Hoover Institution 2005
Will the Natural State take the lead in U.S. school reform? If it follows the ambitious agenda laid out for it by the Koret Task Force on K-12 Education (currently chaired by me), it could well assume that position of honor. In response to a request from Governor Mike Huckabee, the Hoover-based Task Force spent a year appraising K-12 education in Arkansas, which has already made many changes in response to a state supreme court school-finance ruling, and developed some 45 recommendations across a wide spectrum of issues. This 166-page volume is organized into a dozen chapters under the broad headings of "standards and curriculum," "assessment and accountability," "structure and options," and "teachers." It's already causing a stir in Arkansas. (See here, here, and here.) Among the topics generating debate, according to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, is the Task Force's proposal "calling for the state to lessen its reliance on graduates of colleges of education and state certification." Moreover, the Task Force "proposed devoting all new state funding for teacher pay raises toward establishing a reward system for teachers whose students show achievement gains over the course of a school year." To read all the proposals, have a look here.