Recent initiatives in education reflect national movement toward education reform as reflected in President Barack Obama’s blue print for education reform and the U.S. Department of Education’s (USDE) standards for the Race to the Top (RTT) competition. A few examples are described below.
On June 9, 2010 Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado introduced in Congress a bill called the Lead Act to address measures to turn around the lowest performing schools across the country. The Lead Act proposes to create opportunities for the best principals in the country to obtain the training and support they need for the successful transformation of their respective lowest performing schools. The bill establishes the School Leadership Academy and local School Leadership Centers of Excellence for principal training. The Academy will develop a leadership training program and a framework for the local Centers which will be managed by partnerships between non-profit organizations, institutions of higher education and state or local education agencies. The bill, S. 3469, was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
Focusing on the equitable distribution of effective teachers, efforts are being renewed to pilot and study strategies for pairing effective teachers with students in low-performing, high poverty schools. This initiative will differ from earlier efforts by including more sophisticated techniques to target the best teachers and better transfer incentives and retention strategies. In some instances, whole teams of educators may be placed in a low-performing school, rather one individual teacher.
Using data to track student and school performance is another important factor in the blueprint for education reform and RTT. Education Week reports that school districts across the country are aggressively using data to help keep students on track for graduation. Many schools have access to data systems that allow early detection of problems, giving school educators and administrators more timely opportunities to develop strategies to prevent at-risk students from failing or dropping out. Please use the following link to review the full report by Education Week.