Monday, November 22, 2010

It's National Day of Blogging for Real Education Reform. Join the Discussion!

Today is the National Day of Blogging for Real Education Reform, an opportunity for people to discuss real education reform and the opportunities that lie ahead.

Since Superintendent Luna took office in 2007, he has implemented a number of educational reforms across Idaho that led to Idaho schools making significant strides in student achievement. In 2007, just 26 percent of Idaho schools met the high academic goals we set for them. Now, 62 percent of schools are reaching these high goals.

How has Idaho accomplished this?  The credit first and foremost goes to the talented teachers, dedicated parents and hard-working students across our great state.

The investments and reforms we have made to our education system have also contributed to the great success we have seen statewide. Here are some of the things Idaho has worked on in recent years:
  • Idaho established a strong Statewide System of Support to provide support and technical assistance to schools and districts at every level. The System includes the Idaho Building Capacity Project, which provides one-on-one instructional coaches to schools identified as in need of improvement.
  • Superintendent Luna secured the Classroom Enhancement Package, which included $20 million in new money a year for schools for classroom supplies, textbooks and remediation funding.
  • With support from the Governor and Legislature, the state has implemented the Idaho Education Network statewide. The state is halfway into a three-year project of connecting every public high school and college and university to the Idaho Education Network (IEN), a high-speed, secure intranet system that gives students access to unprecedented educational opportunities. The IEN offers unprecedented educational opportunities, such as access to advanced courses and dual credit courses, to students in the most rural and remote parts of Idaho.
  • Superintendent Luna created the Middle Level Task Force to address ways the state could better prepare Idaho students for high school and beyond. As a result, the state has now created a Middle Level Credit System to hold students accountable in 7th and 8th grades.
  • Idaho is one of only three states across the nation to develop a statewide Teacher Performance Evaluation Framework. The system develops statewide standards for teachers across Idaho.
  • Idaho is in the process of adopting Common Core State Standards for math and English language arts. These standards are higher, more rigorous and comparable with any top-performing country around the world.
These are just some of the reforms Idaho has implemented over the past four years.  We recognize we still have a long way to go. The ultimate goal has to be ensure every student graduates from high school and not only graduates but is prepared to go on to postsecondary education or the workforce without the need for remediation.

If you are interested in learning more about education reform happening on a state and national scale, here are a few things to check out:
  • Take a look at the Education Alliance of Idaho’s recommendations for improving student achievement across Idaho. For two years, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna, Governor Otter, key educational stakeholder groups, and representatives of the state’s largest corporations worked to develop and agree upon these goals and performance indicators.  
  • Read the text of Bill Gates's speech to the Council of Chief State School Officers last week. He outlines his ideas for moving education forward.
  • Secretary Duncan has also weighed in on National Day of Blogging for Real Education Reform with his ideas.
  • ASCD has pulled together several other articles on education reform.
 ~ Melissa M.

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