Michael J. Petrilli
A review of “Coming of Age in the Other America,” by Stefanie DeLuca, Susan Clampet-Lundquist, and Kathryn Edin
Most kids in America aren’t on track for success. Why don’t they and their parents know it?
The case for video time during class
Education crisis or poverty crisis?
And how scholars might use it as a research tool
Prepare young people for rewarding careers
Education coverage is on the rise
School districts and teachers unions are fighting charters with renewed energy.
What autonomous automobiles will mean for adolescence
Among news media, competition less important than achievement gap
Education Next talks with Ben Austin and Michael J. Petrilli
Forum: Pulling the Parent Trigger
How “narrowcast” is the education policy debate?
Surprise! The press paints a distorted picture
Does the reality match the rhetoric?
Improving our schools in 140 characters or less
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, […]
Ed Next editors Mike Petrilli and Chester E. Finn, Jr. debate whether the war has been won and what needs to happen next.
Using video recordings to evaluate teachers
Ed Next’s Mike Petrilli and Chester E. Finn, Jr. discuss the best and worst developments for education policy in 2010, including the release of Waiting for Superman, the publication of teacher scores by the L.A. Times, the Race to the Top, and the development of Common Core standards.
Video: Emily Cohen talks with Education Next about state policies governing teacher quality that trump teacher contracts.
Educating high and low achievers in the same classroom
Why 2010 is a banner year for the education documentary
Video: Chester Finn and Terry Ryan describe the efforts of the Fordham Institute to rescue struggling charter schools in Ohio while serving as a charter authorizer.
Video: Richard Whitmire talks with Education Next about how K-12 schools shortchange boys and what can be done to help boys do better in school.
On May 17 AEI hosted a book forum on Richard Whitmire’s Why Boys Fail.
Interactive and expensive, whiteboards come to the classroom
Video: Kaleem Caire tells Education Next: “I was one of those young men who you would not think was ready for a rigorous education, but it was a rigorous environment that helped propel me to where I am.”
Video: Nelson Smith talks with Education Next about how charter-friendly the 16 Race to the Top finalists are.
Video: Linda Perlstein talks with Education Next about what the decline of newspapers means for coverage of education.
The charter school movement turns 14
this year, and its behavior, some might say, is “developmentally
What happens when the education reporter goes away?
A peek inside the education blogosphere
Online training is the norm in other professions. Why not in K–12 education?
Newspaper editorialists support charter schools, split on NCLB
Assessing the online encyclopedia’s impact on K–12 education
Talk radio’s take on K–12 education
New technologies target teacher performance
Implementation is not the problem
Quality data and sound analysis matter, after all
Hollywood and Hip-Hop Discover Charter Schools
Schools get an A in resisting reform.
Will NCLB’s restructuring wonder drug prove meaningless?
The case for national standards and tests
A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century by THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Compassion, humility, and subsidiarity should guide school reform efforts.
The research on “what matters” when it comes to a child’s academic success has been clear for decades: more than anything else that a school can control, the classroom teacher matters most.
Before we close the books on this vexed year, it’s important to pause and begin to understand how we got to this place, if only to help us truly leave it behind.
What limits would you place on a parent’s right to choose a school for his or her child using public funds?
It’s going to be important for the press, and for the Senate HELP committee, to ask a lot of questions to understand where she and the President who chose her plan to take federal education policy
If charter schools are to thrive, we need support from Democrats and Republicans.
States are now putting pen to paper on their accountability plans and many of them want advice about what to do.
What does this political earthquake mean for education policy?
At risk are the folks who have led the push for expanded parental choice, who held the line on the Common Core when the going got tough, and are willing to make investments in education as long as they are tied to results.
States should use proficiency rates cautiously because of their correlation with student demographics and prior achievement—factors that are outside of schools’ control.
A new study asks a simple but largely uninvestigated question: Do the characteristics, views, and practices of charter boards have any bearing on charter school quality?
School failure is no longer the United States’ most pressing educational problem—mediocrity is.
What would it take to infuse U.S. schools with practices that actually help kids learn?
Three recommendations for policymakers in states that are wrestling to turn the rapid development of online schools into a net plus for their pupils.
Mr. Secretary, I am writing to suggest two very specific changes to the proposed rule that your department published regarding the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act.
Given the dysfunction of the larger system within which they must work, how much should we focus on recruiting great leaders for traditional public schools and school districts?
Imagine a world where the summer, weekend, and after-school experiences of the poor aren’t as radically different as they are for the rich.
African American and Asian American students are doing better in terms of college completion than their twelfth-grade NAEP scores would predict.
At the National Charter Schools Conference, Secretary of Education John King challenged U.S. charter operators to rethink their approach to discipline.
Most teachers are partial to the Common Core math standards, but they don’t think all of their students and their parents are.
States now enjoy a freer hand to decide how they want to rate their schools. What should they do?
Instead of obsessing over laws and regulations, should education reformers focus more on getting better information and resources into the hands of parents and teachers?
Three provisions in the new law might help states and school districts improve their systems of school finance.
Like No Child Left Behind, the proposed ESSA regulations are going to stand in the way of some promising approaches to state accountability. What’s the point of that?
