Tennessee Provides Hope (and Guidance) to Delaware
Tennessee has made tremendous progress implementing its education reform agenda – but still has a long way to go towards achieving their goal of building the top education system in the southeast by 2015 – according to Tennessee SCORE’s 2010 Annual Report: The State of Education in Tennessee.
The report is a vivid reminder that Delaware is well positioned to implement our education reform initiatives due to our (1) consistent state leadership, (2) strong Delaware DOE capacity, and (3) small size. And while these characteristics provide us certain advantages, it’s great to know that other states possess the same sense of urgency around critical issues, including:
- revamping teacher evaluation practices in order to better inform recruitment, selection, development, and retention decisions;
- launching innovative campus leader preparation programs aimed at preparing the next generation of principals; and
- investing significant time and resources into turning around our persistently low-performing schools.
While there are similar efforts underway in both states, there are a few lessons learned/best practices that we should take note of, including:
- communicating to parents and other stakeholders that the adoption of world-class standards could lead to declines in student achievement; and
- utilizing online and distance learning courses to provide rigorous college-level instruction traditionally unavailable to some students.
What could we do to incorporate these innovative efforts in our state? We could offer greater access to dual enrollment programs (more here), encourage districts and schools to use alternative delivery (online) methods, or provide access to high-quality college preparation coursework.
We are happy to have Tennessee as a partner in these efforts and hope to continue learning together throughout this process. As first round winners of Race to the Top, we know that the nation’s eyes are intently gazed upon us and we plan on providing positive examples other states can follow.
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