Education Week - January 23, 2013 - (Page 10)

10 EDUCATION WEEK n JANUARY 23, 2013 BLOGS of the WEEK | NEWS | Curriculum Matters Science Draft Tackles College Readiness With all the talk in education circles these days about “college and career readiness,” it may come as little surprise that the issue is now being raised in the context of the common standards for science under development. In fact, an appendix to the n draft of the Next Generation Science Standards issued this month takes a stab at defining the concept. The document suggests that while college and career readiness may be familiar terrain in mathematics and English/language arts, that’s not the case for science. To address the matter, the nonprofit group Achieve (which is helping to oversee development of the new science standards) convened experts in scientific disciplines, science education, and workforce readiness to explore the matter. They sought to take into account the context provided as a result of the common-core standards, while “acknowledging the unique nature of science and its increasingly critical role in the future of our society and economy,” the appendix says. The draft identifies five dimensions of readiness, such as an ability to apply science and engineering practices, crosscutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas to make sense of the world and approach problems not previously encountered. One thorny issue with college and career readiness is the blending of those two dimensions into one definition. Does someone really need the same skills and knowledge for a career as for college? (The draft references a definition of “career ready” from the Common Core State Standards that is focused on “preparation for entry-level positions in quality jobs and career pathways that often require further education and training.”) Suffice to say that some experts question this premise. Leaving that issue aside, the appendix points to some significant differences between the definitions for science, and math and English/language arts. It notes that research on the latter is “quite robust,” but it is “still primitive” when it comes to the former content. In fact, one challenge for science is that some measures often used for defining readiness don’t apply in this subject. The appendix says that with the NISL’S PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM FOR SCHOOL LEADERS “ I finally received a roadmap to bring about change.” Marjorie Soto principal, joseph j. hurley k-8 school, boston ma When I first came on board as principal, the Hurley School was performing far below the district average. Then Boston Public Schools selected me to participate in a leadership development program from NISL. To date, it is the best professional development I’ve ever had. The professional development was all around the work that I was doing every day. NISL gave me the tools to establish a clear mission that was measurable, meaningful, and doable. I was able to step back and look at the full picture–at what needed to be accomplished and the steps needed to get there. I finally received a roadmap to bring about change. Since then, I’ve seen a complete cultural change in my school. We no longer spend time explaining poor results, but instead look to the data to inform how we teach. Now we’re all keepers of the vision. We’re all working as a team. NISL congratulates Marjorie Soto on leading the Hurley School to close the achievement gap at a rate four times greater than the district average and to be a finalist for Boston’s School on the Move. Learn how she did it and how your district can provide a roadmap to your school leaders. P: 202.449.5060 E: INFO@NISL.NET common-core standards, “college ready” indicates preparation for credit-bearing coursework in twoor four-year institutions without the need for remediation and with a strong chance for earning credit toward a degree. So, what’s the problem? Most students enroll directly in credit-bearing courses in science because there are no real alternatives. Also, most postsecondary options don’t include a placement test to determine the appropriate level of science course to enroll in. As I noted on this blog the other day, on the college side, the appendix makes clear that higher education is moving beyond an emphasis on learning content. “A transformation in college science education is under way, informed by how students learn,” it says.“[W]hat is taught will be much more than content. College science and engineering education will tend toward disciplinary intersections, focus on core concepts, and integrate practices into instruction.” As with the latest draft standards themselves, the appendix on college and career readiness (one of 11 appendices!) is also considered a draft, and organizers are inviting feedback —ERIK W. ROBELEN to help revise it.  | NEWS | Charters & Choice D.C. Law Tops Charter List The Center for Education Reform has released its 14th annual scorecard on charter school laws. The District of Columbia came in first as having the strongest of the nation’s 43 charter laws, earning an A. Other A-rated states were Minnesota, Indiana, and Michigan. Nine states earned a B, 16 states earned a C, and 11 states earned D and F grades. Kansas, Iowa, Virginia, and Mississippi earned Fs. States were ranked based on whether or not they have independent charter authorizers, and an appeal process for rejected charter applications, how much operational autonomy charters have, whether or not there is a cap on the number of charters, the amount of student and facility funding provided to charters, and how they have implemented the laws. Jeanne Allen, the president of the Center for Education Reform, which supports charter schools, said the scorecard shows only “satisfactory progress.” “In the past two years, we’ve seen two new charter laws but both are average in their construction, unlikely to yield large numbers of successful charter schools, and only minimal state improvements,” she said in a —KATIE ASH press release.  >> To see all Education Week blogs, go to

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - January 23, 2013

Education Week - January 23, 2013
Nation, Districts Step Up Safety
Colleges Overproducing Elementary-Level Teachers
INDUSTRY & INNOVATION: Calif. Districts Link To Push Shared Goals
Loss of Veterans Doesn’t Hurt Scores
News in Brief
Report Roundup
FOCUS ON: CHARTER SCHOOLS: Charters Prepare for the Challenges Of Common Core
Civil Rights Groups: Discipline Excessive In Miss. Schools
Children Still Prefer Print Books to E-Books
Mainstream Video Games Move Into Ed.
Blogs of the Week
Obama Presses School Safety, Mental-Health Efforts
State Data: Use With Caution
State Finance Lawsuits Still Roiling Landscape
Stretched Schools Push to Extend Lifespan Of Books
Policy Brief
STATE OF THE STATES: Vt. Governor Launches Four-Point Education Initiative
State of the States
MARTIN CARNOY & RICHARD ROTHSTEIN: International Tests Reveal Surprises at Home and Abroad
DAVID T. CONLEY: What’s in a Name
ALAN C. JONES: Schools for Other People’s Children
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
PETER GIBBON: A Timeless View of Education From 1899

Education Week - January 23, 2013