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18 Search Results for ""workforce readiness""

  • Failing Goals of Education Failing Goals of Education

    • From: Tom_Whitby
    • Description:

      I recently had a discussion with a friend John, who is a Superintendent in a rural school district. We were discussing his district specifically and what it was providing its students in the way of relevant programs of study. The conversation came around to a question often asked and an answer that is too familiar. I asked what the purpose of school was? As educators what is it that we want for our students at the end of the journey of K-12? Of course the answer was to get them to college or to get them to a good job.

      My friend was consulting with a number of local companies to determine what they were looking for in employees. He was also consulting with area colleges to see what they expected to receive as college ready students. He was doing everything a responsible, caring superintendent could do in order to properly prepare his students for the stated goals of education, getting to college, or getting a job.

      Thinking about the goals, as pragmatic as they are, I was really having trouble with the idea of what the goals were. We were considering limiting kids’ learning to the limited needs an industrial complex, or the present entry requirements of institutions that are slow to change in an ever-changing culture.

      My other problem with these almost universal goals of American education is that for too many kids these goals are not an inspiration to learn. If college is truly a goal for education, why is it that only a third of Americans have completed four-year degrees?  The first answer that comes to mind is that most were not able to handle the studies involved. A more likely answer however, is that a degree has become cost prohibitive. People can no longer afford to go to college without incurring massive debt. How can any kid embrace a goal of education knowing that it is financially unattainable, or that it will come at a cost of unending loan payments? This is not unlike promising every kid playing sports should have an expectation to play in any of the national, professional sports leagues. Few might, but most will not.

      This goal of a college career is certainly less of an incentive when we consider schools in areas of poverty. Middle-income people may have some shot at college with the help of family, but that puts the student and the family into years of debt. What chance do poor kids have, especially in the current political climate of limiting any government funding for anyone?  Nationally, student debt is rising at an astronomical rate because of the need to fulfill the goal of college and its promise of financial security upon completion. Poor kids are told that college will break the cycle of poverty. How is that an incentive for a kid who knows its likelihood will never happen? Education’s goal is not the kid’s goal. That is not a winning strategy.

      Now for the second goal of education for those who we recognize as the non-college ready students. Our goal is to place them in the labor force. We ask business and industry what they require of their employees, and then we work that into our education system. We have then prepared our students for the workforce of today. The problem here is that they are not prepared for the workforce of tomorrow. That is more likely the place that they will live. We saw the result of this when the economy went bust. Many workers who found themselves again in the job market, were not prepared for the world of work today. We can’t program kids to fit into a workforce that may not support their skills after they graduate. Business, industry and our entire society are subject to rapid change driven by the evolution of technology. Think of how different the workforce will look from when a kid enters school until his or her graduation. In that time, that twelve-year span, how many businesses died, and how many started anew? Yet, we will have programmed our kids to be work ready for a workforce that may no longer need those skills. Think of how long a time it took moving typewriters out of education in a world of word processors.

      If college readiness and work readiness are failing goals in education, what should the goal of education be? I don’t know. I think life readiness or learning readiness might be more fitting for our world today. Teaching kids how to learn and continue to do so outside of a classroom is the best way to prepare them for whatever path they choose.  A goal of self-reliance might serve kids better in the future. To enable a kid to learn without a teacher is the best gift a teacher can give a student.

      Change will be slow however, because all of our educators and all of our society have been programmed to believe that school is to prepare kids for college or work. We have come to believe that education is salvation, when in fact it is the learning that is important. Education is a certificate of learning that comes at great expense. It does have its place however, and we will always hold it in high regard. The fact is however that fewer people will be able to pay for that piece of paper, but the learning it represents may cost a great deal less, not in terms of effort or work, but in terms of dollars and cents. In the future it may not be the degree, but the learning that is important. Maybe we need to reassess our goals in education? 

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  • Classrooms That Inspire The 4 Classrooms That Inspire The 4 Cs

    • From: Steven_Weber
    • Description:

      Recently, our elementary school designed a Learning Commons. The Learning Commons is an extension of the media center.  We remodeled a traditional computer lab, with straight rows and desks. School staff replaced the desks and computers with student friendly furniture, carpet, a futon, neon signs, and a space that encourages the 4 Cs (Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Communication, and Creativity). Laptops and iPod Touches will be used in the new space. Students will be able to have Socractic Seminars, create videos, mentor younger students, and more.

       

      According to Linton (2012), a Learning Commons must meet several criteria such as the following:  the space must be flexible, open, wireless, comfortable, inspiring and practical. Recently, I gave some parents a sneak peek at the new Learning Commons. One family asked, "When do you think all of the classrooms will look like this?" This is a powerful question for a parent to ask a school administrator. I did not need to share the theory behind the room or distribute journal articles about learning space or instructional strategies. This parent immediately understood that the new room looked like the real world. She said, "Children don't recognize desks and metal chairs."

       

      How Is Your School Creating Classrooms That Are:

       

      Flexible

      What does a flexible classroom look like? Furniture that is flexible allows students to work in different groups or teams throughout the day. The teacher has placed students in charge of their learning (November, 2012). Procedures are in place to assist students with staying on task, yet meeting the learning goals in their own way. While this may look much different in an AP U.S. History class than it does in a first grade class, I have seen flexible furniture and grouping at both levels.

       

      Open

      Open spaces are unconfined. When you walk in the traditional classroom, it is difficult to walk around the classroom. The classroom furniture is bulky and heavy to move. One look at the furniture would tell you that the furniture was designed for different educational goals. I read a great article this week by John Kotter, Change Leadership guru. Kotter (2013) wrote an article that describes the difference between Knowledge Workers vs. Knowledge Networkers (Forbes, 2013). When you visit software companies, website design studios, corporate headquarters, and modern university libraries, you will find open spaces. Clients and co-workers are inspired to collaborate with one another based on the open space. When you look at classrooms in your school ask, "Does this space encourage Knowledge Workers or Knowledge Networkers?" As Kotter described, the workforce is seeking Knowledge Networkers. If your school claims to prepare students for College and Career Readiness, then we should redesign classrooms to look like the real world.

       

      Wireless

      Wireless classrooms are beyond the control of the classroom teacher. Gone are the days of going to the back bookshelf to look up your answer in a World Book. A classroom with three computers is helpful, but a wireless classroom opens new doors for teaching and learning. There are issues with chat rooms, blogging, and searching the Internet for appropriate content. However, this is where teaching Digital Citizenship is important. A wireless classroom is like the real world for most students. Have you ever seen a two year old in a shopping cart at the grocery store? Chances are the child was playing a game or using an app on a SmartPhone.

       

      Comfortable

      This is the most difficult part. Unless you are building a brand new school, you probably don't have the funds to purchase new furniture, lamps, or accessories. Our school received a $2,000 Matching grant from our PTA and the Board of Education. The funds allowed us to purchase dorm room-style furniture, a used futon, lamps, cardboard cut-outs of Star Wars and Monsters U characters. The furniture and the accessories are in neon colors, which is in style. The room looks like the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo, but a little louder. The cheapest accessory we purchased was international clocks. We purchased wall clocks for $4 per clock. Each clock is set to a different country and time zone. The center clock is a neon clock and we paid $20 for the center clock. It reads HES - Eastern Standard Time.

       

      Teachers are great at finding bargains. You will also be surprised how many families will donate items or support you with creating a comfortable space. Recently, a parent donated five large pillows to our new room. Another parent went to Wal-Mart and was able to secure a $100 gift card to purchase additional items. Garage sales, Craig's List, and Going Out of Business Sales are additional ways you can create a comfortable classroom. I struggle to imagine how we could fund another classroom with a $2,000 renovation, much less every classroom. However, I know it can be done.

       

      Inspiring 

      Inspiring students is easy. Teachers do this everyday. If you follow the other guidelines listed in this article and referenced by Linton (2012), you will create a more inspiring classroom. What inspires students? Neon colors, a graffiti wall, art, collaboration, technology, a green screen, interacting with students in other countries, blogging, Twitter, The 1970's, music, a lounge theme, zoo animals, student created posters, video games, challenging puzzles, books, e-Readers, and multimedia are examples of things that students find inspirational. The easiest way to find out what inspires students is to ask students what they would like to see in a classroom. Let students design the learning environment. Once you design a space that meets the students' needs and preferences, you may be surprised at the change in student performance. When you are blogging or reading the news at home, do you put your feet up in a chair? Do you sit on the couch? Do you drink a cup of coffee and sit on the back porch? We do our best thinking when we are relaxed. Students can collaborate, communicate, create, and think critically when we/they design inspiring spaces.

       

      Practical

      There is no need to turn your classroom into a theme park, purchase a flat screen tv for all four corners of the room, or take out a student loan to redesign your classroom. In 2000, I observed a middle school English Language Arts teacher who purchased four lamps for her classroom. She paid $25 total for the four lamps. The lamps were mood lighting for the classroom. Some teachers use motivational quotes in the classroom. Practical is difficult for teachers, because teachers are constantly spending their own money to support teaching and learning.

       

      I recommend that you start small and redesign your classroom in phases. Can you afford dorm-room furniture this year? If you cannot afford 25 chairs, can you afford three dorm-room style beanbag chairs? Music is another way to change the mood and feel of your classroom. I have seen an elementary teacher effectively use milk crates with pads on top for student seats. The seats create a collaborative setting when they face each other. Another teacher used children's beach chairs. Beach chairs are low to the ground. How many people went to the beach this summer and bought beach chairs? These chairs are often sold in garage sales or placed by the curb, following the vacation. There are several ways to redesign your room. Once again, ask the students to design a dream classroom with the existing furniture.

       

      Conclusion

      Teaching has changed. I see instructional strategies that are inspiring and I see teachers working hard to integrate technology across the curriculum. Mathematics and science are not taught the same way that they were twenty years ago. Teacher collaboration and the use of common formative assessments have also improved teaching and learning in the United States. Teachers and administrators are using Twitter as a way to learn about new instructional strategies and are communicating with educators around the world. Education is changing at a rapid pace. One thing that is often overlooked in education is the learning space. We need to look at our schools and ask, "Is this classroom flexible, open, wireless, comfortable, inspiring and practical?" As the parent asked me, "When do you think all of the classrooms will look like this?"

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    • 7 months ago
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  • Common Core: An Educator's Per Common Core: An Educator's Perspective

    • From: Steven_Weber
    • Description:

       
      "If the state of North Carolina decides to pull the plug on the Common Core State Standards, it will be a slap in the face to the teachers and administrators who have spent countless hours (most on their own time without reimbursement) preparing to implement the Common Core State Standards and to maximize learning for 1.5 million students."

       

      On June 2, 2010, the North Carolina State Board of Education adopted the Common Core State Standards which were implemented during the 2012-2013 school year. The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) represent K-12 learning expectations in English-Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics. The Standards reflect the knowledge and skills students need to be college and career ready by the end of high school. Elected officials across the United States are beginning to question the Common Core State Standards. On June 4, 2013, North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest posted a YouTube video outlining his concerns about the Common Core State Standards.

       

      While standing in the car rider line at an elementary school, I was approached by a classroom teacher. She asked, "Are we going to align our curriculum, instruction, and assessments to the Common Core State Standards next year?" I replied, "yes." Then I said, "The Common Core is not going away." The teacher replied, "The Lieutenant Governor is discussing eliminating the Common Core." I replied, "Which Lieutenant Governor?" The teacher said, "The North Carolina Lieutenant Governor, Dan Forest."

       

      Prior to becoming an elementary principal, I was the Director of Secondary Instruction for Orange County Schools. Our school district held a Common Core Summer Institute for teachers and administrators during the summer of 2011 and summer of 2012. At the summer institutes, teacher teams planned a one year professional development plan for their schools. Hosting the summer institutes cost the school district thousands of dollars. The North Carolina General Assembly did not provide funding for implementing the Common Core State Standards. Throughout the past two school years, I have attended professional development led by teacher leaders. The average professional development requires teacher leaders (appointed or self-nominated) to spend approximately ten to twenty hours planning quality professional development and developing resources which support the implementation of the new standards.

       

      In addition to working with classroom teachers to build awareness around the new standards, I have observed teacher leaders writing curriculum aligned to the new standards. Curriculum development has taken place through building level meetings, district meetings, and regional meetings. On several occasions five school districts in the Triangle met to support each other through the pre-implementation and implementation process. Triangle High Five is a regional partnership between Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, Durham Public Schools, Johnston County Schools, Orange County Schools, and Wake County Public School System. Teachers and administrators from these school districts shared curriclum maps, worked with high school math teachers to align curriculum to the Common Core State Standards, offered professional development, and worked with the North Carolina School of Math and Science to offer free professional development for mathematics teachers. In 2011 and 2012, SAS hosted a summer mathematics summit to support math teachers in implementing the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. SAS has invested in the five school districts for several years. Recently, SAS provided thousands of dollars in order to support the transition from the Nort Carolina Essential Standards to the Common Core State Standards. It is expensive to provide professional development to over 400 educators from five school districts.

