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Commentary: Is school reform progressive?

LA School Report | November 24, 2014

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The Hechinger Report

Via The Hechinger Report | By Peter Cunningham

Whether the little guy was a Kansas farmer whose earnings were manipulated by commodities traders in Chicago, a woman denied the right to vote, an underpaid working man seeking union representation, blacks oppressed by segregation, or a low-level civil servant forced to pay homage to a powerful political machine, progressives made them their cause.

In education, the little guy was historically the teacher and over the years, many progressive reforms were adopted to serve and protect teachers: higher pay, health care and retirement benefits, tenure, seniority and professional development.

Along the way, however, we also realized there was an even littler guy than the teacher in need of protection – the student. The Supreme Court recognized this in 1954 and ruled that segregated schools are unconstitutional.

Congress recognized it in the 1960’s by passing a law providing federal funds to counter inequitable state and local funding for low-income students. Congress went further in the 1970’s when they passed a law to protect students with disabilities.

Read the full commentary here.

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