- Adopting standards and assessments that prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace and to compete in the global economy;
- Building data systems that measure student growth and success, and inform teachers and principals about how they can improve instruction;
- Recruiting, developing, rewarding, and retaining effective teachers and principals, especially where they are needed most; and
- Turning around our lowest-achieving schools.
Note: Since this writing, two state winners were announced: Tennessee and Delaware on March 31, 2010. The Salt Lake Tribune also reported that our state just missed finalist status, coming in at number 19. Whether or not Utah resubmits a revised grant application in June has not been determined.
Whether or not Utah qualifies for these stimulus funds, however, the Utah State Office of Education (USOE) is committed to ADOPT the National Common Core State Standards (NCCSS) rather than ADAPT our current state core standards to the national core standards.
For grades 6-12, the standards "define what [these] students should understand and be able to do in each grade and build toward ten College and Career Readiness Standards." The standards' framework focuses upon relevant areas of expertise for reading, writing, and speaking and listening. For example, reading standards focus upon "key ideas and details; craft and structure; integration of knowledge and ideas; range and level of text complexity.:
Writing standards include "text types and purposes; production and distribution of writing; research to build knowledge; and range of knowledge." Speaking and listening center on "comprehension and collaboration; presentation of knowledge and ideas."
Inquiry is implicitly embedded among the readiness standards rather than occupying a place of its own.
How all this plays out as far as its affect upon curriculum and assessment is yet to be announced. A USOE meeting for district English Language Arts personnel is scheduled for the end of March, and hopefully, many questions will be answered then. In the meantime, we can go forth with curriculum mapping, lesson planning, and creating common assessments based upon those Utah ELA standards that align with the NCCSS.
Oh, and by the way, Governor Herbert is scheduled to sign the bill that will eliminate UBSCT for the next two years. MY! What exciting times we live in!
Good luck to us all!