Change is in the air

Change is in the air -

100619_142407_0.pngWell, we are about to begin a new year, and change is in the air, at least for some part of the education world.

The passing of the new Every Student Succeeds Act begins the process of setting out new parameters for state and federal involvement in education.

The article in Education Week by Alyson Klein, "President Signs ESEA Rewrite, Giving States, Districts Bigger Say on Policy" goes a great long way to summarizing the process and the impacts of this important legislation.  (ESEA Rewrite)

She opens the article with a quick historical summary of educational politics.  She writes, "For the past quarter century, federal education policy has been moving in one direction: toward standards-based education redesign, a greater reliance on standardized tests, and bigger role for Washington when it comes to holding school accountable for student results."(ESEA Rewrite)

How very apt.  It does feel as if the role of standardized tests has expanded and that the establishment in Washington had been seeking more and more control of local education authority.

However, that seems to have changed, as she continues. President Barack Obama reversed course with the stroke of a pen Thursday, putting states and districts back at the week when it comes to teacher evaluation, standards, school turnarounds, and accountability, through a new iteration of the five-decade old Elementary and Secondary Education Act." (ESEA Rewrite)

This will need some "unpacking" by state authorities, local districts, and educational experts.  She writes in the article how the federal government faced a "smackdown" from Congress in the passing of this legislation.  

Maybe it's just a realization by all the parties in Congress, and by the White House, and by the Department of Education that national federal policies were not working - and that local expertise is just as valuable as national expertise.

I hope that this is a signal that alternative methods of student assessment can work.  The New Classroom will be a place where students meet the standards of the required tests, but also have a chance to demonstrate their learning and expertise in a variety of ways.

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