Originally a part of the New Teacher Center’s November Policy E-Newsletter, the following commentary is from Liam Goldrick, the Director of Policy at NTC. Archived newsletters can be found here.
Liam Goldrick joined the New Teacher Center as director of policy in June 2006. In that role, Liam leads a range of initiatives designed to accelerate new teacher effectiveness and strengthen the quality of new educator induction and mentoring policies at the federal and state levels. Prior to joining the NTC, Liam served as education policy advisor to Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle and as a senior policy analyst in the Education Division at the National Governors Association in Washington, DC.
|Last week I attended a provocative event hosted by the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE) in Washington, DC. It featured Tom Friedman (New York Times columnist and co-author of the new book, That Used To Be Us: How America Fell Behind In the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back) and Marc Tucker (President and CEO of NCEE and author of Surpassing Shanghai: An American Education Agenda Built on the World’s Leading Systems, released on November 10).In his book, Surpassing Shanghai, Tucker examines the educational policies and practices of five high-performing nations (Canada, China (Shanghai), Finland, Japan and Singapore), explores how they contribute to those countries’ successes, and defines commonalities among them from which the United States can learn. A focus on attracting, developing, supporting and rewarding quality teaching looms large.
David Mandell has been with the Children’s Institute since 2006. He leads the Institute’s major research projects and is integral in developing the organization’s policy agenda and strategies. Prior to joining the Children’s Institute staff, David was a visiting assistant professor at Reed College and adjunct faculty at Portland State University. He completed his undergraduate studies at Columbia University and received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. David recently served on the Governor’s Early Learning Design team.
On October 17th, Oregon submitted its application for the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant.
I had the opportunity to work on Oregon’s application, and witness the dedication that went into it. We had just eight weeks to put together a 300+ page comprehensive plan for Oregon’s early learning system.
If Oregon wins the grant, the benefit for the state will be significant. The grant, a collaborative project of the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services, is designed to spur states to build comprehensive early care and education systems that promote the school readiness of all children (with a focus on those with high needs). Thirty seven states applied for the small handful of awards. The winning states will be announced before the end of the year and, if chosen, Oregon will receive $50 million over three years.
The collaboration that went into this effort exemplified what we want to see happen in Oregon’s government. Folks from education, health, human services and employment worked together to plan for:
- Common early learning standards that will support the school readiness of all children.
- An integrated data system that will track children’s progress and support quality improvements for programs.
- Early childhood professional development system that will build the skilled and knowledgeable workforce that is needed to deliver results for children. (more…)
The following was emailed to Oregon’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, Susan Castillo, on 11/07/2011:
Hi Susan – I know you’ve reviewed the most recent NAEP results as have I. The distribution of reading achievement scores for grades four and eight remained essentially unchanged as they have for roughly the last two decades. How can this be? For the last decade, in particular, on a nationwide basis we have spent billions of dollars trying to improve reading achievement. We have spent lavishly on special education, the latest curriculum programs, response to intervention strategies, early childhood literacy programs, staff development programs, technology-based remedial programs – and yet achievement has not improved. Again, how can this be?
The answer is surprisingly straightforward.
In the NEAP results we are seeing the intersection of two controlling variables, differences in cognitive ability among students and the standardization of access to learning.
If you administered a high quality cognitive ability assessment to the same students who took the NAEP reading exam, you would see that the results map to each other to a very high degree. Lower ability students present lower reading achievement and higher ability students present just the opposite.
But if you also overlaid the time provided for learning to these same students you would find it almost identical for all levels of ability – about 6 hours per day for about 180 days per year.
Ability varies (as it always has), yet instruction time is about the same (as it has been for decades). More than three quarters of the variance in test scores can be explained by these factors alone. (more…)
This week, the 2011 NAEP scores were released. The National Assessment of Educational Progress is the only assessment of student learning that is given to students across the nation- making it a significant tool for comparisons across states. A representative sample of 4th and 8th graders take the exam in reading and math every two years.
On the whole compared to 2009, the new data showed small improvements in math and relatively flat scores in reading. In Oregon, scores held steady compared to 2009 with no significant improvements or declines.
State Superintendent Susan Castillo said of the results, “While we didn’t see drastic changes from the previous NAEP results, we are not seeing the improvements in student performance that we know Oregon needs in order to compete nationally and internationally.”
Indeed, looking further back to 2003 some states have made substantial progress, particularly for their low income students, while Oregon has not. (more…)