Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 19
in Early Childhood
The top-scoring states tend to have
parents with high levels of education,
and some also have made swift and
long-lasting policy shifts to provide
even the poorest of their population
access to high-quality preschool
In December, for example, a
statewide early-education blueribbon committee in New York,
ninth on the list, proposed that
the legislature set aside $2 million
to establish five "Early Learning
Regional Technical Assistance
Centers" to train educators how
to provide mental health services
and the best educational settings
for the state's neediest children,
and $700,000 to screen for learning
disabilities before they enter
And New Hampshire provides
literacy screenings of its earliest
learners and offers free pre-K
summer camp to those who score
in the 49th percentile.
Leading states tend to get large
portions of their student body into
and through college.
In eight-ranked Pennsylvania,
where close to 66 percent of the high
school graduates went on to pursue
a postsecondary education, the state
education department set up as part
of its standards review process in
2015 a robust K-12 curriculum for
college and career planning. Last
year, Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat,
signed into law a bill that allows
students who earn credentials
through one of the state's many
career and technical education
programs, to opt out of the state's
high school exit exam.
In Minnesota, which ranks tenth,
the legislature required that starting
in 2013 all 9th graders create
a "personal learning plan" that
includes academic scheduling and
career and college access exploration.
U.S. Grades Over Time
When Education Week launched its first Quality Counts report card in 1997, states averaged a C grade.
Even as grading criteria have shifted over time, the nation's results haven't budged much. In 2008, as a new
grading framework was unveiled, the nation again received a C. After a grading hiatus in 2014 to rethink
indicators and the debut of a new approach the next year, the nation's performance remained mediocre.
SOURCE: Education Week Research Center, 2018
What Will It Take to Turn Marginal Gains
Into True Momentum on School Quality?
By Daarel Burnette II
Last year, state officials nationwide got a startling reality
check about attitudes toward school policy when they held public meetings about how to reset their K-12 agendas under the
Every Student Succeeds Act.
Trust in state accountability system had eroded. Teachers
were exhausted from haphazard, underfunded, and shortlasting reform efforts. And in many places, concentrated
poverty had constricted more than ever schools' day-to-day
But while there was large consensus about the problems
among those who participated in last year's ESSA feedback,
there was little agreement on solutions.
That's been the case nationally for a long time.
America's schools made large academic gains between
1960 and 1980 as schools across the country racially integrated, colleges opened their doors to more students, and
states overhauled their school spending habits.
But those gains have since stalled. Since its inception
in 1997, Quality Counts has given the nation as a whole a
grade of C most years, with high-performing states and improvements in the middle of the pack still unable to budge
the nation's overall score upward to any significant degree.
(This year, the nation kept its C grade, while creeping up a
fraction of a point numerically from last year. Twenty-one
states fell below a C average.)
What's to Blame?
State leaders have in recent years blamed this lack of
progress on the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which
went into effect in 2002 and was superceded by ESSA's
passage in 2015. The law's expectations were unrealistic,
they said. It relied too heavily on math and reading tests.
And its solutions for states' most-troubled schools were too
With the passage of ESSA, the nation moves into an era
where state and local politicians will have plenty more power
to set their own academic goals and design pathways to
reaching those goals.
Their plans, most of which are currently being evaluated
by the U.S. Department of Education, go into effect this fall.
To provide context for this year's Quality Counts scores, Education Week interviewed researchers, advocates, and practitioners about what state leaders must do to create a more
conducive climate for school improvement. Among the steps
they say states should take:
* Be more honest and transparent with the public about
the academic state of their schools.
* Provide parents of poor and disenfranchised students
political vehicles to demand change.
* Organize their school-governance systems so that it's
more apparent to the public who's in charge.
* More appropriately fund and organize state education
agencies so that they're equipped to design and implement
statewide school improvement initiatives.
And even with ESSA's new flexibility, they warn, progress
in the coming years will be spotty between rich and poor
"There will become a state-by-state gap in quality where
the already successful states will get more successful, and
the non-successful states will become even more non-successful," said Gary Hoover, a professor of economics at the
University Oklahoma who has studied the impact of state
and district education policy. With less funding and federal
oversight, he said, states' problem areas typically compound
With states more in charge of policy now, parents
"A key opportunity will be
for states to work with each
other and share knowledge
State University of New York at Albany
will be in a better political position to organize and put
more pressure on elected leaders, many experts say.
But there's no telling if parents will even demand much
While just a third of America's students meet basic
state reading and math standards, 90 percent of parents think their child is doing perfectly fine, according
to a survey conducted by Learning Heroes, a nonprofit
that consults with states to develop more parent-friendly
school report cards.
Further, America's rapidly growing poor and minority communities, whose segregated and isolated schools struggle the
most, still hold relatively little political capital in states.
ESSA requires states to report much more detailed information about their schools, including teacher quality,
PAGE 21 >
EDUCATION WEEK | January 17, 2018 | www.edweek.org | 19
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - January 17, 2018
Education Week - January 17, 2018
QUALITY COUNTS 2018: Grading the States
Cheating Scandal in Atlanta Casts Long Shadow
Unknown Fate for DACA Leaves Dreamers on Edge
News in Brief
Ed. Dept. Finds Texas Suppressed Spec. Ed. Enrollment
How Classroom Location Matters In Teacher Collaboration
How Much Reform Is Too Much? Teachers Weigh In
Students Thrive When They See Purpose In Their Learning
K-12 Districts Advised on Rights in Post-‘Net Neutrality’ Era
What’s on the Runway for Trump, Congress on Education?
Year One: K-12 Presidential Scorecards
States Slow in Adopting ESSA’s Testing Flexibility
At Halfway Mark, Congress Faces Pile of Education Issues
K-12 Key Topic for State Legislators
Patrick J. Wolf: Four Sound Practices for Public Debate
DATA: Which 2018 RHSU Edu-Scholars have the greatest social-media influence?
Pedro A. Noguera: How to Decide When Your Voice Is Necessary
DATA: Where are the Edu-Scholars?
Robert Kelchen: Some Cautions for Junior Scholars (and Their Institutions)
DATA: Percentage of 2018 RHSU Edu-Scholars with Twitter accounts
Diana Hess: Scholars, Don’t Overstep Your Expertise
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Frederick M. Hess: When Public Scholarship Gives Way to Bombast and Bluster
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - Unknown Fate for DACA Leaves Dreamers on Edge
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 2
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 3
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - News in Brief
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 5
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - Ed. Dept. Finds Texas Suppressed Spec. Ed. Enrollment
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - How Classroom Location Matters In Teacher Collaboration
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - How Much Reform Is Too Much? Teachers Weigh In
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - Students Thrive When They See Purpose In Their Learning
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - K-12 Districts Advised on Rights in Post-‘Net Neutrality’ Era
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 11
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 12
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 13
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 14
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 15
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 16
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 17
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 18
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 19
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 20
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 21
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - Year One: K-12 Presidential Scorecards
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - States Slow in Adopting ESSA’s Testing Flexibility
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - K-12 Key Topic for State Legislators
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - DATA: Which 2018 RHSU Edu-Scholars have the greatest social-media influence?
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - DATA: Percentage of 2018 RHSU Edu-Scholars with Twitter accounts
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - Diana Hess: Scholars, Don’t Overstep Your Expertise
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - Letters
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 30
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 31
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - Frederick M. Hess: When Public Scholarship Gives Way to Bombast and Bluster
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - CW1
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - CW2
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - CW3
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - CW4