The UCEA convention proudly featured a Town Hall session sponsored by the Wallace Foundation and dedicated to a discussion about the concepts of equity and excellence in education. Contemporary school and district leaders have long stove to achieve the dual goals of “raising the bar” and “closing the achievement gap” for all groups of students. Making progress on both of these critical goals has, perhaps, become the defining challenge for modern education systems.
The participatory town hall was widely attended at the UCEA convention and featured exceptional panelists: Karin Chenoweth from the Education Trust, Francisco Escobedo from Chula Vista Elementary School District, Mark Gooden from the University of Texas at Austin, Joseph Johnson from San Diego State University and Joseph Murphy from Vanderbilt University.
The panelists approached the concepts of equity and excellence from different starting points offering a policy perspective, district perspective, research perspective, university perspective, and program perspective. One of the points of agreement, however, was the idea that while the various segments of the education community may be separate streams, we are all flowing toward the same destination.
It was also agreed that the concepts of equity and excellence cannot be isolated. We cannot achieve equity without excellence and we cannot achieve excellence without equity. Panelists discussed factors they see as contributing to the development of both equitable and excellent educational experiences for all students. High level strategies were identified as well as areas where more research is needed to guide effective practice.