Education

Conference-Goers Outline Next Steps for States

October 17, 2001 1 min read

Participants in the National Education Summit held last week in Palisades, N.Y., adopted a “statement of principles” identifying three steps that states need to take to sustain momentum toward higher student achievement: improving state testing programs, ensuring that accountability measures are fair and effective, and raising the quality of teaching.

Participants in the National Education Summit held last week in Palisades, N.Y., adopted a “statement of principles” identifying three steps that states need to take to sustain momentum toward higher student achievement: improving state testing programs, ensuring that accountability measures are fair and effective, and raising the quality of teaching.

The full text of the statement is available online at www.achieve.org. Here is a summary of the statement:

Testing: Tests need to perform a wide variety of functions—including measuring individual students’ progress from year to year and helping schools create plans to address their students’ weaknesses. They also need to be “transparent” so there is “no mystery about what is on the test.” States should consider releasing test questions every year.

Accountability: Accountability programs need to be fair, offering time so that schools can prepare for their impact and emphasizing assistance before sanctions. But if schools don’t turn around, states must be prepared to take “dramatic action,” such as replacing the school’s leaders, hiring a new staff, and allowing students to transfer to another public school.

Teaching: States must “make the teaching profession more attractive” by offering a variety of pathways into the profession. Once there, teachers need access to “high-quality curriculum” and professional development that helps them teach what students are required to know to perform well on the state tests. School officials need to take steps to make teacher salaries comparable to those of other professionals.

—David J. Hoff