Education Secretary Says Aid Hinges on New Data


Business measurements are now being required of educators, as are business skills. Measuring and tracking data beyond the lens of the state test scores, is crucial to school improvement and performance. For example, measuring a number of indicators with high school freshmen like who joins a club freshmen year, who has stellar attendance, who uses the resources of tutors and counselors, as well as grades and state test scores, more accurately reflects overall student success. In fact, the students who struggle the most academically need to be taught “success habits” –qualities like perseverance, self-advocacy, an indomitable spirit—which will propel them past their challenges and on to solid adult life skills.

Principals of schools are being asked to measure a variety of data in order to manage their schools well. In addition to being data-driven, the best school principals need these additional qualities: vision, interpersonal skills and very strong project management abilities. Often, principals who are promoted through the ranks of teaching may not have these skills, but as we analyze what teachers need to be effective in our challenging global environment, we may find that teachers need the same leadership skills as principals to promote world-class learning and first-rate outcomes.


Secretary of Education Arne Duncan told the nation’s governors on Wednesday that in exchange for billions of dollars in federal education aid provided under the economic stimulus law, he wants new information about the performance of their public schools, much of which could be embarrassing.

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