CSG Director of Education Policy Pam Goins outlines the top five issues in education policy for 2013, including college- and career-readiness, assessment and accountability systems, teacher preparation, college completion, and funding for post-secondary education. 
 

Ensuring that new teachers are ready to be effective the moment they enter the classroom is the focus of a new set of policy recommendations announced Monday by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). Already, state school leaders in 25 states are vowing to examine their training and licensure practices with an eye toward implementing the recommendations.

Policymakers know America’s educational system must transform to significantly increase the academic achievement of all students. A high-quality education, including content mastery and real world application, is critical to prepare students for college and careers. In order to ensure student success, leaders must tackle these top 5 issues facing states this year.

The Odyssey School in Denver is a unique school with a common problem—like many schools across the country, the school’s funding level has dropped. Odyssey, a charter school that has 225 students in kindergarten through eighth grade, focuses on project-based learning, which often takes classes outside of the school building. Students are just as likely to be taking water samples from a local river as they are to be sitting at tables discussing the pros and cons of randomized drug trial statistics in math class.

On Monday, President Barack Obama officially unveiled his budget for 2013.  As he spoke from Northern Virginia Community College, Obama highlighted the more than $65 billion in education funding focused on resources dedicated to transforming K-12 and postsecondary education to ensure students have the skills and knowledge to succeed in the future.

Educators and policymakers realize that all of America’s students need a high-quality education to prepare them for college and careers. 2012 promises to be another busy year in  transformational strategies in education. In order to ensure a world-class education, leaders will likely address these top five issues facing states and territories (“the states”) this year.

Although popular in public opinion polls, merit pay - also called performance pay - faces stiff opposition from teacher organizations when linked to student test scores. Critics contend compensating teachers based on evaluations and student test scores could be a slippery slope leading to abuse. Supporters counter that rewarding highly effective teachers is not only appropriate, but also is a policy that should be encouraged to promote teacher growth.

Tenure and single salary schedules have been a part of the teaching profession for decades, dating back to a turn-of-the-20th-century push for due-process protections and standardized pay for this group of public employees. There is another reform movement afoot at the beginning of the 21st century — one that could be remembered for dramatically changing how teachers are evaluated and compensated, hired and fired, and retained or laid off.

Individuals interested in entering the teaching profession in Minnesota will be offered alternative pathways to certification under a bill that has received the backing of Republican legislative leaders and Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton.

States aren’t waiting for reauthorization of the federal education law to find ways to boost academic achievement and student success. That education reform effort has already started and will continue in 2011. Despite delays at the national level, states are implementing a variety of strategies and initiatives to ensure students are prepared for the future. State legislatures will play an important role in preparing students for college and a career. States will tackle policy positions to implement common academic standards, close continuing achievement gaps, adequately prepare future teachers and find dollars to fund public education.

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