INEQUALITY FOR ALL: The Challenge of Unequal Opportunity in American Schools

INEQUALITY FOR ALL:  The Challenge of Unequal Opportunity in American Schools.

Why Can’t We “Get it Together”?

That’s what Virginia and I were left wondering after this interview with Dr. William Schmidt, the author of the exciting new book: INEQUALITY FOR ALL:  The Challenge of Unequal Opportunity in American Schools.

No, it’s not about rich versus poor or disadvantaged versus privilege.  It’s a revelation of the fact that our schools, even within the same districts, cities and States do not have comparable curriculum content and standards on the same critical science and math subjects.  And the greatest variations are in middle-income school districts; and it happens even within the same school.

In other words there is no equivalence between classes of the same Grade on the same subjects.  And this results in many kids being short-changed or otherwise graduating with different knowledge than other kids who’ve done the “same” subject Grade classes elsewhere in the system.

Dr. Schmidt reveals that some teachers are not properly equipped or competent to deliver the math and science curriculum—and that is part of the problem.

Compared to this, the nations that are bettering us overseas have national standards of common core material that all kids are exposed to.

By “common core standard” is meant what is to be taught: not how it is to be taught.

Parents will ask: what to do?

The answer is go to the Common Core Standards website and see what their child should be learning at each grade, and take the action needed to have the material delivered to your child.

This is important because math is the language of technology and the information driven society we now live in.

Click here for more information on INEQUALITY FOR ALL:  The Challenge of Unequal Opportunity in American Schools.

If that link doesn’t work go to and look in the “what’s New” section.

William H. Schmidt is University Distinguished Professor at Michigan State University and co-director of theEducationPolicyCenter.


Click here to Listen: Dr. William Schmidt — INEQUALITY FOR ALL: The Challenge of Unequal Opportunity in American Schools


Roger & Virginia at The Learning Curve.

Did You Know Most Kids Lose a Lot of What They Recently Learned in School While on Summer Break? Teachers Call it the “Summer Slide.”

Did You Know Most Kids Lose a Lot of What They Recently Learned in School While on Summer Break?  Teachers Call it the “Summer Slide.”

Nowhere is the adage: “If you don’t use it, you lose it” more accurate than in the case of young minds and the reason behind the “summer slide.”

In today’s Learning Curve Francie Alexander explains how you can protect your child’s learning and advancement.  Learn how you can easily prevent the “summer slide.”

Francie Alexander is Vice President and Chief Academic Officer for Scholastic Education. Francie has taught at all levels, was a district reading consultant for Pre-K through high school, and has authored professional articles for educators as well as 25 “Books Kids Can Read” for children.

In today’s Learning Curve we reveal:

  • What the “Summer Slide” is.
  • The fact that teachers typically need 4 to 6 weeks in the fall to re-teach material students have forgotten!
  • The importance of “summer reading in beating the summer slide.”
  • The wonderful treasure trove of tools and resources available at the website.

Learn of the many initiatives and tools Scholastic has made available to you so you can beat the “summer learning loss” and also help your child in everyday learning.

  • Scholastic Summer Challenge a program where students can win prizes by logging their reading minutes online or using a new mobile app. called The Scholastic Reading Timer.
  • Scholastic Reading Timer kids can set personal reading goals, using the built-in stopwatch to reach their target number of reading minutes.
  • Storia® is a free eReading app specifically designed to support kids’ reading
  • Sushi Monster, Scholastic‘s newest free math fact fluency game available on the iPad.
  • Summer book packs for all age groups.

Get tips for parents from Francie on how to keep kids learning over the summer

For teachers, the Scholastic website is an equally wonderful resource.  Their website has been set up to serve as the content and e-Commerce hub for everything a teacher needs most for use in the classroom.  Each week, more than 1.6 million visitors to access over 100,000 pages of free content and teaching resources.

This show is one of the most enjoyable Roger & Virginia has done on the Learning Curve.  And the material it makes available to parents, teachers and students is truly valuable and quite amazing.

Scholastic, Inc., is a publishing and educational industry service company whose mission is stated as:

“The corporate mission of Scholastic is to encourage the intellectual and personal growth of all children, beginning with literacy, the cornerstone of all learning. With more than 90 years of experience supporting the learning lives of children, today Scholastic remains committed to providing quality, engaging educational content in digital and print formats for the next generation of learners, and the families and educators who guide them.”

But the big surprise to Roger is that Scholastic are also the people behind bringing the Harry Potter series to America!  So it’s not all serious academics at Scholastic.


Click her to listen to:  June 11, 2012 Francie Alexander

Roger and Virginia at The Learning Curve.


Math Made Easy by the Author of “The I Hate Mathematics! Book!”

The Learning Curve March 19, 2012  Marilyn Burns

Math Made Easy by the Author of “The I Hate Mathematics! Book!”

Mathematics is the bane of too many students; and it need not be.

Mathematics is too often a difficult subject for parents asked to help with homework: it should not be.  Today you will learn how to conquer that fear.

Today’s guest with Roger& Virginia is Marilyn Burns, the founder of Math Solutions, an organization that has been dedicated for almost 30 years to improving K–8 mathematics teaching through providing professional development and resources.

A former classroom teacher, Marilyn has written more than twenty books for teachers, including: About Teaching Mathematics and Math and Literature; and more than ten children’s books, including her first: The I Hate Mathematics! Book, and The Greedy Triangle.

Her most recent project has been to develop Math Reasoning Inventory (MRI), a free online assessment to help teachers find out what their students really know about mathematics. Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Information about MRI, including more than 80 video clips of actual interviews with students, is available on the MRI website.

Marilyn continues to teach elementary students on a part-time basis, relying on her classroom experiences to inform her writing and speaking. In 1991, she was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from Bank Street College of Education in New York. In 1996, she received the Glenn Gilbert National Leadership Award, given by the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics to one mathematics educator each year. In 1997, she received the Louise Hay Award for Contributions to Mathematics Education by the Association for Women in Mathematics.

Hear Marilyn explain how easy math is to understand along with why so many have had difficulty in “getting it.”

Hear Marilyn in what is Virginia’s favorite part of the interview: the story of The Greedy Triangle that thought it didn’t have enough sides!  It’s the plot of a kid’s book Marilyn wrote which explains that as the triangle acquired more sides, it eventually became so round, it rolled own the hill!  What a great way to excite kids about math and give them needed insights!

Math must be presented to kids in a manner that makes sense to them.

A question parents must learn to use is: “How did you get that answer?”

Start your kids early with math.  Hear Marilyn explain how a parent can teach math to a child by having them help lay a dinner table.

You’ll get the answer to what the difference is between mathematics and arithmetic.

And much, much more.


Click here to listen March 19, 2012 Marilyn Burns

Roger & Virginia at The Learning Curve