Internship at The Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence: In Search of Education Reform by Danny Miller

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This summer I interned with the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, a group that does work on all facets of the education policy process. In this position I participated in a variety of experiences, including lobbying, strategizing, research, and policy formation. Over the course of my internship I participated in several meetings focusing on potential new members of the state government and the public and private attitudes they held toward various education issues. In addition, I undertook a large-scale individual policy project: a survey of the action states have taken toward the reformation of the teacher tenure system, with particular emphasis on steps completed since the Race to the Top program was implemented. These experiences allowed me to learn about the glamorous parts of the policy process like press conferences and high-profile group meetings. I also was exposed to the hidden parts of the process such as the long hours of research and the petty rivalries and personality clashes that make enacting good policy such a delicate process. Perhaps most important, this internship strengthened my passion for education policy and reform, so much so that I have completely re-evaluate my intended college and summer project path to place an even greater emphasis on areas pertaining to education and government. In summary, this internship has confirmed my belief that education reform is badly needed and something in which I am passionate about participating.

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Internship at The Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence: In Search of Education Reform by Danny Miller

  1. 1. Internship at The Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence: In Search of Education Reform Danny Miller, Centre CollegeIntroduction: Abstract: A strong education system is a vital part of a strong modern society. However, there is now a common belief This summer I interned with the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, a group that does work on allthat the American school system is not as strong as it can, or even needs to, be. Test after test shows America losing facets of the education policy process. In this position I participated in a variety of experiences, includingthe educational edge it once held and falling behind an increasing number of countries who are adopting newer and lobbying, strategizing, research, and policy formation. Over the course of my internship I participated in severalmore innovative approaches to education. As a result, numerous efforts toward various types of reform are being meetings focusing on potential new members of the state government and the public and private attitudes they heldundertaken across the country; everything from teacher tenure policy to classroom time to the most minute details of toward various education issues. In addition, I undertook a large-scale individual policy project: a survey of the actioncurriculum are being analyzed time and again across the country in an attempt to create a better system. This past states have taken toward the reformation of the teacher tenure system, with particular emphasis on steps completedsummer, I took an internship with the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, a group involved in several of since the Race to the Top program was implemented. These experiences allowed me to learn about the glamorousthese efforts, in an attempt to gain an understanding of the reality of the American education system, to learn about parts of the policy process like press conferences and high-profile group meetings. I also was exposed to the hiddenpotential alternatives and improvements, and to begin learning the skills necessary for me to become a leader in the parts of the process such as the long hours of research and the petty rivalries and personality clashes that makeeducation reform movement. enacting good policy such a delicate process. Perhaps most important, this internship strengthened my passion for education policy and reform, so much so that I have completely re-evaluate my intended college and summer project path to place an even greater emphasis on areas pertaining to education and government. In summary, this internship has confirmed my belief that education reform is badly needed and something in which I am passionate about participating. The Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence was created in 1980 as a subgroup within the state government of Kentucky focusing exclusively on higher education. In 1983, its members left the umbrella of the government and reincorporated as a private, non-profit group and expanded the focus of the group to all levels of education. In the years since, the Prichard Committee has been and continues to be involved with a wide variety of education initiatives within the state of Kentucky. It is now widely regarded as one of the pre-eminent education policy groups in the country. This picture, featuring me and Cindy Heine, the associate executive director of the Prichard Committee (and my direct supervisor), was taken at the Kentucky Teacher Showcase, a co-initiative of the Prichard Committee and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Showcase, which included representatives from nearly every county in Kentucky as well as the state government and several other states, featured teachers from across the state who were proving successful in a variety of new, innovative educational techniques in a range of classroom settings. The intent behind the showcase was to spread those new ideas across the state, granting as many students as possible the benefits of techniques that currently only students of a few teachers were receiving. This event allowed me to gain a greater understanding and appreciation for the type of possibilities that exist for reform, and ways in which they might be spread effectively. The individual project which became the centerpiece of my internship was a research paper surveying recent trends within teacher tenure policies. I found that this particular issue, often held up as an easy but neglected area of reform, had actually experienced a dramatic uptick in policy reform over the past three years. Since 2009, 26 states had implemented some sort of tenure reform, as opposed to three significant state reforms in all of the previous history of the tenure system. In addition, since 2009, four states have eliminated tenure completely, something only one state had done before. By doing this project, I not only gained experience doing policy research, but I also gained experience analyzing both cause (provisions and incentives within the federal Race to the Top program, instituted in 2009) and effects (largely minimal, to this point) of policy trends.

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