aren’t going up with the numbers [means that] we have to do more than act on a slogan. We have to prepare students for college” 37

The Need for Sustained Systemic Intervention and Reform

Federal support for interventions has been agency and program specific, with little cohesion and synergy. Also, the assessments of such interventions tend to document whether they have accomplished their program goals, rather than systemic outcomes. Current measures do not attest to the cumulative impact of these national investments, too few target underrepresented minorities, and there is no systematic way to translate the results of the research into classroom applications.

Partially addressing the issues, the Obama administration has issued A Blueprint for Reform to guide the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA),38 replacing the No Child Left Behind Act. It challenges states, districts, and schools to ensure that all students graduating or on track to graduate from high school are ready for college and a career by 2020. The priorities include evidence-based rigorous standards to improve performance in high-need schools, equitable distribution of quality teachers and resources, innovative programs for English Learners, and rewards for performance. The blueprint proposes to strengthen formula grant programs for Native American, Native Hawaiian, and Alaska Native education, giving more flexibility to tribal education departments in managing programs and services for Indian students within their jurisdiction.

The blueprint calls on states to provide high-quality STEM instruction by leveraging federal, state, and local funds to integrate evidence-based, effective mathematics or science programs into the teaching of other academic subjects. It emphasizes the need to provide substantial support to high-need schools, including professional development for teachers and school leaders, high-quality curricula, instructional materials and assessments, and interventions that assure that all students are served effectively. Priority will be given to states adopting common, state-developed, college-and career-ready standards.


J. L. Plummer. More diversity among 2009 SAT test takers, scores slightly down, Diverse Education, August 26, 2009. Found at


A Blueprint for Reform: The Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. U.S. Department of Education, March 2010.

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