Last Wednesday, Professor Pedro Noguera from New York University visited Hartford to discuss the question of "who is responsible for children’s success" with people across the state. Sponsored by the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Prof. Noguera also spent some time on WNPR’s “Where We Live” program and held a lunch discussion at the Connecticut Convention Center. His simple answer to the question above was, “We all are.” (You can listen to the discussion on Where We Live online.)
The topics of discussion ranged from the role of teachers and parents, the impact of socioeconomic conditions on education, charter schools (he supported with reservations), testing (concerned about their misuse), and President Obama’s program called Race to the Top (not “thrilled”).
Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the discussion was Professor Noguera’s focus on schools that serve children with the greatest need. Warning of recent policies that resulted in blaming kids, parents, or teachers, he asserted that we must focus on “capacity building”, or making sure that the adults that serve children are developing the new skills and knowledge to help kids succeed socially and academically.
- High-quality early childhood education,
- Building comprehensive in- and out-of-school support (i.e. “wrap-around” services), and
- Assessing school improvement using a variety of methods such as inspections of schools and sample-based tests.