       

      In 2010, the North Carolina State Board of Education did not ask North Carolina educators if we should adopt the Common Core State Standards. Once the State Board of Education adopted the standards, Superintendents and district leaders were told to implement the standards. Was the implementation process rushed? Yes. In 2010-2011, educators were anxious about the changes. To date, it is still difficult to find resources aligned to the Common Core State Standards. I know 20-year veterans who stay up until midnight or later on school nights, searching for resources. Part of the reason resources are scarce is because the SBAC and PARCC assessments have not been finalized. Most vendors are still offering a blended version of old state standards and the new Common Core State Standards. This is especially true in mathematics.

       

      When educators are told that a school board policy, state board policy, or general statute requires them to change, they begin collaborating and discussing how to make the change(s) student-friendly. In Orange County Schools, we were able to pay teacher leaders a small stipend for leading curriculum development efforts. The district used Race to the Top funds to pay teacher leaders who led curriculum development, facilitated professional development, posted curriculum maps online, and attended state conferences.

       

      This week marked the last day of school for teachers and students across North Carolina. The Lieutenant Governor was recently elected, but North Carolina teachers have been preparing for the implementation of the new standards since 2010. Standards-based teaching has been common practice since the 1990's. Some states provided voluntary standards for educators prior to 1990. Today's students are competing with students around the globe for college admission and career opportunities. It no longer makes sense to have a Minnesota 3rd grade math standard and a Mississippi 3rd grade math standard. Students deserve to have the same standard across the United States. A common standard does not mean a 'watered-down' standard. Standards are not a curriculum.

       

      This past year, I observed teachers differentiating instruction. Some students were two grades below grade level. They did not have the same assignment as the students who were at grade level or above. When teachers have a standard, they know the goal. Teachers provide students with multiple lessons, tasks, and opportunities to demonstrate what every student should know and be able to do. Implementing the Common Core State Standards does not mean that every student will receive a perfect score at the end of the day. Teachers across North Carolina have embraced the standards and are operating with their grade level team, school team, district team, and regional teams to align curriculum with the Common Core State Standards. Standards are "the what" and Curriculum is "the how." The 'how' may look different in each classroom, but the standards are the same.

       

      Seven Reasons Why States Should Embrace The Common Core State Standards


      1. College and Career Readiness

      Over the past year, I have seen teachers in North Carolina make the shift from College or Career Readiness to College AND Career Ready. The U.S. public school system was designed to sort and select students. Some students were considered 'college material' and the majority of students were workforce material. I believe that teachers in North Carolina raised the bar and raised their expectations for all students. ACT defines college and career readiness as "the acquisition of the knowledge and skills a student needs to enroll and succeed in creditbearing, first-year courses at a postsecondary institution (such as a two or four-year college, trade school, or technical school) without the need for remediation." Based on my years of experience in the field of education, this is a major shift from the old mindset. This major change in philosophy and teaching is another indicator or the importance of the Common Core State Standards. The standards have forced a new conversation about the goals of education.

       

      2. Common Standards Enable Teachers To Collaborate Across the United States.

      Standards-based education requires teachers to align their curriculum, instruction, and assessments with the standards. For over a decade, teachers have disagreed with the standards. In North Carolina, teachers are required by general statute to teach the standards. A professional educator can respectfully disagree, but the law requires educators to teach the standards. Since the Common Core State Standards had some different approaches and aligned and moved standards to new grade levels it forced teachers to collaborate and design new units of study.

       

      In Orange County Schools, I have observed professional conversations around the standards. I have seen teachers sharing resources across schools. I have seen teachers reaching out to educators in other states to discuss the standards. Regional and state meetings have been more exciting than ever, because everyone is learning the new standards. If one school district has a strong unit or curriculum resource then they will share it with our school district. I have participated in dozens of Twitter Chats with educators who are implementing the Common Core State Standards. ASCD has hosted a regular webinar series which offers educators the opportunity to learn and reflect on the Common Core State Standards. Before the Common Core State Standards, educators discussed their project or their program. The new standards have raised the bar in professional conversations. Educators have shifted from discussing the activity to sharing how the activity aligned to the standard.

       

      3. Teacher Leaders Have Developed Curriculum Aligned to the Common Core State Standards.

      In North Carolina, teachers were required to implement the Common Core State Standards in 2012-2013. Teachers met on a regular basis to write, align, and implement units aligned to the new standards. Once curriculum was developed, they also created common formative assessments aligned to the standards. Alan Glatthorn wrote, “One ofthe tasks of curriculum leadership is to use the right methods to bring the written, the taught, the supported, and the tested curriculums into closer alignment,so that the learned curriculum is maximized. This statement summarizes the work that takes place in classrooms, on early release days, on the weekend, and during the summer months. Teachers know how to align the curriculum, instruction, and assessments to standards. It takes time. If the state of North Carolina decides to pull the plug on the Common Core State Standards, it will be a slap in the face to the teachers and administrators who have spent countless hours (most on their own time without reimbursement) preparing to implement the Common Core State Standards and to maximize learning for 1.5 million students.

       

      4. Professional Development Has Been Aligned to the Common Core State Standards.

      Some school districts have spent thousands of dollars hiring consultants to provide professional development. Regional education organizations have paid $50,000 to $100,000 in order to host professional development with national consultants. Educators have participated in book studies, discussion forums, district professional development, NCDPI webinars and state conferences, and more. In 2012-2013, Orange County Schools and several other North Carolina school districts devoted the time to curriculum development or ongoing professional development aligned to the new standards. The price tag would be in the hundreds of millions if you totaled the number of hours the staff members were paid for professional development. It should be noted that they did not receive a bonus check. The money was part of their contract. Tax payers have invested in professional development aligned to the Common Core State Standards. Did North Carolina provide much assistance to educators prior to the 2012-2013 school year? No. School districts were required to use their own funds, contract with their own teachers, and develop their own resources. This was expensive. You could say that implementing the Common Core State Standards was done on the backs of the professional educators in North Carolina. I have not met many educators who disagree with the Common Core State Standards. This is another reason why I feel that politicians should let educators implement the standards. If elected officials want to provide the appropriate funding for implementing the Common Core State Standards, then that would be a step in the right direction.

       

      5. Curriculum Alignment Is Easier With the New Standards.

      It is difficult to describe curriculum alignment to non-educators. "When school staff have a more informed conception of curriculum, a teacher's daily decisions about how to deliver instruction not only affect student achievement in that classroom but also future student achievement, for it is assumed that students will be entering the next classroom prepared to handle a more sophisticated or more expansive level of work" (Zmuda, Kuklis & Kline, 2004, p. 122). Aligning the curriculum is an ongoing process which requires time, reflection, honesty, conflict, and a professional commitment to share what works in each classroom with specific students. The new standards provide a clear road map for educators. They do not outline every detail of what a teacher needs to do each day. Standards are a guide, not a script. If educators are beginning to align their curriculum, then policy makers should find ways to support their efforts. Curriculum alignment drives the work of a school district. When I see teachers analyzing student work and comparing it to a standard, I see excellent teaching. I entered the teaching profession in the early days of the Standards Movement. I have never seen teachers sharin their craft knowledge and having ongoing conversations about the standards like I saw in 2012-2013. Standards provide a common point of conversation, not a floor or a ceiling. The way the Common Core State Standards are written, a teacher can accelerate gifted students. This is missing from the national debate. Before we vote to eliminate the standards, let's visit schools and ask teachers to come to the State Board of Education. Let's find out what is working and how the standards are supporting teaching and learning. Let's avoid the political rhetoric and ask the teacher leaders who bore the burden of implementing the standards because the State Board of Education voted to adopt the standards.

       

      6. The Change Process Requires Time.

      Schools will continue to implement the Common Core State Standards in the summer and fall of 2013. Leading implementation requires a principal-leader who is willing to create short-term wins for the staff, provide time for the staff to reflect on the standards and to encourage risk-taking. Implementation of the new standards requires principal-leaders to honor the change process and to respect the emotions that staff will have during this change in teaching and learning. If states eliminate the Common Core State Standards, then which standards will replace them? If we fall back to the North Carolina Standard Course of Study, then we are adopting an inferior set of standards. They were the best that the state could develop. That was then and this is now. The Common Core State Standards were not embraced immediately. However, after one year of developing lesson plans, units of study, and assessments, educator have given their seal of approaval. The change process was emotional and it caused all teachers to reflect on teaching and learning. If state officials continue to change the standards, it will be impossible for educators to develop a guaranteed and viable curriculum (Marzano). Eliminating the Common Core State Standards from public schools may win a political battle at the state or federal level. However, it is not in the best interests of teachers and students. Ask teachers in North Carolina if they think the standards should change. The standards should not be a stepping stone for someone's political career.

       

      "These Standards are not intended to be new names for old ways of doing business.  They are a call to take the next step. It is time for states to work together to build on lessons learned from two decades of standards based reforms.  It is time to recognize that standards are not just promises to our children, but promises we intend to keep" (Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, Introduction, p. 5).

       

      7. Student Achievement Matters.

      The reason that educators get out of bed and go to work each day is because student achievement matters. The new standards support the goal of College and Career Readiness. Teachers recognize that the new standards require more rigor than previous state standards. One of the most compelling arguments for the Common Core State Standards was "standardization." When a 12 year old girl moves from Hope, Arkansas, to Lexington, North Carolina, she should be on the same page with her classmates. Students are moving across the United States on a regular basis. Prior to the Common Core State Standards, families had to fear that they were moving to a state with higher or lower standards. Standardization does not mean that every student learns the same thing in the same way. Technology integration, project-based learning, and other best practices allow teachers to meet the needs of each student, while aligning assignments to the standards. When students master a standard, the Common Core State Standards allow teachers to move to the next grade level. When students transfer to a new school, they need to know that the things they learned will provide them a foundation for learning at the new school. Changing standards after year one of implementation does not respect the main goal of education - Student Achievement.

       

      Common Core State Standards: The Right Direction for U.S. Public Schools

      It amazes me that one or more politicians can advocate for changing standards. I do not try to change medical practice, standards for the Interstate highway system, building codes, or taxes. The reason that I do not attempt to get involved with these things is because I am a professional educator. I would appreciate it if politicians would consult with professional educators and ask them if the Common Core State Standards support teaching and learning. A simple Google search can provide a glimpse at the groups who are rallying to eliminate the Common Core State Standards. The standards have transformed teaching and learning. Teachers and administrators have embraced the standards and will spend the summer months aligning their curriculum and units to the standards. Hundreds of teachers in any given state will meet on Saturday morning for an online Twitter chat, meet at a restaurant to share learning goals, or attend a summer institute. Teachers may not like change, but they support change when it is in the best intersts of students. The Common Core State Standards seem to be one thing that is right in education.

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    • 10 months ago
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  • “College and Career Ready” Cle “College and Career Ready” Clearly Isn’t Enough

    • From: Fred_Ende
    • Description:

      Thirty years ago, there was a 31 percentage point difference between the share of prosperous and poor Americans earning bachelor’s degrees.  Today, that gap is 45 points.

             

                   -Martha Bailey and Susan Dynarski, University of Michigan (taken from article by Jason DeParle)

       

      This past weekend I had the opportunity to read a heartbreaking and gut-wrenching piece written by Jason DeParle in the New York Times.  This article depicts the rise, and subsequent fall, of three promising students from Galveston, Texas.  These three young women, all excellent students, seemed to have overcome the challenges brought on by their financially poor background.  They were in excellent standing within their school, had earned high marks both academically and socially from their teachers and school staff, and, by all accounts, were “college and career ready.”  Yet, as DeParle goes on to describe, this designation did not, in fact, prepare them for college and their future careers.

      If you were to go by the Common Core State Standards Initiative’s designation of what “college and career ready” truly means (at least for ELA) you would likely find that these three young women were quite qualified to earn this title.  In their school lives, they exhibited all of the tenets necessary.  Yet, as their stories exhibit, it was what was happening outside of their school (and what occurred once they entered post-secondary education) that truly put them at a disadvantage.