How education reformers can work to improve learning besides pushing for policy changes.
Policy change is not the only path to education reform. Here’s a different approach.
And should schools with persistently low test score gains be shut down even if parents continue to choose them?
Short-term test score gains don’t lead to long-term test score gains, but they do lead to long-term success.
Test Scores Don’t Tell Us Everything, But They Certainly Tell Us Something About School Quality And Student Success
For elementary and middle schools, test data should play a more central role in evaluating school quality than it should for high schools.
Not that it’s easy to identify measures beyond reading and math scores that are valid and reliable indicators of school success.
Duncan decried the “dysfunction” in Washington. But surely impugning the “motivations” of our political opponents doesn’t help to add function.
Policy change alone is not going to get us to the promised land of more effective, productive, and equitable schools.
A new study finds that Arkansas students with greater exposure to CTE are more likely to graduate, enroll in a two-year college, be employed, and have higher wages.
The NCLB approach signals to schools that their low-achievers should be a higher priority than their high-achievers.
While our education system alone cannot solve the stubborn, tragic problem of persistent poverty and the growing gaps between working-class and college-educated Americans, there’s much it can do for the children entrusted to it.
The biggest taboo in education today is admitting that lots of high school graduates aren’t ready for college, have virtually no shot at succeeding there, and are better off doing something else with their time.
A decade ago, U.S. education policies were a mess. It was the classic problem of good intentions gone awry.
More than two dozen teams have submitted proposals that are chock-full of suggestions for designing better state accountability systems under the Every Student Succeeds Act.
The school choice movement’s “big tent” now has factions in its various folds and corners that agree on parental choice but little else.
Free tuition would be a needless windfall for affluent voters and state institutions that does very little to help the needy.
Officials at the Department of Education have requested public comments by January 21 about areas in the new Every Student Succeeds Act where regulation might be “helpful or necessary.” My recommendation to the feds: Tread very lightly.
Aided by a highly misleading New York Times article, the anti-Common Core crowd is pushing the narrative that Massachusetts’s recent testing decision spells the end for the common standards effort.
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.
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.
Capitol Hill staff have reached an agreement on the reauthorization of ESEA. What’s in the compromise? Here’s what I know.
America’s efforts to combat poverty look very different in international comparison depending on what you count and how you measure.
A new report looks at district-charter engagement in five cities.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
What can we do to keep more boys on the path to achievement long before high school?
The latest SAT scores are out and seem to show that education reform is hitting a wall in high school.
Here are six education policy themes—and associated infographics—that I hope the Presidential candidates embrace.
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.
It’s time for my annual list of top Twitter handles in education policy.
It’s August, which means it’s time for my annual list of top Twitter feeds in education policy.
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.
Communities rarely embrace tough trade-offs. We need to lean on school boards and superintendents to take their fiduciary responsibilities seriously.
If the ESEA renewal processes gets across the finish line, the federal government will have much less power than it does today.
The Supreme Court has a chance to strike down union agency fees.
Why is it so difficult for America’s high-impact, “no-excuses” charter schools to participate in pre-K programs?
What will survive, what will be eliminated, and what’s still up in the air
Neither conservatives nor liberals have a realistic pathway to an ESEA bill that’s more to their liking.
The value of education savings accounts is to provide a space within the K–12 system for true breakthroughs.
We have already closed the gap between college readiness and college attainment.
The way to help poor children climb the ladder to the middle class and achieve the American Dream must involve rebuilding social capital.
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.
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.
To make sense of the facts, we need to look closely at the role of the teachers’ unions in New York and New Jersey.
Though fraught with controversy and political peril, shuttering bad schools might just be a saving grace for students who need the best education they can get.
Much like the Great Depression did, the onset of the Great Recession led to a sharp decline in the U.S. birth rate.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Advice for superintendents on how to survive the education reform wars
Our focus on college is too narrow because it overlooks other critically important steps on the ladder to the middle class.
Employers use college degrees as a proxy for smarts, perseverance, and other valuable skills, but this shortcut unwittingly excludes many talented people from their prospective hiring pool.
Ed Trust Midwest Report on Michigan’s Charter Authorizers: A Decent Start, But Hardly the Final Word
Charter school quality, authorizer quality, and authorizer accountability are all great topics of conversation for policymakers in Michigan.
A subset of white, affluent, well-educated parents have long favored progressive education. Alternative schools are a good option for them.
I respect schools that welcome students at any grade when space opens up, but whether to do this should remain the prerogative of the school, not the state or its regulators.
What does it mean when Ted Cruz, or Rand Paul, or Bobby Jindal says he “opposes” the Common Core?
Instead of demanding that states intervene in failing schools, allow students to escape the worst schools through the powerful mechanism of parental choice.
Here are some “talking points” that members of Congress might use when the testing issue comes up at town hall meetings and the like.
A new report from the Ohio Department of Education looks at the number of hours students spend preparing for and taking tests.
Senator Lamar Alexander, chairman of the HELP Committee, has released a draft bill. Here’s where it stands on various issues
The administration is leaving itself room to sign a bill that would give heartburn to its allies in the reform and civil-rights communities.
