The Columbia Political Review is a student run non-partisan publication. The views represented here belong to their author and are not representative of the publication's political views or sympathies.

2018 Editorial Board

Editor-in-Chief

ISabelle harris

Publisher

Celine Bacha

Managing Editors

Hannah wyatt

ALEX SIEGAL

benjy sachs

TEChnology & marketing Manager

Kerem TUncer 

Social media Manager

Anthony cosentino

arts editor

Antara agarwal

Podcast producers

KRisten Akey

Hannah wyatt

Senior Editors

Jake tibbetts

Christina hill

KINZA HAQ

Henry feldman

HELEN SAYEGH

Jodi lessner

akshiti vats

Copy Editors

Sonia mahajan

grace protasiewicz

aryeh hajibay

Mary zaradich

OP-ed staff writers

raya tarawneh

eric scheuch

sophia houdaigui

ayse yucesan

aja johnson

antara agarwal

pallavi sreedhar

jasleen chaggar

ramsay eyre

ellie hansen

rachel barkin

sarah desouza

feven negussie

Feature staff writers

anthony cosentino

kristen akey

kristha jenvaiyavasjamai

maria castillo

stella cavedon

devyani goel

janine nassar

diana valcarcel soler

stephanie choi

katherine malus

 

The current state of the education reform movement has been referred to as the Civil Rights movement of our time. This description is certainly justified. In 1954, the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education declared the racial segregation of public schools unconstitutional, recognizing that every child in the United States has the right to quality public education, regardless of personal background.

Newly integrated public schools provided exciting arenas of study for those interested in the movement’s real impact. In 1966, the Equality of Educational Opportunity Study – often referred to as the “Coleman Study” – sought to determine the degree to which all students were offered equal opportunities for educational success. The report famously concluded for the first time that student achievement is more influenced by a student and school's socioeconomic circumstances than by the school’s quality, laying the theoretical precedent for what would later become known as the achievement gap.

In 1983, the Department of Education released "A Nation at Risk",  a landmark report decrying the “rising tide of mediocrity” in America’s public schools. While the Coleman report established the links between poverty and student achievement, A Nation at Risk turned the national conversation toward the need to address the inadequacies of American schools by citing America’s need to stay competitive within a rapidly changing world economy. No Child Left Behind has been seen as the legacy to A Nation At Risk. The 2002 legislation's ultimate aim was to have every student score at proficient levels in reading and math on standardized state exams by 2014. Its novel approach represented a more powerful role for the federal government in education, signaling that the issue of inadequate schools had reached a new level of national importance. Schools would be encouraged to improve by the government’s new set of high standards and system of salient incentives and disincentives. Critics of the law took issue with its heavy emphasis on high-stakes testing and what they saw as harsh penalties instead of strong supports for schools that failed to meet ambitious test score improvement targets.

Ten years later, education reform still fights to address the educational inequalities that leave millions of children – many of them racial minorities and most of them from low-income households – without access to quality educational opportunities. President Obama’s “Race to the Top” initiative, an innovative competition among states for billions of dollars in federal education funds, exemplifies these groups’ agendas. The competition pushed states to make policy changes in areas like low-performing school turnarounds and teacher performance. Obama’s policies, however, have encountered opposition from critics who disagree with what they see as a penalization of schools that are underperforming. Overall, Obama and his allies are clashing with two historically loyal members of the Democratic base: teachers unions and civil rights groups. This year might feature a major political realignment in education.

TEACHER EVALUATIONS 

Pro: Leah Metcalf and Con: Michelle Abell Jacobo

HIGH-STAKES TESTING 

Pro: Samantha Lopez and Con: Irene Izaguirre-Lopez

ACHIEVEMENT GAP 

Pro: Maddy Joseph and Con: Ashley Williams

INTERVIEWS

Lee Ann Bell, Shamus Khan, Pedro Noguera, and Diane Ravitch

PRINT VERSION

Desert in Bloom: Shenouda, Sectarianism, and the Future

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