This week I marked my one-year anniversary since taking office as the first new State Superintendent of Public Instruction in Oklahoma in 20 years. It’s been an exciting year. But I can’t take too much time to reminisce; I’ve got reforms to implement.
As Indiana State Superintendent and my fellow Chiefs for Change member Tony Bennett says, “Failure to implement is the graveyard of all reform.”
With that in mind, I’m moving full-speed ahead with what I call my C³ plan – a plan to continue work with all stakeholders to assure that each student in the state is college, career and citizen ready by the year 2020.
The plan builds on an impressive suite of reforms passed last year with the help of the governor and the State Legislature. These include a law to end the social promotion of students not reading on grade level by the end of third grade, a new A through F grading system for schools that will make it easier for parents and community members to know how their school is performing in terms of the measurable growth of its students, and more educational choices for parents.
The C³ plan builds also includes:
· The Teacher and Leader Effectiveness evaluation system recently approved by the state Board of Education, which will ensure an effective teacher in each classroom and an effective leader in each building;
· The transition to Oklahoma C³ standards, which encompass Common Core State Standards in math and English and Oklahoma’s recently updated Social Studies Standards;
· Achieving Classroom Excellence Standards, which require this year’s graduating seniors to pass four of seven end-of-instruction tests to receive a high school diploma. This is a vital reform that will present clear evidence that those students who fulfill this requirement have mastered academic content.
· The development of a new longitudinal student data system that will provide the backbone of showing Oklahoma students are prepared for college, career and life;
· And, the REAC³H Network, a grassroots network pairing school districts together to share best practices as they enact reforms and transition to the Oklahoma C³ standards.
Ultimately, this is an empowerment agenda. Our goal is to empower students by preparing them to be successful in school, career and life, to empower parents by providing them with easy-to-understand information about their children and school, and to empower educators to reach their full potential by giving them a full range of tools for support.