New York State must formally embrace career pathways for students

By Dan White,
District Superintendent, Monroe #1 BOCES

It has been more than three and one half years since Harvard released its groundbreaking report titled “Pathways to Prosperity: Meeting the Challenges of Preparing Young Americans for the 21st Century.” The report highlights the growing skills gap for young adults entering the workforce, and the disconnect between our educational system and the realities of the world we are sending students into.

In recognition of those dynamics, New York State undertook a number of initiatives, including a series of grants modeled after Brooklyn’s P-Tech Academy and a greater recognition of the successes in Career and Technical Education (CTE), in an effort to increase the profile and availability of career pathways programs for students.

The fact is, despite those initiatives, New York State remains woefully behind many states, and much of the world, in this area. Continue reading

Posted in Career Pathways, Leadership, Reforming Education | Leave a comment

Testing an essential part of good educational practice, but let’s practice giving only meaningful tests

By Dr. Patrick Michel
District Superintendent, HFM BOCES

The New York State Education Department recently awarded a “Teaching is the Core” grant to HFM BOCES allowing us to collaborate with our component school districts in reviewing and improving student assessments, and perhaps reducing the number of tests given in our region.

The primary purpose of the grant is not to reduce the number of state tests, but to allow local educators to evaluate the assessments they use in the classroom. Can these tests be refined to more efficiently provide meaningful information on student academic growth and mastery of the subject matter? The true goal is to improve instructional programs throughout our region. Reduction in the number of tests would be an added bonus. Continue reading

Posted in Leadership, Reforming Education, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Are we in this for the children?

I have watched the video several times of enraged parents and teachers shouting down State Education Commissioner John King during a town hall-type meeting about Common Core Learning Standards. I’ve read numerous articles, blog posts and social media rants condemning Common Core as just about everything short of alien mind control. I do understand the frustration brought on by large-scale change, especially in a field – education – that typically evolves at a pace only slightly faster than a T-Rex.

Still, I’m confused. Common Core Learning Standards were designed to ensure that our children, from whichever state they hail, will be equipped after high school graduation to succeed at college and a career. Amidst all the rancor and protests, I have not heard one parent or teacher argue against that goal. Shouldn’t that mean we are all on the same side? Continue reading

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