by Susan Ohanian
The press release emanating from the office of Achieve Inc CEO Michael Cohen raises certain questions. First, note that Cohen’s previous jobs include: Director of Education Policy at the National Governors Association (1985-90) and Director of Planning and Policy Development at the National Association of State Boards of Education (1983-1985). During the Clinton Administration he served as Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education, Special Assistant to President Clinton for Education Policy, and Senior Advisor to U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley.
Reading the press release, I wonder:
1 a: a ministry commissioned by a religious organization to propagate its faith or carry on humanitarian work
b: organized missionary work
c: a course of sermons and services given to convert the unchurched or quicken Christian faith
2: a body of persons sent to perform a service or carry on an activity: as
a: a group sent to a foreign country to conduct diplomatic or political negotiations
b: a team of specialists or cultural leaders sent to a foreign country. . . .
1 a member of a military unit usually of construction engineers
2 a: a person or group that originates or helps open up a new line of thought or activity or a new method or technical development
b: one of the first to settle in a territory
3 a plant or animal capable of establishing itself in a bare, barren, or open area and initiating an ecological cycle
4 (to come: courtesy of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) A state that evaluates teachers on the results of an unvalidated, meaningless testing regime;
But the truth is I know we don’t need another committee. What we need is Revolution!
Washington, DC — August 7, 2013 — In today’s knowledge-based economy postsecondary success demands higher skills and some postsecondary education or training.[emphasis added] With the release of new assessment results, New York State is taking an important step to transforming the mission [emphasis added] of K-12 education to that of preparing all students to be college and career ready by insisting that they be academically prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary career training programs and 2- and 4-year colleges. These new assessments begin to provide students and parents accurate information so they can tell if they are on track academically to meet real world demands after high school. After decades of testing against internally focused expectations, students are now being tested against the academic standards necessary for success in the settings they will enter after high school.[emphasis added]
New York is a pioneer.[emphasis added] It is one of the first states, along with Kentucky, to implement new assessments designed to be aligned with the Common Core State Standards. The results show that students and schools in New York State have some considerable distance to go. This is not a surprise. It is consistent with national data showing that fewer than 40% of students nationally meet college-ready benchmarks and NAEP proficiency standards. While many high school graduates of New York schools are well prepared for postsecondary success, too many are required to take and pay tuition for remedial courses, or can gain entry-level jobs but lack the preparation and skills to advance in a career.
This is not a cause for alarm. It is not a reason to back away from standards, assessments and accountability. Instead, it is reason for state education leaders, local school boards and educators — including teachers, principals and local administrators — and higher education institutions, to work together and double down on efforts to systematically improve classroom instruction. New York State is continuing to develop an impressive set of curriculum materials and instructional and professional development tools aligned to the Common Core State Standards to support classroom implementation statewide. [emphasis added] This is an important step among many still to come as improvements in instruction will not happen over night [sic]. [emphasis added]Because of the widespread adoption of the Common Core, the supply of high quality instructional and professional development materials from a variety of sources in and outside of New York State will steadily increase and improve over time. Teachers and school leaders must be given the ongoing support and time, to work together to continuously improve instruction. And like many other states, New York will be working to improve the quality of state assessments so they better support the rich and engaging instruction the standards demand.[emphasis added]
This is also reason for business leaders, employers, and colleges and universities to strengthen their support for standards and assessments. This means helping students, parents and the public — often starting with their own employees — understand that the skills called for in the standards are the ones that will best prepare students for to have career options and postsecondary opportunities.[emphasis added] It also means insisting on and supporting robust and sustained implementation statewide.
Many will debate the appropriateness of particular accountability and implementation policies, but there is no denying that students are ultimately the ones who are held accountable for their performance once they leave high school. If educators, parents, state officials and business and higher education leaders work together to improve instruction, test scores will steadily improve. More importantly, a generation of students in New York will be prepared for a lifetime of opportunities. [emphasis added]
Media Contact: Chad Colby (202) 419-1570 firstname.lastname@example.org