      This article, along with an in-depth discussion with my Superintendent (my thanks to Dr. Langlois for helping to turn my reactions to the article into a blog post) helped me come to the realization that college and career readiness is all but meaningless if it is seen as an endpoint, and not a benchmark along a much longer road.  The story of these three promising young ladies shows that currently, a “college and career ready” designation is as much edubabble and jargon as it is truly beneficial to students.  To truly help students ready themselves for college and be prepared for the challenges once they enter the workforce, much is left to be done.  Here are three steps that I believe must be taken to put us on the right path:

      • Provide smoother transitions for students.  Most elementary schools and middle schools have excellent transition programs in place.  Students spend time visiting their new schools and often start the year with a modified schedule that allows for them to slowly acclimate to the different world they’ve entered.  Quite a large number of schools also have transition plans in place for middle to high school moves.  Yet, this type of transition is all but nonexistent for seniors in high school.  Why?  While it is true that every college and university is different, and many attempt to welcome freshman with open arms and some sort of “intro to college” program, not all schools are as “beginner focused” as they could or should be.  Why don’t high schools, in conjunction with local colleges and/or universities design transition plans?  So what if students may not attend that college/university?  Wouldn’t the benefit to both parties and the assistance provided to students in getting a sense of what post-secondary education is like be worth it?  Certainly the PR, in itself, would do wonders for education in the US.  In the article, none of the three women truly had any clue what college would be like, despite the best intentions of busy guidance counselors and staff members from Upward Bound.
      • Understand that “college and career readiness” can’t only be about what happens in school.  Family and social dynamics and needs greatly influence student lives.  Why then do we not provide juniors and seniors with required courses on how to deal with these pressures in relation to post-secondary education?  One of the students profiled in the article had a challenging relationship with her mother and an intense relationship with her boyfriend, both of which played a role in her fall.  Another was worried about whether her grandfather, who was a main caregiver, would survive his fight with cancer.  As educators we know the challenges of professional and personal pushes and pulls.  Life experience has helped us deal with these tough times.  For seventeen and eighteen year-olds, however, and particularly those with fewer familial and social connections, these pushes and pulls may be enough to topple even the loftiest potential accomplishments.
      • Push higher education (as a whole) to be more of an interactive learning establishment, and less of a passive informational one.  I understand that there are many colleges and universities where staff members do more than just talk about their subjects; they truly engage students and serve as master learners (rather than information spouters).  That being said, I also know that not all institutions of higher learning are designed to truly treat students as individuals.  Many times funding plays a role.  In other cases, the structure of the university or college itself may be the reason.  Regardless of the case, the three students discussed in this piece could have used more assistance at the college level to deal with the challenges they were facing.  Whether being about money, family, or specific academic courses, these young ladies all faced situations where their difficulties were not eased by their institution (as they should have been), but were instead exacerbated.  We can’t allow that.

      If we truly believe that students must be “college and career ready” to succeed in life, our education system must prove it.  We can’t assume that it is only the responsibility of K-12 institutions to do this, nor can we truly state that college and career readiness is only built in the classroom.  Let’s stop adding to educational jargon, and put meaning behind the terms we use.  I encourage you to read DeParle’s piece and see how it makes you feel, and then think about how you would view education as a whole if you were these students or if they were your children.

       

      Works Cited

       

      DeParle, Jason.  (2012, December 22).  For Poor, Leap to College Often Ends in a Hard Fall.  The New York Times.  Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/23/education/poor-students-struggle-as-class-plays-a-greater-role-in-success.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

       

      National Governors Association.  (2012).  ELA-Students Who are College and Career Ready.  Retrieved from: http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/introduction/students-who-are-college-and-career-ready-in-reading-writing-speaking-listening-language

    • Blog post
    • 1 year ago
    • Views: 890
  • Stinkin' Thinkin' Stinkin' Thinkin'

    • From: Steven_Weber
    • Description:

       

      "If I knew what you think, I would know what you are,
      for your thoughts make you what you are;
      by changing our thoughts, we can change our lives."

                                                          - Dale Carnegie

       

      In 2012-2013, many school districts will implement the Common Core State Standards.  Educators have heard about changes to assessment and there are two national consortia working to develop new assessments for our nation’s students. Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) are the two national consortia creating an assessment system and supporting tools that will help states dramatically increase the number of students who graduate high school ready for college and careers and provide students, parents, teachers and policymakers with the tools they need to help students - from grade three through high school - stay on track to graduate prepared.

       

       

      As we enter a new year, the thought of College and Career Readiness for all students is another change to the American education system. Traditionally, the American high school was designed to prepare some students for college and the remaining student body for the workforce. The global economy and future career options available for students have dictated a change in K-12 education and opportunity to learn.

       

       

      Technology integration, differentiated instruction, new standards, new assessments, new philosophies on grading, operating as a professional learning community, sharing school news with families through Twitter, Facebook and other social media, and making shifts outlined in the Common Core State Standards will require change leadership and a new way of thinking in our nation's schools.  Are we up for these challenges?  Stinkin' Thinkin' could prevent some individuals and school districts from making the changes that are needed in our schools.

       

       

      What Is Stinkin' Thinkin'?

       

       

      Examples of Stinkin' Thinkin' Include:

       

       

      "Those kids aren't college material."  

      (See College Readiness for Some)

       

       

      "The new standards are too high for some of our students."  

      (See The Stigma of Low Expectations)

       

       

      "Technology integration is a waste of time.  What if the students surf the Internet while I am teaching?"  

      (See Shaping Tech for the Classroom)

       

       

      "Multiple choice seems good for some of our students.  I can't even read their writing."  

      (See The Case for Authentic Assessment)

       

       

      "I don't care what the school policy is on grading.  I believe that a zero will teach students responsibility and they will need that skill the real world."  

      (See Effective Grading Practices)

       

       

      "College and Career Readiness is a nice idea in theory.  However, I think some students should be trained for careers beginning in the eighth grade.  It worked in the 1970's and it would still work today."  

      (See College and Career Readiness: Same or Different?)

       

       

      "I don't see why students need to collaborate.  There are several companies which require you to work in a cubicle and think outside the box.  Classroom management is difficult when students work in teams."  

      (See 21st Century Skills in Action video)

       

       

      "If the state expects me to prepare all students for College and Career Readiness, then they need to come and observe my ninth grade class.  It's not reality."  

      (See Opening Doors to College Access and Success)

       

       

      Conclusion:

       

      “Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
      Watch your words, for they become actions.
      Watch your actions, for they become habits.
      Watch your habits, for they become character.
      Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

       

       

      Our students deserve the best.  Our world deserves to have graduates who can contribute to the workforce, the economy, and future challenges.  Don't let Stinkin' Thinkin' stand in the way of implementing changes that could have a lasting impact on students.  When educators work together as a team, they will be able to support one another. Working in isolation will contribute to Stinkin' Thinkin'.  The new generation of teaching and assessing requires professional collaboration within and across schools.  If we believe that a school is hopeless, then the adults in the community and in leadership positions either need to offer strategic support or move the students to a new school. Students (children) do not deserve to spend their educational experiences in a hopeless school. If an individual teacher does not feel that he or she can improve student achievement or that the chances for a group of students to grow from the first day of school until the last day of the year are slim, then the teacher should be supported and possibly replaced. The adults in the school must believe that all students can graduate college and career ready.  Education is changing and our thinking must reflect the shifts that are taking place in education.

       

    • Blog post
    • 2 years ago
    • Views: 874
  • Pomp and Circumstance Pomp and Circumstance

    • From: Steven_Weber
    • Description:

      Graduating from high school has become increasingly important and is viewed as a minimum requirement for success in terms of employment, salary, and future career choices (Gwynne, Lesnick, Hart, & Allensworth, 2009). The majority of high school graduates in the United States are not academically prepared for the rigor of postsecondary education or to enter the workforce (American College Test [ACT], 2009; Conley, 2007; Flippo & Caverly, 2009). “With a national graduation rate of approximately 71 percent, millions of young people are out of school and grossly ill-equipped to compete in the 21st century workforce” (Association for Career and Technical Education, 2006, p. 2).

       

      As we celebrate the Class of 2012 at graduation ceremonies across the United States, take a moment to reflect on the courses offered at your high school. Are we preparing all students for college and careers? Read each description below and then determine which experiences the Class of 2012 had prior to graduation.

       

      College Prep

      Students who take a college prep program typically enroll in honors courses, Advanced Placement (AP) courses, the International Baccalaureate Programme (IB), dual enrollment high school/college courses, or virtual courses which provide challenging courses that are not offered on the high school campus. “Students who are college ready should be able to succeed in entry-level, credit bearing college courses without the need for remediation” (Wiley, Wyatt, &Camara, 2010, p. 3). Reports indicate nearly 60 percent of first-year college students discover that, despite being fully eligible to attend college, they are not academically ready for postsecondary studies (SREB, 2010).

       

      Career Prep

      High school has represented a “social machine through which adolescents’ diverse backgrounds and skills would be matched to society’s needs” (Lee & Ready, 2009, p. 137). Throughout most of the 20th century, career readiness took the form of vocational education (Conley & McGaughy, 2012). The goal of the American high school has changed from sorting and selecting to preparing all students for postsecondary opportunities (Alliance for Excellent Education, Civic Enterprises, & the Data Quality Campaign, 2011; Conley, 2007; National Governors Association, Council of Chief State School Officers, & Achieve, 2008; SREB, 2010; and Wiley, Wyatt, &Camara, 2010). “Career readiness involves three major skill areas: core academic skills and the ability to apply those skills to concrete situations, employability skills - such as critical thinking and responsibility, and technical, job-specific skills” (Association for Career and Technical Education, 2010, p. 1).

       

      21st Century Skills

      21st Century Skills are difficult to assess on a multiple choice test. In a study titled, Are They Really Ready to Work: Employers’ Perspectives on the Basic Knowledge and Applied Skills of New Entrants to the 21st Century U.S. Workforce (2006), employers listed professionalism, teamwork, oral communications, ethics & social responsibility, and reading comprehension as the skills needed for success in the workforce. In addition to a lack of teamwork and other skills employers seek, there is evidence that many high school graduates lack the work ethic needed for jobs which provide a middle-class wage (Symonds, Schwartz, & Ferguson, 2011). “Although soft skills are often employers’ highest priority, they are rarely taught in high schools or colleges” (Murnane, R., Levy, F., & Rosenbaum, J., 2005). “A great divide has emerged in the United States between the education and skills of the American workforce and the needs of the nation’s employers” (Bridgeland, Milano, &Rosenblum, 2011, p. 2).

       

      Test Prep

      If you have ever visited a low-performing school or a school that is focused on increasing test scores at all costs, then you have probably witnessed Test Prep Activities. Some Superintendents praise principals who raise test scores using these practices. While test prep activities may increase scores, the activities rarely transfer to student understanding or transfer of learning. Test prep high schools stand in the way of College and Career Readiness. If your school held a pep rally for the state test, spent the last month of school hosting after-school boot camp for students, and gave students a carnival with giant inflatables for ‘surviving’ a standards-based test, then you might work at a Test Prep Academy.

       

      Have It Your Way

      The comprehensive high school was “designed to process a great number of students efficiently, selecting and supporting only a few for ‘thinking work’ while tracking others into a basic-skills curriculum aimed at preparation for the routinized manufacturing jobs of the time” (Darling-Hammond & Friedlaender, 2008, p. 15). The “shopping mall high school,” allows students to select the path of least academic resistance and to plan their own path to graduation (Powell, Farrar, & Cohen, 1985). Most students enjoy attending high school, but upon graduation discover they are unprepared for college or the workforce. “Outdated high schools built for a past era are yielding graduates unprepared for today’s knowledge-driven economy” (National Governors Association, National Conference of State Legislatures, Chief Council of State School Officers, & National Association of State Boards of Education, 2008, p. 1).

       

      Schools across the United States are being asked to prepare all students for college and career readiness by the time a student graduates from high school. The foundation of the American comprehensive high school was “based on students’ choosing between educational programs that lead to different futures or having the choice made for them by adults” (Conley, 2010, p. 6). The decision to enter a college prep pathway or a career prep pathway will be eliminated if states continue to adopt policies and standards which are designed to prepare all students for college and career readiness. The meaning of a high school diploma has changed. Have the instruction, assessment, course offerings, and guidance counseling at your high school changed? The move towards college and career readiness will mean a significant shift for educators and students.

    • Blog post
    • 2 years ago
    • Views: 642
  • College and Career Readiness: College and Career Readiness: The Goal for America's Educational System

    • From: Steven_Weber
    • Description:

       

      "The goal for America’s educational system is clear:
      Every student should graduate from high school ready for college and a career."


           United States Department of Education, Office of Planning,
           Evaluation and Policy Development, ESEA Blueprint for Reform, 2010, p. 7

       

       

      It is becoming clear that it is equally important for career-bound students and college bound students to receive a strong K-12 education (Boykin, Dougherty, & Lummus-Robinson, 2010; CTE, NASDECTE & P21, 2010).  A study titled, Ready for College and Ready for Work: Same or Different (2006) concluded that the knowledge required for entry-level workers is nearly the same knowledge and skills required for college-going students.  According to Achieve and the Education Trust (2008): “The old dichotomies of ‘college bound’ and ‘work bound’ no longer apply” (p. 7).

