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Sacred Trust
A Children’s Education Bill of Rights



May 2011 | 160 pages | Corwin
Peter Cookson's Sacred Trust: An Education Bill of Rights is a book for district and school leaders, teachers, policy makers, and anyone interested in ensuring a world class education, school equity, and student well-being for K-12 students in this new century. In this thought-provoking and inspiring "call to action", Cookson not only argues that equality of educational opportunity is today's great civil rights issue, he demonstrates—though the use of vivid storytelling and relevant research—how a collective, national vision is needed in order to achieve world class schooling for our children in this century. This necessary vision is what Cookson calls an education bill of rights—a set of transcendent, guiding principles designed to unite the nation in its educational reform efforts while still allowing states to retain local control over their school systems. From the right to a school that is funded for 21st century excellence; to the right to develop individual learning styles; and the right to have one's heritage and differences honored, celebrated, and incorporated into study, Cookson's education bill of rights serves as an ideal launching pad for school leaders and policy makers to create a concrete action plan that will lead to just, equitable, and excellent schools and school systems in the United States.
 
Foreword
 
Acknowledgements
 
About the Author
 
Introduction: A Measure of Our Soul
 
Chapter One: The Power of People and the Purpose of Public Education
All Children Dream

 
Educationally Experimenting on the Poor

 
Madison was Right: A New Policy Framework

 
Turning Dreams into Reality

 
The Obtainable Utopia

 
Book Study Questions

 
Possible Action Steps

 
Suggested Further Reading

 
 
Chapter Two: The Right to a Safe, Healthy, World-Class Pubic School
Right Number 1: The right to a neighborhood public school or a public school of choice that is funded for excellence

 
The Great Unequalizer

 
Getting to the Real Issues

 
Money---Spent Wisely---Does Matter

 
Reclaiming Horace's Dream

 
Book Study Questions

 
Possible Action Steps

 
Suggested Further Reading

 
Right Number 2: The right to physical and emotional health and safety

 
Do No Harm: The First Obligation

 
Basic Justice Requires Basic Care

 
Health and Social Health

 
Book Study Questions

 
Possible Action Steps

 
Suggested Readings

 
 
Chapter Three: The Cultural and Individual Rights of Students
Right Number 3: The right to have his or her heritage, background, and religious differences honored, incorporated in study, and celebrated in the culture of the school

 
Unity Within Diversity

 
The Open Mind and the Open Society

 
The Empathic Civilization

 
The Classroom Is the World

 
Book Study Questions

 
Possible Action Steps

 
Suggested Further Reading

 
Right Number 4: The right to develop learning styles and strategies to the greatest extent possible

 
Doubt and Its Virtues

 
The Mismatch Between Research and Practice

 
Maximizing Children's Talent Through Individualization

 
Inquiry as a Way of Life

 
Book Study Questions

 
Possible Action Steps

 
Suggested Further Reading

 
 
Chapter Four: The Right to High Quality Instruction and School Leadership
Right Number 5: The right to an excellent and dedicated teacher

 
Why Don't We Ask the Teachers?

 
Elevating Teaching

 
Practical Idealism Works

 
Book Study Questions

 
Possible Action Steps

 
Suggested Further Reading

 
Right Number 6: The right to a school leader with vision and educational expertise

 
Leadership for 21st-Century Schools

 
National Educational Leadership

 
A School Without Vision Is Lost

 
Book Study Questions

 
Possible Action Steps

 
Suggested Further Reading

 
 
Chapter Five: The Right to World-Class 21st-Century Curriculum and Technology
Right Number 7: The right to a curriculum based on relevance, depth, and flexibility

 
Boredom--The Lucky Two Percent

 
Virtual Socrates

 
Eradicating Boredom

 
Book Study Questions

 
Possible Action Steps

 
Suggested Further Reading

 
Right Number 8: The right of access to the most powerful educational technologies

 
Learning in the Electronic Era

 
Why a Right to 21st-Century Communication Technologies?

 
Technology, Technopoly, and Cyber Sanity

 
What Would Socrates Say?

 
Book Study Questions

 
Possible Action Steps

 
Suggested Further Reading

 
 
Chapter Six: The Right to Equality of Educational Opportunity
Right Number 9: The right to fair, relevant, and learner-based evaluations

 
In the Belly of the Beast

 
Why a Right to Fair Evaluation?

