"We need to ensure that we get everyone to the same starting line," said Rep. Mike Honda, D-Calif. "We need to redesign education financing for our schools."
Money, of course, is not a guarantee for student success. But students from poor schools generally lag students from better-funded counterparts and those students from impoverished families arrive in kindergarten less prepared than others.
"We have to stop saying that poverty excuses the achievement gap and recognize there are concrete measures that we can take, starting with early childhood education," said Christopher Edley, dean of the University of California at Berkeley law school and co-chairman of the commission.
It is a moral and policy issue, as well, the report's authors argued.
"Our country has the highest poverty rate of any in the developed world," said Mariano-Florentino Cuellar, a Stanford University law school professor and co-chair of the commission. "From Day One, these children are more likely to drop out of school, less likely to attend college."
The commission's report also recommends a process by which ineffective elected school boards could be deposed and replaced with appointed oversight boards. The commission also suggests a threshold of training and experience for new teachers, as well as urges schools to be more selective in their hiring process.
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