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Texas Colleges Flock to Big Ed’s ‘Cradle to Career’ Presidential Summit

Texas Colleges Flock to Big Ed’s ‘Cradle to Career’ Presidential Summit

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In a state that so fervently rejected the Common Core, Texas answered Big Ed’s cradle-to-career clarion cattle call yet again, this time it comes on the heels of 10 of the state’s public school superintendents race to the White House to take the Future Ready District Pledge.

On December 4, Texas colleges joined hundreds of other higher education institutions nationwide and the President, First Lady and Vice President for the College Opportunity Day of Action, more reinforcements from the administration’s all out race to the college campus.

This was the second in a series. Last January, the inaugural Presidential summit included 100 colleges. Among them were the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Houston, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Texas colleges in attendance at the second summit were Paul Quinn College in North Texas, Richland College and its parent institution, the Dallas County Community College District; Amarillo College, Houston Community College, San Jacinto College, South Texas College, Southwest Texas Junior College, the Texas A&M University System and the University of Texas at San Antonio, the Dallas Morning News also reported.

Austin-based College Forward, “the recognized leader for producing outstanding student outcomes, including a college acceptance rate twice that of similarly disadvantaged Texas students and a college completion rate six times the state average,” attended according to PRNewswire.

College Forward “has significant experience convening collective impact collaboratives and delivering highly popular student services at high schools and colleges,” the press release stated.

Summit participants were asked to commit to new action in one of four areas: building networks of colleges around promoting completion, creating K-16 partnerships around college readiness, investing in high school counselors as part of the First Lady’s Reach Higher initiative, and increasing the number of college graduates in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

The press release also stated that the President would announce new steps on how his Administration is helping to support these actions, including announcing $10 million to help promote college completion and a $30 million AmeriCorps program that will improve low income students’ access to college.

Breitbart Texas reported on Mrs. Obama’s Reach Higher tour at the University of Texas, San Antonio, for Destination College. The First Lady’s initiative is the companion to the President’s North Star campaign. The goal is that by the year 2020, America will have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world and lead in world-class education.

The First Lady admonished high school students, telling them it was not acceptable to skip college or they wouldn’t be able to compete in the global marketplace.

Destination College is part of SA2020, the community vision created by former San Antonio mayor now HUD czar Julian Castro, who moderated a three-person panel at the summit. Topics were supportive of Big Data and the Common Core.

Castro also lent his anecdotal perspective based on his signature Big Ed program, Pre-K 4 SA.

On the panel was pro-Common Core “cradle to career” advocate and State University of New York (SUNY) Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, who last June attacked grassroots activists across America. She claimed that they mislead the public about the Common Core State Standards, which she called a must, insisting that it would take “decades to recover” if the controversial standards were tossed.

Zimpher heads up Higher Ed for Higher Standards, a project of the Collaborative for Student Success, which promotes the Common Core. More than 200 college and university leaders from 33 states signed on as original members, according to the Journal News.

In response to Zimpher’s claims at that time, Dr. Sandra Stotsky told Breitbart Texas, “Not one recognized scholar, mathematician, scientist, or engineer among them…and it’s hard to find names of presidents of our most selective colleges/universities (such as the Ivy Leagues, Seven Sisters, MIT, CIT, RPI).

At the summit, Zimpher told attendees that college and career readiness started with kindergarten readiness. She commented that data and its evidence provided the best and biggest payoff with smallest sweat equity to determine that post-secondary and workforce readiness success.

Panelist Eloy Ortiz Oakley, Superintendent and President of Long Beach State College in Long Beach, California called the Common Core “a tool of alignment,” although he believed tests were often barriers, detrimental and not the best indicators of achievement.

Lori Ward, Superintendent of Dayton, Ohio public schools insisted that data had to be “used in a very intentional way to prove the collective system.” Shealso raised the topic of how to design a data system to trigger at-risk students.

Ward suggested that instead of saying “everybody has to go to college” we reframe our thinking to a “college-minded” community attitude.

That still means that everybody must go to college.

Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom


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