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Posts Tagged ‘Standards’

Ten Race to the Top Winners Announced

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Today Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the round two winners of the $3.4 billion in Race to the Top grants.  These winners are:

  1. Florida
  2. Georgia
  3. Hawaii
  4. Massachusetts
  5. Maryland
  6. New York
  7. North Carolina
  8. Ohio
  9. Rhode Island
  10. Washington, D.C.

The 10 winning States have adopted rigorous common, college- and career-ready standards in reading and math, created pipelines and incentives to put the most effective teachers in high-need schools, and have alternative pathways to teacher and principal certification.

There was no immediate word on how much money each winner will receive, but awards will be based on States’ student population. In the first round of grants, Delaware was awarded $100 million and Tennessee received $500 million. In a statement, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said that this round of finalists was very competitive and that the Department hopes to have a round three of grants, using $1.35 billion requested in the President’s FY11 budget.

By Nancy in News, Public Policy
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Fordham Institute Rates Common Core Against State Standards

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

In their latest assessment of state English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics standards, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute compares states’ standards not just to each other, but to the Common Core State Standards developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers.  Fordham graded each state and the Common Core standards on an “A” through “F” scale, giving the Common Core math standards a grade of A-minus and the Common Core ELA standards a B-plus.

Among the other findings in The State of State Standards – and the Common Core – in 2010 report:

To date, 36 states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Common Core State Standards. One of the factors that these states and those that have not adopted thus far must take into account is the comparison of their state standards with the Common Core. What Fordham’s analysis shows is that for many states that choose to adopt the Common Core Standards, the bar will be raised for student achievement.

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Achieve, Inc. Releases Common Core Standards Implementation Guide

Monday, August 9th, 2010

As more and more states adopt the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), the next logical question is “How do we implement them?” Achieve, Inc., which helped the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers draft the standards, has just released a guide to answer that very question. On the Road to Implementation: Achieving the Promise of the Common Core State Standards aims to help states align instructional materials, assessments, and graduation requirements with the common standards, leverage state funding to support the standards, and conduct “gap analyses” to see how a state’s standards differ from the common core standards.

There is also a section in the guide on “Implementing the Common Core Literacy Standards in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects.” The CCSS include literacy standards in grades 6 to 12 that are specific to history/social studies, science and technical subjects. Since current state standards in history/social studies, science and technical subjects may not include literacy standards, this could represent a significant change for teachers in those fields, including CTE teachers. The guide suggests that states assemble relevant teams of history/social studies, science and technical subject teachers and content experts to consider implications for implementation:

By Nancy in Public Policy
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ESEA Reauthorization Hearing: Standards and Assessments

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

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At yesterday’s Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing, “ESEA Reauthorization: Standards and Assessments,” much of the focus was on common core standards, college and career readiness, computer adaptive testing and multiple measures.

In his opening statement, Chairman Tom Harkin (IA) stressed the need for high standards in part because the cost of remediation for students entering postsecondary is in the billions, and more than 50 percent of high school students entering the workforce do not have the skills they need to do their jobs. Ranking member Michael Enzi (WY) agreed that students need to be held to high standards that prepare them for college and careers. He also stated that it is important for states to use various assessment models that measure higher order skills and 21st century skills that employers value.

Regarding college and career readiness, Dr. Cynthia Schmeiser of ACT told the committee that they believe that college readiness and career readiness are one in the same – the math and reading skills that students need to enter their first year of postsecondary are identical to the math and reading skills high school graduates need to enter the workforce. This definition differs from NASDCTEc’s.  We believe that while there is overlap between the knowledge and skills individuals need to successfully transition into postsecondary education and into the workforce, additional competency will be needed depending on the path a student chooses.

During the question and answer portion of the hearing, much of the dialogue was related to CTE:

By Nancy in Legislation
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CTE State Directors Take Helms of Opportunity, Unveil New Vision for CTE

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

June SanfordThe world is changing at a rapid rate and as a result the nation’s education system has a new range of issues to face. A confluence of occurrences — national fiscal challenges, a flattening globe, and the winds of technology – has given rise to new economic challenges that have been impacting all sectors of our society, including education.