       

       

      The traditional American high school has long represented a critical decision point at which students must choose to pursue college or a career” (Richmond, 2010, p. 1).  The foundation of the American comprehensive high school was “based on students’ choosing between educational programs that lead to different futures or having the choice made for them by adults” (Conley, 2010, p. 6).  According to the National Governors Association (2012), “There is a national consensus that schools should focus on students’ college and career readiness” (p. 3).

       

       

      “As long as the system functioned under the assumption that only a small portion of students will go on to college, the current model of college preparation was largely unchallenged and unexamined” (Conley, 2009, p. 5).  Today’s high schools must offer more than education for just one option or the other. To prepare students for success in life, the twenty-first century American high school needs to shift its focus from preparing for college or career to achieving college and career readiness for every student (Richmond, 2010, p. 3).

       

       

      Saunders, a professor at the University of Mississippi, described the perspective of many Americans at the turn of the century.  Saunders (1903) wrote, "College education is desirable and theoretically necessary for preeminence, but it is not for the masses, and it would be but a utopian theory to plan for the day when a bachelor's degree shall be a qualification for suffrage or a necessity for success and happiness" (p. 73).

       

       

      Aldrich (1933) wrote, “If the children from the laboring groups are coming into our high schools in greater numbers, we must be more concerned with the training of this new type of pupil” (p. 489).  Feingold (1934), a high school principal, gave a speech and declared, "The bulk of our high school population is moronic and unfit for the profitable pursuit of high school studies, as we know them.  We have been hearing of late, for instance, that 50 percent of high school enrollment is made up of the sons and daughters of conductors, factory workers and scrubwomen, and since they will themselves become motormen, truck drivers, and charwomen, the education of the high school ought to be of a type which will prepare them for that sort of life" (pp. 828-829).

       

       

      “The reality is that whether students go to a four-year college or to other postsecondary training, they do, indeed, need the same rigorous academic preparation in high school” (Murray, 2012, p. 60).  “The goal of college and career readiness for all high school graduates is no longer a radical reform idea promulgated by a handful of states: It has emerged as the new norm throughout the nation” (Achieve, 2010, p. 23).

       

       

      Conclusion:

       

       

      As another school year comes to an end, high schools across the United States will have Senior Night, Senior Recognition Assemblies, or Scholarship and Awards Ceremonies.  Traditionally, these events recognized the Rhodes Scholar, the AP Scholars, the FFA Student of the Year, the Valedictorian, the National Merit Finalists, students accepted to the nation's military academies, and students who received scholarships from two-year or four-year colleges and universities.  While each of these students deserve the praise and recognition, they represent approximately ten percent or less of the senior class. Some students will walk across the stage multiple times to collect scholarships and medals of recognition.

       

       

      Traditionally, teachers and guidance counselors have focused on preparing a small number of students for college and the remainder of the graduating class for the workforce.  This article provides historical evidence of the original mission of public high schools.  The goal of the American high school has changed from sorting and selecting to preparing all students for postsecondary opportunities.  “It is no longer enough to just ensure that all students are prepared to walk through the entrance doors of high school or college; nor is it acceptable to track students onto educational paths that limit their opportunities. In today’s global and entrepreneurial economy, every student must also be able to walk out of the building with a meaningful diploma, prepared for success in the twenty-first century.” (Alliance for Excellent Education, Civic Enterprises, and the Data Quality Campaign, 2011, p. 1).

       

       

      Questions and Resources for Educators to Consider

       

       

      1.  How can I support College and Career Readiness for all students?  

       

       

      2.  What does our school do to promote College and Career Readiness for all students?

      (See Linda Murray's Gateways, Not Gatekeepers)

       

       

      3.  How does the role of the K-12 Guidance Counselor change when the goal is College and Career Readiness for all students?  (See College and Career Readiness Video - 3:30)

       

       

      4.  What data should educators collect and analyze if we are going to prepare students to become College and Career Ready?  (See Eight Components of College and Career Readiness Counseling)

       

       

      5.  How do we communicate the goal of College and Career Readiness to students and families?

       

       

      6.  Do educators in our school have a common definition/understanding of the term College and Career Readiness?

       

       

      7.  What skills do students need to have to be College-Ready?

      What skills do students need to have to be Career-Ready?

      (See Tony Wagner's Seven Survival Skills)

      (See David Conley and Charis McGaughy - College and Career Readiness: Same of Different?)

        

      References (available upon request)

    • Blog post
    • 2 years ago
    • Views: 1139
  • Implementing the Common Core S Implementing the Common Core State Standards

    • From: Steven_Weber
    • Description:

      For over a century, educators, policymakers, and families have struggled to define the purpose and goals of secondary education. In 1893, the Committee of Ten determined “every subject which is taught at all in a secondary school should be taught in the same way and to the same extent to every pupil so long as he pursues it, no matter what the probable destination of the pupil may be” (National Education Association, 1893).

       

      Graduating from high school has become increasingly important and is viewed as a minimum requirement for success in terms of employment, salary, and future career choices (Gwynne, Lesnick, Hart, & Allensworth, 2009). Despite this fact, the majority of high school graduates in the United States are not academically prepared for the rigor of postsecondary education or to enter the workforce (American College Test [ACT], 2009; Conley, 2007; Flippo & Caverly, 2009). “Of every 100 students who enter ninth grade in a public high school in North Carolina, only 70 graduate within five years. Only 42 of them enroll in college, and only 19 of them complete a two-year or four-year degree within six years of graduating from high school” (Public Schools of North Carolina, 2008, p. 20). “National leaders and the education policy community have embraced the idea that the education system must establish ‘college and career readiness’ as the goal for all students” (Pinkus, 2009, p. 1). If the goal of the American high school is to graduate all students ‘college and career ready,’ then educators must examine what it takes to prepare students for the next step in life.

       

      On June 2, 2010, a press release announced a new set of state-led education standards known as the Common Core State Standards. The press conference was held at Peachtree Ridge High School in Suwanee, Georgia. The English Language Arts and mathematics standards for grades K-12 were developed in collaboration with a variety of stakeholders including content experts, states, teachers, school administrators and parents. The standards establish clear and consistent goals for learning, designed to prepare America’s children for success in college and work.

       

      The implementation of the Common Core State Standards is in the early stages across the United States. Some states will implement the standards in 2012-2013, while other states will implement in the following years.

       

      Critics of the standards have cited several reasons for their criticism including:

      • A Race to the Middle
      • Intended Curriculum vs. Taught/Received Curriculum
      • Lack of Funding
      • Lack of Professional Development for Educators
      • Past Failure of State Standards to Support All Students
      • States’ Rights
      • Threat to Local Control Over Education
      • Use of Race to the Top Funds to Coerce States to Adopt the Standards

       

      Parents, educators, community members, and policymakers may feel like the Common Core State Standards are destined to fail, based on headlines in the news, white papers recently posted online, and the public criticism of the new standards.  The following examples illustrate how the new standards are under attack.

       

      Why Common Core Standards Will Fail
      By Jay Matthews

       

      “Common Core standards are the educational fashion of the moment, but your child’s teacher can name many similar plans that went awry.”

       

      National Academics Standards Pose Threat to Local Control of Education
      The Heritage Foundation (2011)
      Video (4:08)

       


      How Well Are American Students Learning?
      With sections on predicting the effect of the Common Core State Standards, achievement gaps on the two NAEP tests, and misinterpreting international test scores.
      By Tom Loveless
      February 2012

       

      “The empirical evidence suggests that the Common Core will have little effect on American students’ achievement. The nation will have to look elsewhere for ways to improve its schools.”

       


      Common Core Standards Coming Under Increased Scrutiny 
      Alabama News Article


      “If you liked No Child Left Behind, you’ll like Common Core Standards,” said Betty Peters, an Alabama State School Board member. “It’s No Child Left Behind on steroids.”

       


      Common Core Standards Still Don’t Make The Grade
      White Paper

       

      “Although Common Core’s standards represent a laudable effort to shape a national curriculum,
      the draft-writers chose to navigate an uncharted path and subject the entire country to a large scale experimental curriculum rather than build on the strengths that can be documented in
      Massachusetts or California.”

       

       

      Utah State Superintendent Admits to Federal Pressure on Common Core
      Utahns Against Common Core Blog (2012)

       

      Next Steps for Educators


      K-12 educators understand that standards-based education supports teaching and learning. Over 45 states have adopted the standards and teachers have started the work of unpacking standards, developing curriculum units, creating new assessments aligned to the standards, and informing families of the new standards. The hard work of teachers and administrators is rarely reported in the newspaper. Most educators don’t have time to write a White Paper on the benefits of the Common Core State Standards, because they are teaching the current state standards, while working before and after school and throughout the summer months to develop local curriculum aligned to the Common Core State Standards.

       

      This past week, I attended a regional meeting in North Carolina and I participated in conversations about how districts are moving towards implementation of the standards in 2012-2013. There is anxiety and concern in every school district, because change creates those feelings. We don’t fully understand what the new assessments will look like, because they are still being developed. As educators, we did not get to vote on the Common Core State Standards. We read blogs and see the headline stories with titles such as Why Common Core Standards Will Fail. As professional educators, we will rise to the challenge. We agree that standards alone do not improve educational outcomes or increase student understanding. The ongoing work of professional teaching teams to understand the standards and to implement them across schools will improve teaching and learning. Having time to reflect on the implemented standards will allow professional educators to see where adjustments need to be made. As an educator, I embrace the new standards and I am ready to see if the American public school can prepare more students for success than ever before.  Let's not predict failure before we begin implementation.

       


      Recommended Resources for Curriculum Development and District Planning


      Rigorous Curriculum Design: How to Create Curricular Units of Study that Align Standards, Instruction, and Assessment
      By Larry Ainsworth (2010)

       

      Common Core for School Leaders: A Guide to Developing Systemic Curriculum Growth
      By Michael Fisher and Steven Weber (2012)

       

      The Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools Don't Teach The New Survival Skills Our Children Need - And What We Can Do About It
      By Tony Wagner (2008)

       

      The Understanding by Design Guide to Creating High-Quality Units
      By Grant Wiggins & Jay McTighe (2011)

       

      Leading Curriculum Development
      By Jon Wiles (2009)

       

       

      About the Author

      Steven Weber is the Director of Secondary Instruction for Orange County Schools, in Hillsborough, North Carolina. Recently, Orange County Schools was one of three school districts asked to share their district's plan for implementing the Common Core State Standards. District staff created a video that was shared with over 400 educators at a conference hosted by ASCD, NCASCD, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

       

    • Blog post
    • 2 years ago
    • Views: 1891
  • Leadership Lessons from an Ear Leadership Lessons from an Early College High School

    • From: Fred_Crawford
    • Description:

      Developing and leading a successful early college high school is no small feat as you may agree. However, Greenville Technical Charter High School's successes (waitlist of over 338 students, 99% graduation rate, 100% college acceptance rate, and a robust Early/Middle College Program) prove that our teachers and staff work hard and have lessons to share. Greenville Technical Charter High School (GTCHS) started in partnership with Greenville Technical College (GTC) in 1999 as a charter school authorized by Greenville County Schools. The school originated through a stakeholder group of business, community, and educational leaders. The school originated from Dr. Thomas Barton, Jr., then-President of GTC because he wanted to find an innovative way to get students ready for college (without the need for remediation) and saw that the SC charter law would give him the flexibility to do so. The school was to be a research and development project for the college to help improve secondary education.  And the project worked. The school began with a core central curriculum, framed around mastery learning and project-based learning. It's emerged and evolved over time into the current early college model. Working with the Middle College Natioabl Consortitum as a ECHS redesign site begining in 2003, our school started making positive strides. Today, the school offers students Early/Middle College opportunities and has helped to replicate other EC's working with the collge.

      GTCHS is located on the main campus of Greenville Technical College. GTCHS offers an academically rigorous four-year program serving a current student enrollment of 420 students in grades 9-12 with a faculty of 26. The teaching/learning paradigm is based on Mastery Learning. Though GTCHS does not offer AP courses, students have the opportunity to take dual credit classes at GTC; over 75% of the student body is currently enrolled in at least one college class. Students need to achieve success on the COMPASS examination in order to be eligible for college course offerings. The South Carolina Department of Education accredits GTCHS, and the school's charter is approved by The School District of Greenville County.

      The "leadership lessons" from learned my experience at GTCHS are:

      1) A Solid College Partnership Is Key - being on a community college campus is critical. Everything available to college students is available to our kids. For example, kids can try electives we otherwise couldn't offer; they can get respiratory therapy, welding, or Microsoft certifications which gives them credentialing making them very employable.

      2) Another advantage to the high school/college partnership is free tuition for students attending GTC for their "13th" year. GTCHS teachers work closely with GTC professors. Transporting students to class is a non-issue as students are on campus already. GTCHS's success has spurred the college's interest in high school replication. Demand was so high, we decided to open two sister schools- Brashier Middle College Charter High School and Greer Middle College Charter High School operate on satellite campuses of GTC, and the college is considering opening a fourth in the near future.

