On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed legislation to deal with the pandemic and the Nation’s economic problems. Included in this measure are provisions meant to reduce the number of children in poverty by one-third to one-half. Un-noted in this debate has been the positive effects those provisions could have on education.
The social-economic status of children is the most accurate predictor of their success in school, according to the unassailable findings of the 50 year old Coleman Report. Therefore, improving the economic condition of poor children and their families will, overtime, lead to better student performance in school.
Jack Jennings, the author of Fatigued by School Reform, identified the legislation as more significant than any school reform adopted in the last half-century. His book, released in 2020 reviewed the Coleman Report and analyzed school reforms since the Johnson Administration. Choice, a prestigious magazine that reviews books for college and university libraries, said: “This latest book. pertaining to American school reform is one of the most objective volumes on the subject in perhaps the last 30 years.”
Jennings asserted that this legislation, due to congressional budget rules, will most likely be for one-year only and that educators should inform themselves about it and support its enactment. “My book concludes that economic and social changes, like this current legislation, are at least as important for school improvement as more direct school reform. Therefore, educators must get involved in debates on social and economic policies,” Jennings asserted.
Jack Jennings, Fatigued by School Reform, (Rowman and Littlefield, 2020)