College, Career, and Citizenship Education
ASCD and more than two dozen major education organizations representing a wide array of subject areas are promoting consensus recommendations for how the federal government can better support disciplines beyond reading, math, and science. (See below for the College, Career, and Citizenship Readiness [CCCR] Consensus Statement.)
The policy recommendations are
- A response to the administration's proposals to consolidate subject-specific grant programs into a single competitive grant,
- A response to recent congressional decisions to reduce or defund many of these important programs (PDF), and
- An affirmation that a comprehensive education in all core academic subjects is necessary to prepare graduates for college and careers.
In each of its last three budget requests, the Obama administration has proposed collapsing programs that support arts, history, civics, foreign languages, geography, and economics into one initiative, requiring these subjects to compete against one another for resources. It also continues to propose a similar consolidation that would pit against one another programs that support school counseling, physical education, and safe and drug-free schools.
This approach could threaten schools’ and districts’ ability to provide all students with an education that prepares them for college, careers, and active citizenship, and it seems at odds with the president’s and education secretary’s intent to fully prepare students for the 21st century.
As part of their FY13 deliberations, the Senate Appropriations Committee has voted to maintain funding for only those CCCR programs that were funded in FY12: Elementary and Secondary School Counseling ($52 million), Physical Education Program ($78 million), and Arts in Education ($26.5 million). The House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to vote on its education funding bill in July.
If your organization is interested in endorsing the consensus statement outlined below, please contact ASCD's policy unit by e-mail or call 1-703-575-5604.
Consensus Recommendations for College, Career, and Citizenship Readiness
College, career, and citizenship readiness is not limited to proficiency in reading and math, but includes all disciplines and the comprehensive knowledge and skills required of students after high school graduation. We believe each student must receive equal access to a credible and comprehensive education that includes instruction in reading, math, science, arts, history, civics, government, economics, foreign languages, geography, health education, and physical education.
Learning in each of these disciplines is essential for any graduate to be considered college, career, and citizenship ready. Delivery of a comprehensive education must be reflected in standards, assessments, and accountability systems, and public reporting of achievement must accommodate the needs of students and the expectations of educators, employers, and public officials in the 21st century global environment. Schools, local districts, and communities must also have the flexibility to customize education to meet their unique circumstances.
Recent congressionally approved funding levels have hampered the ability of schools to prepare students for college, careers, and citizenship. Moreover, reducing or eliminating funding for these disciplines signals to the public that national decision makers believe they are not important to student success. A complete education ensures success in the modern workforce and is worthy of being a national priority to support global competitiveness.
Each of these disciplines is crucial to a student’s learning in its own right, and none should be considered more important than another. Indeed, the interrelationship among disciplines enhances learning and understanding for each student. Success in school also depends on a student’s physical and mental well-being. Finally, training in critical and creative thinking, communication, and collaboration is necessary for students to succeed in the increasingly global marketplace and in our own complex and ever-changing society.
To achieve these goals, the undersigned organizations call on Congress to
- Include all elements of a comprehensive education in any definition of college, career, and citizenship readiness.
- Maintain discrete and significant funding for each of these disciplines to ensure that each retains federal support individually and that all receive a minimum level of resources reflecting collective support for college, career, and citizenship readiness.
- Promote grant competitions within disciplines, not between them, which prioritizes underserved or high-need schools and students and emphasize best practices, scalability, and cross-subject collaboration and integration.
- Develop a rigorous evaluation process, including significant input from professional educators, to measure the effectiveness of the funded activities and to propose improvements in the respective grant programs.
- Establish meaningful public reporting and accountability requirements regarding student achievement in each of these disciplines at the school, district, and state levels.
The following organizations have endorsed the recommendations: