Bill Tucker

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    Author Bio:
    Tucker is managing director of of Education Sector and is responsible for managing its day-to-day operations, including oversight for all administrative, human resources, financial, legal, communications, strategic planning, and program functions. In his policy work for Education Sector, he focuses on technology and innovation--specifically virtual schooling, assessments, and data systems. Tucker is a social entrepreneur who has founded and led both nonprofit organizations and for-profit companies. His expertise ranges from finance to strategic development and technology, he has extensive knowledge of the nonprofit sector, and he has led the growth of several organizations; in 2000, he co-founded SmarterOrg, Inc, an e-learning company, and sold it in 2002 to the Isoph Corporation, a provider of specialized e-learning software, services, and content development. Through 2005 he served as Isoph's chief knowledge officer, co-managing the company's operations and advising organizations such as the American Red Cross, the Land Trust Alliance, and the National Wildlife Federation on organizational learning strategies and business models. Prior to graduate school, Tucker managed the training, conference, and publishing operations at CompassPoint Nonprofit Services, the nation's largest provider of management and technical training to nonprofit organizations.


The Flipped Classroom

Online instruction at home frees class time for learning

Winter 2012 / Vol. 12, No. 1

Teachers Swap Recipes

Educators use web sites and social networks to share lesson plans

Summer 2011 / Vol. 11, No. 3

Texas Tackles the Data Problem

New system will give teachers information they can use

Winter 2011 / Vol. 11, No. 1

Florida’s Online Option

Virtual school offers template for reform

Summer 2009 / Vol. 9, No. 3

Blog Posts/Multimedia

Digital Textbooks, OER, and More from Digital Learning Day

What’s most important to understand about the digital textbook effort is that it’s an opportunity to open up a large amount of existing public money that has been locked into use by a very small and closed set of publishers.


The Country’s Most Ambitious Digital Learning Project

While it’s easy to think of the consortia as “building tests,” the more apt description is that they are attempting to re-invent, with heavy use of technology, the entire process of assessment.


Understanding the Economics of Online Learning

The Costs of Online Learning, the latest in Fordham’s digital learning policy series, tackles the tricky question of per-pupil spending. And while the paper cannot offer definitive answers for policymakers and school leaders, it does provide a helpful primer on the overall economics of online and blended learning.


New Data Quality Campaign Report: The Hard Work Remains

The whole point of collecting all of this information — and DQC is clear that they mean much more than just test scores — is to use it to inform inquiry, human judgment, and decision-making. DQC’s new report, Data for Action 2011, shows that states still struggle to actually use this information effectively.


Six Insights from New NCES Data on K-12 Distance Education

New 2009-10 school year survey data from the National Center for Education Statistics confirms the rapid growth of K-12 technology-based distance education enrollments.


Why Stanford Online High School Matters (and two ways it could matter more)

Sunday’s New York Times story broke the news that Stanford University, one of the world’s most prestigious research institutions, is putting its brand squarely behind a full-time, degree-granting online high school program. It’s just one more reason to set aside the silly debate about whether online education can possibly be effective for high school students.


The Nation’s Online Learning Omission

The Nation’s recent online learning expose, How Online Learning Companies Bought America’s Schools, in its zeal to connect various dots into a narrative of a corporate public education takeover, makes critical errors. It falsely equates K-12 online learning with privatization, leading to an incomplete and flawed political analysis. More importantly though, the article makes a credibility-killing factual omission.


Rhode Island’s Landmark Pension Reform

Last night, by overwhelming margins, the Rhode Island legislature passed what may be the nation’s most comprehensive state public employee pension reform ever.


Review of New Fordham Digital Learning Papers

Teachers in the Age of Digital Instruction and School Finance in the Digital-Learning Era, two new working papers in the Fordham Institute’s series on digital learning, are welcome additions to the often narrow debates around online learning.


Educators Answer Questions About the Flipped Classroom

I’ve received a number of questions and comments on my recent article, The Flipped Classroom. Most gratifying have been the rich exchanges in comment threads and on twitter, primarily from educators explaining their experiences, challenges, and discoveries from “flipping” their classrooms.


The AT&T Teacher Retention Strategy

Let’s stop relying on financial handcuffs and design teachers’ roles so they want to stay.


Standardized Testing’s Foreign Aid Problem

Spend any time listening to talk radio and you’ll hear countless stories about “billions wasted” on foreign aid. Politicians seizing on painless ways to cut the deficit reinforce this perception of massive spending, and Americans believe them: In surveys, they estimate that as much as one out of four dollars spent by the federal government goes to foreign governments.


Laura Johnson’s Unhappy Online Learning Journey

If we are going to offer students new options — and we should — policymakers must first do whatever they can to mitigate the risks borne by students.