      3) We all work together, and we all work with our college partner. Although a new college president came on board late 2008, he has reconfirmed the college's strong commitment to the high schools and the early college program. Understand College Readiness versus College Eligibility- there's a difference that needs to be recognized. College eligibility means a student can hit a certain score on the SAT and therefore be eligible for college. College readiness is maturity, knowledge, and responsibility to learning. Our partnership with the college allows us to work hard on this piece. We integrate college staff and develop co-curriculum for the courses to match kids' needs. For example, the school had eight (of 109) seniors this year who did not pass the college math exam, meaning they could not enter college-level algebra courses. GTCHS's faculty developed a transition-to-college math course to bring those students up to par. The class was co-taught with college instructors and high school instructors. Thanks to this quick action and effort, all eight students finished the class and are now enrolled in college algebra. Of the 93 student graduates last year, 100% are taking college classes. Forty-six stayed at GTC, and 43 of these 46 qualified for scholarships.

      4) It's essentail to consider participation in professional organizations. Some of GTCHS' professional organizations (our active  involvement) which helps us to share, validate and learn best practices in addition to providing networking opportunities.are • Coalition of Essential Schools • Middle College National Consortium • National School Reform Faculty •  The Early College High School Initiative • SREB High Schools That Work • Public Charter School Alliance of South Carolina and ASCD

      5) Involving parents as partners has always been a part of the school's success story. Parents are ready, willing, and able to help teachers, administrators, and staff members- they want their child to be successful. Our school believes that parents (or another significant adult) must be involved in creating and maintaining a culture of high expectations. One way the school accomplishes this is through student-led conferences, with the purpose being to bring parents and students together as partners in the educational process. All students have Individual Learning Plans that allows students to evaluate their strengths, weaknesses, and interests. Advisors assist students with this identification process. At the conclusion of the first and third grading periods, parents receive letters, emails, and phone calls inviting them to attend the conference. Student-led conferences have a 99% parent attendance rate.

      To learn more about Greenville Technical Charter High School, visit www.gtchs.org or call (864) 250-8844. Also our endowment at www.endowgtchs.org

       • Opened in 1999 • 420 students in grades 9-12 with 26 faculty (18:1 student teacher ratio) • Wait list exceeds 300 students leading to a lottery for admission every year • Charter school authorized by the School District of Greenville County • 100% of staff are certified and/or highly qualified with 98% holding Master's degrees • Staff Turnover:  No staff turnover last year and less than 3% the last five years. Same principal the last nine years • Eleven members on Board of Directors who meet monthly • Parent participation is expected. An average of 99% of parents attend student-led conferences twice each year. • Last year's graduating class earned over $8.3 million in scholarships • Statistics from the 2011 graduating class:  68 of the 93 graduates graduated with 20+ college credit hours.  Eight graduated with Associate's Degrees.  100% of these graduates enrolled in college with 57% in four-year colleges, 42% in two-year colleges, and 1% in the military. 99% graduation rate (one student earned a GED.) • Mandatory dress code • Mission: GTCHS believes in the provision of equitable opportunities for all students to acquire an education focused on linkages among rigorous academics, technology, and careers to produce graduates who are prepared for success in the global workforce of the 21st century. • College Partnership:  Early college high school partnership with Greenville Technical College (GTC) since school's inception. School located on GTC's campus in Greenville, South Carolina. College-preparatory curriculum with no-cost college classes for students o Goal: Upon graduation, students will acquire a minimum of 12 transferable college credits and 70% of students will acquire 24 transferable college credits. GTC charges the school $1/year for facility space. • Demographics: 57% of students are first generation college  39% of student body is free/reduced lunch o 11% of students have special needs • Academic Achievement:  100% of graduates have been accepted to college since the first graduating class in 2002.  Students enrolled in college courses have an average 3.4 GPA . Over 75% of the student body is enrolled in at least one college class. Satisfaction of teachers 98.7%, students 97.3%, and parents 98.9% . Made AYP the last seven years.99% graduation rate average the last three years.o SAT scores increased by 40 points over the last academic year

    • Blog post
    • 3 years ago
    • Views: 1051
  • Middle Schools Matter: The Pat Middle Schools Matter: The Pathway to College and Career Readiness

    • From: Steven_Weber
    • Description:

       

      In 2008, ACT published The Forgotten Middle and suggested that, "in the current educational environment, there is a critical defining point for students in the college and career readiness process—one so important that, if students are not on target for college and career readiness by the time they reach this point, the impact may be nearly irreversible. We must therefore also focus on getting more students on target for college and career readiness by the end of eighth grade, so that they are prepared to maximize the benefits of high school" (p. 2).  Middle level educators understand the importance of exposing students to challenging coursework which is age appropriate during the middle school years.  Parents value the role of early childhood education and high school educators celebrate the annual graduation ceremony each spring.  According to the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), "The middle level is often overlooked during school reforms; however, middle level students' academic achievement has a large impact on their readiness for college by the end of high school."

       

      "Given the significance of middle school education to later educational outcomes, it is important to understand how middle school factors and events contribute to successful high school completion and college enrollment" (United Way, 2008, p. 30). The middle school can be seen as the bridge between elementary and secondary school.  Over the past fifty years, educators, politicians, and communitiy leaders have debated the structure of the middle years (K-5; K-6; K-8; 5-8; 6-8; 6-9; or 6-12 grade). The middle school years have been a time for experimenting with thematic units, concept-based units, student clubs, technology integration, the arts, character education, community service learning, positive behavior programs, and multiple approaches to teaching reading and mathematics.  It is evident that the future role of middle schools is to provide students with an opportunity to graduate from high school college and career ready.  One of the main goals of the Common Core State Standards, recently adopted by 46 states, is to provide K-12 standards which are aligned to college and career readiness.  These standards define the knowledge and skills students should have within their K-12 education careers so that they will graduate high school able to succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing academic college courses and in workforce training programs.  The new standards will be implemented in every K-12 school in North Carolina beginning in 2012-2013 and in other states beginning in 2013-2014.  The importance of middle schools cannot be overlooked.  

       

      College and Career Readiness does not occur at a specific time or on the last day of a student’s senior year.

       

      Five Important Questions for Middle School Educators to Consider:

       

      1)  What does College and Career Readiness mean to a middle school student?

       

      2)  How do we measure College and Career Readiness? (i.e., grades, common assessments, observation, projects, etc.)

       

      3)  How does my course support the goal of College and Career Readiness for all students?

       

      4)  What can we do to prepare more students to enter the ninth grade 'on-track' for high school readiness?

       

      5)  What can our school staff do to promote the importance of College and Career Readiness to families?

       

       

      References:


      ACT (2008). The forgotten middle: Ensuring that all students are on target for college and career readiness before high school. Iowa City, IA.

       

      Common Core State Standards (2011). Retrieved from http://www.corestandards.org/about-the-standards on November 11, 2011.

       

      National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). Middle school leadership. Retrieved from http://www.nassp.org/resources-for/middle-level-leadership on November 11, 2011.

       

      United Way. (2008). Seizing the middle ground: Why middle school creates the pathway to college and the workforce. Los Angeles: United Way of Greater Los Angeles.

    • Blog post
    • 3 years ago
    • Views: 3185
  • What Is The Purpose Of The Ame What Is The Purpose Of The American High School?

    • From: Steven_Weber
    • Description:

       

      The American High School

       

      Graduating from high school has become increasingly important and is viewed as a minimum requirement for success in terms of employment, salary, and future career choices (Gwynne, Lesnick, Hart, & Allensworth, 2009). The majority of high school graduates in the United States are not academically prepared for the rigor of postsecondary education or to enter the workforce (American College Test [ACT], 2009; Conley, 2007; Flippo & Caverly, 2009). “Of every 100 students who enter ninth grade in a public high school in North Carolina, only 70 graduate within five years. Only 42 of them enroll in college, and only 19 of them complete a two-year or four-year degree within six years of graduating from high school” (Public Schools of North Carolina, 2008, p. 20). “National leaders and the education policy community have embraced the idea that the education system must establish ‘college and career readiness’ as the goal for all students” (Pinkus, 2009, p. 1). If the goal of the American high school is to graduate all students ‘college and career ready,’ then educators must examine what it takes to prepare students for the next step in life.

       

       

      The Comprehensive High School

       

      “The U.S. comprehensive high school was designed for many often conflicting purposes, and it did not focus primarily on college preparation” (Kirst & Venezia, 2006). According to Pinkus (2009), “The nation faces a dual education challenge: address the dropout crisis, and shift the goal of the public school system to college and career readiness for all students” (p. 17). If educators are going to increase high school graduation rates and make the shift to college and career readiness for all students, then school leaders will need timely data in order to determine whether students are on the path to college enrollment (National Governors Association, 2009). Educators cannot focus on college and career readiness if they do not know where students stand (Roderick, Nagaoka, & Coca, 2009).

       

       

      The Committee of Ten

       

      In 1893, the Committee of Ten determined “every subject which is taught at all in a secondary school should be taught in the same way and to the same extent to every pupil so long as he pursues it, no matter what the probable destination of the pupil may be” (National Education Association, 1893). Since that time, one of the ongoing philosophical debates in American education has been whether high schools should become college prep for the masses or an avenue to career readiness.

       

       

      The Cardinal Principles of Secondary Education

       

      Unlike the report written by the Committee of Ten, the authors of The Cardinal Principles of Secondary Education noted that it was counterproductive to demand that students follow a college preparatory program, since a majority of high school students would not enroll in the nation’s colleges or universities. The authors believed that students should have a differentiated curriculum based on each student’s needs, interests, and abilities. In 1900, only 10 percent of the nation’s fourteen to seventeen year old population attended high school – twenty years later, 31 percent were enrolled (Snyder, 1993).

       

       

      The Conant Report

       

      In 1959, James Bryant Conant, former president of Harvard University, wrote The American High School Today. Conant (1959) asked, "Can a school at one and the same time provide a good education for all the pupils as future citizens of a democracy, provide elective programs for the majority to develop useful skills, and educate adequately those with a talent for handling advanced academic subjects” (p. 15)? Conant’s questions outlined the struggle to define the purpose of public high schools in the United States. In the late 1800’s, the American high school was designed for college bound students and less than ten percent of students graduated from high school. From the report by The Committee of Ten through the 1950’s, the debate over public high schools and their purpose could be summarized by the thoughts of Edward Thorndike. Thorndike (1906) declared “no high school is successful which does not have in mind definitely the work in life its students will have to perform, and try to fit them for it” (p. 180).

       

       

      College and Career Readiness

       

      “In many ways, the United States produces the college outcomes that its systems of education were designed to produce. Its K–12 system was developed to provide education to everyone; its college and university system was developed when only a few were expected to attend college. Today, the vast majority of high school students aspire to attend college, but only about half of the students who enroll in college are prepared for college-level academic work” (Callan et.al., 2006, p. 21). Nearly one-third of all high school students leave the public school system before graduating (Swanson, 2004). A high school diploma should signify that students have attained college-ready knowledge and skills (Callan et.al., 2006; Conley, 2007, Pinkus, 2009; SREB, 2010). “Students who are college ready should be able to succeed in entry-level, credit bearing college courses without the need for remediation. Other factors associated with college success (e.g., motivation, study skills, attitudes) may be equally important in evaluating outcomes such as persistence, college graduation or post-college readiness” (Wiley, Wyatt, & Camara, 2010, p. 3).

       

      Reports indicate nearly 60 percent of first-year college students discover that, despite being fully eligible to attend college, they are not academically ready for postsecondary studies (SREB, 2010). “While a majority of high school graduates enter college, fewer than half leave with a degree” (American Diploma Project, 2004, p. 3). High school graduates and students who do not graduate from college make up a majority of the workforce. It is becoming clear that it is equally important for career-bound students and college-bound students to receive a strong K-12 education (Boykin, Dougherty, & Lummus-Robinson, 2010; CTE, NASDECTEC & P21, 2010).

       

       

      A Broken Promise

       

      The American high school was designed to prepare a small percentage of students for college. In recent years, educators, policymakers, and employers have pointed to surveys and data on employees indicating that high school graduates are underprepared for the 21st century workforce (ACT & The Education Trust, 2004; Achieve, Inc., 2004; Achieve, Inc., 2005; ACT, 2006; Casner-Lotto, & Barrington, 2006; Jerald, 2008; Wagner, 2008; Casner-Lotto, Rosenblum, & Wright, 2009; CTE, NASDECTEC & P21, 2010; Symonds, Schwartz, & Ferguson, 2011). “The United States is developing a deep social consensus that American high schools should ensure that all adolescents graduate from high school prepared for postsecondary schooling and training” (Balfanz, 2009, p. 17). In recent years, policymakers have begun to emphasize the goal that all students graduate from high school college- and career-ready (National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, National Conference of State Legislatures, National Association of State Boards of Education, & Council of Chief State School Officers, 2008). However, the diploma from an American high school signifies a broken promise, according to a report published by the American Diploma Project (2004). The majority of recent high school graduates in the United States are not academically prepared for the rigor of postsecondary education or to enter the workforce (ACT, 2009; Conley, 2007, Flippo & Caverly, 2009).

