Updates and Insights: Vol. 3, No. 4

Mailing Date: 
July 23, 2007
Updates and Insights from Education|Evolving
Vol. 3, No. 4July 23, 2007Jon Schroeder, Editor

Welcome to this latest edition of Education|Evolving's electronic
newsletter -- UPDATES AND INSIGHTS.

IN THIS ISSUE:

KEY ARCHITECT OF SYSTEMIC REFORM COUNSELS DELAY ON NCLB REAUTHORIZATION

Marshall (Mike) Smith is one of the original and most influential architects of systemic reform in K-12 education. In fact, the paper and book he co-authored in the early 1990s with Jennifer O’Day are often cited as the founding documents in standards-based systemic reform. He later held top-level positions in the Clinton Administration’s U.S. Department of Education and now heads the education program for the California-based William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

With this combination of experiences and insights, key education policy makers and influencers would be wise to take note of the Op-Ed -- now posted on E|E’s web site -- that Mike Smith wrote in the spring of 2007. Smith’s op ed, "Leaving NCLB Renewal Behind," argues it’s too early for Congress to proceed with reauthorizing the No Child Left Behind program. In particular, Smith argues that further evidence of success is needed to justify extending NCLB-type measures to high schools or colleges.

"The best evidence available," Smith argues, "suggests that NCLB may actually be reducing student gains in reading and making no difference in math achievement." He also asserts that "no study has shown benefits yet for such central NCLB features as its school choice provision, its supplemental education services or its sanctions for schools that persistently fall short of goals." To read the full text of Smith’s op ed on the E|E Web site, click here.

Of course, Mike Smith is not the only prominent voice urging delay in the reauthorization of NCLB. And, in reality, an unspecified deadline for NCLB’s reauthorization is rapidly approaching as Congress’ annual August recess draws near. Beyond that deadline, many Washington political observers argue that other legislative priorities and political inhibitions caused by next year’s Congressional and Presidential elections will force postponement of NCLB’s reauthorization until after the 2008 election.

SECOND SMITH POSTING OFFERS COMPELLING VISION OF ‘A LEARNING REVOLUTION’

In a second new posting on E|E’s web site, the Hewlett Foundation’s Mike Smith offers a compelling picture of what he calls, "The Old and the New: A Learning Revolution." Smith’s vision for a technology-rich future for schooling and learning was presented in November of 2006 at a conference in Beijing on "New Strategies for a Global Age" an Asia-Pacific Forum on Education. The conference was organized by the Asia Society and the China Education Association for International Exchange.

Smith’s Asia Society presentation begins with the premise that, "We cannot continue to think of schooling and learning as bounded by what we call our education systems -- four walls, traditional text books, teachers standing in the front of classrooms, grades, exams, all carried out within highly scheduled fixed amounts of time."

Smith argues that "We have tried improving almost every aspect of the current education system -- better, required curricula, more exams, more accountability, more professional development, better alignment of resources -- yet we have made only incremental improvements on learning outcomes." For the complete text of Smith’s presentation, click here.

* * * * *

Mike Smith’s comments on both NCLB and the future of K-12 education reflect a variety of experiences in key positions in philanthropy, government and higher education.

Since 2001, Smith has been the Hewlett Foundation’s Education Program Director. Previously, he was Acting Deputy Secretary and Under Secretary for Education in the Clinton Administration. And during the Carter Administration, Smith was Chief of Staff to the Secretary for Education and Assistant Commissioner for Policy Studies in the U.S. Office of Education.

While not serving in government or philanthropy, Mike Smith was an Assistant Professor at Harvard and a Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Stanford University, where he was also Dean of the School of Education. A member of the National Academy of Education, Smith has authored numerous publications on topics ranging from computer content analysis to early childhood education to effective schools and standards-based reform.

WIDE RANGE OF VIEWS ON NCLB, CAUTION URGED ON HIGH SCHOOL EXPANSION

Of course, Mike Smith’s views on reauthorizing NCLB are neither unique nor universal, with strong support for renewing the landmark federal law still coming from key Bush Administration officials and Congressional education leaders in both political parties. A variety of interest groups, think tanks and others have also weighed in on all sides of this debate -- offering their own critiques and recommendations for changes -- ranging from "mild tinkering" to "wholesale overall" to "outright repeal."

NCLB’s chief cheerleader is U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, who has received wide notice and considerable push-back on her claims that NCLB is working just about as intended. For a summary’s of the Bush Administration’s NCLB reauthorization proposals, click here.

Meanwhile a variety of interest groups have weighed-in with suggestions for more fundamental changes, including the National Education Association (link no longer available) and the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

Arguably the most comprehensive set of proposals for changes in NCLB followed months of hearings, meetings and research by a blue ribbon Aspin Institute Commission on No Child Left Behind.

