Goal: Students leave high school “college or career ready”

Obama Wants ‘No Child Left Behind’ Overhauled

The president will seek to change the way schools are judged as successes or failures and will eliminate the law’s 2014 deadline for bringing every single American student to academic proficiency. Sources say he’ll seek to replace the law’s binary pass-fail accountability system with one that divides schools into more nuanced categories, and that he’d replace the 2014 deadline, which Education Secretary Arne Duncan has called a “utopian goal,” with the goal of having all students leave high school “college or career ready.”

Read it at The New York Times

11 Comments

Filed under Public Education

11 responses to “Goal: Students leave high school “college or career ready”

  1. fnord

    Over the weekend I read an article in my latest New Yorker about Arne Duncan, the United States Secretary of Education. Only the abstract is available online — here.

    The article starts out with a warning to Duncan from his deputy chief as he is preparing to speak. “You can’t say screwed!”

    According to the article, Duncan often says “screwed” when he describes what American students face — low standards, under-performing schools, inequities in spending and opportunity. He also says, “We’ve fallen behind, but we can regain our former preeminence in public education and, while we’re at it, educate our way out of the financial crisis.”

    Arne Duncan, according to Newt Gingrich, is Obama’s “one real bipartisan appointment.” His appointment represented a defeat for teacher’s unions, and Diane Ravitch, of NY University, accused him of giving the Bush Administration a third term in education.

    So will he shake up public education in ways good for our students, best for our future? In today’s world of adults who ‘think’ a person like Sarah Palin is qualified to lead, or Beck, Rush, Hannity, et al, are more than entertainers with a bent for meanness and maybe even violence, we certainly need education badly!

    What do you think would improve public education?

  2. fnord

    Some background from the New Yorker article about Arne Duncan —

    He grew up in Chicago and attended the University of Chicago’s Laboratory Schools — heavily populated by faculty children (this is the school the Obama girls attended before moving to The White House). Duncan’s father was a professor of psychology.

    Duncan’s Mother, Sue, has operated the Sue Duncan Children’s Center since 1961, in a beat-up neighborhood north of Hyde Park. Arne Duncan went to Sue’s after school and he says it had a profound influence on him and has motivated him to close the gap between the school he attended and the center his Mother runs.

    Duncan describes the children at Sue’s as coming from poor, typically under-educated families. Most didn’t have fathers living at home. Often, they had no one to read to them, not even anyone with time to know whether they did, or could, read. The odds were against them in school and in life.

    Arne Duncan says, “Growing up down there, and having friends from the program and from the streets die when I was twelve, thirteen — that scarred me. It was hard to comprehend. As much as the success stories have shaped me and given me hope, those deaths might be an even bigger motivator. The guys who got killed were the guys who didn’t finish high school. It was literally the dividing line between you live or you die. Nobody who went to college died young.”

    But how widely do the lessons of the South Side apply? “It shows that the stakes are so high,” Duncan says. “Education predicts disparities in life chances, outcomes, life income, and the disparity has never been starker. I do absolutely see — the dividing line in our society is around educational opportunity, more than around race, even though the two are obviously related. Educational opportunity increasingly divides the have and have-nots, who’s contributing to society and who’s a weight on society.”

  3. fnord

    Arne Duncan is 45 years old, 6’5″ tall, played guard and small forward for the Eastside Spectres and the Launceston Ocelots, in Australia, after graduating from Harvard. In 1991 he and his wife returned to America (they now have two small children), and he has worked in education since then. His last assignment was as Superintendent of Chicago Public Schools from 2001 – 2009.

    In Chicago he opened new specialized schools, many of them charters, and increased student’s range of choice. He pressed for better data, tracking, for instance, how graduates did in college. He used ‘Teach for America,’ ‘New Leaders for New Schools,’ and other programs to bring new talent into the teaching and administrative ranks. A law firm runs one school on the West Side. He got a lot of people and groups involved in school reform.

    He thinks now that he is working at the national level, a “perfect storm for reform” — a heightened awareness of global competition, agreement that there is a crisis, plus the desperation of near-broke states — will allow him to push his programs through.

  4. lillacluvr

    “Goal: Students leave high school “college or career ready”

    This topic header is what my high school was all about and I graduated in 1971.

    I remember we all had an appointment with the high school guidance counselor and we had to choose if we wanted the college-bound curriculum or the career-ready curriculum.

    I assumed all schools were doing this – but maybe not??

    But the problem today is that alot of that career-ready classes were to prepare students for jobs that no longer exist today – manufacturing, construction, etc.

    But another problem I never hear much about is the drop out rate. Why are we so willing to accept the high drop-out rate in our schools?

    Why do we seem content with the way our children are being educated today? We throw money at the problem and then Bush pushed the NCLB at the schools with no funding to implement it. And then we have illegal immigrant children going into the public schools with little or no English and then we wonder why our education system is so bad?