With Republicans fully in charge of Capitol Hill, the only question this time around when it comes to ESEA reauthorization is how much Congress will subtract from No Child Left Behind.
For all the hoopla, just a handful of states have proposed significant changes to Common Core, and none of them has written higher standards.
Will Republicans eliminate No Child Left Behind’s annual testing requirement? They should eliminate the teacher evaluation mandate instead.
Schools of choice can make their discipline codes clear to incoming families (and teachers); those who find the approach too strict can go elsewhere.
The genesis of this conference was a feeling that we in the education-reform movement might be overly focused on college as the pathway to the middle class, and not focused enough on all of the other possible routes.
Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act would show America that bipartisan governance is possible, even in Washington.
Because there are achievement gaps at Sawgrass Elementary School, the folks in Washington don’t think this school deserves an A.
With a few exceptions, most of the races decided yesterday didn’t hinge on education reform. But the outcome will have big implications for education policy nonetheless.
The Education Achievement Authority in Michigan is charged with resuscitating the state’s worst schools within the confines of a separate, autonomous district.
There’s been no problem too big or too small for Arne Duncan’s Department of Education to tackle. His Office of Civil Rights has been a prime example of executive overreach and federal interference run amok.
At one elementary school, the average income is almost $250,000 per year. Is this school really more “public” than an inner-city Catholic school serving poor minority children? The public spends $12,000 per child on the former and $0 per child on the latter. Tell me again why that’s fair?
When designing accountability systems, we need to find the sweet spot between defeatism and utopianism. In my view, that’s exactly what the states are trying to do. They deserve our praise, not our derision.
I’d love to see charter associations ask OCR to investigate states that don’t do enough to provide equitable funding to charter schools serving high proportions of poor and minority children.
The MCPS curriculum is weak when it comes to content in science and extremely weak in history.
A raucous debate has emerged over the Common Core, a debate been marked by acrimony rather than analysis, but there is hope that both sides want a reset.
Graham was as close to a Renaissance man as we have known in person.
Our challenge as reformers is, first and foremost, stopping the one-size-fits-all policies, the top-down mandates that apply to all schools, in all situations
Results from the annual Education Next poll are out and the news is not good for proponents of the Common Core.
How can we make sure that the major elements of the policy agenda fit well together and are not working at cross-purposes?
It’s August, which can only mean one thing: it’s time for our annual list of top education-policy Twitter feeds.
Monday’s Politico story on the messaging battle over the Common Core has kicked up another round of recriminations, particularly on the Right.
Where is the “plain language” of ESEA that gives the Department of Education the authority to mandate statewide teacher-evaluation systems, particularly for states that want waivers on school accountability. Just as with ObamaCare and the question of whether the federal government is a “state,” the administration won’t have a good answer.
Different reformers prefer different reforms, and those reforms are colliding. Something has to give. We need to either pause the move to the tougher tests or pause the stakes attached to the teacher evaluations.
President Obama’s policy will have a predictable effect: eliminating suspensions and expulsions as an option for school administrators.
In which states and cities are high-quality charter schools thriving, and what policies make the charter sectors in those states so strong?
Tenure is just one part of a dysfunctional approach to human resource management in U.S. schools that needs a complete overhaul.
It’s a myth that district schools “serve all comers.” They simply don’t. Nor should they. Every child deserves to have his or her needs met, but not necessarily under the same roof.
One of the great unanswered questions in American education policy is why the major gains we’ve seen on the Nation’s Report Card in the fourth and eighth grades evaporate once students reach the twelfth grade.
Common Core will not lead to a national curriculum. Local control is alive and well, as it should be. But that’s not to say anything goes in the Common Core era or that changes to teaching and learning aren’t needed.
As legislatures wind down their spring sessions nationwide, Oklahoma is one of the few remaining states with an ongoing, unresolved debate over the Common Core State Standards
What happens when opponents of the Common Core State Standards finally succeed in getting a state’s policymakers to “repeal” the education initiative?
What should we do with these students while they are in high school? What education offerings would benefit them the most?
Standards-based reform and school choice are interdependent, maybe even codependent.
Is exactly what we should be telling a lot of high school students.
There are vast differences between ObamaCare and the Common Core when it comes to federal involvement.
Those who criticize the Common Core standards for asking kids to estimate the answer to a math problem get a few things wrong.
If you want to understand why supporters of the Common Core are frustrated—OK, exasperated—by some of our opponents’ seemingly unlimited willingness to engage in dishonest debate, consider this latest episode.
The U.S. Department of Education issued new guidance for the Public Charter Schools Program that will allow charters to use “weighted lotteries” without forfeiting their chance to receive federal start-up funds.
If DCPS wants to have diverse schools among its ranks, it’s going to need some help from public policy. Controlled choice is one way.
Students receiving publicly funded scholarships or vouchers should take state assessments and that the results should be reported publicly.
The so-called War on Poverty has been fantastically successful at eradicating poverty among the old and devastatingly miserable at eradicating poverty among the young.
No, we did not achieve universal proficiency by 2014. But that doesn’t mean that students haven’t benefited from the law and its associated reforms.
