Education Week - April 5, 2017 - 23
change takes time
and requires our
SCOTT LABAND is the president of Colorado Succeeds, a nonprofit,
nonpartisan coalition of business leaders committed to improving the state's
education system. During the 2010 legislative session, he was the legislative
director for Colorado state Sen. Mike Johnston.
or for worse,
has become the
personification of the
in the eyes of the
tionally and politically, we must be faithful to all of the principles upon which the
charter idea was built, not some at the expense of others. Charter schools without
autonomy have no ability to innovate and
excel. Charter schools without accountability will simply become a parallel system of failing schools.
If we want to create much-needed better
educational options for kids, we must recommit to the original principles that have
enabled many charter schools to achieve
excellence. Then, our conversations with
friends and neighbors might be less about
who's at the helm of the U.S. Department
of Education and more about how charter
schools are providing a good education to
millions more children. n
GREG RICHMOND is the president and CEO of the
National Association of Charter School Authorizers.
Mentoring: A Common-Sense
Solution for At-Risk Youths
By Kenneth Ward
our years ago, I received an
urgent phone call. A college
freshman had made a few
wrong choices and was in
danger of being expelled. A
former public high school
student who had been supported by the mentoring
program College Bound, which I lead, this
young man was reaching out for help. He
and his former mentor had stayed in touch
through email, even after the young man
graduated from high school. His mentor
and I were on a flight the next day.
We spoke with his college administrators
and helped get the student back on track.
Since then, he's held internships at the
White House and the U.S. House of Representatives. This May, he will graduate
from college, and his mentor will be in attendance. And next fall, he will become one
of our mentors.
This was just one of the many successes I have witnessed as a result of our
mentoring at-risk youths in Washington,
Providing the nation's students with a
consistent and caring adult relationship
throughout their high school and college
years is a simple, cost-effective way to help
ensure that they are prepared to succeed.
In fact, mentoring has the power to drive
successful academic outcomes for even the
lowest-performing high school students.
The public school graduation rate in the
nation's capital rose to 69 percent in 2016,
up from 64 percent in 2015. While that statistic reflects a jump of a few percentage
points, it's a superficial quantifier. Getting
students out the door is not enough.
I know from experience that too many
students receive passing grades and graduate from high school but are unprepared for
what follows. Dropping out is no longer just
a high school problem. Colleges are seeing
their dropout numbers climb. In 2009, the
United States' college-dropout rate exceeded that of high school. In 2013, there
were 29.1 million college dropouts vs. 24.5
million from high school.
We must make sure students not only
graduate from high school, but also have
the tools and the support to succeed once
they do. Programs that provide students
with trusted adult relationships should
consider extending virtual-mentoring support during the college transition. That's
what we do, and that's what likely saved
the college career of the young man who
reached out to us four years ago.
According to a 2014 study by the nonprofit MENTOR: The National Mentoring
Partnership, one in three young people
ages 18 to 21-an estimated 16 million
youths-report that they have never had
a mentor of any kind, whether a family
member or another older adult. For at-risk
youths, the numbers are even higher: An
estimated 9 million students don't have
This is a problem we must remedy. One
of the most pressing issues in the District
of Columbia is its high school truancy rate,
which is at roughly 56 percent. Big Brothers Big Sisters of America reports that
students with mentors are 52 percent less
likely to skip a day of school than their
mentorless peers. And according to the
National Mentoring Partnership's analysis of more than 70 mentoring-program
evaluations, a mentor-student relationship
creates social, emotional, behavioral, and
academic improvements in young people's
development, resulting in higher graduation rates and college enrollment.
Mentored students are more likely to
participate in extracurricular activities,
and have better relationships with adults.
They are also less likely to start using illegal drugs or start drinking alcohol.
One-on-one mentoring programs also
offer students more than academic tutoring, including the opportunity to have
out the door is
changes to state assessment systems.
Many states are just now entering their third year of administering PARCC or Smarter Balanced exams, so reliable
student-growth data from the new tests-a key component of
the new evaluation systems-are just beginning to roll out. And
locally developed assessment systems and other measures are
still being validated. These delays aren't failures of new evaluation laws; rather, they are the result of a need to make sure the
academic-growth data educators are held accountable to are fair,
reliable, and measure student learning.
As business leaders who have managed large-scale change
efforts, our members know that urgency is important, but impatience can lead to bad decisions. Those of us who worked on
getting teacher-evaluation laws passed or have worked on supporting their implementation never harbored illusions that this
was going to be an easy lift. Transformational change takes time
and requires our continued focus.
Think back to the late 1990s, when public charter schools were
a new phenomenon in many parts of the country. They weren't
spreading as quickly or having the immediate impact that advocates had hoped. Did those advocates declare the experiment
a failure and raise the white flag? Of course not. Today, many
states have a thriving charter school sector that is making a
real difference in the lives of tens of thousands of children and
in many cases outperforming traditional neighborhood schools.