       

       

      Questions for Discussion on ASCD EDge:

       

      • Do teachers in your school discuss college and career readiness as a goal for all students?

        

      • What are the current barriers to preparing more students for college and career(s)?

       

      • Do you believe that a diploma from an American high school is a ‘broken promise?’

       

      • Which changes need to be made in curriculum and instruction?

       

      • Which changes need to be made in assessment?

       

      • What role do elementary and middle school educators play in preparing students for college and career(s)?

       

      • What do the nation’s best high schools do to prepare students for college and career(s)?

    • Blog post
    • 3 years ago
    • Views: 3080
  • College and Career Readiness College and Career Readiness

    • From: Steven_Weber
    • Description:

      At the turn of the century, a professor at the University of Mississippi described the perspective of many Americans. Saunders (1903) wrote, “College education is desirable and theoretically necessary for preeminence, but it is not for the masses, and it would be but a utopian theory to plan for the day when a bachelor's degree shall be a qualification for suffrage or a necessity for success and happiness” (p. 73).

       

      College readiness for all is a new concept in American education. A recent report from the College Board defined college readiness as “Students who are college ready should be able to succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing college courses without the need for remediation. Other factors associated with college success (e.g., motivation, study skills, attitudes) may be equally important in evaluating outcomes such as persistence, college graduation or post-college career readiness” (Wiley, Wyatt, & Camara, 2010). A study titled, Ready for College and Ready for Work: Same or Different (2006) concluded that the knowledge required for entry-level workers is nearly the same knowledge and skills required for college-going students. Achieve, an independent, bi-partisan, non-profit education reform organization led by governors and business leaders, recently defined College and Career Readiness as being prepared for the next steps, that all doors remain open as students continue to pursue their education and careers.

       

      According to the Association for Career and Technical Education (2010), Career Readiness involves three major skill areas: core academic skills and the ability to apply those skills to concrete situations, employability skills - such as critical thinking and responsibility, and technical, job-specific skills. Traditional high schools have treated college and career readiness as two separate tracks or pathways (ACT, 2006; ACTE, 2010; Boykin, Dougherty, & Lummus-Robinson, 2010; Duncan, 2011; & Miller, 2009). Most high schools have traditionally treated college and career as mutually exclusive options (Symonds, Schwartz, & Ferguson, 2011). Recent studies have indicated an overwhelming percentage of new jobs that offer a wage sufficient to support a family and provide opportunity for career advancement require some postsecondary education and evidence shows that the skill level required to enter college or a work-training program are the same (Achieve, 2004; Achieve, 2005; ACT, 2006; America’s Promise Alliance, 2008; College Board, 2010; U.S. Department of Labor, 2008; Markow & Pieters, 2011).

       

      For over a century, educators, policymakers, and families have struggled to define the purpose and goals of secondary education. In 1893, the Committee of Ten determined “every subject which is taught at all in a secondary school should be taught in the same way and to the same extent to every pupil so long as he pursues it, no matter what the probable destination of the pupil may be” (National Education Association, 1893). Since that time, one of the ongoing philosophical debates in American education has been whether high schools should become college prep for the masses or an avenue to career readiness. In 2009, President Barack Obama called on all Americans to commit to at least one year of higher education or career training, as he stressed the importance of better schooling in reviving the nation's economy during his first address to Congress. The President of the United States said, "So tonight I ask every American to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training. This can be a community college or a four-year school, vocational training or an apprenticeship. But whatever the training may be, every American will need to get more than a high school diploma” (White House, 2009).

       

      The American high school was designed to prepare a small percentage of students for college. In recent years, educators, policymakers, and employers have pointed to surveys and data on employees indicating that high school graduates are underprepared for the 21st century workforce (ACT & The Education Trust, 2004; Achieve, Inc., 2004; Achieve, Inc., 2005; ACT, 2006; Casner-Lotto, & Barrington, 2006; Jerald, 2008; Wagner, 2008; Casner-Lotto, Rosenblum, & Wright, 2009; CTE, NASDECTEC & P21, 2010; Symonds, Schwartz, & Ferguson, 2011). “The United States is developing a deep social consensus that American high schools should ensure that all adolescents graduate from high school prepared for postsecondary schooling and training” (Balfanz, 2009, p. 17). In recent years, policymakers have begun to emphasize the goal that all students graduate from high school college- and career-ready (National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, National Conference of State Legislatures, National Association of State Boards of Education, & Council of Chief State School Officers, 2008). However, the diploma from an American high school signifies a broken promise, according to a report published by the American Diploma Project (2004). The majority of recent high school graduates in the United States are not academically prepared for the rigor of postsecondary education or to enter the workforce (ACT, 2009; Conley, 2007, Flippo & Caverly, 2009).

       

      “In many ways, the United States produces the college outcomes that its systems of education were designed to produce. Its K–12 system was developed to provide education to everyone; its college and university system was developed when only a few were expected to attend college. Today, the vast majority of high school students aspire to attend college, but only about half of the students who enroll in college are prepared for college-level academic work” (Callan et.al., 2006, p. 21). Nearly one-third of all high school students leave the public school system before graduating (Swanson, 2004). A high school diploma should signify that students have attained college-ready knowledge and skills (Callan et.al., 2006; Conley, 2007, Pinkus, 2009; SREB, 2010). “Students who are college ready should be able to succeed in entry-level, credit bearing college courses without the need for remediation. Other factors associated with college success (e.g., motivation, study skills, attitudes) may be equally important in evaluating outcomes such as persistence, college graduation or post-college readiness” (Wiley, Wyatt, & Camara, 2010, p. 3). Reports indicate nearly 60 percent of first-year college students discover that, despite being fully eligible to attend college, they are not academically ready for postsecondary studies (SREB, 2010). “While a majority of high school graduates enter college, fewer than half leave with a degree” (American Diploma Project, 2004, p. 3). High school graduates and students who do not graduate from college make up a majority of the workforce. It is becoming clear that it is equally important for career-bound students and college-bound students to receive a strong K-12 education (Boykin, Dougherty, & Lummus-Robinson, 2010; CTE, NASDECTEC & P21, 2010).

       

      “The mission of the public education system must shift from educating some students and preparing them for the twentieth-century American economy to educating all students and preparing them for the twenty-first century global economy” (Alliance for Excellent Education, 2009, p. 4). Educators cannot focus on college and career readiness if they do not know where students stand (Roderick, Nagaoka, & Coca, 2009). “Accurately measuring and diagnosing college readiness is the first step to helping a greater number of students achieve college readiness” (Wiley, Wyatt, & Camara, 2010, p. 14). How does your school measure College and Career Readiness?

    • Blog post
    • 3 years ago
    • Views: 1247
  • Multiple Perspectives on Colle Multiple Perspectives on College Readiness

    • From: Steven_Weber
    • Description:

       

      "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."                                  --John Quincy Adams, Sixth President of the United States

       

       

      College Readiness is currently a vision or eduspeak in most school districts.  While some high schools have seen increasing graduation rates other schools within the same community still witness less than fifty percent of the seniors graduating with their cohort.  It is no secret that the public school system in the United States was designed for the academically elite.  Tracking students into college-ready courses and workforce-ready courses has been in existence for over 100 years.  The statement of the Committee of Ten (1892), that “The secondary schools of the United States, taken as a whole, do not exist for the purpose of preparing boys and girls for colleges. Only an insignificant percentage of the graduates of these schools go to colleges or scientific schools," illustrates the original goals of high school in the United States.  Throughout the past century, opportunity to learn has been extended to African Americans, Hispanics, students with disabilities, English Language Learners (ELL) and students who may not have a strong desire to pursue a high school or college education.

       

      This article will describe four perspectives that exist in every community.  Without recognizing each perspective efforts to improve high school graduation, and more importantly college readiness, will be an uphill battle.  The four perspectives include the believers, the college for some disciples, the doubters, and the policy makers.  It is quite possible that an individual could fall into one or more categories.  It is also evident that some individuals are willing to become believers if they see that the future of our nation depends on students who are college ready.

       

       

      Believers

       

       

      The believers are parents, students, educators, policy makers, community leaders and others who believe that college readiness is for all students.  This group believes that students deserve to be prepared for college and that sorting and selecting students is no longer in the best interests of students or communities.  Employers have indicated that they want students who are college ready, regardless of their final decision to enter the workforce or enter college upon graduating from high school.  One of my favorite groups to observe are parents and guardians.  There is a new generation of parents who believe that a K-12 experience will prepare their children for life and work in the 21st century.  This group puts a great deal of faith in teachers and administrators to make wise decisions and to develop curriculum, instruction, and assessment which prepares students for success!  As educators, we owe it to this new generation of parents and students to meet and exceed their expectations.

       

       

      College for Some Disciples

       

       

      The College for Some Disciples are also parents, students, educators, policy makers, community leaders and others who believe that college readiness is for some students.  During the past fifty years, parents and grandparents attended schools which prepared most students for two year colleges and/or the workforce.  Some students were placed into different tracks and they were provided college readiness coursework.  College for some could be termed "The American Way."  Dr. Kati Haycock (2010), President of the Education Trust, wrote an online article titled Rationing Knowledge: The 'College for Some' MovementHaycock wrote, "This is America. We should be committed to expanding knowledge and opportunities for all, not just the chosen few."  If you believe that college is for your child, but not for the neighbors' children then you may fall into this camp.  College for some will not help our economy and it will not create a generation of students who are able to think critcially, solve problems, and create new inventions. 

       

       

      Doubters

       

       

      Doubters can be heard saying, "The world still needs garbage collectors and mechanics."  While I do not intend to make light of either occupation, the truth is that all students will need critical thinking skills, literacy skills, and the ability to solve problems.  If we continue to track students beginning in elementary school, we will not achieve the goal of college readiness for all students.  Doubters differ from the College for Some Disciples, because Doubters have a strong belief that college is not for everyone.  Some Doubters have made a good living during the past fifty years and they did not even graduate from high school.  While a GED works for some students, the truth is that more employers are seeking students with a different skill set.  Doubters exist in every community, so educators and policy makers should not be surprised when they face initial resistance.  The goal of education is not to please all stakeholders.  The goal is to provide students with an "Opportunity to Learn" and in 2011 this can be defined as the opportunity to become college ready.  When Doubters state that they fear college readiness for all will water-down public schools, educators need to be ready to explain why college readiness is important and why they are embracing this new concept for all students.

       

       

      Policy Makers

       

       

      Policy makers have an important role to play in the transition from college for some to college readiness for all students.  Currently, college readiness is part of the political rhetoric when governors speak.  President Barack Obama recently told a group of middle school students, "The best economic policy is one that produces more college graduates......We need to make sure we're graduating students who are ready for college and ready for careers" (CBS News.com, March 14, 2011).  Educators and parents can believe that college readiness is ethical and the right thing for all students, but until policies are changed it will be difficult to overcome tradition in many public schools and school districts across the nation.

       

      “High schools that are designed to prepare large numbers of students for college success look dramatically different from those that prepare only a small proportion of their students for college success” (Conely, 2005).  If you carefully review the quote at the beginning of this article, you will note that President John Quincy Adams was saying leaders create opportunities for others.  Opening the schoolhouse doors and holding school from 8:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. is no longer the standard for providing students with the opportunity to learn.  Policy makers have realized that an alarming number of students are graduating unprepared for the next level of learning.  The next step is for policy makers to move beyond political rhetoric and define college readiness (SREB, June 2010).

       

       

      Are you a Believer, College for Some Disciple, Doubter, or Policy Maker?  What are your thoughts regarding College Readiness?  What barriers currently stand in the way of College Readiness in your state?  What strategies are you using to measure college readiness?  Share your thoughts on ASCD EDge.

       

       

    • Blog post
    • 3 years ago
    • Views: 802
  • College Readiness College Readiness

    • From: Steven_Weber
    • Description:

       

      College Readiness is the new buzzword in education.  While several politicians are advocating for college readiness, there are few definitions.  If educators are being asked to prepare all students for college, then a data dashboard, statewide strategies, district goals, and a definition of college readiness must be established.  If college readiness is a national goal, then it does not make sense for each school district or each state department of education to work in isolation on this goal.  If your school or school district has a strategic plan for monitoring college readiness, please share your strategies on ASCD EDge.  Developing strategies which support teachers, students, and families is important in making college readiness a reality.  This article will highlight current research, reform efforts by school districts, initiatives started by state departments of education, and links to articles which focus on college readiness at the school level and as public policy.