With winter break upon us, parents face a multitude of decisions. Will we let our kids watch TV? How much? Which shows? Play video games? Which ones? Watch sports?
Any gains provided by a massive new investment in preschool will quickly fade away if Mayor de Blasio doesn’t also tackle New York City’s mediocre elementary schools.
The SIG analysis released by the Department of Education is completely worthless. Looking at changes in proficiency rates tells us virtually nothing about the progress (or lack thereof) of these schools.
What’s a better hypothesis for the lackluster math performance of our fifteen-year-olds? Maybe we’re just not very good at teaching math, especially in high school.
Schools can boost achievement by giving the most effective teachers larger classes than the least effective teachers.
This testimony was presented in Ohio by Mike Petrilli, executive vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, on November 20, 2013.
The main reason there’s been so little achievement gain over the past few decades arising from the reforms that so many of us have been pressing is precisely because neither curriculum nor instruction much changed.
Someday I’d like to write a book on anti-poverty efforts, and I hope it might have the title above.
Let’s not pretend that the behavior of rich parents is somehow “bad,” even if it creates an unfortunate outcome (greater inequality).
It brings me no pleasure to predict that the project to create rigorous teacher evaluations by fiat is likely to fail.
There’s a simple reason why education has been in the spotlight for so long: It’s one of the few things upon which the politicians–and the Americans they represent–can agree.
In her new book, Diane Ravitch commits the exact same errors for which she lambastes reformers. She oversells the evidence; she fails to consider likely unintended consequences; she doesn’t think through implementation challenges.
Our message to young people, especially those growing up in poverty, should be clear: If you’re willing to do the work, we’ll clear your path to the middle class.
Rather than accept a future of low-skill, low-wage work for our impoverished young people, education reformers aspire to build their “human capital”–their knowledge, skills, capabilities, talents, habits, character–so that the labor market will one day repay their contributions to society with a wage that far exceeds any minimums.
Is there anything schools can to do to encourage their students to follow the "success sequence"?
A response to Deborah Meier
A manifesto in response to Alison Benedikt.
Parents of high-achieving students—whether they be rich or poor, newcomers or old-timers—deserve schools that will challenge their children. If they don’t find them in the city, they will move.
Either policymakers need to combine evaluation systems with reforms that make it plausible to fire ineffective employees, or they shouldn’t bother with high stakes at all.
Proficiency rates are terrible measures of school effectiveness.
On Monday, I published my annual list of the top education policy twitter feeds. It hit a nerve. And for that, I’m grateful, because I immediately heard from the twitterverse that I overlooked some important people.
In what has become an annual summertime tradition, I present to you the top education policy twitter feeds circa 2013.
States should allow a small group of schools to opt out of regular testing and accountability requirements and let these schools use an alternative set of metrics instead.
What matters most is how reformers react to the bright spotlight now on school-grading systems.
There’s little doubt that the media will continue to have a field day with revelations that Tony Bennett worked to change Indiana’s A–F grading system after learning that a high-performing school started by a wealthy donor would receive a C.
The most paternalist policies in place today require the closure of underperforming schools even if they are popular with parents. Who should decide if the tradeoffs are worth it?
A case to be made, but I still don’t quite buy it.
We know that childhood poverty matters a lot. Where agreement breaks down, though, is regarding what to do about it.
A strategic retreat from an overweening federal role will help to protect the Common Core, the jewel in the standards-based reform crown—and it’s good for other reforms like school choice, too.
Does the progressive vision of schooling work to help poor children gain the skills and knowledge and confidence and connections that will allow them to climb the ladder into the middle class?
Here are forty policy questions which Senate HELP committee Chairman Tom Harkin could have let states or local school districts answer, but didn’t.
Higher education is spectacularly bad at “affirmative action,” as originally envisioned: reaching out to disadvantaged students and preparing them to attend good schools.
What we need are "transformational" interventions that interrupt the insidious cycle that turns disadvantaged kids into disadvantaged parents, by giving them the hope, confidence, and skills to find a different path. I can”t think of institutions better positioned to do that than schools.
There are plenty of reasons to be against the Common Core, but many of those crusading against the Common Core have been playing fast and loose with the facts and purposefully spreading misinformation.
How can we create an accountability system that empowers excellent educators to create top-notch schools while ensuring a basic level of quality for everyone.
Will testing and accountability make matters worse? No, they will make matters marginally better.
Rich parents are obsessed with their children”s social and intellectual development. They are spending dramatically more time parenting. How can we help poor kids catch up?
Imagine the creation of a virtual school district. It wouldn’t have any actual students, teachers, buses, or facilities, but it would have a school board, a superintendent, and a central-office staff.
A huge proportion of this $40 billion annual federal investment is flowing to people who simply aren’t prepared to do college-level work.
Could it be that they’ve never encountered the ideas?
Public schools can be just as exclusive—often more exclusive—than private schools.
Count us as among those surprised and alarmed by the Republican National Committee’s ill-considered decision to adopt a resolution decrying the Common Core standards.
The burden rests on those who want to eliminate testing and accountability to provide assurance that the system won’t revert back to its bad old ways.
