High School Reform

CSG Midwest
The problem of too little academic rigor and diminished student focus in the final year of high school is so common that it has a familiar name — the “senior slide.” But North Dakota Sen. Tim Flakoll has a much different vision for the 12th grade. He believes students, teachers, school administrators and state lawmakers should all look for ways to “leverage” the senior year and make it a springboard for success in college or the workforce.
CSG Midwest
Since its inception in 1955, the Advanced Placement program has been used by millions of high school students who want to experience the rigor of college-level courses before graduation. The long-running program continues to gain popularity. In fact, participation in AP classes by high school graduates in the United States nearly doubled over the past decade. While AP courses are available in many high schools across the country, some states, like Indiana, require every high school to provide students with access to the classes.
CSG Midwest
After decades of experience in Nebraska’s public schools, including 15 years as a principal, Sen. Rick Kolowski learned quite a bit about the students he taught and helped graduate. One lesson learned, he says, is that young people need to be prepared for college and careers — now more than ever before. A second lesson is the value of academic and scheduling rigor, which Kolowski says not only challenges students, but also gets them excited about their future.
“We need to work on maximizing the junior and senior years of high school,” Kolowski says. “It is especially important that these students have full, rigorous schedules that get them ready for college or a career.”
As a legislator, Kolowski is now pushing for a new law that would get the state more involved in delivering a better curriculum to students in the final years of their K-12 careers. LB 343 would reimburse school districts with successful existing programs and offer grants to schools that need help in implementing new ones.
“We are what we learn,” U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has noted. If that message is true, what does it say that many of today’s children are learning essentially the same content in substantially the same way as their parents and grandparents? They are 21st century students who are still receiving a 20th century education.

Tim Weldon, education policy analyst, and I had the opportunity to meet with Lt. Governor Garcia, state legislators, department of education officials and postsecondary education leaders to discuss innovative state action through policymaking.  Specific recommendations and opportunities were shared to ensure college- and career-readiness and access to and success in postsecondary education.

During the Joint Committee on Education meeting, we were given the opportunity to share the work of CSG's Deeper Learning Focus...

As the global economy becomes more and more competitive, schools are looking for ways to better prepare students for college and/or the workforce. Some states have found success with various policies and programs. This briefing included a discussion of rigorous academic standards, common assessments, professional development, teacher preparation, time and technology, and state accountability systems. State leaders can determine what will work best based on the needs of individual communities. Experts provided an analysis of existing state policies and offer innovative strategies and solutions to put transformational ideas into practice.

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.

The U.S. Department of Education released progress report information for the 12 states that received Race to the Top funding in 2010.  The specific summaries highlight the reform efforts and initiatives each state is implementing along with challenges along the way.  Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Tennessee developed aggressive plans for statewide reform and secured funding for the work.

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.

How many times do some college students change their majors? Once? Twice? More? Choosing the career one wants to pursue is an often difficult, even agonizing, decision, marked by trial and error, changing priorities, and life experiences. That helps explain why it's not uncommon for postsecondary education students to change their career choices mid-stream. Georgia, however, will start expecting students as early as the ninth grade to choose a career path and begin preparing for it in high school.