 
The Einstein Factor, the Picasso Possibility, and the Sanctity of Natural Genius

 
Book Study Questions

 
Possible Action Steps

 
Suggested Further Reading

 
Right Number 10: The right to complete high school

 
The Tragic Consequences of Educational Neglect

 
Why a Right to Graduate?

 
What Would the Founders Say?

 
Book Study Questions

 
Possible Action Steps

 
Suggested Further Reading

 
 
Chapter Seven: The Right to Good Government
21st-Century Government and a "Sense of the People"

 
A New Department of Education---A National "Seminary of Learning"

 
Organizing for Learning

 
The Dream Recaptured

 
Book Study Questions

 
Possible Action Steps

 
Suggested Further Reading

 
 
Resource 1: The Historic Issue of Equity and Excellence
 
Resource 2: The Virginia Declaration of Rights
 
Resource 3: Education and the Peace Dividend
 
Resource 4: Principles of Multicultural Education
 
References
 
Index

"Some of the ideas in this motivating book really push the envelope. I love the idea of establishing an educational trust fund for every American child! Wow, can you imagine how amazing this would be if it really came to fruition?"

Brigitte Tennis, Teacher
Stella Schola Middle School, Redmond, WA

"This book will be very helpful for future K12 administrators as they attempt to understand the underlying dynamics of future trends and educational demands. It provides educators with a solid philosophy and personal plan of action for addressing these issues in their own community."

Bernardo J. Carducci, Director, Shyness Research Institute
Indiana University Southeast, New Albany, IN

"This book approaches the problems of education in a positive way by relating how to solve those problems through the consideration of the rights of children. The author’s list of rights is refreshing and different from other lists that have been published. I wholeheartedly recommend this book for all educators and anyone who has a stake in education."

Karen L. Canfield, Principal
Pioneer Intermediate School, Noble, OK

"Sacred Trust: A Children’s Education Bill of Rights is a clarion call to action for all Americans who care deeply about children and public education. Peter Cookson cuts through the endless policy debates and presents a positive plan for building 21st century public schools for all children."

Richard W. Riley, Former U. S. Secretary of Education
Senior Partner, EducationCounsel, LLC, Washington, DC

"In Sacred Trust: A Children’s Education Bill of Rights, Peter Cookson provides a road map for developing every child’s greatest abilities and private hopes and dreams. With his proposed ten rights, plus the added right to good government, he provides a compact that if fulfilled will save our species from self-inflicted extinction. All educators, policy makers, and parents should treasure this book for its robust guidance on how we can benefit everyone by achieving this essential Bill of Rights."

Gardner P. Dunnan, Academic Dean
Avenues: The World School, New York, NY

"Peter Cookson's vision for a truly inclusive and quality public school system could not come at a better time. As many of our children are struggling, we need a national vision and a genuine sense of hope. Sacred Trust is a caring, yet uncompromising wake-up call to honor and support public education."

 
Ramon C. Cortines, Former Superintendent
Los Angeles Unified School District, CA

"Peter Cookson elegantly parses language in a manner which speaks convincingly to the heart of an idealist and the mind of a pragmatist. His passionate and urgent plea for a 'Children's Education Bill of Rights' provides a reform blueprint with, through and for schoolchildren and youth in our country. This book is must reading for all interested in empowering more citizens to gain the promise of America."

Eric J. Cooper, President and Founder
National Urban Alliance for Effective Education, Syosset, NY

"This book is both succinct and comprehensive, well-documented and objective, but full of a pregnant sense of outrage, powerful and commanding. The message is that it is time to stop talking and start solving our education problem."

James P. Comer, Maurice Falk Professor of Child Psychiatry
Yale Child Study Center, New Haven, CT

"Brimming with ideas, inspiration, and important questions, Sacred Trust could be the cornerstone for ongoing debate and action aimed at creating the schools we need for children in this century. Peter Cookson is an eloquent writer whose educational insight and wisdom warrants close attention."

Caroline Hodges Persell, Professor of Sociology
New York University

Sacred Trust bristles with passion and imagination. Peter Cookson makes a forceful argument that the human rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness articulated in the Declaration of Independence demand an education which cultivates the whole person."

Aaron M. Pallas, Professor of Sociology and Education
Teachers College, Columbia University, NY

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