visions and revisions

State’s timeline would have New York-specific standards replace Common Core in 2017

PHOTO: Susan Gonzalez

New York’s transition from the Common Core to its own, modified set of learning standards will take the next 18 months, and won’t affect state tests until spring 2019, according to a timeline officials presented Monday.

The timeline indicates that the state will move deliberately as it adjusts the standards, which the state adopted in 2010 and implemented quickly over the next few years. Education officials faced criticism for not preparing schools and teachers well enough before introducing the standards, which have come under fire more recently as a widespread opt-out movement raised new concerns about state tests.

“We don’t want this to be so fast that we lose people and leave them behind,” State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said Monday of the state’s plan to re-examine the standards. “This has to be a fluid schedule, I will tell you, because it would not pay for us to push something through if in fact we felt like we were putting people in positions where they couldn’t possibly handle it.”

The state’s proposal would have most of 2016 spent appointing committees to further review the Common Core, soliciting public comment, and then revising the standards, which offer benchmarks for what students should learn in each grade in English and math.

The committees will include parents, teachers, and business representatives, officials said, and the public comment period will include regional forums. State officials abruptly canceled (and then rescheduled) a series of Common Core-focused forums in 2013, saying that disruptive attendees made it impossible to have productive discussions.

The Board of Regents would vote on the changes to the standards in November 2016, giving school districts the spring and summer of 2017 to revise their curriculums and train teachers.

The new standards wouldn’t be incorporated into state tests until the following school year, which begins in 2018.

awarding leaders

Meet the nine finalists for Tennessee Principal of the Year

PHOTO: Shelby County Schools
From left: Docia Generette-Walker receives Tennessee's 2016 principal of the year honor from Education Commissioner Candice McQueen. Generette-Walker leads Middle College High School in Memphis. This year's winner will be announced in October.

Nine school leaders are up for an annual statewide award, including one principal from Memphis.

Tracie Thomas, a principal at White Station Elementary School, represents schools in Shelby County on the state’s list of finalists. Last year, Principal Docia Generette-Walker of Middle College High School in Memphis received the honor.

Building better principals has been a recent focus for Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen as roles of the school leaders change under school improvement efforts.

“Successful schools begin with great leaders, and these nine finalists represent some of the best in our state,” McQueen said. “The Principal of the Year finalists have each proven what is possible when school leaders hold students and educators to high expectations.”

The winner will be announced at the state department’s annual banquet in October, where the winner of Tennessee’s Teacher of the Year will also be announced.

The finalists are:

West Tennessee

  • Tracie Thomas, White Station Elementary, Shelby County Schools
  • Stephanie Coffman, South Haven Elementary, Henderson County School District
  • Linda DeBerry, Dyersburg City Primary School, Dyersburg City Schools

Middle Tennessee

  • Kenneth “Cam” MacLean, Portland West Middle School, Sumner County Schools
  • John Bush, Marshall County High School, Marshall County Schools
  • Donnie Holman, Rickman Elementary School, Overton County Schools

East Tennessee

  • Robin Copp, Ooltewah High School, Hamilton County Schools
  • Jeff Harshbarger, Norris Middle School, Anderson County Schools
  • Carol McGill, Fairmont Elementary School, Johnson City Schools

you better work

Hickenlooper, on national TV, calls for bipartisanship on job training for high school graduates

PHOTO: Nicholas Garcia
Gov. John Hickenlooper spoke to reporters on the eve of the 2017 General Assembly.

Gov. John Hickenlooper on Sunday said Republicans and Democrats should work together to rethink how states are preparing high school graduates for the 21st century economy.

“It’s not a Republican or Democratic issue to say we want better jobs for our kids, or we want to make sure they’re trained for the new generation of jobs that are coming or beginning to appear,” he said on CBS’s Face the Nation.

Hickenlooper, a Democrat, appeared on the Sunday public affairs program alongside Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, to discuss their work on healthcare.

The Colorado governor brought up workforce training after moderator John Dickerson asked what issues besides healthcare both parties should be addressing.

“Two-thirds of our kids are never going to have a four-year college degree, and we really haven’t been able to prepare them to involve them in the economy where the new generations of jobs require some technical capability,” Hickenlooper said. “We need to look at apprenticeships. We need to look at all kinds of internships.”

Hickenlooper has long supported a variety of education reform policies including charter schools and linking student test scores to teacher evaluations. Last fall he backed a new program that is expected to this year connect 250 Colorado high school students with paid job training.

Watch Hickenlooper and Kasich here. Hickenlooper’s remarks on job training begin right before the 11- minute mark.