Insider Views, Outsider Comments

quote marksWhiteboard Advisors regularly surveys policy makers. The following are highlights of its latest report and a little color commentary.
A new high of 63 percent of Insiders think ESEA Reauthorization will take place after January 2015.

  • It’s criminal that ESEA could go 15 years without reauthorization. NCLB was launched with good intentions but needed fixes and adjustments. Congress should have made improvements every other year but instead we have one of the worst examples of polarized government.

Insiders are evenly split 50/50 in their views about whether the Sandy Hook tragedy will catalyze additional funding or legislative measures for school safety.

  • Sensible gun control is a must. It’s crazy that military-style automatic weapons are widely available.
  • In my experience, partnerships with local police that place trained and armed officers in schools works well, can save districts money compared to hiring their own security force, and builds positive youth-police relationships.

Sixty percent of Insiders think that states will put more, or much more, emphasis on digital learning in 2013, whereas only 29 percent feel the same way about emphasis at the federal level.

A majority of Insiders do not see the Administration making inroads with teacher preparation reform in 2013.

  • States should just shift to performance-based certification and encourage more model-specific preparation.

Insiders continue to see the SBAC Common Core assessment consortia on the wrong track and have mixed views on the PARCC consortia.

  • SBAC is making steady progress on the contracting front.
  • Both tests will step function improvement in depth of thinking, speed of response and (compared to most states) cost.

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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