The release of our 2013 Policy Progress Report this week highlights the fact that much progress has been made to advance and implement state-level education reforms. However, even after passing a landmark education reform bill in 2012 and defending funding for these impressive reform packages in 2013, it’s clear that there’s still tons of work left to do.
So what’s new in this report? This year, we’ve introduced a rubric that will help us to hold all Connecticut stakeholders accountable for making the changes we need to narrow our widest-in-the-nation achievement gap. The rubric outlines a 10-year plan, and in just the first two years, Connecticut has already earned 31% of the available points.
As you’ll see in the report, Connecticut has received high marks for:
- Putting into place strong, reform-oriented leaders at the state level;
- Doing an impressive job of reforming teacher tenure;
- Building a teacher and principal evaluation and support system that links effectiveness to student growth measures; and
- Beginning to implement a framework to turn around our lowest-performing schools (Think Alliance Districts and Commissioner’s Network Schools!)
However, we there are still so many areas where we’d like to see improvement.
(1) For any of these interventions to be truly effective, we need to have the infrastructure for a quality, longitudinal data system that will track our students’ entire academic careers—linking achievement to teacher effectiveness, principal effectiveness, and the effectiveness of the programs that prepare these educators.
(2) We also need to do much more to set high standards for what our students should know and be able to do. That means effectively implementing the Common Core, increasing parental involvement, and providing all of our low-income students with pre-K opportunities.
(3) When students fall behind, we need to know early, so we can provide remediation to help them catch up. To put effective interventions into place, we’ll have to check in more often on our students’ progress, and use innovative strategies like extended time to quickly get them back on track.
(4) We need to do more to expand the leadership pipeline so that our schools and districts are headed up by effective principals and superintendents. This will require embracing Alternative Routes to Certification, establishing reciprocity with other states, and waiving bureaucratic barriers that impede the ability of superior candidates to get into our state.
(5) Finally, we need to do so much more to invest intelligently so that our education dollars are used in a transparent and equitable way.
You can find the rubrics and details here. We’ve made incredible progress, but we must continue these efforts, until every child in Connecticut has an exceptional education, without exception.