On October 14, 2009, ED’s General Counsel, Charles P. Rose, visited Renton High School in Renton, WA, for Listening and Learning meetings with teachers and parents.
The Renton school district serves a diverse population of 14,000 students. Although Renton High School has been in restructuring status for the past five years, the school has made progress toward elevating achievement and preparing students for college and careers. Their success is made possible by a hard-working staff of teachers and administrators and dedicated parents.
During Rose’s visit, he heard from many of these very teachers and parents on a variety of issues, returning to the Department with a wealth of on-the-ground feedback.
Teachers spoke candidly about reforms they deemed helpful and others that they viewed with less enthusiasm. Many lauded the value of high-quality data and professional development in improving instruction, while others expressed concerns about adequate yearly progress (AYP) benchmarks and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act’s reliance on test scores. Parents provided insightful comments of their own about the need for uniform assessments, expressed support for efforts geared toward increased learning time, and suggested that the Federal government reassess Federal poverty measures to more fairly reflect regional differences in the cost of living.
Rose thanked all of the teachers and parents who attended the Listening and Learning meeting and who demonstrated their extraordinary commitment to Renton High School and its students. He has since taken their questions and comments back to Washington where they will contribute to the continuing efforts of ED officials to enact meaningful education reform.