Yesterday the Institute for a Competitive Workforce (ICW) at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce along with the Center for American Progress and the American Enterprise Institute released a joint report, Leaders and Laggards: A State-by-State Report Card on Education Innovation during ICW’s Education and Workforce Summit. The report evaluates “the innovation gap in American education, identifying key problem areas and seeking promising solutions” in eight areas:
- School Management
- Staffing: Hiring & Evaluation
- Staffing: Removing Ineffective Teachers
- Pipeline to Postsecondary
- State Reform Environment
Frederick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute was quick to point out that “innovation” here does not mean best practices that can be taken to scale, but rather opportunities to innovate, because what works well in one state may not work everywhere. In other words, states that remove barriers to innovation tended to score higher than those states whose policies and practices make it hard for schools and districts to effectively solve problems.
The findings of the report were unsettling as very few states received high marks in the key areas. However, outstanding programs and practices were highlighted in each category. For example, in the Pipeline to Postsecondary category North Carolina was given recognition for its large concentration of early college high schools that allow students to earn college credits while still in high school.