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Assessing the Success of Schools in Society

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Date and time
Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Paul Reville asks how can we prepare children for life as citizens, workers, and responsible adults in the 21st Century. Educators, parents, policy makers and legislators seem overwhelmed by the number of challenges facing public education today, and by the enormous costs, financial and social, of addressing those challenges. Behind the buzz words, platitudes and anecdotes lies the stark fact that education in the United States is in search of a new mission and in need of a redefined contract with the society that supports it. In the absence of a new social contract between society and schools, test scores have become the generally accepted measure of achievement. Reville focuses on appropriate methods of assessing educational success, asking what role high stakes testing should play in our public schools and what alternatives might assure school accountability.

As Secretary of Education of Massachusetts, Paul Reville directs the Executive Office of Education. The Secretary oversees the three education agencies of the Commonwealth Department of Early Education and Care, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and Department of Higher Education. Prior to becoming Secretary, Governor Patrick appointed Paul as the chairman of the Massachusetts State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. He also served on Governor Patrick's Transition Team and was chair of the Governor's Pre-K-12 Task Force on Governance. Until his appointment as Secretary of Education, Paul was the president of the Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy. Paul was also the Director of the Education Policy and Management Program and a lecturer on educational policy and politics at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Paul is the former executive director of the Pew Forum on Standards-Based Reform, and was the founding executive director of the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education (MBAE). From 1991-96, he served on the Massachusetts State Board of Education. From 1996 - 2002, he chaired the Massachusetts Commission on Time and Learning as well as the Massachusetts Education Reform Review Commission, the state body that provided research and oversight for the state's implementation of education reform in the Commonwealth. In 1985, Paul was the founding executive director of the Alliance for Education, a multi-service educational improvement organization serving Worcester and Central Massachusetts. Prior to his work at the Alliance, Paul was the principal/education director and a teacher in two alternative secondary schools. He is a graduate of Colorado College and holds a Master's degree from Stanford University.