Secretary Arne Duncan spoke at the fall forum of the National Conference of State Legislatures earlier this month. He urged state legislators to help lead the school reform movement and identify state laws that are impeding reforms.
Specifically, he called on legislators to rewrite state laws to:
- Ensure that students—especially disadvantaged students—are taught by an effective teacher and that all policies related to the teaching profession promote effective teaching;
- Offer high-quality alternative certification routes to becoming teachers for military veterans and career changers;
- Give districts the ability increase learning time by extending the school day or school year; and
- Expand the number of charter schools and to increase accountability so bad charter schools are shut down.
Duncan praised state legislatures for leadership on several fronts the past few decades. In the 1980s, statehouses were in the forefront of the movement to set academic standards. Today, Louisiana is leading efforts to measure the effectiveness of teacher preparation programs by tracking the graduates’ success in improving student achievement. Florida, Texas and Colorado are preparing to follow suit.