After giving a speech at West Caldwell Tech, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that New Jersey is showing real courage with the education changes.
Duncan said that he loves seeing a school, such as West Caldwell Tech, that is progressing and getting better and better in terms of graduation rates being up and dropout rates being down.
“There is so much right that is happening here and while we were thrilled to invest and provide some resources, I said quite honestly that we are a small part of the success and the real hard work. All the leadership and courage is coming from the community, principal, hard working teachers and students themselves and all I’ve heard about is how expectations continue to go up, ” Duncan said.
He said that there is nothing easy about raising the bar in schools and it is hard work but it is inspiring to see is work at West Caldwell Tech.
“We are looking not just at a single test score, but at growth and gain. We are looking at so many other measures of accountability — are graduation rates going up, dropout rates going down, are more students going to college, are they actually college and career ready not having to take remedial classes, are they persevering in college? It’s looking at a whole list,” Duncan said.
One of the worst things that happened to education, according to Duncan, is that standards got dumbed down to make politicians look good, which is bad for children, education and the country. But he believes that is turning around.
“Our children will be able to compete and be successful in a competitive economy,” Duncan said.