Common Core State Standards require a shift from attention to graduation rates to attention to readiness for college and careers. Based on this, the Regents are moving forward with an expansion of Career and Tech Education, including at the middle school grades. The state recognizes that college and career readiness includes some things rural schools can't afford; for example, AP, IB, and dual credit courses. Maybe we should all consider doing these as BOCES shares.
We should look at the increased assessment that comes with Common Core as "preventative education."
The Regents are looking at equity in funding, at comprehensive structures such as the aforementioned regional high schools, and at the expansion of BOCES as a regional model.
A successful district needs effective practices for attendance, a safe learning environment, a solid curriculum based on Common Core, opportunities for teachers to improve (professional development, the first thing most poor districts cut), and time in the classroom for all principals (most of whom are currently so over their heads with data analysis and paperwork that this seems a distant dream).
In short, we need to Invest in Student Achievement, which includes performance management through APPR and professional development; leveraging technology, which does not mean buying whiteboards for all classrooms; and offering proven curricula, including AP, IB, higher math, and CTE (all of which are out the window for most poor districts).
At lunch, an incensed superintendent I'd never met buttonholed me and cursed "people who try to tell me what the hell to do in my buildings but don't give me the money to do it."
More to come.