Another key speaker at the Virginia Conference on Economic Leadership was Dr. Thomas R. Morris, Secretary of Education for the Commonwealth of Virginia.  His remarks were more in-depth than most political rhetoric that you hear about reforming our schools.

In fact, Dr. Morris cautioned the audience that reform was not the issue.  Instead of reform, we should focus on raising expectations.  He mentioned that there are two levels of diplomas that a high school student in Virginia can earn, standard or advanced studies.  Dr. Morris suggested that we should push to have a higher percentage of students striving for the advanced studies diploma, rather than setting their goals at "just" finishing high school.

Even beyond the advanced studies high school diploma, the next step is to move a higher number of students into the secondary education system and into industry certification programs.

Falling in line with his boss
, VA Governor Timothy Kaine, Dr. Morris endorsed pre-K education as a way to set children up as being "ready to learn" when they start kindergarten.  Of course, not everyone agrees with that logic…

The overall feel of the talk, though, was one of a fresh look at the approach we usually take on education "reform", and why we need to change our perspective.  Otherwise, we will change for the sake of change, rather than actually moving forward.

See also:  What’s the plan for VA’s economic development? (1st in a 4-part series)
See also:  Northrop Grumman speaks on workforce development (2nd in a 4-part series)

2 Thoughts on “The State of Virginia speaks on education (3rd in a 4-part series)”

  • I think the loss of expectations due to an overemphasis on standardization and “noncompetitive” concepts such as outcome based education has done a great deal of damage to our educational system. Children can handle challenges, the attempt to remove such challenges is not a benefit to their upbringing in my opinion. I agree with raised expectations as a way to improve education. That said, it will be of little use while students are trapped in the inflexible education system we now have. Like most things involving the government, the school system has become far too rigid and unbending, not allowing for the natural variety of student aptitude and talent. Some effort is made to help with the weak points, but little is being done to promote the strong points of individual students. This is not a commentary against teachers or individual schools, but against the system in general. Exceptional instruction is, unfortunately, far more rare than exceptional students are, indication that we are dreadfully failing our national student body.

  • When will the 25 million person shortage of employees hit? (4th in a 4-part series)

    As pointed out by Michael Daniels, of SAIC and Network Solutions Inc., during the panel discussion at the Virginia Conference on Economic Leadership, we will soon be facing a shortage of 25 million workers nationwide. The first of the baby

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