Go to ...

News in Arkansas

Arkansas News Online

RSS Feed

November 24, 2017

At Rotary, Johnny Key Touts ‘Student-Focused Education’


The Arkansas Department of Education can transform the state to lead the nation in student-focused education, Commissioner Johnny Key told the Rotary Club of Little Rock on Tuesday.

“We don’t want to be just good enough,” Key said, adding that now is the time for Arkansas to take the next step in achieving excellence in education.

Key said the challenges facing schools include a decline in teachers; keeping students and their families engaged; and complying with the Every Students Succeeds Act of 2015, the successor to “No Child Left Behind.”

Key said educators must address “kid problems,” not “grown-up” problems that have been solved without considering their effect on students.

Key spoke about some of the department’s values, including transparency, accountability and driving action toward excellence through informed risk-taking.

Key said the department’s goals are for each student to:

  • Meet or exceed readiness benchmarks as they work toward graduating from high school and attending college or starting a career;  
  • Meet or exceed expected individual growth every year, which he said could be measured by the ACT Aspire test;
  • Have the “soft skills” or “personal competencies” to “know how to get along in the world” after graduating from high school;
  • Be actively engaged in college, career preparation, military service and/or competitive employment one year after graduation.

Key said “student-focused education” could be achieved through quality learning standards; excellent teachers and leaders; flexible and comprehensive assessment systems; and a flexible, comprehensive state accountability system that includes measuring students’ performance, growth, “personal competencies,” graduation rates and success in the first year after they graduate from high school.

One Rotary member asked what the state is doing to address the teacher shortage. Key said educators must change the story or conversation to reflect the positives of the profession, start early in the recruiting process and partner with higher education institutions to keep those seeking education degrees engaged.

Another Rotary member asked for Key’s thoughts on the Republican Party dropping pre-kindergarten education from its platform. 

Key, a Republican and former legislator, said the party’s concern was over mandated pre-K. He said Arkansas is still investing in voluntary pre-K, with Gov. Asa Hutchinson getting $3 million approved in the last legislative session to support such programs. 

The Arkansas Department of Education can transform the state to lead the nation in student-focused education, Commissioner Johnny Key told the Rotary Club of Little Rock on Tuesday.

“We don’t want to be just good enough,” Key said, adding that now is the time for Arkansas to take the next step in achieving excellence in education.

Key said the challenges facing schools include a decline in teachers; keeping students and their families engaged; and complying with the Every Students Succeeds Act of 2015, the successor to “No Child Left Behind.”

Key said educators must address “kid problems,” not “grown-up” problems that have been solved without considering their effect on students.

Key spoke about some of the department’s values, including transparency, accountability and driving action toward excellence through informed risk-taking.

Key said the department’s goals are for each student to:

  • Meet or exceed readiness benchmarks as they work toward graduating from high school and attending college or starting a career;  
  • Meet or exceed expected individual growth every year, which he said could be measured by the ACT Aspire test;
  • Have the “soft skills” or “personal competencies” to “know how to get along in the world” after graduating from high school;
  • Be actively engaged in college, career preparation, military service and/or competitive employment one year after graduation.

Key said “student-focused education” could be achieved through quality learning standards; excellent teachers and leaders; flexible and comprehensive assessment systems; and a flexible, comprehensive state accountability system that includes measuring students’ performance, growth, “personal competencies,” graduation rates and success in the first year after they graduate from high school.

One Rotary member asked what the state is doing to address the teacher shortage. Key said educators must change the story or conversation to reflect the positives of the profession, start early in the recruiting process and partner with higher education institutions to keep those seeking education degrees engaged.

Another Rotary member asked for Key’s thoughts on the Republican Party dropping pre-kindergarten education from its platform. 

Key, a Republican and former legislator, said the party’s concern was over mandated pre-K. He said Arkansas is still investing in voluntary pre-K, with Gov. Asa Hutchinson getting $3 million approved in the last legislative session to support such programs. 

Source

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More Stories From Arkansas Business