Quality Counts 2013: Code of Conduct

Cage-Busting LeadershipNow seventeen years old, Education Week’s annual Quality Counts (QC) report grades states (and the U.S. as a whole) on six indicators: K–12 achievement; standards, assessment, and accountability; the teaching profession; school finance; “transitions and alignment” (which investigates early-childhood programming and college and career readiness); and the ever-controversial “chance for success” index. In this iteration, only the latter three have been updated—which strengthens the feeling that we’ve read this book before: The top five states retained their positions (with Maryland at the head with a B-plus), as did the lowest (South Dakota, D-plus). The U.S. average crept from 76.5 to 76.9. Even the most notable shifts aren’t exactly page-turners: West Virginia bumped from fourteenth to second on the school-finance indicator by upping its per-pupil funding $1,000. And Georgia earned the series’ first perfect score on “transitions and alignment” by embracing QC’s fourteen pet policies (like defining school or work readiness). Beyond the state rankings, this year’s QC also explores the intersection between school-discipline policies and student learning, calling attention to a key tradeoff: How do education leaders balance the need for a safe environment (not just by keeping weapons out of schools but by keeping other violence and disruption out, as well) against the benefits of keeping kids in school? Conventional wisdom says that too many students are being suspended or expelled—but “fixing” that problem might create new ones. If quality is to “count,” then classrooms need to be places of learning, not disruption.

SOURCE: Education Week, Quality Counts 2013: Code of Conduct (Bethesda, MD: Editorial Projects in Education, January 10, 2013).

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