Each year, we see the high school “rankings,” finding that those schools with a high preponderance of Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB ) programs tend to do the best. The greater the penetration of such programs and priorities, the higher a high school ranks. Over the years, though, the education community has begun to ask the question about true results or the true impact of these programs.
The announcement last month about common standards and the work undertaken by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers seems to have captured the attention of most in the education community. For those entering their first rodeo, they are worried about how these new standards will be applied and are worried about how they will be applied next year, even before the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
It is always a fun game to ask those “in the know” when they expect the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to be reauthorized. In 2007, we saw several draft bills that some thought were indications that reauth would happen before the elections. Those drafts quickly stalled, and we started talking 2009, 2010, 2011, and beyond.
Sometimes, it is just tiring being Eduflack, particularly when it comes to the area of reading instruction. Time and again, I’ve pledged that I’ve written my last post on Reading First. Between the IES study and Congress’ dismissal, RF has been written off for dead more times than a cat on her ninth life. It seems the final nail in the coffin has been hammered time and again over the last year or two.
Although Eduflack is spending the week with the larger family of 11 (including three children under the age of three) at an undisclosed location about 120 miles from our nation’s capital, that doesn’t keep me from thinking education thoughts. Tops, this morning, is the data release coming from NAGB and NCES. This morning, NAGB released its NAEP scores on music and the visual arts. For those who say that all we, as a nation, are assessing is math and reading achievement, it is worth checking out. The eighth grade data on the arts, including the information and school data related to student achievement in the arts is worth checking out. The full The Nation’s Report Card: Arts 2008 can be found here.
There seems to be little question about it. Charter schools are front and center when it comes to the federal government’s new approach to school improvement and student achievement. EdSec Arne Duncan has been promoting charters as a core part of successful Race to the Top grants and as necessary components to comprehensive district turnarounds. Duncan can even point to his use of the charter tool in Chicago as the justification for his new push.
In recent months, we have significantly raised the stakes when it comes to education improvement. The economic stimulus bill makes clear that the success of our economy depends on the improvement of our schools. The Data Quality Campaign (along with additional stimulus dollars) have focused on the need to improve data collection at the state level. The recent release of NAEP long-term data pointed to the push for continued accountability. And the most recent announcement of progress in the national standards movement — namely the National Governors Association/Council of Chief State School Officers push — have only increased the volume.
Paraphrasing from Major League’s legendary Harry Doyle, in case you haven’t noticed, and judging by the attention we haven’t, Strong American Schools has managed to win a few ball games, at least according to SAS.
It doesn’t happen every day, but we have some breaking education news on Capitol Hill today. Rep. Buck McKeon of California has been named the new ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee. For those who haven’t worked on the Hill or drunk the Kool-Aid, this is a huge deal, particularly as we are dealing with troop expansions in Afghanistan, withdrawals in Iraq, and future commitments we can never foresee. McKeon will now be working with Chairman Ike Skelton of Missouri on issues of military personnel, armed services support, terrorism, and a host of other issues related to the protection of our nation and security around the globe.