But with those challenges also comes opportunity, particularly for career technical education (CTE) – a system that addresses the nation’s needs to educate and train the economy to success. Recognizing the responsibility we have as leaders in the CTE community to combat these challenges, State Directors across the nation have taken the helms of rethinking how CTE serves individuals, the economy and society.

Recently, we have undertaken a major revamp of the guiding principles that have mapped our course for CTE in recent years. Acknowledging global influences, the evolution of the economy and the interconnectedness of all education stakeholders – from secondary to postsecondary, and educators to industry leaders – State Directors have a created a formal, unified plan for the way we will lead CTE into this new era.

New Vision Cover IconThat new plan is laid out in Reflect, Transform, Lead: A New Vision for Career Technical Education, which is a vision paper that is designed to serve as a guiding document to lead a new, progressive course for CTE. While spearheaded by State Directors, the vision paper is a product of teamwork that involved educators and administrators of all education levels, a mix of education associations, student groups and industry leaders. The principles reflect the effort to include and align the priorities of our valued stakeholders, who are all needed to successfully take CTE to the next level.

This vision paper highlights the major areas in which we recognize CTE must transform in order to best serve individuals. However, this is more than just a call to action. Our vision paper includes specific tasks that we have imposed on ourselves and ask of our peer stakeholders to implement. The tasks and vision are framed around the themes of five principles:

Already, CTE has played a leading role in equipping individuals for the jobs of today. While State Directors are looking to maintain our responsibility, we also accept the new, challenging task of preparing individuals for the jobs of tomorrow. A door has opened for CTE to showcase the value it holds for individuals and the nation as a whole. We have chosen not to squander this opportunity and the plan in our vision paper demonstrates just that.

June Sanford, President

By Erin in Public Policy, Uncategorized
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Obama Administration Releases ESEA Blueprint

Monday, March 15th, 2010

This weekend, the Obama Administration released its blueprint for revising the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) with the goal of raising expectations of students and rewarding schools for producing dramatic gains in student achievement. The blueprint builds on the reforms currently being undertaken through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, including:

Many of these priorities align to the areas of focus in NASDCTEc’s ESEA reauthorization recommendations.

Of particular note in the blueprint is the administration’s plan for funding for assessments in the law, which CTE could be a part of [emphasis added]:

“States will receive formula grants to develop and implement high-quality assessments aligned with college- and career-ready standards in English language arts and mathemat­ics that accurately measure student academic achievement and growth, provide feedback to support and improve teaching, and measure school success and progress. States may also use funds to develop or implement high-quality, rigorous statewide assessments in other academic or career and technical subjects, high school course assessments, English language proficiency assessments, and interim or formative assessments. Beginning in 2015, formula funds will be available only to states that are implementing assessments based on college- and career-ready standards that are common to a significant number of states. The program also will support competitive grants to consortia of states, and to other entities working in partnership with states, for research on, or development and improvement of, additional high-quality assessments to be used by multiple states in such areas as science, history, or foreign languages; high school course assessments in academ­ic and career and technical subjects; universally designed assessments; and assessments for English Learners and students with disabilities.”

CTE may also benefit from the proposed grant program to increase access to accelerated learning opportunities  that help students prepare for, or directly provide, college-level work such as dual enrollment and early-college programs.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will testify before both the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the House Education and Labor Committee on Wednesday to discuss the blueprint.

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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Data Quality Campaign Releases Annual Survey on Elements of Longitudinal Data Systems

Friday, February 5th, 2010

In order to track student progress and answer critical policy questions, states have been developing longitudinal data systems. The Data Quality Campaign’s Compendium report provides a national overview on state progress toward implementing the ten elements below:

According to the report, data on course-taking and grades (element 6), college readiness test scores (element 7), and other feedback from post-secondary institutions (element 9) can help determine whether high school courses and graduation standards are aligned with college and workplace expectations.

By Ramona in Publications, Research
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House Hearing on Common Core Standards

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

Earlier this week, the House Education and Labor Committee held a hearing, “Improving Our Competitiveness: Common Core Education Standards”, to look at the work being done by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers to develop common math and English standards.

