Policy

Ed Sec'y Wants Increased Rigor in School Reform Reporting

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At a conference of the Institute of Education Sciences Monday, United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan implored researchers and state agency workers to apply increased rigor when analyzing and reporting on school reforms.

"Education reform is not about sweeping mandates or grand gestures," Duncan said, according to information released by the U.S. Department of Education. "It's about systematically examining and learning, building on what we've done right, and scrapping what hasn't worked for kids."

Adequate reporting on successes and failures is central to school reform efforts, Duncan said, in order to allow schools to expand on practices that work and eliminate those that don't. But it's also critical for states applying for State Fiscal Stabilization Funds, as they need to provide "assurances" that they're making progress in the key areas of school reform. These include:

  • Adopting standards to prepare students for the workforce and post-secondary education;
  • Recruiting and retaining effective teachers, "especially in classrooms where they're needed most";
  • Improving low-performing schools; and
  • Creating data systems to track student progress and the effectiveness of teachers.

In his speech, Duncan emphasized this last point in particular--the creation of data systems to track achievement. He said one of his "top priorities" would be to support states in their efforts to develop such data systems.

"Hopefully some day we can track kids from pre-school to high-school and from high school to college and college to career," he said. "Hopefully we can track good kids to good teachers and good teachers to good colleges of education."

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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