Highlights From Secretary Riley's State of the State of Education Speech

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Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley outlined a wide range of proposals last week in his seventh and final State of American Education speech. Among the highlights:

Raising Standards

Mr. Riley listed five principles that he said should guide states and districts as they implement rigorous academic standards:

  • Have a healthy and ongoing dialogue with parents and teachers;
  • Make sure that the standards are challenging, but realistic;
  • Create quality assessments that have a direct connection to the standards;
  • Invest wisely to improve teaching and learning; and
  • Insist on real accountability for results.

Teacher Professionalism

Districts should find ways to keep teachers working for 11 months of the year, in return for more pay. The teachers could use the extra time to take part in professional-development activities, meet with parents, and give students additional instruction.

Other Priorities

  • The federal government should fund 40 percent of the extra costs associated with special education.
  • Schools should form more partnerships with businesses.
  • The nation should address the minority achievement gap and "digital divide" by providing more technology and mentors from high-tech fields to needy schools.
  • Mentors should help disadvantaged high school students enter and stay in college.
  • Higher education leaders should work with K-12 schools to reform teacher education and look for new ways to train teachers.
  • Schools should use character education to help students develop a "moral compass."

Vol. 19, Issue 25, Page 33

Published in Print: March 1, 2000, as Highlights From Secretary Riley's State of the State of Education Speech
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