U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who stopped to take a selfie with two Falcon High School students Friday, praised the Common Core State Standards as a way to ease the transition between schools between schools in different states for children of military families that are prone to moving often.
Duncan’s stop at Falcon High School in northeast El Paso County, which capped a three-day tour of Colorado schools, focused on the unique struggles of students of military families and how the Falcon 49 School District is supporting them. The new standards, which Colorado adopted in 2010 as part of a complete overhaul of its benchmarks, aim to create a baseline of uniformity across district and state boundaries.
Creating that uniformity, Duncan said, should ensure students who move from one military base to another are neither too far ahead or too far behind their new classmates.
After the panel discussion, we asked Duncan what his federal department is doing to help schools — which, as we’ve reported, are having varying degrees of success with the new standards
“[The new standards] really, obviously, are a state-led effort. And so, what we’re trying to do is share best practices. Some states are further ahead of others. Some are further behind — we know that. But, this is really hard work. … So, getting states, getting teachers, getting principals, getting counselors, getting folks working together, learning from each other, I think that’s one of the best things we can do.”
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We also took the opportunity to ask Duncan what he thought of the on-going conversation regarding classroom time being used to proctor federal- and state-mandated tests.
“If anything, I think there is a continuum and the truth is somewhere in the middle. So where you’re over-testing — I don’t support that as the secretary of education. I don’t support that as a dad of a 12-year-old and a 10-year-old. There are other folks that want no assessment and I don’t support that either. … So, I think there is a common sense middle ground in terms of assessment … But having these conversations — again not getting caught up in the ideology — and finding that common sense middle, that’s where most people are headed.
The State Board of Education is expected to hear a report from WestEd, a non-profit education research agency, Wednesday on Colorado’s testing requirements