If the lack of accountability is reformers’ beef with voucher programs, that concern has been alleviated, at least in several states.
Anyone who knows a teenager understands how hard it is to get into a good college these days.
Teachers of Seattle’s Garfield High School are “boycotting” the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment, which is required by the district, though the MAP is precisely the type of “good” assessment that many educators claim to favor.
Don’t let your frustration with President Obama lead you to lash out at the kids of Indiana. All things considered, the Common Core is the smartest path forward.
Predictably, the anti-reform crowd is having a field day with Sunday’s Washington Post article reporting the relatively high rate of student expulsions in D.C.’s charter school sector.
If 2011 was the “year of school choice,” then 2012 was the “year of the resurgent teachers union.” And leading the comeback was Chicago’s Karen Lewis.
National statistics hide the immense variation in charter school market share in cities around the nation—ranging from 0 percent in Seattle to 76 percent in New Orleans.
Gentrification has supplied us with the best opportunity in a generation to create socioeconomically-mixed public schools. But is that opportunity being seized
In urban communities across America, middle-class and upper-middle-class parents have started sending their children to public schools again—schools that for decades had overwhelmingly served poor and (and overwhelmingly minority) populations.
The results are in (well, most of them anyway) and our non-partisan candidate, Ed Reform, had a mixed performance.
Want to know if school reform is winning in the court of public opinion? Here are seven races and referenda to watch tonight.
The Thomas B. Fordham Institute released a path-breaking study, How Strong are U.S. Teacher Unions? A State by State Comparison.
The vice presidential debate will be an historic occasion, with two Roman Catholic candidates for national office squaring off against each other for the first time.
Is there a way to a grand bargain on education funding?
The unions are feeling whipsawed by tectonic shifts that have occurred within the Democratic Party in recent years.
There are times when the interests of the teachers and those of the broader public are not the same.
Chicago teachers might want to show Rahm Emmanuel they can’t be “bullied.” But President Obama no doubt wants this strike over quickly.
No Child Left Behind’s aspirational aims were more effective as rhetoric than as an accountability regime.
At a time when we’re running a trillion-dollar deficit, are we really sure that education is the place where cuts should come first?
Arne Duncan assumes the throne as Education Policy Social Media King
Paul Ryan’s “radical” reforms would free up money for education nationwide. It’s too bad that the public-education lobby remains unwilling to acknowledge it.
Lo and behold, the U.S.A. is at the top of this medal count!
The Civil Rights Project is getting a ton of press attention for its new report finding that black students are suspended at much higher rates than their peers. But does that mean that our public schools are racist?
Maybe Uncle Sam should subsidize children’s television on PBS after all.
The testing-and-accountability movement can be proud of its accomplishments under No Child Left Behind, but the strategy has run out of steam.
Lamar Alexander and Margaret Spellings represent two fast-diverging wings of the Republican Party regarding the appropriate federal role in education.
Should parents in well-off suburban school districts be able to choose between schools that offer different approaches to learning?
Maybe Charles Murray is wrong, but we should be talking about these issues all the same.
The other day, I posted a list of the 25 “fastest-gentrifying” zip codes in the U.S.—a list that generated a great deal of commentary. Now I’m back with a new, improved, and expanded list.
I was amazed, befuddled, dumbstruck, bemused (choose your own adjective) to learn that Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has rejected a request from Iowa for flexibility under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
Yesterday’s “exquisitely timed” GAO report has set off an avalanche of accusations at charter schools for “discriminating” against students with disabilities.
As depicted in his surprisingly affecting memoir-cum-business-advice-book, The Art of Being Unreasonable, he’s a pretty amazing guy, someone who has been wildly effective in four separate careers and who now wants to share his hard-earned experience with countless others.
For all of its victories, the school reform movement finds itself in a pickle. To succeed in creating world-class schools and raising student achievement, it needs teachers to feel motivated, empowered, and inspired. And yet, many teachers are down in the dumps.
The Romney Education Plan: Replacing Federal Overreach on Accountability with Federal Overreach on School Choice
A better idea might be to take a page from the Obama Administration handbook and make funding portability voluntary.
Despite our student population’s diversity, the number of diverse schools, as imagined by Brown, remains limited.
Which is the true “conservative” resolution? The one that tells states what to do and demands a one-size-fits-all approach (pulling out of the Common Core)? Or the one that trusts states to make up their own minds—without interference from Washington?
Three cheers for California’s governor, state superintendent, and state board chair, for applying for a waiver from NCLB that doesn’t kowtow to Washington.
One of the great mysteries of modern-day school reform is why we’re seeing such strong progress at the elementary and middle school levels, but not in high school.
Rather than hope for revenue increases that are unlikely to materialize, smart leaders can turn the present budget crisis into an opportunity. Rethinking whom we hire, what they do, how we pay them, and how to incorporate technology—that’s where the big payoff is
Why not add a human component to the process, via school inspectors like those in England?
Paul Farhi of the Washington Post created a stir this weekend with an American Journalism Review article ripping mainstream education reporting for being uncritical of school reform.
