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2014 Results Report shows a region ‘under construction’

2014 Results Report Cover Thumbnail

Click to read a PDF of the 2014 Results Report.

The 2014 Results Report was released earlier this month to a packed Education Results Network meeting. More than 300 people at that meeting – and many more since then – have received a copy, and we are working to distribute the report across the region. These annual reports are important because they provide an opportunity for the region to look at where we are in terms of student achievement. The 2014 Results Report contains signs of progress, but major challenges remain, especially for low-income children and children of color.

We release data and report progress and challenges to motivate action, not to cast blame or to point fingers. In my view, there is too much finger-pointing in the world and not enough people rolling up their sleeves to tackle the big stuff. We believe in the concept of collective responsibility and community accountability. We celebrate together when there are great accomplishments, and when we see a system failure, we don’t hide from it – we recommit ourselves to the hard work necessary. Failure is not an option.

In reflecting on where we are, I am struck by the massive amount of work that is underway – work that should yield better results, but work that is complex and takes time to take hold. I wrestle with this tension constantly: urgency and outrage versus patience and support for necessary persistence. It seems like we need big doses of both.

Hard-Hats

Because our region’s education systems are “under construction,” ERN meeting participants wore hard hats.

As you drive around our region, it is easy to see all the physical infrastructure being built or improved. What is less obvious to the eye is that the same is true for the enormity of the construction work underway to improve the systems that serve children. We are trying to get all children ready for kindergarten and all children college- and career-ready and then on to postsecondary success. No one has ever done that before.

Kip Herren, Auburn School District’s superintendent, often talks about this “education system under construction.” He points out the importance of acknowledging the hard work going on, some of which includes:

  • Building an early learning system. This new system is being built as we speak, with more pre-kindergarten opportunities (with focuses on baby brain development), a quality rating system for early learning providers and better data.
  • Rebuilding the K-12 foundations. The Common Core necessitates a redo of pretty much everything in every classroom:  new instructional practice, curriculum, professional development, etc.
  • Strengthening the path to student postsecondary success. Colleges are redoing their practices to focus much more on degree completion.
  • There is also work in our region to:
    • Build the field of parent engagement
    • Set up our kids for success in our STEM-intensive economy
    • Improve instruction for English language learners
    • Learn how to build powerful community-based organizations and school partnerships
    • Build a regional data portal to help highly mobile students and families
    • Accelerate progress through Race to the Top

This is hard, hard work that’s imperfect and rocky, but it’s worth doing. It’s worth sticking with and getting right.