The really perplexing aspect of the EEP reform movement is that almost every leader in it understands the importance of health, language, cognition, social and family supports for their own children. President Obama especially has frequently praised the efforts of his mother and his grandparents in providing him with the tools to obtain a world-class education. And yet, with the exception of the president, these leaders seem to reject healthcare, preschool, parent education and social supports as being unnecessary for other people's children. It is the more visionary Broader, Bolder Approach to Education that emphasizes the importance of a complex support system for impoverished children. Over forty years of research is solidly on the side of this group.
As Stanford Professor Larry Cuban once said, "Without teacher commitment to district-designated reforms, sustained improvement in teaching and student achievement will falter and utimately fail." Michelle Rhee is learning the veracity of those words right now in DC, where she is experiencing difficulty in gaining the cooperation of teachers and in attracting "highly qualified" teachers and administrators to her schools. The others will learn in the next few years. (But then again, maybe the stated goal of "student achievement" is really a cover for something else!)