Speaking to their dedication to America’s children, Education Secretary Arne Duncan named six members of the National Assessment Governing Board today. These leaders, representing fields ranging from education to business to policymaking, will serve four-year terms for the Governing Board, which works with the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), commonly known as The Nation’s Report Card.
Duncan also announced that the lone incumbent of the group of six – current chairman David P. Driscoll – will remain at the helm. Driscoll is the former commissioner of education for Massachusetts and has served since 2006 on the 26-member Board.
“David Driscoll’s commitment and leadership has been instrumental to the Governing Board, and these five community leaders will be great additions to the team,” Secretary Duncan said. “I know their dedication to our children will help us as we work toward ensuring that all students are meeting grade-level standards and are ready for postsecondary education or careers. We look forward to their contributions.”
Congress created the bipartisan Governing Board in 1988 to oversee and set policy for NAEP. Through The Nation's Report Card, NAEP informs the public about students’ knowledge in various subject areas and compares achievement between states, large urban districts and different demographic groups.
In overseeing The Nation's Report Card, the Governing Board — a group of governors, state legislators, local and state school officials, educators and researchers, business representatives, and other citizens — determines the content to be tested and sets achievement levels for scores, and it works to inform the public about the results. The assessment has served as a national yardstick to evaluate the condition and progress of American education since 1969.
The slate of newcomers, who range from a governor to an award-winning middle-school science teacher, collectively bring many decades of education-related experience. In addition, the choices bring more racial diversity to the Board – one appointee is African-American, another is Hispanic and a third is Native American. The members have impressive backgrounds:
- David P. Driscoll (Melrose, Mass., general public,): Current Board chair who has served as a member since 2006. Driscoll was the 22nd Commissioner of Education for Massachusetts from 1998 to 2007, and has served more than four decades in public education and educational leadership, including positions as a secondary school mathematics teacher and local superintendent.
- Shannon Garrison (South Pasadena, Calif.; fourth grade teacher): Fourth grade teacher for Solano Avenue Elementary School in Los Angeles. Garrison has won numerous honors, including the Milken Family Foundation National Educator award in 2008. She also authored winning applications for the National Blue Ribbon School and California Distinguished School programs.
- Richard Brent Houston (Shawnee, Okla.; secondary school principal): Principal of Shawnee Middle School. Houston served as a vocal teacher and elementary principal before becoming principal in 2008 at Shawnee Middle, a school of 800 where 30 percent of students are Native American. His numerous honors include an appointment to the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority Board of Directors and Teacher of the Year.
- Hector Ibarra (Iowa City, Iowa; eighth grade teacher): Middle school general and earth science teacher at West Branch Middle School. A 30-year veteran educator, Ibarra’s expertise and influence have won him dozens of grants and honors, including a National Teacher of the Year Award in 2005 and a $30,000 Christa McAuliffe Fellowship. Ibarra has served as a consultant for many groups, including the University of Iowa, ACT and the National Research Council.
- Jack Markell (Dover, Del.; governor): Governor of Delaware. In office since 2009, Markell has overseen major education reforms, including a pilot program to reward improving schools and a new assessment system for students, which will debut statewide next year. He has been a leader in the national Common Core State Standards initiative and saw his state named as the top scorer in the first phase of the national Race to the Top competitive federal grant program.
- Blair Taylor (Los Angeles; business representative): President and CEO of the Los Angeles Urban League. Taylor has supervised several initiatives, including the nationally recognized Greater Crenshaw Educational Partnership that has worked to improve graduation rates and lower dropout rates at Crenshaw High School. Over the last two decades, Taylor has held high-level executive positions at several businesses, including IBM and Pepsi. He was most recently executive vice president of the College Summit, a national college access initiative with outreach to 6,000 low-income, part-time students annually.
“The variety and impressive expertise of these members will ensure that the Governing Board continues to set the course for strong rigor in American education through its dedication to NAEP,” said Governing Board Executive Director Cornelia Orr. “With Dr. Driscoll’s leadership and desire to reach more of the American public, in particular, the Board can expand its horizons in its work.”