Thinking Differently About High School Education

Amy Rosen, President & CEO of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, has a good summary at The Huffington Post of a promising new initiative to restructure high school education to better prepare students for higher eduction or entering the workforce, while also improving educational accountability. From “Educational Reform We Can Believe In“:

Education can be exciting. Very exciting.

Case in point — there is a new program being offered to students in 8 states — a new program that will help prepare them for college and beyond. Organized by the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE), the initiative will allow 10th graders to take a series of board examinations to test their mastery of basic educational requirements. If they pass, the students will have the opportunity to graduate early and attend a community college. If they fail, parents and teachers will be made aware of the basic challenges that still need to be overcome.

Either way, it’s a win-win for the students and for the rest of us who care for them now, but will depend on them later.

The National Association of Manufacturers supports this initiative, as the approach can provide students with a more effective pathway into careers in manufacturing. NCEE announced the state programs on Feb. 17, “U.S. High Schools in Eight States to Implement World-Class Instructional Systems and Examinations“:

NCEE President Marc Tucker announced that Connecticut, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont will work with NCEE through a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to improve the performance of high school students in these eight states by adopting powerful instructional systems that actually set the international standards.

“By introducing these Board Examination Systems in pilot high schools in these states as early as the 2011-2012 school year, we will begin a process that will ultimately prepare dramatically more students for college success and greatly reduce the high number of students who now take remedial courses in college,” said Tucker.

NCEE has a long track record of analyzing and benchmarking the highest performing education systems around the world. Over the years, it has found that in countries where the majority of students perform at high levels, two factors stand out. One is that teachers are recruited from the top-third of college students, and the other is that Board Examination Systems are used to drive learning to high levels.

There’s more available information at the website of The New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce.  News coverage…

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