Communicating Priorities in Education

April 4, 2012 at 10:28 AM Leave a comment

If you want it, you have to ask for it. Let’s make it “Show Me” time to assure educators that we care about more than test scores. Ask them for details on other priorities, and support their local analyses of discretionary resource allocation in every school. In addition, update certification and facilities standards for alignment with priorities.

PreK-12 education should…

  • Guarantee that every child has the foundation knowledge at each benchmark year (3, 8, 12) to continue successfully as a lifelong learner.
  • Provide well-rounded instruction in English language arts, mathematics, social studies, science and technology, the arts, physical education, and foreign languages.
  • Be transferable across state lines without excessive need for supplemental skill-building or redundant content.
  • House the academic efforts in appropriate, safe, and efficient institutions with universal access for at-risk populations and reasonable attempts to offer flexibility to accommodate all others.
  • Provide advanced placement courses in all major content areas for high achievers.
  • Supplement educational efforts during out-of-school time to make it a way of life.

Accountability for baseline knowledge is well covered in the national dialogue. The Common Core is addressing the need for interstate mobility. However, there remains an information gap on additional priorities. We care but we do not document the details. It’s analogous to teaching material that never makes it into the grade book. No one believes it really matters.

The first step is to collect data on the financial investments made by every school in its content areas listed above, at-risk population, AP courses, and school facilities. In addition, information concerning enrollment, class sizes, and instructional time should be added to the attendance and graduation statistics. Participation in extracurricular activities and other out-of-school activities should be documented as well.

Tests are being given to inform us about student achievement in benchmark years. However, we do not support certification and facility standards that recognize the importance of 3rd grade. Can we make this an endpoint for classifications of professional preparation or school design?

Beyond building design for age appropriateness, what changing needs do we envision for the future of schools and their extended communities? What else do we need to track?

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Entry filed under: Financial data, Information Technology, School Transformation, Student Outcomes.

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