That was then, this is now… MA Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester in 2004:
“Most of the states made a commitment to standards for students that predates No Child Left Behind. What No Child Left Behind did was mandate the yearly measurement of progress toward meeting those standards and then to report the results publicly. Very often, responses to accountability and the No Child Left Behind law are defined by the sense of urgency with which one hopes to change the current educational system. In Ohio, and in many other places, the people most resistant to accountability measures are very often employed by the education establishment: They’re resistant to having inferences drawn about their effectiveness. But people outside the system-that is, parents and community members-share a great sense of urgency about pushing the system in a new direction. What the accountability system does, and what No Child Left Behind does, is create some transparency in the system and put those of us in the education profession in a position of having to confront the realities about the kind of achievement we’re accomplishing with kids-especially kids from groups that traditionally have not been well-served by schools. That’s uncomfortable, but it’s an opportunity to rethink the system, which is very positive.
Commissioner Chester in today’s Boston Globe:
Mitchell Chester, commissioner of elementary and secondary education, said the requirement that 100 percent of students be “proficient” on state exams by 2014 – a key part of the federal act – has lost credibility as an increasing number of schools and districts fail to demonstrate yearly progress in getting more students to perform at that level.
So, why the change of heart, Commissioner? In the same piece, Pioneer’s Jamie Gass makes the case that Massachusetts is backsliding on high expectations for student achievement by seeking a waiver from NCLB.
The Joint Cmte on Education held a hearing yesteray on dropout prevention. Jim Stergios says Massachusetts should work to reduce its dropout rate by adopting proven methods of success, and not get bogged down with new proposals to add layers of staff.
Pioneer is working hard to make public information more accessible. Greater transparency can help citizens keep watch over how their government is spending their money, and it can help public officials share best practices. Here are a few of our initiatives that serve each purpose:
PioneerMuniShare.org – http://pioneermunishare.org/
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MuckRock – http://www.pioneerinstitute.or…
Through our partnership with Michael Morisy of MuckRock, we bring you primary source material uncovered through public records requests regarding Massachusetts policymaking. We hope that our original findings on economic development, tax incentives, education, and health care will become a resource for public officials, investigative reporters, and citizens like you. Check back soon for MuckRock’s next blog post, which reviews public records related to the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector.
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