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When the Press Cites

Publication Date: 2003-03-27

Among other things, StandardsWork Inc. is a public school-bashing outfit that defines parents as "priority shareholders" in their children's well-being.

Unpacking a news item that the press seems to take at face value.

Here?s an item from the Washington Post."

A study commissioned by Virginia's Board of Education found that students have scored better on several national achievement tests, including college entrance exams, since the state Standards of Learning exams were adopted in 1998.

The study, performed by not-for-profit consultants Standards Work Inc., also found that more students have taken Advanced Placement tests and enrolled in rigorous International Baccalaureate programs since the SOL program began. . . .

The group [Standards Work Inc] also recommended that Virginia conduct in-depth surveys and interviews with educators in school districts where students have excelled on SOL tests and in those where progress has lagged. Virginia should publicize not only the number of students who pass and fail but also the number who score in the "advanced" range.

?Scores Reported Up With SOL Test
Study Cites Gains On National Exams, School Curriculum,? Rosalind S. Helderman

So wouldn?t the first question be What?s Standards Work Inc. and Who?s running it?

For starters, there have been a couple of name changes: 2000 Coalition became the Coalition for Goals 2000 and then StandardsWork). Here?s the board of directors:

All text about the board of directors is excerpted from the http://standardswork.org website.

Ed Donley, Acting Chairman of the Board
Air Products And Chemicals, Inc. , Allentown, PA
Former board of directors member National Endowment for Democracy, member National Assessment Governing BOARD (NAGB). He also serves on the boards of the Middle States Commission on Elementary Schools, Pennsylvania State Board of Education and Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children. He serves as chairman of the board of the Education Policy and Leadership Center. He is a member of the U.S. Chamber's Center for Workforce Preparation and Quality Education (where he served as chairman from 1989 to 1993). He is chairman emeritus of the board of members of Lawrence Technological University and an emeritus trustee of Carnegie Mellon University and a member of their Chemical Engineering Advisory Board. He was chairman of the Business-Higher Education Forum of the American Council on Education from 1986 to 1988 and a member of the board of trustees of American College Testing (ACT) from 1991 to 1997. He has also served as a member of the boards of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC).

Leslye A. Arsht, President
Co-Founder, StandardsWork?
Former counselor to U. S. Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander; founder America 2000 Coalition (later changed to the Coalition for Goals 2000 and then to StandardsWork). Arsht managed the two-year project, funded by a grant from the Walton Family Foundation, that resulted in the best-selling and newly revised book and CD-ROM,Raising the Standard : An Eight Step Action Guide for Schools and Communities co-authored by Denis P. Doyle and Susan Pimentel. She was deputy assistant and deputy press secretary to President Reagan from 1986-88. She is a Trustee of Franklin Pierce College, New Hampshire and a Director of the Center for Education Reform, Washington, DC.

Tom Howard, Board Secretary/Treasurer
Ballard, Spahr, Andrews & Ingersoll Law Firm, Washington, DC. Works pro bono.

John Kauffman, Pennsylvania Power & Light Company, Allentown, PA. Immediate past Chairman and founder of the Edison Electric Institute CEO Steering Committee on Education. He serves on the Boards of the U.S. Chamber's Center for Workforce Preparation and Quality Education, the Pennsylvania Community Learning and Information Network, and several other business and education partnerships.

Sherra E. Kerns, Vice President for Innovation and Research at the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, Needham, MA, forming a new college of engineering focused on utilizing and developing best practices in curricula design, delivery, and educational infrastructure.

Jim Nelson, Senior Vice President, State and Federal Relations, VoyagerU, Dallas, Texas. Former Texas Commissioner of Education under former Gov. George W. Bush and Gov. Rick Perry. Former partner in the Odessa law firm of Shafer, Davis, Ashley, O?Leary & Stoker.

Susan Pimentel,Co-Founder, StandardsWork? , Hanover, NH. Former senior policy advisor for Maryland Governor William Donald Schaefer, special counsel to former Superintendent John Murphy, Prince George?s County, MD. Director of the World Class Schools Panel, Charlotte-Mecklenburg, NC. Her efforts stress standards-setting, constituency building, policy analysis and strategic planning in such varied jurisdictions as Beaufort, SC; Chicago, IL; Red Clay, DE; Jackson, TN, Ardmore, OK, Elaine and Marvell, AR; and the states of Arizona, California, Georgia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. She has also worked with individual charter schools in Massachusetts. Pimentel is co-author with Denis P. Doyle of the best-selling book and CD-ROM, Raising the Standard: An Eight Step Action Guide For Schools and Communities.

