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Eric Cooper
Eric J. Cooper is the founder and president of the National Urban Alliance for Effective Education, a nonprofit professional development organization that provides student-focused professional development, advocacy and organizational guidance to accelerate student achievement. He can be reached at

Entries by Eric Cooper

Toward Our Shared Humanity

(0) Comments | Posted August 19, 2014 | 11:29 AM

When Capt. Ron Johnson officially took command of security in Ferguson, Missouri, last week, his first visit wasn't to City Hall or the streets where protesters continue to decry the killing of an unarmed black teenager by a white policeman.

Capt. Johnson, a Missouri State Highway Patrol...

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No Easy Victories

(2) Comments | Posted August 8, 2014 | 1:44 PM

Co-authored by John Brittain

In May, we honored the intellect and dedication of civil rights advocates who argued the Brown v. Board of Education case and persuaded the U.S. Supreme Court in 1954 to order the desegregation of American public schools.

What many people don't realize, however, is that Brown...

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Why "Courageous" Dinner Conversations Are Important

(0) Comments | Posted July 25, 2014 | 10:31 AM

I try to be a gracious, well-mannered dinner guest, and a good listener; or so I'm told. It's what I reflect about over the dinner that may give people indigestion and pause. As acquaintances and friends sometimes ask me:

"Eric, why do you often steer dinner discussions...

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An Education System That Works

(0) Comments | Posted July 16, 2014 | 4:13 PM

Co-authored by Sean McKenna

Ahead of Greece, behind Canada -- and in a quandary. That sums up the United States' position in public education on the world stage, according to the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA).

PISA has measured achievement in reading, mathematics and science...

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Improving Conditions -- Unless You're Black

(0) Comments | Posted June 19, 2014 | 1:18 PM

In this piece, the author of the heralded Schott Foundation's report on African-American male achievement, weighs in on recent statistics and fuels the recognition that a particular demographic in this country continues to get short shrift in those policies and programs that might help alleviate the institutional racism that denies...

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Students Who Encounter Diversity in School Are More Prepared for the Workforce

(0) Comments | Posted May 22, 2014 | 10:43 AM

In May, we photograph high school students before the prom and marvel at these young adults, dressed in beautiful dresses and tuxes and posing against the green lawn and flowering trees of our yards. But what does the image we see through that lens tell us about education, racial progress...

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A Harsh Sentence for Our Communities

(0) Comments | Posted May 14, 2014 | 2:07 PM

The nation seems to be recognizing a need for change regarding the policies which have resulted in an inordinate number of people of color who are incarcerated in the criminal justice system. The Obama Administration through its Attorney General, has begun to address the demographic disproportionately in the criminal justice...

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Working to End Illiteracy and Social Injustice Around the World

(0) Comments | Posted May 6, 2014 | 1:16 PM

Co-authored by Marcie Craig Post

"The chance of an education is a chance to escape poverty, to improve health and to enhance opportunities."

Sounds like part of a speech by President Obama, philanthropist Bill Gates or any one of the many education activists in this country. But...

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Because Race Still Matters

(0) Comments | Posted April 25, 2014 | 1:21 PM

Why should we care if colleges in Michigan -- or anywhere else, for that matter -- are prohibited from using racial criteria to admit students?

Because race still matters.

That's the message of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor's stinging rebuke of the court's...

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The Real Madness: College Athletes Who Can't Read

(0) Comments | Posted April 4, 2014 | 12:56 PM

Reports of college athletes who struggle with reading and coursework fill me with great sadness. But something in these stories feels familiar, too. I am an African American who also was challenged when I tried to learn to read. I remember how it felt in elementary...

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Improving Adult Education Will Help the U.S. Catch Up with Slovakia and Estonia

(1) Comments | Posted March 28, 2014 | 4:29 PM

Conversations about education reform and America's global competitiveness are often hand-in-glove. National benchmarks, such as the Common Core State Standards, aim to lift learning from the basics to higher-order thinking such as creativity, problem-solving and synthesis. Increasingly, it is recognized that it is just not what you know...

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A Nation Founded on Equality Continues to Stumble Over Skin Color

(3) Comments | Posted March 14, 2014 | 11:22 AM

"Black is Beautiful."

Associated with the Black Power Movement of the late 1960s and '70s, these three words enabled many African-American slave descendants who were born with birth certificates identifying them as "Negro" or "colored" to slowly emerge from the shadows of discrimination to become...

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Three Suggestions for 'My Brother's Keeper' Initiative

(3) Comments | Posted March 10, 2014 | 5:02 PM

Conversations about education reform have been hijacked by school privatization and longstanding suggestions that have not significantly moved the achievement needle for "school-dependent" children, those students whose family circumstances force them to rely on the schools for learning and improved lifelong success. On this page I aim to engage readers...

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For our young men of color, do we have the will to make a way?

(0) Comments | Posted March 6, 2014 | 9:52 AM

The recently announced White House initiative "My Brother's Keeper" has triggered spirited responses about the reasons why boys and young men of color are not reaching their potentials. The data continues to strongly suggest the need. The solutions offered range from individual to institutional and programmatic responsibility, to the long-referenced...

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If 'My Brother's Keeper' Is to Succeed, the White House and Philanthropists Must Focus on Education Reform

(4) Comments | Posted February 27, 2014 | 11:00 AM

Through its "My Brother's Keeper" initiative announced today, the White House says it hopes to reroute the flow of boys and young men of color from the "cradle-to-prison" pipeline to the "cradle-to-career" pipeline.

The stakes are extraordinarily high.

For too long, opportunities have eluded boys and...

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What NAEP Tells Us About How Much America Cares About Black Children

(6) Comments | Posted February 7, 2014 | 9:51 AM

It would seem everyone has an answer for how to improve education. There has been progress, but not the sea change required for more citizens to enter the middle-class. This week, I'm hosting guest blogger Dr. Michael Holzman, a researcher and author who explores this challenge and provides broad-based policy...

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With Racial Disparities Aplenty, We Still Need Black History Month

(2) Comments | Posted January 31, 2014 | 12:49 PM

Some say that observances such as Black History Month, which begins Saturday, are no longer necessary because the United States is in a "post-racial era," where racial discrimination and prejudice no longer pose barriers to upward mobility.

But listen to author and researcher

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In Education, As in Our Nation, We Rise and Fall Together

(0) Comments | Posted January 15, 2014 | 8:51 PM

It was while he was imprisoned for 27 years under harsh conditions that Nelson Mandela embraced brotherhood and vowed never to answer racism with racism.

Yet jail also helped foment the call for justice in another great humanitarian. In 1963, the year after Mr. Mandela was imprisoned in South Africa,...

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Let's Teach Students to Think Critically, Not Test Mindlessly

(32) Comments | Posted January 7, 2014 | 5:06 PM

Superintendent Josh Starr's take on some of the education policies of the Obama administration is like a breath of fresh air. Starr, who leads public schools in Montgomery County, Md., maintains that a relentless focus on high-stakes testing is, at best, misguided and, at worst, may limit the...

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Names Can Be Magical -- Or Maddening, Depending on Your Perspective

(4) Comments | Posted December 20, 2013 | 2:06 PM

What's in a name?

Fascinated by the question, the 19th century poet Walt Whitman wrote, "Names are magic. One word can pour such a flood through the soul." He was intrigued by names that captured the imagination, especially the names of Native Americans and other indigenous people.


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