State Online Learning Reports Reveal Growth, Concerns

Two new reports, from Minnesota and Colorado, offer additional insights into online learning’s rapid and rocky growth. These reports, combined with data from bothPennsylvania and Ohio, reinforce the necessity for policymakers, educators, and online learning advocates to pay as much attention to quality as they do to expansion.


A Nuanced Look at Blended Learning

This is the type of story that helps us understand what a different notion of school, made possible in part by technology, looks like — warts and all.


Five Ideas for Quality Control in K-12 Digital Learning

We need a blend of strategies and a willingness to adopt better tools as they become available, not only for digital learning, but also for traditional, place-based learning and all of the blended learning options in-between.


The Bruce Randolph Rorschach Test

Poor Bruce Randolph School. First, President Obama praises the school. Then Diane Ravitch cited the school as an example of “statistical legerdemain.” And now, Paul Tough uses Randolph as an example of excuse-making and says students “deserve better.” Who’s right?


School of One: Thoughts on Expansion (Part II)

With national media attention, promising — though very preliminary — initial results, and strong public/private support, School of One, though just a few years old, is already being hailed as a national model to expand. But, before talking expansion, we should really understand the actual program model.


My Visit to School of One (Part I)

Yesterday morning, I took the long “F” train ride from Manhattan to Brooklyn’s David A. Boody Intermediate School (IS 228), one of New York City’s three School of One pilot schools. I walked away impressed — as most do from a tour like this. But, I also realized that in many discussions, we’re having the wrong conversation about what we could learn from pilots like School of One.


Think Tank vs Academic Work?

Holly Yettick’s paper, The Research that Reaches the Public: Who Produces the Educational Research Mentioned in the News Media?, is an interesting look at the sources of mentions on educational issues in Education Week, the New York Times, and the Washington Post.


A Better Conversation Around Data Use in California

In California, the current dichotomous debate is preventing more nuanced discussions of how and why the state can better use data to improve instruction.


One Way to Make Teaching a More Manageable Job

Emerging lesson plan sharing web sites and tools are helping to strengthen existing real-world collaboration and professional support among teachers.


Five National Policy Implications from Ohio’s E-Schools

While online learning is still new to the vast majority of K-12 students and schools, Ohio has operated “e-schools” for a decade. What do we know about these schools and what can we learn from Ohio’s e-school experience?


Learning from Data on Ohio E-Schools

While online learning is still new to the vast majority of K-12 students and schools, Ohio has operated “e-schools” for a decade. What do we know about these schools and what can we learn from Ohio’s e-school experience?


Cheating and Other Deceptions About Students’ Learning

If the USA Today allegations are true, then the adults who changed students’ answers did much more than just cheat on a test. They also cheated those students, by allowing them — and their families — to think that they had learned material they clearly hadn’t.


Bottom Line Goal for Blended Learning: Better Student Outcomes

We have strong examples of innovative models that produce better student outcomes at the same or lower costs.


Three Things the NY Times Article on Florida Virtual School Missed

The recent New York Times article, “In Florida, Virtual Classrooms with No Teachers,” takes us to Miami, where schools are using a blended learning approach. There’s a lot to discuss here, including the fact that the implementation has been rocky — most notably because several of the schools made no effort to tell either students or parents that they wouldn’t be in traditional classrooms. But as we’ve seen in the past with the Times, the article is framed by an assumption that the traditional classroom is best.


Digital Learning Council Recommendations Missing Details on Quality

This morning, Digital Learning Now published 10 Elements of High Quality Digital Learning. While the recommendations accurately identify the barriers that constrain virtual education, they are light on details for ensuring that innovation actually leads to more high-quality educational options.


What K-12 Can Learn from For-Profit Higher Ed

While it’s difficult to assess the quality of any educational program the issue is especially acute with K-12 virtual schooling. And, the problem with funding is that our current metrics are either ineffective or are not at all compatible with virtual learning. So, we need something different. And, this gives us the opportunity to align our resource allocations to indicators that get as close as possible to what really matters: student learning.


Seven Reasons Why the Assessment Consortia Will Matter More than Race to the Top

Four years from now it will be clear that while the Race to the Top competition drove important state-level policy changes, the work of the assessment consortia will have made the most direct impact on teaching and learning. After reading the applications from Smarter/Balanced and PARCC, I’m struck by a few immediate reactions.


Race to the Test Due Today — What’s Needed Going Forward

Today is the deadline for the $350 million “Race to the Test” competition. And, as feared, this “Race” is not really a competition, but more akin to your elementary school’s annual field day: There will be only three consortia competing for three awards.

Sponsored Results

The Hoover Institution at Stanford University - Ideas Defining a Free Society

Harvard Kennedy School Program on Educational Policy and Governance

Thomas Fordham Institute - Advancing Educational Excellence and Education Reform