The State Government Leadership Foundation believes that states—and not the federal government—are the best conduits for producing lasting and effective education reform across our country.
The SGLF understands that real education reform must start locally. The SGLF works with state elected leaders, statewide education officials, and business advocates to help advance and implement reforms that improve the quality of education in classrooms state by state.
The SGLF promotes state and local governments prioritizing youth through meaningful and farsighted education reform that will increase student achievement and prepare students for success well beyond high school and into college or career paths.
The SGLF believes that education reform within states should be based upon the six broad reform goals below:
- From grades K-3, children learn to read, and from grades 4-12, children read to learn.
- States would be well served to make reading a priority early on.
- Placing a critical focus on reading in the early grades will not only increase the likelihood that a student will graduate from high school, but also increase their life-long earning potential.
- 2011 report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that kids who are not proficient readers by the end of grade 3 are four times more likely to drop out of high school.
- Further, reading is an area of learning that can garner tremendous support from parents.
Linking Teacher and School Leadership Effectiveness to Student Achievement
- States must start evaluating teachers and school leaders on the basis of student achievement. Period.
- Right now, teacher evaluation systems focus too heavily on inputs such as credentials and not enough on outputs, such as student achievement. By shifting evaluation systems to include vastly more measures of student outcomes, in addition to objective observation protocols, student surveys, and other locally decided measures, state leaders can not only create buy-in at the local level, but also engage parents in a meaningful way with transparent data on teachers and school leaders.
Rewarding Excellence, Not Tenure, and Replacing Failure with Success
- The current system deters some of America’s brightest young adults who are entering the work force from joining the teaching profession because of low earning potential and the lack of professionalism.
- States should compensate and reward teachers commensurate with student achievement in the classroom, rather than number of years in the classroom.
High Academic Standards for Every Student
- Each state will better serve their students as they raise the expectation for each student across every grade level.
Scrupulous Accountability on Multiple Levels
- States are ultimately accountable for the learning that does or does not take place within their schools.
- States must hold their schools accountable on more than one level. And there are multiple levels on which to rate schools.
- States should be encouraged to measure both proficiency and growth for all students to meaningfully differentiate support at the school and classroom level.
School Choice for All Students
- From charters, to tax credits, to virtual learning—conservative state leaders need to frame the conversation around more effective choice options, not simply more choice options.
- As conservative state elected officials develop policy to increase the number of charters, extend the use of tax credits, and expand virtual learning offerings, prioritizing best practices will not only build support for the policies, but also provide students with better learning options.