We’ve got just a few more days before it’s time to put on the New Year’s Eve dancing shoes and break open the champagne. So what’s U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan predicting for next year?
- More than 60,000 additional children will enroll in high-quality early learning. (I think he’s hoping for good results from the administration’s new Preschool Development Grant program and other initiatives.)
- Six hundred new commitments by colleges, organizations, and companies will help thousands more students prepare for and graduate from college. (Sounds like he’s putting a lot of stock in the White House’s recent higher education summit.)
- Ten million more students will have high-speed Internet access (That would mean a great success for the Obama administration’s E-rate initiative.)
- America’s high school graduation rate will set a record—again. (Graduation rates were, indeed, at an all-time high this year, but it’s noteworthy that big achievement gaps remain. What’s more, the metric in question has only been required since 2008, and only uniformly used since 2012. Plus, grad rates went from 79 percent to 80 percent, hardly a dramatic jump. Still, a record’s a record.)
Not on Duncan’s list? A reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act, a top priority for both U.S. Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., the chairman of the House education committee, and Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., the incoming chairman of the Senate education panel.
That omission puts Duncan pretty much in line with the majority of education insiders surveyed by Whiteboard Advisors, a government-relations organization in Washington. On the most recent poll conducted by the group, just 40 percent of insiders expected to see NCLB renewal in 2015.
What are your edu-predictions for 2015?