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9 September, 20119 September, 2011
Folder: White Papers
Grade Level: All (K-12)
Converging Challenges

As Western nations struggle to recover their economic equilibriums after the financial crisis of 2008, China and India are leveraging their size and human capital to become global economic powerhouses. Emerging economies such as Vietnam, Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia, and Panama are increasingly capable of winning greater shares of international business. The ability to compete in the interconnected global economy is primarily leveraged by technical innovation and a highly-skilled workforce. A more rigorous and more applied curriculum is needed to drive both levers.

While our schools are working hard at improving, the reality is that the rest of the world is changing faster, leaving a growing gap. In an effort to close the gap, state-supported initiatives for raising standards and measuring student achievement will require schools to change what and how they teach. The “fewer, clearer, higher” Common Core State Standards (CCSS), anchored by the “next generation assessments” (NGA), will raise the bar for most states to help ensure that every student is challenged to achieve and succeed. Proficiency levels will be set higher. Assessment will measure not just what students know, but also what they can do with that knowledge. Most schools involved with Race to the Top (RttT) initiatives will need awareness building, planning, time, and support to realize the mandatory 2014-2015 implementation dates of the new learning expectations represented by the CCSS and NGA.

These challenges are driving a greater focus on accountability and a growing demand for proof of effectiveness and efficiency in public education. If No Child Left Behind’s Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) provision laid accountability for results on the backs of principals, today’s education policy, including measures such as growth models and teacher effectiveness evaluations, is shifting the burden of accountability to teachers.
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