One hundred years ago, a progressive populist barnstormed the country, delivering fiery speeches and railing against the gold standard. Today another progressive populist barnstorms the country, delivering fiery speeches and railing against academic standards. Meet Alfie Kohn, the William Jennings Bryan of our age.
If Republicans are radical, Miller and his allies must be conservative because they essentially want No Child Left Behind to stay the same.
Let’s do everything we can to integrate the schools, and for the schools that are going to have high concentrations of poverty, let’s make sure that they are excellent as well.
Think of it as a private-sector department of education, but run much more efficiently and with higher-quality staff than the government ever could.
The finding—reported by the Times this weekend—that really good, and really bad, teachers are evenly distributed around New York City is jaw-dropping news.
Pay attention to what American kids are doing after school and on the weekends, because that is when our special sauce is made.
Race to the Top was good for education reform. But the 2010 election, it turns out, was much, much better.
With two weeks to go until the February 28 deadline for the second round of Secretary Duncan’s ESEA Waiverpalooza, states nationwide are studying the results of Round One to figure out what federal officials did—and didn’t—approve. And they are asking themselves a question: Is it even worth it?
It’s not that the wrong people are in charge. It’s that there are so many cooks in the education kitchen that nobody is really in charge. And that is a consequence of an antiquated governance structure that practically forces all those cooks to enter and remain in the kitchen.
An announcement on education waivers is anticipated this week. Don’t expect the reaction to be positive, for it appears that the President and his education secretary will renege on their promise of “flexibility” for the states.
Student achievement matters a lot. But does it matter the most?
It’s not just the President’s bizarre State of the Union request that states raise their compulsory attendance age to 18. No, I’m referring to the Army of the Potomac’s reaction to John Kline’s ESEA proposal and to Chairman Tom Harkin’s and Rep. George Miller’s response to the waiver requests put forward by several states.
The topic of collaboration between districts and charter schools inevitably leads to Cold War imagery. Are we talking about appeasement? Détente? Trust but verify?
A clear path toward a workable, maybe even bipartisan, package is still visible. In short: all roads lead to Lamar.
The federal law that everybody loves to hate turns ten on Sunday. Here’s what to think about it…
A year ago I played prognosticator and offered “educated guesses” about what 2011 would bring. So how did I do?
President Obama’s remarks on inequality, stoking populist anger at “the rich,” suggest that the theme for his reelection bid will be not hope and change but focus on reducing class disparity with government help. But this effort isn’t limited to economics; it is playing out in our nation’s schools as well.
Whether you consider yeserday’s New York Times article on K12.com a “hit piece” (Tom Vander Ark) or a “blockbuster” (Dana Goldstein), there’s little doubt that it will have a long-term impact on the debate around digital learning. So how can we go about drafting policies that will push digital learning in the direction of quality?
Last week, the Departments of Education and Justice released new guidance for school districts and institutions of higher education on constitutionally-sound ways to encourage racial diversity and avoid racial isolation. The guidance for elementary and secondary education includes some odious and potentially damaging suggestions for America’s 150-odd academically-selective public high schools
The reduction of choice isn’t because of Michelle Rhee’s policies — it’s because of gentrification.
As everyone knows, Kevin Carey has a long essay in The New Republic about Diane Ravitch’s apostasy of the education reform movement, much of it fair and on point.
The states are presenting sensible alternatives to the antiquated Adequate Yearly Progress model. The challenge to Arne Duncan, his peer reviewers, and his team: Say yes to these proposals or be accused of a “Washington knows best” mentality.
The solution is not to abandon democracy, but to consider whether different iterations of it might work better than others.
School boards should drive a hard bargain with unions, but they don’t, because their members are so often elected with the support of those very same unions. The “no shortcuts” plan is to roll up our sleeves and engage in the fight for political control of local school boards.
It strikes me as highly unlikely that we’re ever going to significantly narrow the achievement gap between rich and poor unless we narrow the “good parenting gap” between rich and poor families, too.
Last night was fun for the kids, but today is every education wonk’s favorite holiday: NAEP release day!
Liberal reformers and prominent editorial pages are raging mad about the Harkin-Enzi bill’s supposedly weak approach to accountability in its ESEA update. Are they right to be? And is it true that Republicans have become teacher union stooges when it comes to federal education policy?
Assuming that the House bills will be even better, I would claim that reauthorization is finally heading in a hopeful direction.
We finally have a serious, thoughtful ESEA reauthorization proposal in the Senate, one that should gain support from both sides of the aisle and both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. But here’s a warning: It’s not the bill that the Senate is currently marking up.
If the debate around the federal role in accountability is coalescing, a much bigger question remains wide open: Could we be watching the beginning of the end for the accountability movement in toto?
Follower’s of Fordham’s work know that for the better part of three years, we’ve been pushing an approach to federal education policy that we call “Reform Realism“–a pro-school reform orientation leavened with a realistic view of what the federal government can get right in education.
These bills could pass both chambers of Congress tomorrow.
It’s long been said that public education must achieve both public and private aims. The public, which foots the bill, has an interest in a well-educated populace. Parents—schools’ primary clients—want a strong foundation for their own children. Much of the time these two interests are in perfect alignment. But what happens when they’re not?