    Republicans like to use the teachers union as their whipping boy but I seriously doubt the teachers in that union are any happier than we are about the condition of their schools.

    And that is another thing – the physical condition of our schools.

    Remember when the Kansas Universities were all having buildings crumbling down around them because very little money was budgeted for maitenance?

    How can we as a nation call ourselves superior when we have allowed our education system to fail us?

    But, I’ve heard alot of Republicans advocate for eliminating public education all together – is that what their goal is? Eliminate public education and only those with the financial means will be able to educate their children?

    Is that really what this country needs – an even bigger gap between the haves and the have nots?

    • “But, I’ve heard alot of Republicans advocate for eliminating public education all together – is that what their goal is? ”

      Yes. That IS their goal. It is part of the conservative agenda for getting rid of the nanny government. They don’t believe that they should pay to educate anyone’s children but their own. These are the same ones that send their kids to private schools because they don’t like what the public schools are teaching. (“a liberal agenda”)

      That is why I don’t support vouchers or charter schools–anything that funnels taxpayer money to private companies. It takes money from the kids that need it most and makes some jack-ass corporate hack rich. If the vouchers or charter schools are successful, the logical conclusion will be the eventual closing of all public schools. And then where will we be? Will we have any control at all over what kind of education our children are getting? Will we have an underclass of poor uneducated children with no hope or opportunity?

  5. tosmarttobegop

    Lill here too, I graduated in 1976 and yes school was geared toward the student going to college.
    Else there were those classes to prepare for a career.

    Even if you were not likely to be going to college you were still expected to learn more then just enough.

    It is a extremely long story and explanation, but I was shocked when I realized that very little was being taught or expected out of those educated after I was out of School.

    Michelangelo, the Sistine chapel do you know who and what I am referring to?
    Seven out of twelve did not know or had heard of either one night at work.

    I thought it would be a neat trivia question, When the new pope took over and his first tour of the Sistine chapel he was shocked at the nudity in the painting on the ceiling, saying it was better suited to a broody house ( whore house/ drinking house) then for a house of God.

    he hired another artist to censor the paintings, which the artist did by painting large under pants over the nudity.

    Art history has long forgotten the artist name and he had became known by the Italian phrase for
    “Big Underpants” .

    OK so I went to work that night and asked if anyone knew the name of the artist?

    The majority to my shock did not even know who Michelangelo was and had not heard of the Sistine Chapel!

    Of those who did know it was those who had at least two years of college and they were all under 35 Y.O.

    I was the worst student in school, I graduate 352nd out of 355 by GPA and still managed to graduate.

    I have yet to meet a teacher who liked NCLB, the common complain being that it means the best and brightest are held back to the level of the worst student in class.

  6. The one thing I never see as part of education reform proposals is anything giving the parents any responsibility for their children. I’m saying that, and right off, I don’t know how it would be done.

    All the same, I know from some limited time I spent in front of classrooms and working with elementary school teachers and what I know from my son and his teachers is that great teachers are often held back by kids who are disruptive and parents who support that sort of behavior.

    Accountability all around would probably help all concerned. Blaming and pressuring the teachers is not the whole answer

    • lillacluvr

      When my kids were in high school, I saw with my own eyes certain parents who came into the school ranting and raving like some lunatic because some teacher had the nerve to give their precious Billy or Sally a C in their class and then that student could not be on the sports team.

      These people were always well dressed, drove the nicest cars and appeared to have money. What they did not have was a brain with which to thank that teacher for having the guts to tell it like it was and give the kid what they deserved.

      But, time after time, I watched as the principal backed down and let the kid in question slide by and be able to play in that week’s game.

      What do you think the kid learned from that experience?

  7. fnord

    Certainly the students who have parents who encourage and support education have an easier time. And, sadly, maybe those same students don’t get as much attention at school. Teachers have just so many hours and if they’re graded on how the entire class achieves, we know where they must spend that time.

    That is a recipe for bringing the best students down to the level of mediocrity.

    When you talk about merit pay for teachers or success of students being a yardstick of how well the school is doing, how do you define the impact of the teacher separate from the family and the community?

  8. lillacluvr

    What always frustrated me about the NCLB was that the entire school was deemed successful or not successful based on standardized testing.

    What about those schools with a majority of non-English speaking students and/or parents?

    How can any teacher(s) be held accountable for reaching maximum testing standards when alot of your students have trouble understanding the teacher?

  9. tosmarttobegop

    We expect a great deal out of teachers, far beyond simply being knowledgeable and teaching children the subjects. Social worker, child development experts and Doctors of medicine.

    The other side of the coin parents become offended if the teacher is see to be installing morals and being the enforcer of social order. a role that the parent is suppose to have yet when a child rebels at school the parents do not often back the actions of the teacher.