On Tuesday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal announced that Paul Pastorek would be stepping down as the Pelican State’s education commissioner, taking a corporate job with EADS North America. The announcement was a big blow for Louisiana, which has done some interesting things under Pastorek, and could be an even bigger blow for the start-up Chiefs for Change, which has now lost two of its founding members. Guess they needed to be clearer that the “change” wasn’t from the education chief job itself.
Chiefs, Change, Cheers?
Nearly a decade ago, a new organization of chief state school officers was charting new ground. The Education Leaders Council (ELC) was THE hip group to belong to. NCLB was the freshly minted law of the land. Chiefs, influencers, and vendors wanted to be part of the ELC posse, seeing the group as the drivers of NCLB in key states. And many were believing ELC would overtake the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) as the state supe organization of choice, becoming the state ed policy voice in the country. Five short years later, ELC was no longer.
Standards or Curriculum, Curriculum or Standards?
Over at ASCDedge (a professional networking community managed by, of course, ASCD), Steven Weber reflects on recent Education Week coverage on the topic of Common Core State Standards and how it relates to curriculum. One of the key questions Weber asks those in “the community” is “Do you think that the Common Core State Standards are curriculum or do you believe there is a distinct difference between standards and curriculum?”
The standards are informed by the highest, most effective models from states across the country and countries around the world, and provide teachers and parents with a common understanding of what students are expected to learn. Consistent standards will provide appropriate benchmarks for all students, regardless of where they live.
These standards define the knowledge and skills students should have within their K-12 education careers so that they will graduate high school able to succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing academic college courses and in workforce training programs. The standards:
- Are aligned with college and work expectations;
- Are clear, understandable and consistent;
- Include rigorous content and application of knowledge through high-order skills;
- Build upon strengths and lessons of current state standards;
- Are informed by other top performing countries, so that all students are prepared to succeed in our global economy and society; and
- Are evidence-based.
Changes to the “Race” Track?
Are there changes underfoot for the Race to the Top? When the $4.35 billion grant program was first conceived, some senior personnel at the U.S. Department of Education hypothesized that awards may only go to a handful of states, maybe only four or five. Since then, those “in the know” have come around to expect that 10-15 states would ultimately be named “Race” states, a belief only further strengthened by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s recent support of 15 states in their RttT applications.