Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Chiefs Press Education Secretary on ESEA Issues

Really interesting discussion here on how urban-centered reforms undermine the realities of the rural (and non-urban) contexts. What's also interesting is how the option for states to partner K-12 and higher education in devising college-readiness standards is an eligible alternative route that can be taken if they choose not to adopt the CCSSO's standards. Doesn't the former just make more sense if a state wants their students to be prepared for their respective, public institutions of higher ed?


By Lesli A. Maxwell | Ed Week

Even as they posed tough questions about government flexibility on overhauling low-performing schools and the disadvantages of having to compete for federal dollars, the states’ top education officials today expressed general support for how the Obama administration aims to rewrite the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

“I think we’re off to a very compatible start,” said Joseph Morton, Alabama’s state superintendent at the annual legislative conference of the Council of Chief State School Officers. “When we get down to details is when we’ll know for sure how compatible we are.”

But the chiefs weren’t focused only on the details of reauthorizing the ESEA, which is now known as the No Child Left Behind Act, even as they were set to release recommendations to Congress on what an overhauled federal law ought to include. They also offered U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan specific recommendations—and made specific requests—in a wide-ranging, hourlong session.

Among the topics: the $4 billion Race to the Top competition, states’ momentum toward adoption of common academic standards, and the challenges for rural states in turning around their lowest-performing schools through methods mandated as a condition of receiving billions of dollars in Title I school improvement grants.

The needs of rural states prompted especially lively discussion.

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