Perhaps most common in this noisy debate are red caution flags surrounding proposals to expand high stakes testing, graduation requirements and heavy-handed consequences to the nation’s high schools and their students. Following are links to a number of sources on all sides of this subset of issues relating to NCLB:

  • U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION: For the Bush Administration’s views on NCLB and high schools, click here.
  • CENTER FOR HIGH SCHOOL EXCELLENCE: For a summary of provisions in the current NCLB relating to high schools, click here.
  • NATIONAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION: Click here (link no longer available) for an explanation of why the nation’s largest teachers union believes expanding the impact of NCLB on high schools is premature.
  • ALLIANCE FOR EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION: The DC-based alliance has made a number of statements on NCLB and high schools. For example, click here.
  • NATIONAL GOVERNOR’S ASSOCIATION: Perhaps most comprehensive -- and well-beyond the federal role in NCLB -- is NGA’s high school initiative. For details, start by clicking here.

EDUCATION|EVOLVING’S NEW WEB SITE ADDS MORE ‘STUDENT VOICES‘

Missing in much of the debate going on nationally about NCLB -- and education reform in general -- are the voices of those most directly affected -- today’s students. E|E’s newly updated and expanded web site is trying to do something about that by asking students to talk about their own schools -- particularly schools that are fundamentally different -- in size, the nature of their learning programs and the motivating relationships they create for both students and teachers.

Most recently E|E has expanded the number of students speaking directly to Web site visitors via video. In addition, E|E has asked the students’ teachers to comment on the nature and degree of learning going on in these schools. E|E’s co-founder Joe Graba also explains in a video-taped interview why these schools -- and having students introduce them -- are so important. For more of this fascinating dialogue and an introduction to fundamentally different schools -- and the students who are benefiting from them -- click here.

E|E WELCOMES YOUR COMMENTS; ACCESS ARCHIVE OF PAST EDITIONS

Education|Evolving, a joint venture of Hamline University and the Center for Policy Studies, is a Minnesota-based project committed to helping K-12 education evolve and meet the challenges, demands, and opportunities of the 21st Century. E|E welcomes your comments or questions regarding the new Web site and any of its other activities and resources. Please direct them to info@educationevolving.org.

You are also welcome to forward "Updates and Insights" to others. If you have been forwarded a copy of "Updates and Insights" and would like to subscribe, visit our sign-up page. You may also access an archive of past editions of "Updates and Insights".

If you do not wish to receive these occasional "Updates and Insights" from Education|Evolving, please e-mail info@educationevolving.org. Write "remove from list" in the subject line, and your full name and e-mail address in the body of the e-mail.

Updates and Insights from Education|Evolving
Vol. 3, No. 4July 23, 2007Jon Schroeder, Editor

Welcome to this latest edition of Education|Evolving's electronic
newsletter -- UPDATES AND INSIGHTS.

IN THIS ISSUE:

KEY ARCHITECT OF SYSTEMIC REFORM COUNSELS DELAY ON NCLB REAUTHORIZATION

Marshall (Mike) Smith is one of the original and most influential architects of systemic reform in K-12 education. In fact, the paper and book he co-authored in the early 1990s with Jennifer O’Day are often cited as the founding documents in standards-based systemic reform. He later held top-level positions in the Clinton Administration’s U.S. Department of Education and now heads the education program for the California-based William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

With this combination of experiences and insights, key education policy makers and influencers would be wise to take note of the Op-Ed -- now posted on E|E’s web site -- that Mike Smith wrote in the spring of 2007. Smith’s op ed, "Leaving NCLB Renewal Behind," argues it’s too early for Congress to proceed with reauthorizing the No Child Left Behind program. In particular, Smith argues that further evidence of success is needed to justify extending NCLB-type measures to high schools or colleges.

"The best evidence available," Smith argues, "suggests that NCLB may actually be reducing student gains in reading and making no difference in math achievement." He also asserts that "no study has shown benefits yet for such central NCLB features as its school choice provision, its supplemental education services or its sanctions for schools that persistently fall short of goals." To read the full text of Smith’s op ed on the E|E Web site, click here.

Of course, Mike Smith is not the only prominent voice urging delay in the reauthorization of NCLB. And, in reality, an unspecified deadline for NCLB’s reauthorization is rapidly approaching as Congress’ annual August recess draws near. Beyond that deadline, many Washington political observers argue that other legislative priorities and political inhibitions caused by next year’s Congressional and Presidential elections will force postponement of NCLB’s reauthorization until after the 2008 election.

SECOND SMITH POSTING OFFERS COMPELLING VISION OF ‘A LEARNING REVOLUTION’

In a second new posting on E|E’s web site, the Hewlett Foundation’s Mike Smith offers a compelling picture of what he calls, "The Old and the New: A Learning Revolution." Smith’s vision for a technology-rich future for schooling and learning was presented in November of 2006 at a conference in Beijing on "New Strategies for a Global Age" an Asia-Pacific Forum on Education. The conference was organized by the Asia Society and the China Education Association for International Exchange.

