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Bredesen, ‘Achieve’ Release National Education Report

Press Release from the Gov. Phil Bredesen administration, March 1, 2010:

Report Measures State Progress on College- and Career-Ready Agenda

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Governor Phil Bredesen today participated in the release of Achieve’s fifth annual “Closing the Expectations Gap” report in the nation’s capital. The report shows that in the five years since the National Governors Association and Achieve co-sponsored the National Education Summit on high schools, the goal of aligning high school graduation requirements with the demands of college and the workplace has gone from a radical concept to the new norm throughout the country.

Bredesen co-chairs the board of Achieve, an independent, bipartisan, nonprofit education reform organization based in Washington, D.C.

“I’m proud of the progress Tennessee and other American Diploma Project Network states have made in just five shorts years,” said Bredesen. “The challenge now for all states, as we discovered in Tennessee, is to sustain progress and push forward on the implementation of college- and career-ready policies so they become the norm not just in policy, but in every classroom.”

The report measures change in regard to the same five areas of reform each year across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The areas of reform include standards, graduation requirements, P-20 data systems, assessments and accountability.

“What started off as isolated efforts among individual states just five years ago has become a national movement producing a national consensus: all students, regardless of where they live, should receive a quality education that prepares them to succeed in college, career and life,” said Mike Cohen, Achieve’s president. “We applaud state leaders for spearheading high school education reform efforts that will benefit the future of our children and our nation.”

Tennessee signed on to the American Diploma Project in 2007 and Bredesen launched a series of education roundtable discussions with a diverse group of community leaders from business, industry and higher education to advance the goal of raising education standards and accountability in Tennessee. In 2008, the State Board of Education toughened Tennessee’s education standards and aligned them better with the needs of business and college entrance requirements. It also did away with separate diplomas for students going to college and those that were not. In 2013, Tennessee high school students will graduate with the Ready Core diploma and be the first class to enter college with the same expectations for high school graduation and college entrance.

Achieve’s college- and career-ready agenda has been embraced not just by most of the states but at the federal level as well. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Race to the Top grant competition and discussions about the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act all seek to anchor education in the goal of graduating students ready for college and careers, further evidence that while there is still much work to be done, there is nearly universal agreement on the end goal: that all students should graduate from high school with a diploma that prepares them for college, careers and life.

To see a full copy of the report, go to www.achieve.org/ClosingtheExpectationsGap2010.

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