Common Principles for Uncommon Schools

Horace Volume 14 | 1998 | Issue 3

Democracy and Equity: CES's Tenth Common Principle: Provides ways schools can promote democratic principles and challenge inequity and discrimination in their policies, practices, and pedagogies. Download PDF

CES Web Democracy

Schools with access to the Internet can now join an ongoing discussion of Essential school principles, practices, and activities via the Coalition’s Web site at http:// The site posts regular reports on actions of the CES National Congress, allows text searches of Coalition documents, and invites participants to contribute to an interactive on-line conversation. No password is required.

Characteristics of the Anti-Racist Leader

“What does it mean to me, personally, to be an anti-racist leader?” asks Glenn Singleton, the president of Pacific Educational Group in Palo Alto, California, who works frequently with California’s Essential schools on issues of equity, leadership, and whole-school reform. To answer that question, he made up the following list: I am abnormal. I do things outside what is seen

Democracy and Equity: CES’s Tenth Common Principle

Principle 10: “The school should demonstrate non-discriminatory and inclusive policies, practices, and pedagogies. It should model democratic practices that involve all who are directly affected by the school. The school should honor diversity and build on the strengths of its communities, deliberately and explicitly challenging all forms of inequity and discrimination.” The room crackled with energy and tension as the

Equity and Action: Some Prompts for Teachers

Make a list of your favorite kids among those you teach. Then disaggregate the list, breaking it down by family income or status, by color, by gender, or by any other group traits. Do patterns emerge? Define for yourself what prevents kids in the bottom quartile of your classes from achieving at high level. What specific strategies do you employ

Making Decisions in One Democratic Essential School

Students at the Alternative Community School (ACS) in Ithaca, New York voted in 1998 on a Constitution that designates who makes which kinds of decisions at the school: The ACS staff shall have purview over: Joint student/staff curriculum committee to survey students, design curriculum, with final approval by staff Which teachers teach which classes Requirements and attendance policy of each

Some Useful Resources

Center for Social Organization of Schools, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD;    (410) 516-8800   (410) 516-8800 . Resources and research on effective schooling of disadvantaged students. Web site: Education Trust, Education Watch: The Education Trust Community Data Guide provides help to local communities that want to pull together basic data on educational attainment, achievement, and practices. 1725 K Street NW, Suite 200,

The Elusive System of White Privilege

“I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets which I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was “meant” to remain oblivious,” wrote Peggy McIntosh in a groundbreaking 1988 essay that laid the foundation for contemporary discussions of privilege systems. McIntosh, who is Associate Director of the Wellesley College Center

Who Gets to Learn: The Sorry Statistics

A host of studies have documented the inequities that face students in United States public schools, and the bitter consequences that they produce. Among the most recent research are studies that show: The education of the adults in the family is critical for family income. The proportion of adults who are not in the labor force and the proportion who

You Get What You Expect: Teacher Expectations

In an ethnographic study of a kindergarten class in an inner-city school, Ray Rist showed that within eight days the teacher had grouped the children-not by academic indicators, but according to skin color, behavior, clothing, hygiene, and previous experience with siblings. Subsequent academic placement tests bore out the teacher’s expectations, and by the end of first grade the teacher’s initial