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Taconic Hills learns about school reform plan

Jan 24, 2012 12:05 am
John Mason writes in the Register Star about about the Regents Reform Agenda, a plan financed through a federal grant awarded from the Race to the Top initiative. New York is one of 47 or 48 states that are moving to adopt national standards, including higher benchmarks in math and English Language Arts. Questar III administrators visited the Taconic Hills School Board last week to discuss the reform plan. Questar Superintendent James Baldwin described a four-part plan to improve the schools. The program calls for the adoption of the higher standards which it calls Common Core Standards. The second element is the incorporation of improved data systems, which will track students from kindergarten through 12th grade. The third focuses on teacher certification, making sure teachers are qualified to teach their subject area. The fourth element is a push to improve low achieving schools and hold them accountable if they fail. The state has had an accountability system in place for over a decade, but Baldwin said a lack of enforcement allowed low-performing schools to fall through the cracks. “Schools have been failing to meet the targets established for them," Baldwin said, "the state has not responded by closing them or forcing them to reconfigure. There will be much greater scrutiny.” Questar III is the local Board of Cooperative Educational Services, or BOCES, and oversees the 23 school districts in Columbia, Greene and Rensselaer counties for the state Education Department. Read about the BOCES school reform initiative in the Register Star.

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