Thank goodness for Fordham’s Peter Meyer, a master at turning policy gibberish into plain English. But can it possibly be true, as reported in his recent post, that the Regents and the New York State Department of Education went to court with the teachers union over whether test scores would count as 20 percent or 40 percent of a teacher’s annual evaluation?
If you step back from day to day vitriol that characterizes the current education-policy “debate,” and glimpse the larger picture, two worldviews on education reform emerge.
It’s silly season again, and I’m not referring to the Republican primaries. No, I’m thinking about the all-out battle for proponents and opponents of “reform” to stick a nasty label on the other side and claim the mantle of truth and goodness for themselves.
Getting rank and file Dems to buck their union patrons is a quixotic quest. Asking Republicans to embrace significant reform is a no-brainer.
The only possible outcome of Secretary Duncan putting more federal pressure on the states to adopt the Common Core is stoke the fires of conservative backlash–and to lose many of the states that have already signed on.
Poor kids in Florida and a few other states are making HUGE gains. Let’s figure out why.
Hey Education Sector, how about a little less skepticism, and a little more love, for one of the gutsiest projects in education reform history?
There’s no Golden Mean or Foolproof Formula. But there are better and worse ways to police quality in digital learning
Here’s a new problem facing American education policy: Something we’re doing seems to be working.
Supporters of public education ought not make “hey parents, suck it up” their rallying cry.
House education chairman John Kline released a bill last week that would provide “unprecedented” flexibility for states and local school districts around how they spend their federal education dollars. Predictably, liberals hate it; libertarians think it doesn’t go far enough.
The way to get upper-middle-class parents engaged in school reform is to leave their schools alone.
This morning, Education Next published “All A-Twitter about Education.” In it, I report on the Twitter phenomenon and how it’s impacting the education “war of ideas.” And because everyone loves lists, I also put together rankings of the top-25 tweeters in education policy and the top-25 educator tweeters–almost all of whom tweet (and blog) about education technology.
We are days away from the end of the 2011 state legislative session, and to my knowledge, not a single law was enacted to block a state from participating in Common Core.
As if the teachers unions need another reason to hate charter schools, here’s one: The finding, from a new Fordham Institute report, that when given a chance to opt out of state pension systems, many charter schools take it.
I can’t help but wonder whether the “New Normal” (most states finding resources much more limited) will drive down identification rates at a fast pace.
Uncle Sam is at least three steps removed from the classroom, and all the carrots and sticks in the world won’t allow him to make everything right in our schools.
Poor Arne. Nobody seems to like his warning to Congress that if it doesn’t get cracking on NCLB reauthorization he will take matters into his own hands via regulations.
Why do federal taxpayers spend 12 times as much on school turnarounds ($3 billion) as charter start-ups ($250 million) when the latter appear to be four times more likely to succeed than the former?
Rather than get defensive, we reformers should clarify the ends that education reform can achieve. If not 100 percent proficiency, then what?
Reformers who are pushing for statewide or even district-wide evaluation systems are saying out loud: we can’t trust principals to make these decisions on their own.
We might never see eye to eye with all conservatives about national standards and tests. But we should be able to agree about reining in Washington’s involvement in other aspects of education.
The “counter-manifesto” released this week in opposition to national testing and a national curriculum is full of half-truths, mischaracterizations, and straw men. But it was signed by a lot of serious people and deserves a serious response.
At first blush, it would appear that former Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings and Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels have a lot in common. But look closer and the similarities–on federal education policy at least–disappear.
The question of whether affluent and disadvantaged kids need a different kind of education is a serious one. This discussion is easily demagogued. But it’s not racist to say that poor kids might need something different than their well-off, better-prepared peers. Don’t believe me? Consider African American educator Lisa Delpit’s words.
The defense of “the school board as we know it” just got dramatically weaker. And Anne Bryant’s place in the pantheon of impatient reformers just got more secure.
Former Bush White House adviser (and NCLB drafter) Sandy Kress turned in a very compelling New York Daily News op-ed on Monday arguing that President Obama has gone “wobbly” on education accountability. In the piece, Kress presented impressive NAEP data illustrating the big gains that minority and special needs students have made since the late […]
The District of Columbia’s rapid gentrification provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create racially and socio-economically integrated public schools. But misguided public policies might be allowing this moment to slip through our hands. That was the upshot of a very interesting conversation that transpired the other day at a forum held in Fordham’s conference center (and […]
Recent pieces by Jay Greene and Kevin Carey serve as effective bookends on the current ESEA debate picking up steam in Congress.
Before you reflexively deride this week’s GOP budget proposal consider this: it just might pave the way for greater investments in our schools.
One of the reasons Candidate Obama was so appealing was his call for participants in our democracy to “disagree without being disagreeable.”
The path to ESEA reauthorization just got a lot steeper, as many Republicans will refuse to play ball with an Administration not willing to compromise on a top GOP priority.
One of the dirtiest words in American education today is “tracking.”
Charter schools remain at the center of the school reform conversation because they are the node that connects three disparate reform instincts with one another.
Bargaining rights seem to matter a lot when it comes to benefits, seniority protections, and working conditions. But not pay.
