Randy Bomer is an associate professor of education at the University of Texas at Austin, where he directs the Heart of Texas Writing Project. He has also been on the faculties of Indiana University and Queens College of the City University of New York, and he was Co-Director of the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. Randy has also worked as a literacy consultant with K-12 teachers and administrators in districts all over the United States. He is the author of Time for Meaning and For a Better World, and he holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University.
I’m honored to have an opportunity to participate in the discussion on NIUSI-Leadscape. I want to think with you about the most vulnerable people in our schools—children from low-income homes. Principals are aware, probably more than anyone else, that NCLB requires reporting of the progress of economically disadvantaged students. The naming of that category makes students from poor families visible and vulnerable in a whole new way. Kids were poor before, and poverty created gaps in achievement and opportunity, but now there is a newly motivated interest in “fixing” poor children, and that interest fits into longstanding American traditions, which have not served the poor well. One of the problems in this effort to improve people is that it positions educators toward adopting a focus on children’s deficits.