Taking advantage of unique—yet challenging—opportunities is essential to achieving the goal of educational equity, urges Micah Ali, chair of the CUBE Steering Committee and president of California’s Compton Unified School District.
Like many of you, the question of how to achieve equity at last is constantly on my mind. It is like an incessant drumbeat that reminds me how, despite our gains, there is still much work to be done. I would like to posit that before us are unique opportunities that can help us reach that ultimate goal.
Moving past the status quo will not be easy. Today, many districts are singularly focused on catching students up, mitigating learning loss, and meeting state and federal testing requirements. These are valiant pursuits, but I caution us all not to pursue them with blinders on. We still have the very important charge of preparing for opportunities posed by the economy of tomorrow and the unique—yet challenging—opportunity that COVID presented: for us to reimagine learning models and how to best reach students.
At Compton Unified School District, we took a proactive approach well before the pandemic. We began introducing new education models such as dual enrollment—where students earn college credits while enrolled in high school—and early colleges—a dual enrollment school where students graduate with an associate degree. These programs let students get a head start on college, saving them time and money.
The impact has been undeniable. Our Compton Early College High School was recently ranked by U.S. News as the No. 32 Best School in its California State Rankings. Now, we are continuing to build on these successes and are currently establishing a Pathways in Technology High School—where students will graduate with relevant real-world experience, an industry-recognized associate degree, and a high school diploma.
By incorporating the latest technological innovations and growth sectors into the classroom, we move past merely ensuring our students can perform at parity with their peers and enable them to graduate with a skill set oriented towards the jobs of tomorrow. We must focus on growth sectors like technology, biological sciences, robotics, and other STEAM sectors.
Blockchain technology is one such sector. Blockchain is a shared, immutable ledger for recording transactions, tracking assets, and building trust. These jobs are primarily remote, opening new opportunities in communities across America. They also are extremely well paying. Despite the recent volatility, Blockchain technology is here to stay, with many states developing regulations for the industry. By embracing these growth sectors, we advance our goal of achieving equity for all. In fact, offering these opportunities to students does not just advance educational equity: It is a precursor to social and economic equity.
Micah Ali is the 2021-22 chair of the CUBE Steering Committee and president of California’s Compton Unified School District.
Oh dear, this explains the total DISCONNECT which keeps our children in “not equal” standing.Unfortunately it is from someone who has been on the Compton school board since 2007!!!!!! Yikes!!!!!!!!
Many of the words seem to be “more of a desire to impress ratter than express”. That in and of itself should make us take a closer look.
Please go to the ranking reports in USNEWS to discover the reality of how the Compton school children are actually being readied for real life experiences. !
They are not!
ESPECIALLY for accounting – on line or in person these kids are largely not prepared. Would you as a company want someone with math challenges handling your accounts payables or your accounting receivable in a remote location or corporate setting? Probably not!
The math proficiency in the Compton District (Compton 17%, Centennial 6% , and Dominguez High 10%) would suggest that maybe the schools should focus on making addition, subtraction, multiplication and division “everyday we can do” skills before even considering we believe they are “Blockchain technology” candidates.
This is so distressing because without acknowledging the children lack the building blocks needed in life, when we send them to the real-life-world they are likely to experience even more devastating emotional blows as they show up for interviews with the “verbiage to impress” while their skill sets remain less than adequate.
It is best to be honest and deal wIth where we must start in order for our students to succeed. Preparing them with basics how-to skills is essential.
Let’s all hope the School Board President is not more interested in impressing us with his pedagogy awareness than in actually sharing the importance of students learning both basic math awareness and English communicating skills. Keep in mind these children are not largely from Ivy League families – 65% of the Compton School district students lack grade level English proficiency.
Oh and a sad unfortunate reality this person was elected to the Compton school board in 2007. After 14 years of his votes and influence …..shouldn’t there have have been a bettering of education for Compton students….? Is he gonna blame their parents, the economy, or will we someday hold the elected responsible for the mIllions which have been entrusted to them that they might teach our kids to discover and learn even the basics of Math, Reading and a bit of Science ?
Perhaps we should consider the outcome results of the other boards Ali sits on?