It’s many, many months until the school bell rings for the start of the 2014–15 school year, but education advocates in Washington D.C., Illinois and across the country are already getting ready.
Recently, Education Sector, an independent education policy think tank, held a panel discussion about the Common Core State Standards. The Standards will lead to new K–12 academic standards and assessments for the 2014 school year.
The education world and some policymakers know about the changes but not enough people outside of these arenas are up-to-speed. That lack of knowledge and the need for better communication and messaging were all part of the discussion that included Robin Steans, Executive Director at Advance Illinois; Joel Vargas, Vice President at Jobs for the Future; and Michael Cohen, President at Achieve.
The panel members agreed that policymakers can’t wait for more money to arrive in order to reform schools and get ready for 2014—there is just no more money coming down the line. Tom Luna, Superintendent of Public Instruction at Idaho State Department of Education, pointed out that last year 30 states passed education reform bills and were able to make changes even without extra dollars.
In terms of current resources, Allan Odden, professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison, stated that right now half of all federal block grant dollars intended for teacher observation and tutoring don’t end up going to those programs in the states. He believes something needs to be done to ensure dollars are flowing were they are meant to go.
Back-to-school 2014 will bring about some of the biggest changes in education since No Child Left Behind, at least in the 46 states and the District of Columbia as they have all adopted the new Standards. The clock is ticking.
— Adam Shapiro, Vice President
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