Michael J. Petrilli


America’s Mediocre Test Scores

Education crisis or poverty crisis?

WINTER 2016 / VOL. 16, NO. 1

What Twitter Says about the Education Policy Debate

And how scholars might use it as a research tool

FALL 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 4

How Can Schools Address America’s Marriage Crisis?

Prepare young people for rewarding careers

SPRING 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 2

A New Breed of Journalism

Education coverage is on the rise

WINTER 2015 / Vol. 15, No. 1

Despite Success in New York City, It’s Time for Charters to Guard Their Flanks

School districts and teachers unions are fighting charters with renewed energy.

SUMMER 2014 / VOL. 14, NO. 3

Coming Soon: ‘Car-Key Kids’

What autonomous automobiles will mean for adolescence

SPRING 2014 / VOL. 14, NO. 2

Equity Trumps Excellence

Among news media, competition less important than achievement gap

FALL 2013 / VOL. 13, NO. 4

Pulling the Parent Trigger

Education Next talks with Ben Austin and Michael J. Petrilli

SUMMER 2013 / VOL. 13, NO. 3

There’s a Better Way to Unlock Parent Power

Forum: Pulling the Parent Trigger

SUMMER 2013 / VOL. 13, NO. 3

Tweet Thine Enemy

How “narrowcast” is the education policy debate?

Spring 2013 / Vol. 13, No. 2

The Newsroom’s View of Education Reform

Surprise! The press paints a distorted picture

SUMMER 2012 / VOL. 12, NO. 3

Obama’s Education Record

Does the reality match the rhetoric?

SPRING 2012 / VOL. 12, NO. 2

All A-Twitter about Education

Improving our schools in 140 characters or less

Fall 2011 / Vol. 11, No. 4

Pyrrhic Victories?

The following essay is part of a forum, written in honor of Education Next’s 10th anniversary, in which the editors assessed the school reform movement’s victories and challenges to see just how successful reform efforts have been. For the other side of the debate, please see A Battle Begun, Not Won by Paul E. Peterson, […]

Spring 2011 / Vol. 11, No. 2

Lights, Camera, Action!

Using video recordings to evaluate teachers

Spring 2011 / Vol. 11, No. 2

All Together Now?

Educating high and low achievers in the same classroom

Winter 2011 / Vol. 11, No. 1

School Reform Hits the Big Screen

Why 2010 is a banner year for the education documentary

Fall 2010 / Vol. 10, No. 4

Bye-Bye Blackboards

Interactive and expensive, whiteboards come to the classroom

Summer 2010 / Vol. 10, No. 3

Charters as Role Models

The charter school movement turns 14

this year, and its behavior, some might say, is “developmentally


Summer 2005 / Vol. 5, No. 3

Disappearing Ink

What happens when the education reporter goes away?

Fall 2009 / Vol. 9, No. 4

Linky Love, Snark Attacks, and Fierce Debates about Teacher Quality?

A peek inside the education blogosphere

Winter 2009 / Vol. 9, No. 1

Arrested Development

Online training is the norm in other professions. Why not in K–12 education?

Fall 2008 / Vol. 8, No. 4

Opinion Leaders or Laggards?

Newspaper editorialists support charter schools, split on NCLB

Summer 2008 / Vol. 8, No. 3

Wikipedia or Wickedpedia?

Assessing the online encyclopedia’s impact on K–12 education

Spring 2008 / Vol. 8, No. 2

Let’s Talk About It

Talk radio’s take on K–12 education

Winter 2008 / Vol. 8, No. 1

Teacher’s Little Helper

New technologies target teacher performance

Summer 2007 / Vol. 7, No. 3

Testing the Limits of NCLB

Implementation is not the problem

Fall 2007 / Vol. 7, No. 4

The Key to Research Influence

Quality data and sound analysis matter, after all

Spring 2007 / Vol. 7, No. 2

No Business Like Show Business

Hollywood and Hip-Hop Discover Charter Schools

Winter 2007 / Vol. 7, No. 1

Misdirected Energy

Schools get an A in resisting reform.

Winter 2007 / Vol. 7, No. 1

The Cure

Will NCLB’s restructuring wonder drug prove meaningless?

Fall 2006 / Vol. 6, No. 4

A New New Federalism

The case for national standards and tests

Fall 2006 / Vol. 6, No. 4

Blog Posts/Multimedia

What If the Government Shut Down Failing Schools and Left the Rest (Mostly) Alone

Policymakers in Washington and in state capitals nationwide should stop trying to micromanage the vast majority of schools. But on the flip side, policymakers should be much more aggressive about shutting down failed schools in any sector.


Heroism and Humility in Education Reform

If this is really to be about “the kids” and not just our own search for meaning, we need to be careful not to lapse into morality plays. We need to be particularly mindful not to malign our opponents. And we need to be humble enough to acknowledge the technical challenges in what we’re trying to achieve.


The New ESEA, in a Single Table

Capitol Hill staff have reached an agreement on the reauthorization of ESEA. What’s in the compromise? Here’s what I know.


Is America’s Poverty Rate Exceptional? It Depends On How You Define Poverty.

America’s efforts to combat poverty look very different in international comparison depending on what you count and how you measure.


Can We Allow Some Schools To Exclude Disruptive Students?

If the Success Academies and schools like them didn’t exist, many hard-working, high-achieving students would be in chaotic, low-performing public schools.


Heartbreak on NAEP

The most honest approach is to reserve judgment until more sophisticated analyses emerge and wait for 2017 to see if these numbers are a one-time blip.


