Third Way Perspectives
Posts Tagged ‘middle class’
September 21st, 2011
The goal of our recent report “Incomplete: How Middle-Class Schools Aren’t Making the Grade” was to jumpstart a national conversation around the state of middle-class schools. Given the response, it looks like we’re off to a good start.
We’ve received a wide range of feedback from educators, policymakers, and thought leaders who share a common purpose—getting our kids ready to succeed in the 21st century. Since a portion of the response has focused on our definition of “middle-class” or our approach to school-by-school data, we wanted to take a moment to tackle some of the issues that have been raised.
It seems that the main point of contention that some have with our report has to do with how we define a middle-class school.
To sum up their argument, they find our use of eligibility statistics for free or reduced school lunch to be either arbitrary or too sweeping. Let us be clear: Our decision to use this criteria was a deliberate choice, grounded in established procedures and data.
With the current education reform debate almost entirely focused on low-income schools and students, we wanted to shed light on the schools in the middle that serve a majority of Americans. We paralleled the U.S. Department of Education’s definition of high poverty schools and districts as those with more than 75% of students qualifying for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Schools and districts with 25% or less of their students eligible for free or reduced lunch are the upper-end of the income spectrum. In essence, the middle two quartiles of schools are middle-class schools. Read the rest of this entry »
September 23rd, 2010
This piece was originally posted on The Huffington Post.
In “A Message That Actually Works,” Mike Lux laments efforts by Democrats to frame the upcoming election as a choice between going back to the Bush economic plan or moving forward with President Obama’s. He used the poor performance of what he referred to as a “Third Way-style” message in a recent Democracy Corps poll as evidence that the approach is a dud. With all due respect to Mr. Lux, calling the polled message “Third Way-style” is like calling a soufflé an omelet because they both contain eggs. Even though there’s a common ingredient, different combinations produce wildly different dishes. We think ours is the winning recipe.
September 20th, 2010
This piece was originally published in The Washington Post.
“We are going to lose the House and the Senate.”
Those were the opening words of a memo that I faxed to my then-boss, Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), on Labor Day in 1994. Schumer was still in the House, I was his legislative director, and my prediction was based on one overarching idea: The Democratic Party had lost its way. Our national agenda had been hijacked by the parochial agendas of aggrieved special interest groups. And as a result, we were badly misfiring with the middle class.