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Governor Wise - Alliance for Excellent Education - North Carolina Testimony

Governor Wise - Alliance for Excellent Education - North Carolina Testimony

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Published by LL1885
Governor Wise - Alliance for Excellent Education - North Carolina Testimony
Common Core, Data Mining, SLDS, CEDARS
Governor Wise - Alliance for Excellent Education - North Carolina Testimony
Common Core, Data Mining, SLDS, CEDARS

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Published by: LL1885 on Apr 07, 2013
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02/18/2014

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 Testimony of Bob Wise, President of the Alliance for ExcellentEducation and Former Governor of West Virginia,Before the North Carolina Digital Learning Environments in PublicSchools Legislative Research Committee Thursday, October 4, 2012
 
 Thank you, Senator Soucek and Representative Horn, and members of the NorthCarolina Digital Learning Environments in Public Schools Legislative ResearchCommittee. It is my great pleasure to have received this invitation from theResearch Committee to discuss how digital learning and the effective use of technology can help drive better learning for all students in North Carolina—regardless of their geography or socioeconomic status—as you study availabledigital learning models used nationally and to examine cost-effective ways to offerenriched educational opportunities to students through the use of digital tools.As president of the Alliance for Excellent Education—a Washington, DC-basednational policy and advocacy organization that works to improve national, federal,and state policy to ensure that all students can achieve at high academic levels andgraduate from high school ready for college and a career—Ive been working onissues of improving high school graduation rates, improving adolescent literacy,and supported efforts that led to the Common Core state standards. But about fouryears ago, I realized that even with the motivated teachers, even with the excellentleaders we have, we just aren’t going to be able to get there from here. We cannotreach our goals of ensuring that all students are career and college ready withoutupdating how we think about education. Weve made a lot of progress. But we
 
Gov. Bob Wise Testimony2
need what the military calls a force multiplier – technology – to accelerate thatprogress. But, as educators in North Carolina can surely attest, digital hardware byitself does not bring about change, but by combining teachers and technology withproper leadership, vision, and planning, schoolhouses become robust and effectivelearning environments where we truly change how we educate our students. I wantto take a moment and commend the leadership you have here in North Carolina forthe tremendous progress you’ve made. Governor Beverly Purdue has lead much of this work, creating the E-Learning Commission when she was LieutenantGovernor, and supporting the development of the North Carolina Research andEducation Network. I also want to point out that you have a fantastic resource inthe William and Ida Friday Institute at North Carolina State University and itsdirector, Glenn Kleiman. If every state had an institution like the Friday Institute,the work we are engaged in would be much, much easier. The Friday Institute hastruly led the way preparing teachers and leaders to transform the learning processin the 21
st
century. Now the time has come to continue this progress by spreadingthese practices and encouraging all school districts and all schools to put into placeplans for high-quality digital learning.Some definitions: “Digital learning” is any instructional practice that effectivelyuses technology to strengthen a student’s learning experience. It emphasizes high-quality instruction and provides access to challenging content, instant feedbackfrom assessments and data systems, opportunities for learning anytime andanywhere, and individualized instruction to ensure all students reach their fullpotential to succeed in college and a career. Sometimes you’ll hear talk of “blended learning,” which combines online learning with a brick-and-mortarenvironment; e-learning; mobile learning; and maybe other terms. At the end of the
 
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day, the important thing is the systemic use of effective and reliable technologyapplications that support teachers in improving learning outcomes.Like most states, North Carolina is facing several key challenges in the next two tothree years. One, implementing career and college ready standards – the CommonCore – for all students, along with the new assessments that are expected to beavailable by 2014. This will require a major curriculum upgrade. Two, budgetconstraints brought about by declining local, state, and federal revenues and tightbudgets. Three, developing the workforce to be prepared for the jobs that are goingto require more advanced skills than in the past. All this, while price points fortechnology are dropping as the capacity of that technology continues to improve. Itis going to require innovative thinking to make the education dollar moreproductive and effective, while factoring in investing in what works andmaximizing return on investment.North Carolina is being challenged to do more with less, but the state is not alonein this trend in education. Nationally, the economic need to graduate more studentswith higher standards is not being met. Twenty-five percent of a typical class of ninth graders will not graduate from high school.
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Based on research from ACT, of those who do make it through high school, only twenty-five percent of them willbe prepared to succeed in college. Even more troubling, students of color have agraduation rate of just over 50 percent.
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These students are not only the nation’schildren; they are its future workforce. For their sake, as well as the nation’seconomic future, we cannot afford to fail them. The decisions you make about howto best utilize digital learning environments will directly affect North Carolinians’economic futures – both individually and as a state.

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