Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 12.43.48 PM

Studentsfirst released it’s 2014 state policy report card and Pennsylvania did not do well. The states are graded on student academics, empowering parents, how the dollars are spent and how to elevate teachers among other things. We encourage you to view the PA or your states report card to become informed at what is going on in your state by clicking this link

Below StudentsFirst and New America Foundation host a panel discussion to discuss the report cards.

Via Students First

At a panel discussion March 5th hosted by the New America Foundation, leading voices in education policy discussed the role state policy report cards play on education reform and whether they translate into concrete change in our schools. Here are some highlights from the event:

Eric Lerum, Vice President of National Policy, StudentsFirst:

  • This is nothing new, this engagement of changing state policy to look a certain way. It’s nothing we’re inventing. I think what we’re trying to do is change the conversation a little bit and say, if we’re going to change education policy, who should it focus on and what should it be centered around.”
  • We have always viewed the policy report card as the first step. The second phase of this…is to go back and start to grade states on the implementation of this policy.”
  • Implementation at the end of the day, as much as policy matters, implementation probably matters a little more. But I still think we are not even asking the implementation question until you pass the policy and we see a lot of states that sit in stagnation because they are stuck on  questions around ‘how do we implement’ or ‘we can’t get it perfect so therefore let’s not quite pass the policy yet.’”
  • “When we are looking at our report card and how we grades states, while we want states to implement a set of policies…we are thinking about whether there are different pathways to get to an A. We are thinking about how different policies interact with each other and the idea that it may not be the case that every state has to have every policy.”

Sandi Jacobs, Vice President and Managing Director, State Policy, National Council on Teach Quality (NCTQ):

  • “We could have graded on a curve [in our policy yearbook] from the beginning and told the same underlying policy story with a different message to it and I think because the goal was to do things different, you’re not helping anyone do that by saying you’re the top and were going to give you an A even though you have a lot of room for improvement underneath.”

Chris Swanson, Vice President, Research and Development, Editorial Projects in Education:

  • States really do want to know what’s going on. They often look to these kind of reports as not just ‘which way is the wind blowing’, but especially the more detailed ones, kind of what is the best practice or what is taking hold. And that’s where they learn about these things. They can talk to their colleagues here and there but I think there is no substitute for a systematic fifty state look at these types of issues.