Andy Smarick

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    Author Bio:
    Andy Smarick is a Partner at Bellwether Education Partners, a nonprofit organization working to improve educational outcomes for low-income students. He works in Bellwether’s Thought Leadership practice. His book, The Urban School System of the Future, was released in 2012, and his work has also appeared in The Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, Boston Globe, and National Affairs.


Diplomatic Mission

President Obama’s path to performance pay

Winter 2011 / Vol. 11, No. 1

Toothless Reform?

If the feds get tough, Race to the Top might work

Spring 2010 / Vol. 10, No. 2

Wave of the Future

Why charter schools should replace failing urban schools

Winter 2008 / Vol. 8, No. 1

The Turnaround Fallacy

Stop trying to fix failing schools. Close them and start fresh.

Winter 2010 / Vol. 10, No. 1

Blog Posts/Multimedia

The Broad Prize and the Courage to Change

Is the best urban district good enough?


Next for Neerav, NSNO, and NOLA

After eight years of helping make New Orleans the most exciting American city for K–12 education, Neerav Kingsland is going to focus on bringing NOLA-style reform to other cities.


Friday Catchall: Job Opportunities and Quick Reads

CRPE, DFER, CEE-Trust and more


The Challenges Facing Struggling Rural Schools

Struggling rural schools face different challenges than struggling urban schools, so different interventions may be called for.


Recent Edu-Reads, For Your Perusing Pleasure

School boards, charter schools, and more


Five Takeaways from Race to the Top Year-Three Reports

Today, the U.S Department of Education released Year-Three reports on the 12 states that won funding via Race to the Top’s first two competitions.


IES on SIG: Troubling Foreshadowing

We probably spent billions of dollars to get the same outcomes as if this program had never existed. And yet, these dollars continue to flow.


Top Recent Edu-Reads

Teacher pensions, school productivity, virtual school accountability, and more


Chris Cerf: In Appreciation

Last week, Chris Cerf stepped down after three extraordinarily successful years as New Jersey’s commissioner of education.


The De Blasio Paradox: Private Money and Public Schools

One could infer from Mayor de Blasio’s comments about charter schools that private money and public schooling should not mix. So why is the mayor’s chancellor of schools, Carmen Fariña, the board chair of the Fund for Public Schools?


The Invaluableness of ‘Obscure’ Words and the SAT

Ostensibly “obscure” words give us powers of description that can inform our surroundings, and they can bring clarity and insight to our understanding or the world.


The Obama Administration’s 2015 K–12 Budget Request

The Obama administration has just released its 2015 budget proposal. Here are its most notable K-12 edu-features.


School Improvement Grants: The Disaster Continues

The most persistently low-performing schools in American got several million dollars, on average, and yet a third of them got worse.


Ten Map Meditations on Economic Mobility

The places in our nation with the highest percentages of African Americans offer the lowest-income kids the bleakest hopes of making it to the top.


Stuff to Read While You’re Snowed In

Charter schools, vouchers, Louisiana, Ohio, and more


Charter Lessons for School Choice, Including Accountability via Authorizers

Having state-approved authorizers oversee private schools that participate in voucher programs would expand the educational options available to disadvantaged kids, ensure that participating schools are high performing, and allow private schools to maintain their distinctive characteristics.


Utilizing Charter Schooling Strengthens Rural Education

Better policy alone won’t expand the public-school options available to rural kids. Charter advocates need to better understand rural communities—their strengths, challenges, hopes, and fears.


The Principled Opposition to Common Core

George Will’s column isn’t the real story here. It’s what the column represents: the quiet but growing and hardening principled opposition to Common Core.


Systemic Reform in Kansas City

If the state board of education accepts this plan, things will never be the same. It will be a state-led initiative to replace the urban district as the delivery system for public schooling, thereby breaking with 100 years of history.


Weekend Reading

There were many important releases and developments this week—invaluable new SIG information from IES, Race to the Top audits, new Brookings “choice index”—and I couldn’t keep up!


The Horror and Hope of Camden

In a state with deeply troubled urban school districts—Newark, Paterson, Asbury Park—Camden’s stands apart for its calamitous results.


Five Edu-Reads to Start the Year Off Right

Waivers, KIPP, and more


Five Edu-Reads to Close Out the Year in Style

School closures, poverty, economic mobility, and more


School Improvement Grants in Colorado

SIG is failing both because turnarounds seldom work and because state processes for doling out funds have been unsound.



One of the biggest stories coming out of the 2013 NAEP TUDA data release, especially for those inside the beltway, were the results for District of Columbia Public Schools.


The 10 Things to Know About NAEP TUDA 2013

The performance of students in urban districts is distressingly low.


More Good Reads

Charter schools, principal recruiting, South Africa, and more


Quick Hits for a Snow Day

Good reads on gifted kids, value-added analysis, urban school reform, and more


America’s Rural Schools and Communities

Rural public schools enroll eleven million children, fully a quarter of students nationwide. Yet, sadly, the challenges faced by rural educators and their students have received scant attention from national education leaders.


Nashville’s Schools, What It’s Like to be Poor, John White, Waivers, and More

What I’ve Been Reading


Why and How Parents Choose Schools

I agree with the study’s authors that we ought to do all we can to make school information widely available so parents can make informed choices, but I’m still of a mind that some level of regulation is needed


Worthwhile Reads for your Thanksgiving Journey

Tom Loveless on NAEP, Emily Richmond on class size, Rick Hess and Mike McShane on the Common Core, and more


Recent Teacher Evaluation Reform Happenings

We’ve taken care of policy in lots of places but implementation is a major challenge


Interesting SIG vs. Non-SIG Comparisons

It’s hard to make the case that this massive program had a transformative influence on the state’s most troubled schools.


School Improvement Grants and the Lessons of History

The data are so discouraging that even the Department’s press statement found it difficult to conceal disappointment.


Tough Advice for Faith-Based Schools from a Critical Friend

Families are becoming smarter and pickier customers. Why has the faith-based schools community barely reacted or adapted to this new environment?


If You Like Your Federal Education Policy, You Can Keep It!

The administration wanted us to believe it had a smart, coherent vision and clear implementation plan for its federal education policy…until we realized it didn’t.


Alternative Charters and Alternative Accountability Systems

It makes sense for states to develop accountability systems that make space for alternative schools.


Worth the Read

Articles you may have missed.

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