       

       

      What Are Some Of The Leading Strategies For Measuring College Readiness?

      The following educators, school districts and organziations have made attempts to define and/or measure college readiness.

       

      David Conley, a Professor of Educational Policy and Leadership in the College of Education at the University of Oregon, has written a book titled College Knowledge (2005) and more recently College and Career Ready: Helping All Students Succeed Beyond High School (2010).  Dr. Conley also has an informative article on this topic which is available online at Rethinking College Readiness (2009).

       

      Montgomery County Schools (Rockville, MD) has developed Seven Keys to College Readiness.  The school district's website states, "It’s important for all children to know that college is a realistic option.  All students who are willing to take challenging courses and work hard can go to college.  There are many routes a student can take to earn a college degree and many programs to help families pay for college.  Students can even earn college credit while still in high school."  If school districts are seeking resources on College Readiness strategies, this district website offers several quality resources.  The most important thing to note is that Montgomery County Schools decided to quit debating which students are college ready and take bold steps to prepare all students for college.

       

      The Virginia Department of Education has outlined their College and Career Readiness Initiative on the agency's website.  Virginia's College and Career Readiness Initiative is supported by the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) through a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

       

      The Massachussetts Department of Education maintains a database which answers the question "How many Massachusetts public high school graduates enroll in Massachusetts public colleges?" (Conaway, 2009).  According to an Issue Brief from the National Governors Association (NGA) Center for Best Practices, Massachussetts is leading the way in supporting college readiness and establishing high goals for all students.  The Issue Brief indicated, "the state's graduation rate goal of 95 percent by 2018, one of the highest in the nation, requires approximately 14 percent growth in 10 years.  This means that the state needs to graduate an additional 10,600 students to meet its goal.  While this number may be daunting for parents, teachers, and policymakers alike, when presented another way, it becomes more manageable.  For Massachussetts to reach its state graduation rate goal, each high school in the state needs to graduate an additional 2.94 students per year."

       

       

      The Center for American Progress posted several resources related to College Readiness.  In an online article titled College for All or College for Some? (Feb. 8, 2011), Jeremy Ayers shared a new report from Harvard University titled Pathways to Prosperity (Feb. 2011).  Ayers also referred to education policy related to college and career readiness and the reauthorization of ESEA.  This is an informative article for educators and others who are interested in College Readiness. 

       

       

      The Southern Regional Education Board developed a special report titled, Beyond the Rhetoric: Improving College Readiness Through Coherent State Policy (June 2010).  I think this article is an appropriate title for the current state of education.  We are in a transition between believing that K-12 schools are intended to sort and select.  There are thousands of educators who still believe that some students are college-ready and other students are simply not 'college material.'  This article addresses the state policy dimensions of college readiness.

       

      College Readiness for All: The Challenge for Urban High Schools (Roderick, Nagaoka, & Coca, 2009), is available online.  This research cites, "To turn college aspirations into college attainment, high schools and teachers need clear indicators of college readiness and clear performance standards for those indicators. These standards, say the authors, must be set at the performance level necessary for high school students to have a high probability of gaining access to four-year colleges."  If school districts are going to measure their efforts and make informed decisions about providing additional academic and behavior support to individual students, then teachers need indicators which measure the current reality.  It is too late to support students when we proclaim that 80% of the students graduated (and 20% did not).  Even when schools report that 80% are graduating, this data does not reflect the number of students who are college ready.

       

       

      College Readiness Addressed by the President of the United States

      On February 24, 2009, President Barrack Obama called on all Americans to commit to at least one year of higher education or career training, as he stressed the importance of better schooling in reviving the nation's economy during his first address to Congress.  

       

       

      "So tonight I ask every American to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training," Obama said. "This can be a community college or a four-year school, vocational training or an apprenticeship. But whatever the training may be, every American will need to get more than a high school diploma."

       

      "We have one of the highest high-school dropout rates of any industrialized nation, and half of the students who begin college never finish," President Obama said.

       

       

       

      Next Steps for College Readiness

      U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (2010) said, “High schools must shift from being last stop destinations for students on their education journey to being launching pads for further growth and lifelong learning for all students-- including ELL students and students with disabilities.  The mission of high schools can no longer be to simply get students to graduate. Their expanded mission, as President Obama has said, must also be to ready students for careers and college--and without the need for remediation.”  When the goal in the United States was to prepare a few students for high school graduation, the need for college readiness indicators did not exist.

       

       

      In 2011, the goal is academic excellence for all and college readiness for all.  According to Lopez (2009), “College readiness is not the belief that every student will go to college.  It is the idea that every student deserves the opportunity to be educated in a way that prepares him or her for college.”  This definition requires educators to view K-12 education differently than the traditional process where some students were smart enough for college and a majority of the students were likely to enter the workforce or drop out of high school.  K-12 teachers and administrators change curriculum, instruction, assessment, policies and procedures when educators believe that every student deserves the opportunity to be educated in a way that prepares him or her for college. 

       

       

      If your school or school district has a strategic plan for monitoring college readiness, please share your strategies on ASCD EDge. 

       

       

       

      References: 

       

      Available upon request  

       

    • Blog post
    • 3 years ago
    • Views: 678
  • Valedictorian vs. College Read Valedictorian vs. College Readiness

    • From: Steven_Weber
    • Description:

       

      High schools across the United States celebrate the number one student in the class.  This tradition recognizes academic excellence and the commitment of one student in the senior class.  While some schools have eliminated the identification and recognition of a single valedictorian, the majority of high schools still practice this timeless tradition.

       

      “Students who fail to graduate high school prepared to attend a four-year college are much less likely to gain full access to our country’s economic, political, and social opportunities” (Greene & Forster, 2003, p. 1).  There are hundreds of citizens and former Valedictorians who will state, “In the real world, some people win and some people lose.”  Our nation cannot afford to continue placing such a high value on the number one student in the senior class.  It would be inspiring to attend a high school graduation and hear the principal proclaim, “One hundred percent of the students from the Class of 2011 are graduating College Ready.”

       

      “In many ways, the U.S. produces the college outcomes its systems of education were designed to produce. Its K–12 system was developed to provide education to everyone; its college and university systems were developed when only a few were expected to attend and complete college. Today, the vast majority of high school students aspire to attend college, but only about half of the students who enroll in college are prepared for college-level academic work” (Kirst & Venezia, 2006, p. 8).  While high schools continue to encourage less than ten percent of students to pursue the title of Valedictorian, it appears that this strategy and board policy may serve as a conflicting message to the remaining ninety percent of students.  Is the goal of high school to select the number one student or to prepare all students for success at the next level?

       

      U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (2010) said, “High schools must shift from being last stop destinations for students on their education journey to being launching pads for further growth and lifelong learning for all students-- including ELL students and students with disabilities.  The mission of high schools can no longer be to simply get students to graduate. Their expanded mission, as President Obama has said, must also be to ready students for careers and college--and without the need for remediation.”  When the goal in the United States was to prepare a few students for high school graduation, it may have been beneficial to create a competitive environment where the number one student was recognized for academic excellence.  In 2011, the goal is academic excellence for all and college readiness for all.  According to Lopez (2009), “College readiness is not the belief that every student will go to college.  It is the idea that every student deserves the opportunity to be educated in a way that prepares him or her for college.”  This definition requires educators to view K-12 education differently than the traditional process where some students were smart enough for college and a majority of the students were likely to enter the workforce or drop out of high school.  K-12 teachers and administrators change curriculum, instruction, assessment, policies and procedures when educators believe that every student deserves the opportunity to be educated in a way that prepares him or her for college.

       

       

      Current Reality:

       

      “The proportion of students who graduate from high school is an essential indicator of the public education system’s success. Today we know that performance on this indicator in schools throughout the country has been dismal; nearly one third of the nation’s students do not receive a regular diploma within four years of entering high school. In fact, the national graduation rate has hovered around 70 percent for the past several decades, with more than one million students dropping out each year, at a high cost to both themselves and society at large” (Richmond, 2009, p. 1). 

       

       

      Conclusion:

       

      School districts must determine if they value recognizing a single student or if the goal is to see one hundred percent of the students graduate College Ready.  Too many school districts still proudly share that 80% of our students graduated.  The sad reality is that 20% of the students are much less likely to gain full access to our country’s economic, political, and social opportunities (Greene & Forster, 2003).  College Readiness should not be an option for the academic elite or for students with parents who know how to play the college application game.  In several school systems, College Readiness has even been determined by finances.  If a family can afford to pay an academic tutor, a test prep company, and someone to write the college essay, then a student is considered college ready.  This is a sad commentary on the state of education in the United States and a topic for a different article.  Do we value one student reaching the pinnacle of success or do we want every student to graduate from high school prepared for life and work in the 21st century?  What will your school celebrate this year (one student or the entire senior class)?   

       

       

      References:

       

      Duncan, A. (2010). The three myths of high school reform: Secretary Arne Duncan's remarks at the college board AP conference.  Retrieved on February 5, 2011, from http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/three-myths-high-school-reform-secretary-arne-duncans-remarks-college-board-ap-confere

       

       

      Greene, J.P., & Forster, G.F. (2003). Public high school graduation and college readiness rates in the United States. Retrieved on February 6, 2011, from http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/ewp_03.htm.

       

       

      Kirst, M. W., & Venezia, A. (2006). Improving college readiness and success for all students: A joint responsibility between K–12 and postsecondary education. (Issue Brief No. 12). Washington, DC: The Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education.

       

       

      Lopez, D. (2009). College readiness for all: What’s the alternative?  Retrieved on February 6, 2011, from http://www.naesp.org/resources/2/Principal/2009/J-F_p50.pdf.

       

       

      Richmond, E. (2009). Every student counts: The role of federal policy in improving graduation rate accountability.  Retrieved on February 5, 2011, from http://www.all4ed.org/files/ESC_FedPolicyGRA.pdf.

    • Blog post
    • 3 years ago
    • Views: 1564
  • Five Ways To Add Value To Stud Five Ways To Add Value To Students

    • From: Steven_Weber
    • Description:

       

      “There is only one reason to be a leader: to add value to people.”

                                                                                               -  John C. Maxwell

       

      How can educators add value to others?  What strategies impact student achievement and provide students with a positive self-esteem?  How can school leaders transform teaching and learning in a way that adds value to the entire school?  In a time when teacher layoffs and a lack of funding has become the norm, educators must seek non-traditional methods for supporting all students.  Rather than focus on the economy, unfunded mandates, or the reduction in force, teacher teams can identify ways to add value to students and to the school. 

       

      When I reflect on my favorite teachers and lessons learned, I remember teachers and coaches who added value to me through their words and actions.  These are the lessons which helped me become a leader, not the core curriculum that they developed.  The core curriculum is important, but I remember the positive note on my English paper, the counselor who helped me complete my first scholarship application, the teacher who attended my basketball game, and the educators who thought outside the box.  “People who add value to others do so intentionally.  I say that because to add value, leaders must give of themselves, and that rarely occurs by accident” (Maxwell, 2007).

       

       

      The purpose of this article is to describe Five Ways To Add Value To Students.

       

       

      1.    Identify the Essential Learning Outcomes

       

      Effective teams develop and agree to provide all students with Essential Learning Outcomes.  In the absence of learning outcomes students receive a disjointed curriculum experience.  Why do some teams skip this step if it is such an important part of teaching and learning?  From my observations, developing essential learning outcomes involves trust, conflict, debate, time and the ability to come to consensus.  If teams lack one or more, it will be difficult if not impossible to identify essential learning outcomes.  Swan (2010) wrote, “Learning outcomes refer to the skills, knowledge, and attributes students should have upon completion of a particular course or program of study.”   In the absence of Essential Learning Outcomes, it is difficult to prepare all students to understand the same skills and concepts.

       

       

      2.   Be Proactive

       

      Identify academic and behavior support and intervention that can be provided in a timely manner.  Rather than waiting until the end of the first nine weeks to tell a student and his family that the student is struggling in math and science, provide timely academic support and additional opportunities for practice and instruction during the school day.  If the goal is for all students to graduate college-ready, then it is too late to wait until the end of the sophomore year to identify students who are not prepared to advance to their junior year.  Educational Consultant Sharon Kramer addresses teacher collaboration and support for student achievement at Pyramid of Interventions.  Does your school have a Pyramid of Interventions which provides additional academic support, academic tutoring, SAT-prep for all students, and strategies to support common student misunderstandings? 

