Monday, February 22, 2010

Common Standards a Plus ...Charters a Minus

This from Politics K-12:

Obama Ups Ante
for Common Core

As Lesli Maxwell over at State EdWatch previewed yesterday, President Obama today dropped another big clue as to how the administration wants to reshape the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. This is timely especially as congressional hearings in the House get underway on Wednesday, and as finalists for Race to the Top are expected to be announced next week.

In order to qualify for billions of dollars in Title I money for disadvantaged students, states will have to certify that their math and reading standards are college- and career-ready. They can either do this by adopting the state-led "common core" standards, or work with an institution of higher education to certify their standards. Read a one-page fact sheet here.

Practically speaking, Obama's plan doesn't require states adopt what comes out of the Common Core State Standards Initiative, being spearheaded by the NGA and the Council of Chief State School Officers—but it's clearly the administration's preference. "You'll be able to better compete for funds," President Obama told the governors today at the White House. That means as the administration seeks to make more education funds competitive, participants in the common core effort will have a leg up...

C-SPAN Video: Obama on Education at 12:50 mark.

This from the White House:

President Obama Calls for
New Steps to Prepare America’s Children
for Success in College and Careers

Obama Administration Applauds Governors
for Bipartisan Work to Develop
Higher Standards in Education

WASHINGTON, DC – Today at a meeting with our nation’s governors, President Obama outlined new steps to better prepare America’s children for college and the workplace. The President is calling for a redesigned Elementary and Secondary Education Act that includes a comprehensive, new vision to help states successfully transition to and implement college- and career-ready standards by improving teacher preparation and development, upgrading classroom instruction, and supporting high-quality assessments.

“America’s prosperity has always rested on how well we educate our children – but never more so than today,” said President Barack Obama. “This is true for our workers, when a college graduate earns over 60 percent more in a lifetime than a high school graduate. This is true for our businesses, when according to one study; six in ten say they simply can’t find qualified people to fill open positions.”

Last year, the President challenged states to develop standards and assessments that will help America’s children rise to the challenge of graduating from high school prepared for college and the workplace.

Today, the Obama Administration announced new efforts to promote college- and career-ready standards in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The President and Secretary Duncan applauded Governors for their efforts to work together in a state-led consortium – managed by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) – to develop and implement common reading and math standards that build toward college- and career-readiness.

“With many states well positioned to adopt these common standards that better position our students for college and careers, the Governors initiative is an essential first step in improving the rigor of teaching and learning in America’s classrooms,” said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

To better align the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to support college- and career-ready standards, the Obama Administration will integrate new policies into a re-designed ESEA, which will:

  • Require all states to adopt and certify that they have college- and career-ready standards in reading and mathematics, which may include common standards developed by a state-led consortium, as a condition of qualifying for Title I funding.
  • Include new funding priorities for states with college- and career-ready standards in place, as they compete for federal funds to improve teaching and learning and upgrade curriculum in reading and math. This priority applies to the President’s FY2011 budget request for new Effective Teaching and earning programs in literacy ($450 million) and STEM ($300 million).
  • Encourage states, schools districts, and other institutions to better align teacher preparation practices and programs to teaching of college and career-ready standards. This priority supports the President’s FY2011 budget request for a new Teacher and Leaders Pathways program ($405 million).
  • Assist states in implementing assessments aligned with college- and career-ready standards, under a new Assessing Achievement program. The President’s FY2011 budget supports $400 million in state grants under this program.
  • Support the expansion of the Race to the Top, beyond funding in the Recovery Act, to dedicate $1.35 billion in awards to states and school districts that have college- and career-ready standards in place as a condition of funding.
  • Support professional development for teachers, leaders and other school instructional staff to better align instruction to college and career-ready standards. This supports the President’s FY2011 budget request for the Effective Teacher and Leaders state grant program ($2.5 billion).

Fact sheet


Richard Innes said...


Your title indicates there is something negative about charters in this post, but I didn't see that.

Am I missing something?

Richard Day said...

Right. The title was just a reminder.

We keep hearing that certain things will give a state a leg up and other things will hurt a state's chances for RTTT funding.

We also hear substantial rumblings about how the choice will actually be made. The names of judges are being kept secret, for example. Will the scoring guide be strict? Or has Duncan left himself a lot of discretion in naming the good states and denying the bad states. Duncan has previously said that a lot of states will be disappointed.

Kentucky is surely at the top of the heap with its commitment to common standards. But we ought to temper that optimism by recalling that on the administration's scorecard, Kentucky also lists a minus when it comes to charter legislation.