Equity and Excellence Commission Delivers Report to Secretary Duncan

The need to improve the country’s education system is urgent, according to the Co-Chairs of the Equity and Excellence Commission who formally presented their report to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on Tuesday. The Commission’s report, “For Each and Every Child,” highlights the need to eliminate “education disparities affecting millions of underserved and disadvantaged students.”

The 27-member Commission includes scholars, teachers’ union leaders, state and local education officials, and education reformers and advocates, and was charged to provide advice to the Secretary “on the disparities in meaningful educational opportunities that give rise to the achievement gap, with a focus on systems of finance,” as well as ways that the federal government can address such disparities.

While the commission was autonomous and its recommendations do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of Education, Secretary Duncan said, “The Commission has sounded a powerful and important alarm about the distance we still have to go to improve education for every American child.”

Read the Commission’s report.


  1. My comments reflect 35 years in education including 17 years as a superintendent, 20 years as a researcher since retirement, and author of two books, School Corruption: Betrayal of Children and the Public Trust (2005) and School Pushouts: A Plague of Hopelessness Perpetrated by Zombie Schools (2012).
    This report reads like the 35 year-old Nation at Risk Report and it will end up on the heap of similar reports over the years that have failed to stem the tide of a school system that is cascading in deeper into the black hole of mediocrity.
    It failed, as the others have, in identifying the real underlying cancers in the system; until they are fixed, there will be no dramatic changes. The emphasis on equitable funding is an example because despite more billions of dollars devoted to minority and urban education the deterioration of achievement continues. The fact that the black population will increase two fold and the Hispanic population increase three fold over the coming decades will add tremendous pressure on the school system that no amount of funding will improve. It is not more money that is needed but rather spending the dollars more effectively.
    The first reality that must be recognized and understood is my first caveat pertaining to public education which is to do anything and everything possible, no matter how unethical, unprofessional, immoral, and corrupt to make the system look good. My book on corruption offers brute testimony to this reality that goes unrecognized by the policymakers and educators. My research was supported soon thereafter by a UNESCO report Corrupt Schools; Corrupt Universities: What Can Be Done? involving 159 countries. Corruption is a pervasive problem that is kept under the educational radar screen by the media and educational establishment (recall my first caveat).
    The second caveat is that schools no longer have academics as a priority because since the intervention of Big Brother, that began the decline of education,
    the new priority is social engineering (school busing costing billions that resulted in zero results as one example). This was for the goal of diversity which is another social engineering effort.
    The third caveat is that the system is now more concerned with the needs of adults rather than student needs. Students have no lobby, but the teachers have a well financed lobby that has tremendous influence on legislators, policymakers and Governors. Consider the fact that 17 states now have more non-certified staff than certified staff. In the past 35 years the ratio of non-certified staff has increased from one to four certified staff to now where the ratios are equal. What is important to recognize is that this explosive staffing has not resulted in any improvement in academic achievement when compared to the NAEP results.
    Preschool is emphasized as almost a cure all for improving achievement results particularly for minority students; despite its growth it has done nothing to improve achievement results for those students most in need. For example, despite reports to the contrary, the dropout rate has not seen any significant improvement as evidenced by the documented research in my book on School Pushouts. Furthermore, the most recent report on Head Start indicates that it has failed to live up to its promises. It like all other studies about preschool impact indicates that by third grade any claimed gains are wiped out. What has not been recognized is that part of the problem is that preschoolers graduate to failing schools–a headstart on failure, not success.
    The new push is for college and career readiness for all; it too will be a colossal failure. My book in progress is College and Career Readiness: Myth, Con, Insanity.
    In essence, this goal has the belief that the same skills and knowledge are required for every career. In other words, algebra is required to be a police officer, railroad attendant, truck driver, etc.; this is absolute insanity and certainly not based on the various skills and knowledge needed by different careers that do not require a college education. Consider the tragedy of pushing students to attend college when only 28% graduate from two year colleges after three years and only 60% graduate from four year college after six years–the dropouts have heavy debts. Even those who graduate, 50% are now unemployed or underemployed.
    High schools are pressured to push students to college and they are basically rated on how many go on to college, not how many graduate. A little known statistic is that 25% of those who are accepted never enroll.
    Too bad for our children, their parents and society because until we recognize the basic problems and take action to correct them, the educational system will continue to decline.
    I wish I was wrong and I wish I will be proven wrong, but history and facts can be disputed, but not changed.

    • You are so right! I totally agree with you that more money is not going to solve the problem! And I really look forward to your new book about the myth of trying to send everyone to college! I think that is insanity, too, and it contributing to the loss of high school graduates!

  2. When I “click” on “Read the Commission’s report” nothing shows up on my computer.
    Wlhat can I do to obtain a copy of the report?

    • I would like to obtain a copy of the report. When I clicked on the screen nothing comes up but the cover page.

Comments are closed.