       

       

      3.   Start an Advisory Program

       

      Do you want to invest in students?  Do you want all students to feel like there is one person in the school who knows their name and an adult they can go to for advice?  Do you want students to have someone they can speak with when they are struggling with their grades or when they need help navigating the course selection process?  A structured advisory program can include topics such as college readiness, SAT practice, interview tips, personal financial literacy, study skills, character education, cyber bullying, career options, public speaking skills and more!  Frequently, schools identify what students should know and be able to do.  One of the side effects of high stakes testing is that critical life skills are often untaught.  If you seek to add value to students and want to reach every student, develop a robust Advisory Program and take your school to the next level!  There are several quality curriculum programs for sale, but developing an advisory program to meet the needs of your students can be as simple as meeting with the guidance counselors, social workers, assistant principals, teachers, parents and community leaders.  You don’t need thousands of dollars to develop a first class advisory program which adds value to students.

       

       

      4.   Evaluate Your Grading Practices

       

      Grading is one of the forbidden topics in most school districts. Principals and teachers alike fear the topic when it is typed on a meeting agenda.  Over the past fifty years, adults have split hairs over the grading practices in schools. Faculty meetings and professional development have ended with hurt feelings and divided parties.  It could be said that grading is the most overused and misunderstood practice among K-12 teachers and administrators in the United States. Students in some schools are retained once or twice, while other schools have a no retention policy.  It is difficult for students to understand the meaning of a grade when they have five teachers and each teacher provides a different rationale for grading student work and assessments.  Thomas Guskey offers several points for educators to consider at Grading Practices That Work Against Standards.....and How to Fix Them.

       

       

      5.   Make College Readiness the Reason For Opening the Doors

      “Students who fail to graduate from high school prepared to attend a four-year college are much less likely to gain full access to our country’s economic, political, and social opportunities” (Greene & Forster, 2003, p. 1).  Our nation needs to prepare more students for college level courses and dual enrollment should become the norm for all students, rather than an option for the elite students in our high schools. 

       

      On February 24, 2009, President Barrack Obama called on all Americans to commit to at least one year of higher education or career training, as he stressed the importance of better schooling in reviving the nation's economy during his first address to Congress.  

        

      "So tonight I ask every American to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training," Obama said. "This can be a community college or a four-year school, vocational training or an apprenticeship. But whatever the training may be, every American will need to get more than a high school diploma."

       

      "We have one of the highest high-school dropout rates of any industrialized nation, and half of the students who begin college never finish," President Obama said.  If a high school diploma symbolizes that a student is prepared for the next level of learning, then taxpayers, families and students would be safe to assume that college-readiness is the goal.  Some students will opt for the workforce or other paths following graduation, but the goal of school districts should be to prepare students for college.

       

       

      Listen to John Maxwell share Four Ways to Add Value to People (YouTube 3:34).

       

       

      References:

       

      Author Unknown. (2009). Obama: High school education not enough. Retrieved from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/02/24/obama-high-school-education on January 25, 2011.

       

      Cincinnati Public Schools. (2007). Strategic plan spotlight: Pyramid of interventions. Retrieved from http://www.cps-k12.org/general/Pyramid/SpotlightJan07.pdf on January 24, 2011.

       

      Greene, J.P., & Forster, G. (2003). Public high school graduation and college readiness rates in the United States. Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.

       

      Guskey, T. (2000). Grading practices that work against standards….and how to fix them. Retrieved from http://iss.schoolwires.com/.../Thomas_Guskey__Grading_Policies_that_Work_Against_Standards.pdf on January 24, 2011.

       

      Kramer, S. (2009). Solution Tree: Sharon Kramer on collaboration and pyramids of interventions. Retrieved on YouTube from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IK3n_2Ches on January 24, 2011.

       

      Maxwell, J.C. (2007). Do the leader’s math. Retrieved from http://www.businessweek.com/careers/content/jun2007/ca20070614_587055.htm on January 24 2011.

       

      Maxwell, J.C. (2009). Add value to people. Retrieved on YouTube from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grJZRVnzn8Y on January 24, 2011.

       

      Swan, R. (2010). Developing learning outcomes. Retrieved from http://ctl.byu.edu/showCollection.php?&pageUID=iGle4s85zAnx on January 24, 2011.

    • Blog post
    • 3 years ago
    • Views: 2357
  • College Readiness: Is College College Readiness: Is College For Everyone?

    • From: Steven_Weber
    • Description:

       

      “High schools that are designed to prepare large numbers of students for college success look dramatically different from those that prepare only a small proportion of their students for college success.”

       

      David Conley
      College Knowledge: Getting In is Only Half the Battle
                                                                        

       

       

      Introduction  

       

      On December 16, ASCD SmartBrief featured an article from Inside Higher Ed titled “What’s High School For?”   Glenn Sharfman, the author of the article, made several important points for parents, students, K-12 educators, and policymakers to consider.  He also caused me to reflect on the benefits of dual enrollment and college credit courses for high school students.

       

       

      Benefits of College Credit Courses 

      • Students have the opportunity to take rigorous courses which prepare them for college level courses.

      • Some students who think they are not “college-material” experience a ‘small win’ and decide that they are capable of enrolling in a two-year or four-year college or university.

      • In today’s economy, many families cannot afford a college education.  If a student can enter college with one semester or one year of college credit, it may inspire the family to pay for the first year, complete scholarship applications, apply for financial aid, or complete a two-year degree.

      • If the goal is for every American to take at least one year or more of higher education or career training, then dual enrollment prepares students for the next level (See President Obama’s Address to Joint Session of Congress - Tuesday, February 24th, 2009). 

       

       
      College Readiness


      Currently, there is a push in the United States to prepare all students to graduate from high school "College Ready."  Some students will opt for the workforce or other paths following graduation, but the goal of school districts should be to prepare students for college.  Traditional methods of preparing students for college remind me of the movie Rudy.  Educators, coaches, family and community members told Rudy that he was not smart enough.  They encouraged him to stay in town and work in the steel mill.  Several people said, "College is not for everybody."  Research by Achieve Inc. and the American Diploma Project indicate regardless of whether students go on to college or into the workforce after graduation, they still need the same knowledge and skills, particularly in English and mathematics.  Cynthia Schmeiser, ACT’s Education Division president and chief operating officer said, “It’s very clear that students who take the right courses are much more likely to be ready for success after high school than those who don’t (view full article online – August 2010).  Providing the opportunity to enroll in dual enrollment or a college course, as opposed to the traditional sorting and selecting of students, has become a matter of equity.

       

       

      College Prep for All Students

       

      Are All Students Prepared to Take Advanced High School Courses?  Within the past five years, high school teachers across the United States have struggled to answer this question.  Educators are the first to admit that all students do not learn at the same pace or through experiencing the same instructional methods.  Tracking students into college-ready courses and workforce-ready courses has been in existence for over 100 years.  The statement of the Committee of Ten (1892), that “The secondary schools of the United States, taken as a whole, do not exist for the purpose of preparing boys and girls for colleges. Only an insignificant percentage of the graduates of these schools go to colleges or scientific schools," illustrates the original goals of high school in the United States.  Throughout the past century, opportunity to learn has been extended to African Americans, Hispanics, students with disabilities, English Language Learners (ELL) and students who may not have a strong desire to pursue a high school or college education.

       

      High school teachers have changed their approach in an effort to prepare more students for college.  It appears that colleges and universities may need to revisit their approaches as well.   If college readiness is the new goal for high school students, then colleges will need to prepare faculty for teaching all students, even those who come to college lacking some of the skills of traditional four-year students.  High school educators would readily admit that hundreds of middle school students enter the ninth grade each year woefully unprepared for high school courses.  High school teachers do not have the luxury of sending the students back to the middle school.

       

       

      A Clear Purpose

       

      In 1931, Wrinkle wrote, “The planning of a program for education demands at the outset a clear conception of the purposes which that education is to serve” (p. 132).  In 2010, the most fundamental purpose of a high school education is graduation (Kirst & Venzia, 2006; Balfanz, 2009; Scherff & Piazza, 2009; Duncan, 2010).   The educational system in the United States needs to prepare students for post-secondary opportunities, rather than a terminal diploma (Sagawa, Shirley, & Schramm, 2008).  Students who have earned a high school diploma or who have fewer than 12 years of schooling face increasingly bleak prospects when they enter the workforce (National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, National Conference of State Legislatures, National Association of State Boards of Education, and Council of Chief State School Officers, 2008).

       

      College readiness should be an expectation and the norm for all students, regardless of their educational and career aspirations (Greene & Forster, 2003; Wimberly & Noeth, 2005; Achieve, 2007; Allensworth and Easton, 2007; Dougherty & Rutherford, 2009; Gwynne, Lesnick, Hart, & Allensworth, 2009; Pinkus, 2009; Learning Point Associates, 2010). 

        

       

      Do We Cheapen A College Education By Making It Seem Accessible To Nearly Everyone?

       

      Glenn Sharfman closed his article with this question.  While I agree that college prep courses should include rigorous coursework and that students should enter college prepared for the next level of learning, the truth is that high school students experience multiple benefits when they enroll in college courses (see the benefits cited in this article).  I have seen numerous high school students enroll in Early College, Middle College, AP courses, IB courses, UNC-Greensboro iSchool courses, and dual enrollment courses.  Many of these students had no desire or goal of enrolling in college following high school.  Based on their success in at least one college level course the students decided to pursue a college degree following high school graduation.  It appears that the tracking system that was envisioned by The Committee of Ten is slowly disappearing in some states.  If the goal for high school students is College Readiness, then colleges and universities need to open their doors to all students, not just the top 20% of the senior class.  “Students who fail to graduate from high school prepared to attend a four-year college are much less likely to gain full access to our country’s economic, political, and social opportunities” (Greene & Forster, 2003, p. 1).  Our nation needs to prepare more students for college level courses and dual enrollment should become the norm for all students, rather than an option for the elite students in our high schools.

       

       

      Note:


      I agree with the author that some courses such as Freshman English, Freshman Mathematics and other core courses determined by each college or university should be mandatory.  Perhaps a solution to the problem is to offer elective courses to high school students for college credit.  This would allow high school students to accumulate course credit, save families money, and give students a taste of college coursework, without sacrificing the integrity of the courses.  Colleges and universities could open their doors to traditionally underrepresented students, while maintaining entry level course requirements.

       

       

       

      References:

      Available upon request

    • Blog post
    • 4 years ago
    • Views: 1005
  • College Readiness: Not Just Fo College Readiness: Not Just For the Select Few

    • From: Steven_Weber
    • Description:

       

      “. . .All students, not just a select group, can learn and learn well. Talent is not something to be found in the few; it is to be developed in the many.”    

      - Lorin W. Anderson (2007) commenting on Benjamin S. Bloom’s work


      Students enter each grade level with multiple readiness levels.  Currently, there is a push in the United States to prepare students to graduate from high school "College Ready."  If a high school diploma symbolizes that a student is prepared for the next level of learning, then taxpayers, families and students would be safe to assume that college-readiness is the goal.  Some students will opt for the workforce or other paths following graduation, but the goal of school districts should be to prepare students for college.

       

      On February 24, 2009, President Barrack Obama called on all Americans to commit to at least one year of higher education or career training, as he stressed the importance of better schooling in reviving the nation's economy during his first address to Congress.  

       

      "So tonight I ask every American to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training," Obama said. "This can be a community college or a four-year school, vocational training or an apprenticeship. But whatever the training may be, every American will need to get more than a high school diploma."

       

      "We have one of the highest high-school dropout rates of any industrialized nation, and half of the students who begin college never finish," Obama said.

       

      What Can School Leaders Do?

      Lyndsay Pinkus (2009) recommends that policymakers should:


      Establish graduation and college and career readiness as the goal for all students and high schools;

       

      Improve national indicators for measuring college- and career-ready graduation;

       

      Reinvent accountability and school improvement to include multiple high school performance indicators;

       

      Invest in state and local systems to collect, analyze, and communicate data, including high school performance indicators;

       

      Build the capacity of educators and education leaders to use high school performance indicators; and

       

      Invest in research activities to inform the use of various high school performance indicators.

       

      For more information on this topic, visit:

       

      College Readiness
      ASCD EDge
      Steven Weber

       

      Can Schools Impact Opportunity to Learn?
      Steven Weber
      ASCD Edge

       

      The Challenge of College Readiness
      David Conley
      ASCD Educational Leadership - April 2007

       

      We must "[change] the question from `What students know and can do' to `What students know and can do as a result of their educational experiences.'" (Burstein & Winters, 1994). 

       

      References:

      Burstein, L., & Winters, L. (1994, June). Workshop on models for collecting and using opportunity to learn at the state level. Unpublished material, Albuquerque, NM.

       

      http://www.all4ed.org/files/SPIMovingBeyondAYP.pdf
      Moving Beyond AYP: High School Performance Indicators
      Lindsay M. Pinkus

       

      How to Define College Readiness
      Education Week - November 17, 2010
      Catherine Gewertz 

       

      http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/02/24/obama-high-school-education/
      Obama: High School Education Not Enough
      President Barack Obama’s First Address to Congress

    • Blog post
    • 4 years ago
    • Views: 1083
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