By Peter McWalters and Circe Stumbo (guest bloggers)
On July 17th, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) unveiled new model core teaching standards for public comment. The original teacher standards, created in 1992, focused on the assessment and support of beginning teachers and were incorporated into state regulation in at least 38 states, providing the basis for teacher education, initial certification, and tenure decisions.
Vocational education has traditionally been associated with a watered-down set of academic standards. Even more rigorous Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs have often been seen as a pathway for students who struggle with core courses to prevent them from dropping out entirely. The most recent reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 emphasizes rigorous academic standards for all students, including those in CTE programs, and the recent college- and career-readiness trend mirrors this goal.
The Common Core State Standards for students (Common Core) present a range of college- and career-ready standards that emphasize reading, writing, listening and speaking. The standards also present rigorous mathematics standards that, if mastered, will ensure a student is ready to engage in college-level or work-specific mathematical calculations. Since the release on June 2 of this year, the Common Core has been adopted by 23 states.
The term “college- and career-ready”, which has been part of education discourse for at least 5 years now, recently has taken center stage. Though references to college- and career-readiness are ubiquitous these days, such as in the U.S. Department of Education’s ESEA Blueprint for Reform, there are few explicit definitions for what it means to be college- and career-ready.
Since 2005, the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES) has awarded more than $400 million in discretionary grants to 41 states and the District of Columbia to help state education agencies design, develop, and implement state longitudinal data systems (SLDSs).
Periodically, we will provide examples of programs the U.S. Department of Education, state and local education agencies, and individual schools are implementing to improve secondary education. In doing so, the National High School Center is sharing information, not endorsing programs or entities.
A decade ago, NCLB brought education data to the forefront. The law required that all students in certain grades be tested and that test scores be disaggregated by student subgroup, made publicly available, and used for accountability purposes.
On June 2, 2010, the National Governor’s Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers released the long-anticipated Common Core State Standards, a common set of internationally benchmarked college- and career-ready standards designed to ensure that the nation’s students are prepared to compete in the changing global economy.
Decades of research have shown that what happens in the home and community impacts students at school, and what occurs at school impacts students’ home and community experiences. Thus, it stands to reason that students who attend chronically low-performing high schools will benefit from comprehensive, responsive systems that cut across multiple policy and social service domains, including education and health and human services.