Federal Federal File

Spellings Creates Education Index

By David J. Hoff — September 15, 2008 1 min read

The latest unemployment rates, inflation rates, and other economic indicators are staples of TV and radio newscasts.

If Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings has her way, newscasters will be giving annual updates on leading education indicators.

Ms. Spellings has created a composite index of five important data points of student performance: overall achievement; the size of the gap in achievement between minority and white students; the high school dropout rate; the college-readiness rate; and the college-completion rate.

“We need to make sure we focus on all of these five things,” Ms. Spellings said in an interview last week.

When applied to the 7½ years President Bush has been in office, the overall index has increased, but some indicators have been stagnant during that period, she said.

The college-completion rate is 31 percent, Ms. Spellings said. Thirty years ago, the United States had the highest such rate in the world, but it now ranks 10th. “The rest of the world has passed us by,” the secretary said.

Likewise, college readiness. which is measured by sat and act scores, isn’t improving. The high school dropout rate, which is estimated by an analysis of student enrollment trends, hasn’t moved upward since 2001.

The overall index has increased because of growth in student achievement and progress in closing the test-score gap between whites and minorities such as African Americans and Hispanics. Progress on those indicators is determined by scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

Ms. Spellings attributes the achievement gains to the accountability measures in the No Child Left Behind Act, the Bush administration’s signature K-12 initiative.

She planned to unveil the new index in Washington on Sept. 15, when she was scheduled to speak at an all-day education summit sponsored by the Aspen Institute, a think tank that convened a task force to propose changes to the nclb law.

After Ms. Spellings leaves office in January, she expects that the index of education indicators will be part of her legacy.

“I hope my successor will do this,” she said. “If he or she doesn’t, I’m sure someone else will. Maybe it will be me.”

A version of this article appeared in the September 17, 2008 edition of Education Week

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Safe Return to Schools is Possible with Testing
We are edging closer to a nationwide return to in-person learning in the fall. However, vaccinations alone will not get us through this. Young children not being able to vaccinate, the spread of new and
Content provided by BD
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
Meeting the Moment: Accelerating Equitable Recovery and Transformative Change
Educators are deciding how best to re-establish routines such as everyday attendance, rebuild the relationships for resilient school communities, and center teaching and learning to consciously prioritize protecting the health and overall well-being of students
Content provided by Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Addressing Learning Loss: What Schools Need to Accelerate Reading Instruction in K-3
When K-3 students return to classrooms this fall, there will be huge gaps in foundational reading skills. Does your school or district need a plan to address learning loss and accelerate student growth? In this
Content provided by PDX Reading

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal How Political Backlash to Critical Race Theory Reached School Reopening Guidance
A lawmaker wants Miguel Cardona to repudiate the Abolitionist Teaching Network after federal COVID-19 documents referenced the group's work.
6 min read
Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., is seen at a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on March 9, 2021 in Washington.
Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., is seen at a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on March 9, 2021 in Washington.<br/>
Graeme Sloan/SIPA USA via AP
Federal Biden Team: Schools Can Go Beyond Trump Rules in Response to Alleged Sexual Misconduct
The Education Department's guidance, released July 20, states that Title IX rules from 2020 lay out "minimum steps" for educators.
3 min read
Symbols of gender.
iStock/Getty
Federal Fact Check: After Furor Over 1619 Project, Feds Adjust History and Civics Grant Plans
A previously obscure history and civics program has weathered a political storm, but what exactly has changed?
4 min read
Education secretary nominee Miguel Cardona speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on his nomination on Feb. 3, 2021, in Washington.
Education secretary nominee Miguel Cardona speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on his nomination on Feb. 3, 2021, in Washington.
Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times via AP
Federal 'Stop CRT' Bill, Votes in Congress Add to Political Drama Over Critical Race Theory
Sen. Tom Cotton's legislation and votes about critical race theory in the House underscore the issue's potency in Washington.
5 min read
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., speaks during a hearing to examine United States Special Operations Command and United States Cyber Command in review of the Defense Authorization Request for fiscal year 2022 and the Future Years Defense Program, on Capitol Hill, Thursday, March 25, 2021, in Washington.
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., speaks during a hearing on Capitol Hill March 25 in Washington.
Andrew Harnik/AP