mind that, for us at brightbeam, this is a first look at the problem in progressive cities. We are dedicating ourselves to a long-term campaign that challenges and encourages progressives to apply their values of equity and social responsibility to the unconscionable gaps in educational opportunity. We welcome your participation, your pushback, and your partnership in turning our unequal urban centers into cities of hope where all children have the best opportunity to learn.

Thank you for reading.
Peace be with you, Chris Stewart, CEO.

To read the report, The Secret Shame: CLICK HERE.

Chris Stewart


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