If the Obama Administration Wants Fewer Tests, It Will Have to Give Up On Test-Based Teacher Evaluations

Either you can reduce testing, or you can continue to demand test-based teacher evaluations in all subjects. It’s one or the other.


Will Declines in NAEP Scores Follow Declines in Median Income?

I’d wager that the states with big declines in median income are going to be the ones showing lower NAEP scores this time around.


So Far Only Ohio is Backing Off A High Standard for Proficiency

Outside of Ohio, most states are living up to their commitments to provide more honest information to parents. A key promise of the Common Core is being kept.


Why Did President Obama Appoint John King as “Acting” Education Secretary Rather Than Put Him Through the Senate Confirmation Process?

As Arne Duncan exits, another missed opportunity for bipartisanship


A Shocking College-Readiness Gap in the Suburbs

Montgomery County is getting just 11 percent of its low-income students to the college-ready level, and fewer than one in five of its minority students.


The Common Core Test Wake-Up Call Is Here

Parents will soon receive for the first time their children’s scores on new tests aligned to the standards. The news is expected to be sobering.


More Girls Than Boys in D.C.’s Top High Schools

What can we do to keep more boys on the path to achievement long before high school?


Why is High School Achievement Flat?

The latest SAT scores are out and seem to show that education reform is hitting a wall in high school.


Six Education Themes for 2016

Here are six education policy themes—and associated infographics—that I hope the Presidential candidates embrace.


Top K-12 Education Policy Organizations and Media Outlets on Social Media 2015

On Wednesday, I published the results of our latest ranking of top education policy people on social media. Now let’s look at organizations and media outlets.


Top K-12 Education Policy People on Social Media 2015

It’s time for my annual list of top Twitter handles in education policy.


400-Plus People and Organizations To Follow on Twitter

It’s August, which means it’s time for my annual list of top Twitter feeds in education policy.


What the Republican Presidential Contenders Should Be Saying About Education

On Wednesday, Campbell Brown and the American Federation for Children will host an education policy summit in New Hampshire with at least six of the GOP presidential contenders. Here’s what I hope they will say.


Why the New ESEA Won’t Embrace “Tight As To Results, Loose On How To Achieve Them”

If the ESEA renewal processes gets across the finish line, the federal government will have much less power than it does today.


Is the Friedrichs Case an ‘Existential Threat’ to the Teachers’ Unions?

The Supreme Court has a chance to strike down union agency fees.


Pre-K and Charter Schools: Where State Policies Create Barriers to Collaboration

Why is it so difficult for America’s high-impact, “no-excuses” charter schools to participate in pre-K programs?


The Contours of a Deal on ESEA Are In Sight

What will survive, what will be eliminated, and what’s still up in the air


It’s Finally Here: Our Best Chance To Update ESEA

Neither conservatives nor liberals have a realistic pathway to an ESEA bill that’s more to their liking.


ESAs Aren’t for Everyone

The value of education savings accounts is to provide a space within the K–12 system for true breakthroughs.


Want More College Graduates? Improve Our K–12 System

We have already closed the gap between college readiness and college attainment.


How Schools Can Solve Robert Putnam’s Poverty Paradox

The way to help poor children climb the ladder to the middle class and achieve the American Dream must involve rebuilding social capital.


Let’s Not Replace the Honesty Gap with a Reality Gap

Many states have been defining “proficient” at levels dramatically below the level that would indicate that kids are on track for college and career. But that is about to end.


A Turnaround District for Pennsylvania’s Lowest-performing Schools

It’s not hard to understand the appeal of these Turnaround School Districts. For one: nothing else has worked in the turnaround space, at least not at scale.


How to Make Sense of the Opt-Out Phenomenon

To make sense of the facts, we need to look closely at the role of the teachers’ unions in New York and New Jersey.


Teacher Layoffs Are Coming, and It’s the Great Recession’s Fault

Much like the Great Depression did, the onset of the Great Recession led to a sharp decline in the U.S. birth rate.


What’s Next on ESEA?

Today’s 22-0 vote from the Senate HELP committee on ESEA reauthorization is an amazing tribute to the bipartisan leadership of Chairman Lamar Alexander and ranking member Patty Murray.


Patty Murray and the Return of Wishful Thinking

The bipartisan bill to update the No Child Left Behind Act requires states to pledge that they will get all of their students to college or career readiness, and build those expectations into their accountability systems.


Alexander-Murray: This Is What Compromise Looks Like, in a Single Table

The language in the Alexander-Murray compromise is much less prescriptive than No Child Left Behind’s “adequate yearly progress” concoction, but it’s fairly prescriptive nonetheless.


College Preparedness Over the Years, According to NAEP

The proportion of recent high school graduates attending college is far higher than the proportion of twelfth graders who are prepared for college—and that gap has worsened over time.


Not Meeting Standards: A Warning Light, Not A Death Sentence

Here’s what the Common Core is designed to communicate: If your children are meeting the standards, it means they are believed to be on track for college and career readiness by the end of high school


Eva et al. Flunk the Fairness Test

Some education reformers and media outlets are already using the results of the new, tougher tests to brand schools as “failing” if most of their students don’t meet the higher standards.


How to End the Education Reform Wars

Advice for superintendents on how to survive the education reform wars


Marriage as a Springboard to the Middle Class

Our focus on college is too narrow because it overlooks other critically important steps on the ladder to the middle class.

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