What We Are Reading: NCLB Waivers, Assessment, School Improvement, Charter Schools

Looking for new college and career readiness and success-related resources? Here are some pieces that other organizations have recently released:*

States’ Perspectives on Waivers: Relief from NCLB, Concern About Long-term Solutions (Center on Education Policy, March 4, 2013). This report describes states’ early experiences in applying for flexibility from key requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as NCLB waivers, and their plans for implementing the new systems outlined in their applications. Findings from the 38 survey states indicate states believe that the waivers address several of the problems they see with the NCLB accountability requirements; however, many state officials are concerned about what will happen to the programs and policies in their waiver plans if ESEA is reauthorized. These and other key findings that emerged from the survey results are presented in this report.

Gordon Commission on the Future of Assessment in Education Public Policy Statement (The Gordon Commission on the Future of Assessment in Education, March 11, 2013). The Gordon Commission on the Future of Assessment in Education was created to consider the nature and content of American education during the 21st century and how assessment can be used most effectively to advance that vision by serving the educational and informational needs of students, teachers and society. The Commission’s goal in issuing this brief public policy statement is to stimulate a productive national conversation about assessment and its relationship to learning.

2013 State of Our Schools (Center for Green Schools, March 12, 2013). This report highlights the dire need to improve the nation’s school facilities. In this first annual report, the authors estimate it will take approximately $271 billion to bring school buildings up to working order and comply with laws. When adding to that modernization costs to ensure that schools meet today’s education, safety and health standards, they estimate about $542 billion would be required.

Reforming Underperforming High Schools (MDRC, March 2013). Urban high schools are in trouble — high dropout rates, low student academic achievement, and graduates who are unprepared for college are just some of the disappointing indicators. However, as highlighted in this brief, recent research points to a select number of approaches to improving student outcomes and reforming underperforming schools — from particular ways of creating new schools to specific strategies for strengthening existing schools through whole-school reform to making school more relevant to the world of work.

Student Achievement in Florida’s Charter Schools: A Comparison of the Performance of Charter School Students with Traditional Public School Students (Florida Department of Education, March 2013). This report of charter school student performance fulfills the statutory requirement for the 2011-12 school year. The analysis examines the average performance of charter school students and traditional public school students using 2011-12 state assessment data from the FCAT 2.0 Reading, Math, and Science, and the Algebra end-of-course exams.

*Resource descriptions provided by the sponsoring organization.

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