Smith’s Asia Society presentation begins with the premise that, "We cannot continue to think of schooling and learning as bounded by what we call our education systems -- four walls, traditional text books, teachers standing in the front of classrooms, grades, exams, all carried out within highly scheduled fixed amounts of time."

Smith argues that "We have tried improving almost every aspect of the current education system -- better, required curricula, more exams, more accountability, more professional development, better alignment of resources -- yet we have made only incremental improvements on learning outcomes." For the complete text of Smith’s presentation, click here.

* * * * *

Mike Smith’s comments on both NCLB and the future of K-12 education reflect a variety of experiences in key positions in philanthropy, government and higher education.

Since 2001, Smith has been the Hewlett Foundation’s Education Program Director. Previously, he was Acting Deputy Secretary and Under Secretary for Education in the Clinton Administration. And during the Carter Administration, Smith was Chief of Staff to the Secretary for Education and Assistant Commissioner for Policy Studies in the U.S. Office of Education.

While not serving in government or philanthropy, Mike Smith was an Assistant Professor at Harvard and a Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Stanford University, where he was also Dean of the School of Education. A member of the National Academy of Education, Smith has authored numerous publications on topics ranging from computer content analysis to early childhood education to effective schools and standards-based reform.

WIDE RANGE OF VIEWS ON NCLB, CAUTION URGED ON HIGH SCHOOL EXPANSION

Of course, Mike Smith’s views on reauthorizing NCLB are neither unique nor universal, with strong support for renewing the landmark federal law still coming from key Bush Administration officials and Congressional education leaders in both political parties. A variety of interest groups, think tanks and others have also weighed in on all sides of this debate -- offering their own critiques and recommendations for changes -- ranging from "mild tinkering" to "wholesale overall" to "outright repeal."

NCLB’s chief cheerleader is U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, who has received wide notice and considerable push-back on her claims that NCLB is working just about as intended. For a summary’s of the Bush Administration’s NCLB reauthorization proposals, click here.

Meanwhile a variety of interest groups have weighed-in with suggestions for more fundamental changes, including the National Education Association (link no longer available) and the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

Arguably the most comprehensive set of proposals for changes in NCLB followed months of hearings, meetings and research by a blue ribbon Aspin Institute Commission on No Child Left Behind.

Perhaps most common in this noisy debate are red caution flags surrounding proposals to expand high stakes testing, graduation requirements and heavy-handed consequences to the nation’s high schools and their students. Following are links to a number of sources on all sides of this subset of issues relating to NCLB:

  • U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION: For the Bush Administration’s views on NCLB and high schools, click here.
  • CENTER FOR HIGH SCHOOL EXCELLENCE: For a summary of provisions in the current NCLB relating to high schools, click here.
  • NATIONAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION: Click here (link no longer available) for an explanation of why the nation’s largest teachers union believes expanding the impact of NCLB on high schools is premature.
  • ALLIANCE FOR EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION: The DC-based alliance has made a number of statements on NCLB and high schools. For example, click here.
  • NATIONAL GOVERNOR’S ASSOCIATION: Perhaps most comprehensive -- and well-beyond the federal role in NCLB -- is NGA’s high school initiative. For details, start by clicking here.

EDUCATION|EVOLVING’S NEW WEB SITE ADDS MORE ‘STUDENT VOICES‘

Missing in much of the debate going on nationally about NCLB -- and education reform in general -- are the voices of those most directly affected -- today’s students. E|E’s newly updated and expanded web site is trying to do something about that by asking students to talk about their own schools -- particularly schools that are fundamentally different -- in size, the nature of their learning programs and the motivating relationships they create for both students and teachers.

Most recently E|E has expanded the number of students speaking directly to Web site visitors via video. In addition, E|E has asked the students’ teachers to comment on the nature and degree of learning going on in these schools. E|E’s co-founder Joe Graba also explains in a video-taped interview why these schools -- and having students introduce them -- are so important. For more of this fascinating dialogue and an introduction to fundamentally different schools -- and the students who are benefiting from them -- click here.

E|E WELCOMES YOUR COMMENTS; ACCESS ARCHIVE OF PAST EDITIONS

Education|Evolving, a joint venture of Hamline University and the Center for Policy Studies, is a Minnesota-based project committed to helping K-12 education evolve and meet the challenges, demands, and opportunities of the 21st Century. E|E welcomes your comments or questions regarding the new Web site and any of its other activities and resources. Please direct them to info@educationevolving.org.

You are also welcome to forward "Updates and Insights" to others. If you have been forwarded a copy of "Updates and Insights" and would like to subscribe, visit our sign-up page. You may also access an archive of past editions of "Updates and Insights".

If you do not wish to receive these occasional "Updates and Insights" from Education|Evolving, please e-mail info@educationevolving.org. Write "remove from list" in the subject line, and your full name and e-mail address in the body of the e-mail.

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