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State Education Chief, on Job About 100 Days, Tackling Tall Test Ahead of Him

Las Vegas Sun (12/27/13) Takahashi, Paul

Nevada Superintendent of Public Instruction Dale Erquiaga is diving into reform efforts to bolster student outcomes, despite having assumed the post only around 100 days ago. In a recent interview with the Las Vegas Sun, Erquiaga said his priorities are transitioning to more rigorous academic standards, aligning elementary and middle school standardized tests to the Common Core State Standards, replacing the high school proficiency exam with four end-of-course exams, and requiring high school juniors to take a new college- and career-readiness exam. "It's a new era for us," he said. "We're focusing a lot on testing and accountability, but we need to focus on what we do after the tests. ... I want to look at what we learn from these test results to improve our schools." Additionally, new teacher and principal evaluation systems are being piloted this year and will be finalized in the 2016-17 school year. He said turning a school around involves building leadership. "We want to support principals, who in turn support teachers. I think we're doing it right by going slow and steady," Erquiaga remarked. He also is encouraging districts to move toward performance-based teacher evaluation systems and said a statewide performance-based system could be in place by 2017.
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