Like those charter advocates, we must acknowledge that improvements are needed, that support remains necessary, and
that our work isn't finished simply by passing policy. It's important for advocates and critics alike to understand what pieces of
the new evaluation laws are and aren't working and why. More
research is needed to understand the variances in district implementation across the state and how we might see more improvement with even greater buy-in.
Most importantly, though, we shouldn't lose sight of the fact
that teacher-evaluation and tenure-reform laws have sparked
significant change and improvement to states' evaluation and
I'm confident that, through continued work together, we can
make sure these systems only get better.
And that serves all children well. n
a confidant and role model. At College
Bound, each mentor (a college-educated
working professional) meets with an 8th
or 9th grader for weekly study sessions. As
the relationship continues over the next
four to five years, the mentor and the student connect outside the academic space
at social gatherings, such as concerts, lectures, or sporting events. Of the nearly 200
students who attend our program over the
course of high school, all graduate and go
on to attend college.
When adults encourage students to recognize their potential, while also exposing
them to opportunities that would otherwise
be inaccessible, the difference it can make
for students is unparalleled.
As a nation, we can continue to argue
over whether we should make school choice
programs more available, to wring our
hands over how to reinvigorate our public
school system, or to blame teachers' unions
for the mess. Or we can expand mentoring
programs for students that will have a lasting effect on their lives, well beyond their
teenage years. The choice seems obvious. n
KENNETH WARD is a former public school teacher
and the current executive director of College
Bound, an all-volunteer local after-school program
in Washington that supports at-risk youths with
academic tutoring and mentoring.
EDUCATION WEEK | April 5, 2017 | www.edweek.org | 23
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - April 5, 2017
Education Week - April 5, 2017
ENDREW F. RULING
High Court Ruling Firms Up Goal Posts On Spec. Ed. Rights
Teachers Not Shying From Political Topics
New Dimension to Kansas’ Funding Puzzle
Title II Funds Facing the Ax Under Trump
School Rape Case Inflames Immigration Fight
News in Brief
States Get More Leeway on Identifying ‘Dropout Factories’
Course Access: A Different Way To Expand School Choice?
Sydney Bruner, a junior at Prairie High School in Cottonwood, Idaho, studies for a class presentation. The state is one of several that offer course choice.
No Link Between Test and Principals’ Success, Study Shows
Teacher-Prep Slow to Embrace Social-Emotional Learning
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Digital Tools Target ESSA Parent-Engagement Mandate
After-School, Summer Learning Efforts at Budget Risk
Special Education Rulings Put High Court Nominee on Hot Seat
Greg Richmond: Why I’m Worried About the Future of Charter Schools
Scott Laband: We Must Not Abandon Teacher Evaluation
Kenneth Ward: Mentoring: A Common-Sense Solution for At-Risk Youths
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Van Schoales: The New Teacher-Evaluation Laws: Education’s Pyrrhic Victory?
Education Week - April 5, 2017 - School Rape Case Inflames Immigration Fight
Education Week - April 5, 2017 - 2
Education Week - April 5, 2017 - 3
Education Week - April 5, 2017 - News in Brief
Education Week - April 5, 2017 - Report Roundup
Education Week - April 5, 2017 - States Get More Leeway on Identifying ‘Dropout Factories’
Education Week - April 5, 2017 - Sydney Bruner, a junior at Prairie High School in Cottonwood, Idaho, studies for a class presentation. The state is one of several that offer course choice.
Education Week - April 5, 2017 - No Link Between Test and Principals’ Success, Study Shows
Education Week - April 5, 2017 - 9
Education Week - April 5, 2017 - Teacher-Prep Slow to Embrace Social-Emotional Learning
Education Week - April 5, 2017 - DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Digital Tools Target ESSA Parent-Engagement Mandate
Education Week - April 5, 2017 - 12
Education Week - April 5, 2017 - 13
Education Week - April 5, 2017 - 14
Education Week - April 5, 2017 - Special Education Rulings Put High Court Nominee on Hot Seat
Education Week - April 5, 2017 - 16
Education Week - April 5, 2017 - 17
Education Week - April 5, 2017 - 18
Education Week - April 5, 2017 - 19
Education Week - April 5, 2017 - 20
Education Week - April 5, 2017 - 21
Education Week - April 5, 2017 - Scott Laband: We Must Not Abandon Teacher Evaluation
Education Week - April 5, 2017 - Kenneth Ward: Mentoring: A Common-Sense Solution for At-Risk Youths
Education Week - April 5, 2017 - Letters
Education Week - April 5, 2017 - 25
Education Week - April 5, 2017 - TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Education Week - April 5, 2017 - 27
Education Week - April 5, 2017 - Van Schoales: The New Teacher-Evaluation Laws: Education’s Pyrrhic Victory?
Education Week - April 5, 2017 - CW1
Education Week - April 5, 2017 - CW2
Education Week - April 5, 2017 - CW3
Education Week - April 5, 2017 - CW4