Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.
Bob Dylan (1964)
The times surely are a-changin’ as Bob Dylan noted during the cultural upheaval of the 1960’s through this title song of his 1964 album! The metaphoric education wave about to drench us all is large and powerful! It is filled with Common Core State Standards influencing curricular changes and instructional practices; PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) assessments determining who is “college and career ready;” technology advances which impact teaching and learning at an increasing rate; expansion of digital tools and broad band access necessary for 21st century instruction and assessments; and new measures of educator effectiveness focusing on effective practices and the progress of students as measured by teacher prepared and standardized assessments.
The first two months of 2014 have provided a call to expand the school day and school calendar; a budget recommendation that doesn’t meet the requirements of the School Funding Reform Act, but does provide some additional assistance to school districts; and the departure of Chris Cerf as NJ Education Commissioner and the return of Dave Hespe to replace him, a role Mr. Hespe held during the Christie Whitman administration. Teachers of students in grades 3-8 also received Median Student Growth Percentile (MSGP) reports, gaining the first insight into a component of their future evaluations. Some teachers refined their Student Growth Objectives (SGO’s) by the February 15 deadline with the approval of their superintendent. At the State House, the Assembly Education Committee heard concerns about the burden of new initiatives and discussed needed resources to implement training and expand technology capacity toward an effective implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and preparation for PARCC assessments.
We can be sure that there will continue to be plenty of “Alphabet Soup” acronyms as new initiatives are introduced and existing ones are altered! Will all this “reform” produce the desired changes? I can’t help but wonder if this time next year we might just be singing the lyrics of Bon Jovi!
The More Things Change the more they stay the same
The more things change the more they stay the same
Ah, is it just me or does anybody see
The new improved tomorrow isn't what it used to be
Yesterday keeps comin' 'round, it's just reality
It's the same damn song with a different melody
Bon Jovi (2010)