I will confess to being somewhat confused by all the rhetoric around the new “college or career ready” accountability framework that the Obama administration is considering for the NCLB law. This Washington Post story makes a big deal about possible flexibility for the 2014 deadline, at which states’ proficiency targets must reach 100 percent, and about the idea of intervening differently based on how far schools miss their targets.
But wouldn’t the idea of everyone graduating “college or career ready” still be pretty much a universal proficiency goal—and a harder one at that, if you believe our current standards and tests are really as crummy as everyone asserts?
Perhaps this is where scrapping 2014 and focusing on growth instead of absolute targets would provide some breathing room. NEA President Dennis Van Roekel, quoted in the WaPo story, sounds thrilled by the potential for changes. But it’s possible that standards for college- and career-readiness, coupled with the proposed changes to Title II I wrote about yesterday, will push the bar for quality instruction even higher.
(By the way, a reality check on “universal proficiency by 2014.” It’s already fungible. The alternative “safe harbor” standard in the law actually makes 100 percent proficiency mathematically impossible.)
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.