Witnesses included:

Chairman George Miller (CA-7) began the hearing by lauding the common standards as critical in preparing students for college and careers in the global economy.  Rep. Glenn Thompson (PA-5) also expressed support for voluntary common standards, but cautioned that the Administration’s requirement in the Race to the Top grant that States adopt common standards amounts to mandating adoption because States that do not adopt them will lose out on much needed education funding.

Some of the topics addressed were whether there would be common , or state-by-state, assessments; the opportunity to use online performance based assessments; whether the standards will help students who do not plan to attend a 4 year college, but may go to a community college, get technical training, or go straight to work after high school; and the role of the common standards in preparing a high skilled workforce.

You can access the full text of witness testimony and an archived webcast of the hearing at the committee’s website.

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Common Core Initiative Moves Forward

Friday, December 4th, 2009

Leaders of the Common Core Initiative are gearing up for the adoption and implementation of the College and Career Readiness Standards, which they plan to unveil in January. With that ball rolling, they also will then distribute a draft of the K-12 Standards for public review.

Gene Wilhoit, Council of Chief State School Officer executive director, and Dane Linn National Governors Association Center of Best Practices education division director, provided an update of the Common Core Initiative at a public meeting Dec. 2. They focused on the timelines associated with the adoption and implementation of the College and Career Readiness Standards, and the upcoming comment period that will be available for the K-12 standards. Further, they stressed that the standards at which they are developing are the best they can do based on the evidence on hand and encouraged the education community to advocate for more research and development as the project unfolds.

A validation committee is mulling over the more than 1,000 comments provided by the education community. They plan to unveil a revised document by early January. In the meantime, Common Core leaders are talking to about six states — among them Massachusetts, Colorado, and Minnesota — about adoption and implementation of the standards. While they expect a significant number of states to adopt the standards, they are looking for a select group of states to take the helms of implementation – obviously the more difficult and complicated phase of the initiative. Dane said they will be looking for “proof points” to provide models of successful implementation. Also, they will be examining state policies that may help or hinder Common Core implementation.

Representatives from the National Association of School Boards of Education, American Federation of Teachers and National Education Association re-affirmed their support for the initiative and described the outreach efforts they have been making to foster buy-in from their membership. For implementation to be successful they acknowledged that support from school boards and unions are critical.

The K-12 Standards will follow a similar review process. The first iteration of the standards will be released in January and subject to comment and validation.

By Erin in Meetings and Events, Public Policy
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Heavy lifting still ahead for Common Core Initiative

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

The window to comment on the Common Core Initiative draft has recently closed, but discussions over the proposal are far from over. While a designated committee has just begun to mull over input provided by leading education stakeholders, the rest of the education community is wrestling with how it will orchestrate all the necessary support systems for such an initiative to be successfully adopted, implemented and utilized to improve student outcomes.

Most recently, at a Fordham Institute forum — National Education Standards circa 2009: Where do we go from here? — on Wednesday, experts’ talks about standards and implementation underscored the vast scope of reform efforts that the common core undertaking will demand from the entire education community – educators, policymakers, administrators, postsecondary institutions, industry and more.

“None of this is serious unless we have radical rethinking,” said Sandy Kress, former senior education advisor to President George W. Bush.

Other panelists – Sheila Byrd Carmichael, an education policy consultant; Dane Linn, director of the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices director; and W. Stephen Wilson, Johns Hopkins University professor of mathematics – echoed Kress’s notions of some form adjustment in the nation’s education beyond adopting standards.

For example, the adoption of new, rigorous math standards would impose a ripple effect on the education community from elementary to postsecondary, the experts noted. New standards in K-12 classrooms would then lead to new standards for teacher training programs at the postsecondary level. That would require teacher preparation departments to collaborate intensely with mathematics departments — a partnership that has been difficult for schools and institutions across the nation to build.

In the policy arena, the impact of raised standards on student achievement, particularly in the beginning when students are least likely to perform well, would also shake the political community, they noted. How will the education community convince politicians to support the Common Core Initiative through policy and funding, despite the inevitable backlash that will occur when students do not meet these new, high standards?

Clearly, setting new expectations is just the beginning of this process.

By Erin in Public Policy
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