Teachers in non-collective bargaining districts actually earn more than their union-protected peers.
In advance of this week’s International Summit on the Teaching Profession, Fordham is releasing a little paper by Janie Scull and me. We analyzed the recent PISA results in reading and math a number of ways, and came up with some interesting (and surprising) insights.
What makes the single salary schedule so pernicious isn’t just its uniformity; it’s its growth curve. Twenty-five years veterans are paid a lot more than five-year veterans even though, on average, they are equally effective. Changing that curve is at least as important as introducing more differentiation in pay.
I can’t prove it, but I strongly suspect that one of the reasons American kids do so well in life–even though they score poorly on international tests–is because of what they pick up from sports, theater, band, student council, and the like.
Buzz is building about an Arizona charter school teacher who got fired for refusing to remove a bumper sticker from her car.
Well, I have to hand it to them: The folks behind Ed in ’08 were successful after all. It just appears that the are achieving their goal–making education a central issue in the presidential election–four years behind schedule.
We’re thrilled to announce that Graham Down has joined the Education Next family as a regular book reviewer. You can expect, several times each month, his take on recent volumes related to education policy and practice.
Ed Next editors Mike Petrilli and Chester E. Finn, Jr. debate whether the war has been won and what needs to happen next.
This week has witnessed the emergence of a new Washington Consensus, apparent in President Obama’s education-obsessed State of the Union address, a bipartisan conference call with key Senate leaders, and a supportive column by the country’s most widely read conservative.
Rutgers education professor Bruce Baker issued a 4,600 word rebuttal to a 4,000 word policy brief released by Marguerite Roza and me about how states can “stretch the school dollar.” For all his spilled ink, he fails to offer a single alternative to the budget cuts we recommend. And as he later admitted that’s because he doesn’t believe states should cut education spending–they should raise taxes instead.
Ed Next’s Mike Petrilli and Chester E. Finn, Jr. discuss the best and worst developments for education policy in 2010, including the release of Waiting for Superman, the publication of teacher scores by the L.A. Times, the Race to the Top, and the development of Common Core standards.
The challenge for education policymakers is not only to cut carefully so as not to harm student learning, but better yet, to transform these fiscal woes into reform opportunities: to cut smart and thereby help our schools and students emerge stronger than ever.
The New Year is shaping up just as I predicted, with Diane Ravitch and the teachers unions criticizing budget-cutting proposals but offering no real alternatives of their own.
The end (of 2010) is upon us, and edu-pundits everywhere are compiling their “best and worst” lists for the Year of the Tiger. Here’s my run-down of the lists themselves.
Video: Emily Cohen talks with Education Next about state policies governing teacher quality that trump teacher contracts.
Want to know what 2011 will bring to the field of education reform?
In an editorial this morning on Andrew Cuomo’s tax-cap proposal, the Gray Lady explains what’s driving education costs skyward and comes out in favor of several bold cost-cutting measures.
Here’s my wish for the Washington policy crowd this holiday season: greater humility and patience, so that good ideas can be given a chance to blossom at the state level rather than be screwed up by over-eager feds.
There’s plenty of sobering news in Fordham’s new report, Are Bad Schools Immortal? The Scarcity of Turnarounds and Shutdowns in Both Charter and District Sectors. But perhaps the most depressing is this: even low-performing charter schools, which have all the right incentives to improve, and few of the constraints that might get in the way, rarely manage to do so.
I haven’t been blogging as much as usual lately. I’ve started wasting untold hours following thousands of mini-messages on Twitter every day, along with sending dozens of my own. But it did produce this nifty little debate between my friend Diane Ravitch and me, on the topic of school budget cuts.
I love Joel Klein. He made New York City a magnet for reform-minded entrepreneurs, sent forth more than a few excellent leaders to other big city school systems, and is never afraid to speak his truth. But his Wall Street Journal op-ed today is really lame.
If the elephants and donkeys do choose to sit down at the same table, we believe they must keep two goals firmly in mind. If either gets badly violated, this project cannot have a good ending.
In today’s New York Times there is a piece about the alarming achievement gap between black and white males.
Frustrated that top-down pressure for higher test scores hasn’t led to profound changes in our schools, and impatient with the plodding pace of improvement, many reformers have opted for a new motto: Push for change anywhere, anytime, anyhow—even if that means engaging in the same sort of regulating and rulemaking and program-creating and money-spending that we once abhorred.
What do Tuesday’s election results portend for education? After much palaver in many quarters, I conclude that it’s pretty simple: less money, and less reform from Washington. More responsibility shouldered by states and, perhaps, districts. And that equation isn’t as bad as it may sound.
It’s going to take strong leadership–from newly-elected governors especially–to prepare Americans for the discomfort of austerity. Here’s hoping our new crop of politicians is up to the job.
Everyone wants to know what a Republican-controlled House of Representatives will mean for ESEA reauthorization. Here’s my take: it will mean less money, and less reform. And on the whole, that will be a good thing.
While she’s not perfect, I’m still a huge fan of Michelle Rhee. So it’s not surprising that I found her Wall Street Journal “manifesto” to be worthy of several cheers and hurrahs.