Wes Stucky, President and CEO, Ardmore Chamber of Commerce & Ardmore Chamber Foundation, Ardmore, OK. The "organization" he heads is a unique combination of a public development trust authority, membership association, and tax-exempt charitable organization. In 1998 Business Facilities magazine chose the Development Authority as the best regional development organization in the nation. And, in 1999, the ADA was again named by Site Selection as one of the Top Ten Development Groups in the nation. Wes has served as Chairman numerous organizations including the Governor's International Team, Oklahoma Economic Development Council, the Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce Executives Association and the Governors Economic Development Team.

StandardsWork Inc. has three Parts:


StandardsWork Network

Hire Standards

The StandardsWork Network is funded by the Walton Family Foundation and the Daimler-Chrysler Foundation.
Well, we all know what supporters of public school the Walton Family Foundation is.

The StandardsWork Network has two purposes (again, this is taken from their website):

? Building a Leadership Network: Drawing together the brightest and most effective education leaders in the country to provide support, recognize each others' successes, and share policy and practice strategies that work. ? Developing the HireStandards Executive Search Program: Serving as a liaison in placing interested members of the StandardsWork Network in superintendent and charter school leadership positions around the country.

Here is a list of statements which constitute a set of beliefs shared by Network members. These statements are taken from StandardsWork's Leadership Profile, a proprietary instrument, that assesses attitudes about various reform strategies and approaches, as well as actual experience in implementing the strategies. Completing this profile is generally the first step to being invited to join the StandardsWork Network.

? Improved student achievement hinges on clear, measurable, and rigorous standards.
? Norm-referenced tests are inadequate for measuring progress toward standards and must be supplemented or replaced by proficiency, or criterion-referenced, tests that are aligned to the standards.
? A data-driven approach is necessary to encourage diagnosis and reporting of what's working and what's not.
? Principals and teachers need clear and measurable goals and deserve rewards for meeting them. When they fail to meet the goals, training should be provided and if goals are continually not met, the person should be removed.
? All students must be taught a core of knowledge as a foundation on which higher level skills are built.

Supporting Proven Strategies

? All children can learn and excuses for low academic performance based on socio-economic or racial differences are unacceptable.

? Without freedom, a school principal is powerless. With freedom, and authority, the principal's job is to work tirelessly to supply teachers with whatever they need to get the job done.

? Teacher collaboration on a focused, school-wide team strategy is critical to improving instructional quality. Creating the climate for such collaboration is the principal's job.

? Ownership is key to education reform; one of the most important jobs a superintendent has is mobilizing community support for specific academic strategies and goals and building "ownership" around them.

? Parents are a priority stakeholder in their children's education and need to be informed about and engaged in helping schools and students achieve their agreed upon goals.

Challenging the Status Quo

? School choice and educational vouchers provide under-served children the opportunity for a quality education currently available to only the most fortunate.
? Charter schools provide a broader range of educational options and are raising expectations for public education.
? There is a legitimate and growing need for school systems to consider contracting out for some academic and operational services.
? Time on task is the key to progress. Extended days, extended years, after-school, weekend, and summer school programs are all options that must be "on the table".
? Alternative certification should be provided to allow individuals who have the content expertise to teach courses at the new higher standards.

StandardsWork developed the Results Card as a means to gather, display, and analyze what states, districts, and schools need to know and be able to tell about student achievement. The Results Card identifies 60 plus key indicators that states and districts should collect and analyze to accurately determine whether states' new standards and associated instructional initiatives are making a difference. The Education Leaders Council (ELC), a group of reform-minded, state education chiefs from seven states, participated in a pilot project for this initiative. Now, with nine states participating, the most current analysis, The 2001 Results Card, is available to the public.

A lot of education experts would describe The Education Leaders Council quite differently.

The Results Card provides a revolutionary new means for helping states, districts, and schools monitor and report the effect of reform policies on student success over time. Created before No Child Left Behind, the new federal legislation signed by President George W. Bush this year, The Results Card displays much that is required in the new law--looking at test results as progress over time, disaggregating data by student sub-groups, and verifying state tests with NAEP. It allows states to use their different tests and cut scores to evaluate themselves against themselves. The Results Card adds other non-test indicators we call "achievement drivers". These achievement drivers are indicators research tells us matter in raising student achievement. They include: course taking patterns, chronic absenteeism, school completion rates, issues related to teacher quality, staff development initiatives, and education policies.

Collecting these data enables educators and policy makers to place test results in a context that will help them discover and explain reasons for the improvement or lack thereof and, in turn, guide important changes in policy and practice. We believe that states that want more diagnostics and less compliance will benefit greatly from the work we have begun here.

Send your interpretations of that last sentence to susano@gmavt.net .

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