“Deeper Policymaking” Needed for “Student Self-Advocacy” Under ESSA?

“Deeper Policymaking” Needed for “Student Self-Advocacy” Under ESSA?

May 15, 2018

Don Long of the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) and Ace Parsi of the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) write in Education Week that, under ESSA, states “must act boldly on meeting and going beyond” the law’s requirements and “put equity first in education.” The authors argue that “courage, compassion, and creativity are rightly considered the essential values of a democratic people,” and as such should be fostered by education that “supports self-advocacy and self-determination.” But how can we expect these values to grow in students if the grown-ups involved—policymakers, advocates, leaders, teachers, and parents—do not “live them first.” While “one might reasonably respond that such a thought is naïve,” looking “through a rigorous equity lens,” could such a response “be the deepest blind spot that belies our failure to provide a high-quality education that empowers every student to be an effective self-advocate for their learning and development?”