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

Competitive Grants and Federal Education Policy

Conventional formula-based programs can divvy up dollars evenly, but they don’t change behavior much. The right kind of competitive grant, however, allows the federal government to set a priority while enabling state and local direction and innovation.


Six Headlines From 2015 NAEP TUDA

The results from 2015 NAEP TUDA data didn’t get much media coverage. That’s a shame because these are the best assessments for understanding student performance in America’s biggest urban districts.


Charter Schools Are Much More Than R&D Labs for School Districts

When Hillary Clinton recently told an audience that the purpose of charter schooling is to “learn what works and then apply (it) in the public schools,” she made two mistakes.


Is It Really Possible That Professional Development Doesn’t Work?

What TNTP’s report “The Mirage” gets wrong on teacher development


New Orleans and the Remaking of American Urban Public Schooling

New Orleans is just one chapter in the much bigger story of a shift from a single government operator of schools to an array of nonprofit operators.


What I Learned From Today’s Young Education Innovators

Earlier this year, Forbes released a celebration of edu-wunderkinds, its “30 under 30” in education.


The Resurgence of Urban Catholic Education?

Religious and lay leaders are creating new schools, networks and governance models.


Education Reformers Need To Look Beyond Ideas, Ideology, and Innovation and Learn About The Efforts That Preceded Them

Schools have been around forever. There are mountains of accumulated wisdom to study if we’re willing to look up from our Twitter feeds.


In God We Trust; All Others Bring Data

I promise that you’ll learn interesting stuff by just spending some time with “Conditions of Education.” And maybe if we all do that, our debates would be a bit more fruitful and a bit less contentious.


Don’t End Accountability for Federal Education Dollars

We should scale back NCLB’s federal micromanagement , but not all accountability is micromanagement.


Speak Up! Change The World! Ruin Your Career!

Bad ideas are preserved when current experts are afraid to fall out of favor with their colleagues and ambitious, budding experts are afraid to be rejected by the establishment so nobody speaks up.


Real Autonomy, Real Accountability: Pacts Americana

Can the performance-contract approach of chartering be used to re-envision ESEA?


Understanding Incentives in Charter Authorizing

Are charter school authorizers requiring too much paperwork from prospective school founders?


What We Didn’t Know About School Choice in 2001

An opinion piece by Delaware Governor Jack Markell ignores all we’ve learned about private school choice.


A Student of School Reform on the Maryland State Board of Education

I suspect one of the toughest parts of this job will be projecting a sense of urgency about necessary reforms while heralding the very good things taking place


Baltimore and the Societal Factors Influencing Our Schools

I’ve spent a good bit of time looking into a wide range of issues associated with the tough conditions faced by millions of city kids and what we might do to offer these boys and girls better opportunities.


School Closures, Student Learning, and the New System of Schools

There are ways to far better serve millions of low-income kids than the turnaround- and district-focused strategies of the last several generations.


Education Reform’s Women — and the Credit and Opportunities They Deserve

When the history of this era’s urban-education reform movement is written, four big policy innovations are sure to get attention: the nation’s first voucher program, first charter law, first mayor-controlled charter authorizer, and first “extraordinary authority” unit (the RSD).


A Test of Education Reform

I’m a strong supporter of assessments and accountability, and I wouldn’t opt out, but I think it’s unfair to discount the views of those who disagree.


The Great Achievements of the Every Child Achieves Act

The bipartisan ESEA reauthorization bill crafted by Senators Alexander and Murray represents a very smart compromise on the key issue of accountability


Choice, Accountability, and Charter Performance

If you’re at all interested in school choice, you really should read a trio of recent reports.


Time For a New Non-District Charter Authorizer in D.C.

Washington, D.C. could offer America’s cities an invaluable new example of an all-charter approach.


The Complications of Educational Returns in Rural America

Idaho finds itself in a chicken-egg situation. Improve educational attainment without improved employment opportunities inside Idaho and the state might risk investing in a strategy that merely exports talented young Idahoans.


New Systems of Schools and Common Enrollment

If cities simply add more choice schools in the absence of changes to the enrollment process, parents can struggle to find information on schools, be forced to fill out widely varying school applications, and then receive a staggered barrage of acceptance and rejection notices.


Innovation, Technology, and Rural Schools

Rural superintendent don’t consider teacher recruitment and retention among their biggest challenges…and mixing rural schooling and technology is more complicated than you might think.


The Limits of Equity

Some reforms may exacerbate inequality because they don’t help every last needy student. But pursuing equity above all else could jeopardize the gains of some very needy kids.


School Choice Technocrats Wanted

As the traditional urban school district is slowly replaced by a system marked by an array of nongovernmental school providers, new policies (undergirded by a new understanding of the government’s role in public schooling) are needed.


The State-Led ESEA Compromise

A compromise around the idea of accountability for results would require the right to agree to include explicit performance targets and the left to agree to give states greater flexibility in tackling challenges.


ESEA Testing Proposals in One Picture

NCLB assessments appear safer than I would’ve guessed sixty days ago.


Teacher Evaluations: Uncle Sam, Exit Stage Left

The work of teaching is so extraordinarily complex and teachers are so tightly woven into the fabric of school communities that any attempt by faraway federal officials to tinker with evaluation systems is a fool’s errand


Obama’s Year-Seven Budget

Given today’s political conditions, President Obama’s education request is actually quite savvy. It retreats where necessary, digs in where possible, and has an eye on history.


Optimistic Predictions Notwithstanding, Common Core Faces Brutal 2015

Common Core proponents need an updated advocacy playbook. The political terrain of 2010 and 2015 are very, very different.


Ten Things To Know About Secretary Duncan’s ESEA Reauthorization Speech

It’s pretty clear that the coming reauthorization debate is going to focus on accountability. But in addition to early childhood and more funding, Duncan also talked about educator evaluation, teacher preparation and support, and more.


State Chiefs Speak on ESEA

State education chiefs may have helped turn the tide against what appeared to be a mounting anti-assessment, anti-accountability wave.


Homeostasis and the End of Today’s Era of Reform?

Three signs of homeostasis—a reversion to the old tried-and-true way of doing things.


Implementing Teacher Evaluation in New Jersey

The New Jersey Department of Education has produced a report on the status of its new teacher evaluation efforts.


Strong Charter Accountability in D.C.

In Washington, D.C., more kids are in high-performing charters, the number of high-performing charters is growing, and the number of struggling charters is shrinking. But why?


D.C.’s Outstanding and Improving Charter School Sector

Test scores in D.C. offer reason to believe that chartering—if done smartly—can replace the district system for delivering public education in America’s cities.


Ten Things To Know About The 2014 Elections

My admittedly late thoughts on last night’s results.

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