Providing equally good schooling for all American children— rich or poor and regardless of race—would improve the nation’s failing education system.
So says Linda Darling-Hammond, a Stanford University education professor who has won the 2012 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Education for her 2010 book, The Flat World and Education: How America’s Commitment to Equity Will Determine Our Future.
The United States no longer leads the world in education because it spends far less on low-income and minority students than it does on affluent students, Darling-Hammond found. Her research shows that although nations in Europe and Asia fund schools centrally and equally, the wealthiest American school districts spend nearly 10 times more than the poorest.
In particular, U.S. black and Hispanic children consistently fall below global academic norms because they have less access to well-prepared teachers and engaging classes than white and Asian students, she found.
“She does a masterful job of showing how giving all children the same opportunity to receive a good education can help our nation stay competitive in an increasingly globalized society,” said Diane Kyle, acting faculty director for the award.
From 1994 to 2001, Darling-Hammond directed the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, a blue-ribbon panel whose 1996 report led to sweeping policy changes affecting teaching and teacher education. A member of the National Academy of Education, she is also former president of the American Educational Research Association.
UofL presents four Grawemeyer Awards each year for outstanding works in music composition, world order, psychology and education. The university and Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary jointly give a fifth award in religion. This year’s awards are $100,000 each.
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