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  • My first job out of college was as an academic researcher

  • at one of the largest juvenile detention centers in the country.

  • And every day I would drive to this building

  • on the West Side of Chicago,

  • go through the security checkpoint

  • and walk down these brown, brick hallways as I made my way down to the basement

  • to observe the intake process.

  • The kids coming in were about 10 to 16 years old,

  • usually always black and brown,

  • most likely from the same impoverished South and West Sides of Chicago.

  • They should've been in fifth to tenth grade,

  • but instead they were here for weeks on end

  • awaiting trial for various crimes.

  • Some of them came back to the facility 14 times before their 15th birthday.

  • And as I sat there on the other side of the glass from them,

  • idealistic with a college degree,

  • I wondered to myself:

  • Why didn't schools do something more to prevent this from happening?

  • It's been about 10 years since then,

  • and I still think about how some kids get tracked towards college

  • and others towards detention,

  • but I no longer think about schools' abilities to solve these things.

  • You see, I've learned that so much of this problem is systemic

  • that often our school system perpetuates the social divide.

  • It makes worse what it's supposed to fix.

  • That's as crazy or controversial

  • as saying that our health care system isn't preventative

  • but somehow profits off of keeping us sick ...

  • oops.

  • (Laughter)

  • I truly do believe though that kids can achieve great things

  • despite the odds against them,

  • and in fact, my own research shows that.

  • But if we're serious about helping more kids from across the board

  • to achieve and make it in this world,

  • we're going to have to realize that our gaps in student outcomes

  • are not so much about achievement as much as they are about opportunity.

  • A 2019 EdBuild report showed

  • that majority-white districts receive about 23 billion dollars more

  • in annual funding than nonwhite districts,

  • even though they serve about the same number of students.

  • Lower resource schools are dealing with lower quality equipment,

  • obsolete technology

  • and paying teachers way less.

  • Here in New York,

  • those are also the schools most likely to serve

  • the one in 10 elementary school students

  • who will most likely have to sleep in a homeless shelter tonight.

  • The student, parent and teacher are dealing with a lot.

  • Sometimes places are misplacing the blame back on them.

  • In Atlanta, we saw that teachers felt desperate enough

  • to have to help their students cheat on standardized tests

  • that would impact their funding.

  • Eight of them went to jail for that in 2015

  • with some sentences as high as 20 years,

  • which is more than what many states give for second-degree murder.

  • The thing is though, in places like Tulsa,

  • teachers' pay has been so bad

  • that these people have had to go to food pantries

  • or soup kitchens just to feed themselves.

  • The same system will criminalize a parent who will use a relative's address

  • to send their child to a better school,

  • but for who knows how long authorities have turned a blind eye

  • to those who can bribe their way

  • onto the most elite and beautiful college campuses.

  • And a lot of this feels pretty heavy to be saying --

  • and maybe to be hearing --

  • and since there's nothing quite like economics talk to lighten the mood --

  • that's right, right?

  • Let me tell you about some of the costs

  • when we fail to tap into our students' potential.

  • A McKinsey study showed that if in 1998

  • we could've closed our long-standing student achievement gaps

  • between students of different ethnic backgrounds

  • or students of different income levels,

  • by 2008, our GDP --

  • our untapped economic gains --

  • could have gone up by more than 500 billion dollars.

  • Those same gaps in 2008,

  • between our students here in the US and those across the world,

  • may have deprived our economy

  • of up to 2.3 trillion dollars of economic output.

  • But beyond economics, numbers and figures,

  • I think there's a simpler reason that this matters,

  • a simpler reason for fixing our system.

  • It's that in a true democracy,

  • like the one we pride ourselves on having --

  • and sometimes rightfully so --

  • a child's future should not be predetermined

  • by the circumstances of their birth.

  • A public education system should not create a wider bottom and more narrow top.

  • Some of us can sometimes think

  • that these things aren't that close to home,

  • but they are if we broaden our view,

  • because a leaky faucet in our kitchen,

  • broken radiator in our hallway,

  • those parts of the house that we always say we're going to get to next week,

  • they're devaluing our whole property.

  • Instead of constantly looking away to solutions like privatization

  • or the charter school movement to solve our problems,

  • why don't we take a deeper look at public education,

  • try to take more pride in it

  • and maybe use it to solve some of our social problems.

  • Why don't we try to reclaim the promise of public education

  • and remember that it's our greatest collective responsibility?

  • Luckily some of our communities are doing just that.

  • The huge teacher strikes in the spring of 2019 in Denver and LA --

  • they were successful because of community support

  • for things like smaller class sizes

  • and getting things into schools like more counselors

  • in addition to teacher pay.

  • And sometimes for the student,

  • innovation is just daring to implement common sense.

  • In Baltimore a few years ago,

  • they enacted a free breakfast and lunch program,

  • taking away the stigma of poverty and hunger

  • for some students

  • but increasing achievement in attendance for many others.

  • And in Memphis,

  • the university is recruiting local, passionate high school students

  • and giving them scholarships to go teach in the inner city

  • without the burden of college debt.

  • And north of here in The Bronx,

  • I recently researched these partnerships being built

  • between high schools, community colleges and local businesses

  • who are creating internships in finance, health care and technology

  • for students without "silver spoon" connections

  • to gain important skills

  • and contribute to the communities that they come from.

  • So today I don't necessarily have the same questions about education

  • that I did when I was an idealistic, perhaps naïve college grad

  • working in a detention center basement.

  • It's not: Can schools save more of our students?

  • Because I think we have the answer to that --

  • and it's yes they can, if we save our schools first.

  • We can start by caring about the education of other people's children ...

  • And I'm saying that as someone who doesn't have kids yet

  • but wants to worry a little bit less about the future when I do.

  • Cultivating as much talent as possible,

  • getting as many girls as we can from all over

  • into science and engineering,

  • as many boys as we can into teaching --

  • those are investments for our future.

  • Our students are like our most valuable resource,

  • and when you put it that way,

  • our teachers are like our modern-day diamond and gold miners,

  • hoping to help make them shine.

  • Let's contribute our voices,

  • our votes and our support

  • to giving them the resources that they will need

  • not just to survive

  • but hopefully thrive,

  • allowing all of us to do so as well.

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause and cheers)

My first job out of college was as an academic researcher

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B1 中級 美國腔

美國公共教育中的 "機會差距"--以及如何縮小這一差距|阿寧德亞-昆杜 (The "opportunity gap" in US public education -- and how to close it | Anindya Kundu)

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    张晓龙   發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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