"You have good schools," Willard Daggett, told an audience Tuesday at Hudson High School, "but good schools are not enough."
Daggett is the founder and CEO of the International Center for Leadership in Education, and was brought to the district with grant funds Hudson schools received from the federal, Race to the Top program.
He believes that few schools in Ohio are ready for the new common core standards in English language arts and mathematics, which will be in effect in two years.
The new standards, Daggett says, "are higher and different."
Daggett looked at Ohio proficiency scores for 4th and 8th grade reading and math. Applying National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) standards for 2011, he says that the passage rate for 4th grade reading would be at 34 percent, and 8th at 37 percent.
Math for 4th grade would be 45 percent, and 8th grade would be 39 percent.
Educational focus needs to change from compartmentalized instruction to an interdisciplinary approach, Daggett said.
Students need to learn not just math, in math class, but how to read the language of math.
Daggett passed out an 8th grade word problem to the almost entirely adult audience. When most could not solve it, he explained that it was not because a complicated math calculation was involved, but rather that audience members were struggling with interpreting the reading portion of the problem.
Daggett also made the point that the American educational system has focused for too long on one definition of excellence- the college education. He feels that we have disregarded preparing students for the working world, "and the rest of the world passed us by.
He emphasized the need for relevancy in teaching. A student-athlete that can learn math from studying football plays, for example will learn quickly, more easily and have a deeper understanding of the subject.
Director of Curriculum and Instruction Doreen Osmun has already been working on implementing this new way of teaching in Hudson schools.
She said that education in the Hudson district will be much more multi-disciplinary, and the concept of relevancy will be applied.
A classroom, she says, may simultaneously have students involved in a workshop; students on the computer; and students with pencil and paper, all learning the same concept, but in a completely different way.
School board member Patricia Engelman said that while Hudson is an excellent district, and testing scores are high, people need to be aware that standards are changing and the district needs to keep pace.
She praised the efforts of Osmun in preparing the district for the arrival of the common core standards.