Sunday, March 14, 2010

Replacing NCLB (Part 1): aiming for college and career readiness

"College and career readiness by 2020" may soon replace proficiency by 2014" as the main goal of the  federal P-12 education programs.

Friday, the U.S. Department of Education announced its "blueprint" for revising the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the big section of federal law that includes the Title 1 program for students from low-income families, along with other sections on issues like school innovation, safe and drug free schools, children from migrant families, and many other education concerns.

The first big change is the push toward college and career readiness. Under the administration proposal, states will have will two options for reading and mathematics standards:
  • First, they can “upgrade their existing standards, working with their 4-year public university system to certify that mastery of the standards ensures that a student will not need to take remedial coursework upon admission to a postsecondary institution in the system.”
  • Second, they can adopt standards in common with other states.
Kentucky has, of course, already chosen the second option, and many states are likely to follow that approach.  However, states that prefer to continue using unique standards different from all other jurisdictions will be able to do so and able to continue receiving federal funding--provided their K-12 and postsecondary systems can agree that their home-grown standards are high enough to make remediation unnecessary.

States will also be required to set standards for science and for success in learning English.

As always, the approach the administration lists in its blueprint is sure to undergo major revisions during congressional hearings, votes, and negotiations.  This is only the start of the multi-branch discussion of how to change federal policy and funding.

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Updates and data on Kentucky education!