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The 2015 EdNext Poll on School Reform

Public thinking on testing, opt out, common core, unions, and more

WINTER 2016 / VOL. 16, NO. 1

2015 EdNext Poll: Public Backs Testing, Opposes “Opt-out” Movement

Support for Common Core State Standards slips, but opponents are still in the minority; a majority opposes requirements to balance discipline rates across race; only a minority backs union fees for non-union teachers; support for charter schools and tax credits to fund private school scholarships dips, but a majority still favors them

WINTER 2016 / VOL. 16, NO. 1

Next Generation Virtual Programs

Through Course Access, students choose from a range of providers

Good News for New Orleans

Early evidence shows reforms lifting student achievement

FALL 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 4

The New Orleans OneApp

Centralized enrollment matches students and schools of choice

FALL 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 4

Many Options in New Orleans Choice System

School characteristics vary widely

FALL 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 4

New Orleans Reforms Boost Student Performance

Families have many options as 93 percent of public school students attend charter schools

FALL 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 4

The Myth About the Special Education Gap

Charter enrollments driven by parental choices, not discriminatory policies

FALL 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 4

Charter Schools Do Not Appear to Discriminate Against Special Education Students

Students with disabilities more likely to remain in charters than in district schools

FALL 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 4

Results of President Obama’s Race to the Top

Win or lose, states enacted education reforms

FALL 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 4

What Did Race to the Top Accomplish?

Education Next talks with Joanne Weiss and Frederick M. Hess

FALL 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 4

Lofty Promises But Little Change for America’s Schools

In July 2009, it wasn’t just about the money. The $4 billion (to be spent over four years) amounted to less than 1 percent of what K‒12 schooling spends each year.

FALL 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 4

Innovative Program Spurred Meaningful Education Reform

Much has been said about the impact of the Race to the Top program—some good, some not so good, some accurate, some less so.

FALL 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 4

Race to the Top Competition Changes State Education Policies

Winners enact new initiatives, strengthen standards and expand charters

FALL 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 4

Should Personalization Be the Future of Learning?

Benjamin Riley and Alex Hernandez square off

Wisconsin High School Reaches High International Benchmarks in Math and Reading

Participating in international testing motivates both educators and students

FALL 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 4

Wisconsin High Schools Learn from New PISA Test

International comparison drives efforts to improve

FALL 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 4

A Day at the Khan Lab School

Inquiry and self-direction guide student learning

FALL 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 4

Digital Games Promise to Improve Math Skills

An excerpt from Greg Toppo’s The Game Believes in You

Disparate Impact Indeed

Court’s latest ruling will hurt minority students

FALL 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 4

Tracking Is a District Problem

A review of “On the Same Track” by Carol Corbett Burris

FALL 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 4

Taking On the Opportunity Gap

A review of “Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis” by Robert D. Putnam

FALL 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 4

Increased Per-Pupil Spending Yields Improved Educational Attainment and Higher Future Wages for Students from Low-Income Families

How money is spent matters; school districts use unexpected increases more productively than they use other resources

FALL 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 4

Boosting Educational Attainment and Adult Earnings

Does school spending matter after all?

FALL 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 4

CREDO Reveals Successful Charters’ Secret Sauce

What are the general lessons to be learned from the many case studies of successful chartering?

SUMMER 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 3

Power to the People

A review of “The School Choice Journey” by Thomas Stewart and Patrick J. Wolf

The Origins of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program

Excerpts from No Struggle, No Progress: A Warrior’s Life from Black Power to Education 
Reform

SUMMER 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 3

At Success Academy, Strong Content and Curriculum are Keys to Success

Progressive education techniques and innovative teacher training help the charters outperform NYC public schools

SUMMER 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 3

What Explains Success at Success Academy?

Charter network focuses on what is being taught, and how

SUMMER 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 3

What Twitter Says about the Education Policy Debate

And how scholars might use it as a research tool

FALL 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 4

Breaking the Mold

A review of A Democratic Constitution for Public Education, by Paul T. Hill and Ashley E. Jochim

SUMMER 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 3

How NYC Expanded Its Charter Sector

An excerpt from Joel Klein’s Lessons of Hope

States Raise Proficiency Standards in Math and Reading

Commitments to Common Core may be driving the proficiency bar upward

SUMMER 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 3

More Middle-Class Families Choose Charters

A political game changer for public school choice?

SUMMER 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 3

The Rise of AltSchool and Other Micro-schools

Combinations of private, blended, and at-home schooling meet needs of individual students

SUMMER 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 3

Turnaround School Districts

States try managing lowest-performing schools

Boot Camps for Charter Boards

Finding and training civic-minded leaders

SUMMER 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 3

New York City’s Small-Schools Revolution

Breaking up large high schools improved graduation rates

School Reform for Rural America

Innovate with charters, expand career and technical education

SUMMER 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 3

School Closings Due to Bad Weather Have Little to No Effect on Student Achievement

But individual absences caused by weather when schools don’t close have negative effects on achievement

SUMMER 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 3

In Defense of Snow Days

Students who stay home when school is in session are a much larger problem

SUMMER 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 3

We’re All Art Teachers

Don’t try to quantify its worth

SUMMER 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 3

Twenty States Increased Academic Proficiency Standards between 2011 and 2013

For the first time since the passage of No Child Left Behind, state standards have risen; all states that show strong improvements have adopted Common Core

A Breakout Role for Teachers

Excerpts from The Cage-Busting Teacher

How Many Charter Schools is Just Right?

Education Next talks with Scott Pearson, John H. “Skip” McKoy, and Neerav Kingsland

SUMMER 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 3

The New Orleans Case for All-Charter School Districts

Across the country, children in urban districts are being denied rich, rigorous educational opportunities.

SUMMER 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 3

D.C. Students Benefit from Mix of Charter and Traditional Schools

Charter schools are revolutionizing public schooling in Washington, D.C. In just 18 years, charter schools have grown from an initial 5 to 112 schools today, managed by 61 nonprofit organizations.

SUMMER 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 3

Education Gap Grows for Adolescents from Single-Parent Families

Young people raised in one-parent homes complete fewer years of schooling and are less likely to receive a B. A. degree

Was Moynihan Right?

What happens to children of unmarried mothers

SPRING 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 2

One-Parent Students Leave School Earlier

Education attainment gap widens

SPRING 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 2

Fool’s Gold

Office of Civil Rights takes on school finance

SUMMER 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 3

Match Corps Goes National

Successful high-dosage tutoring model spreads to other schools

How Can Schools Address America’s Marriage Crisis?

Prepare young people for rewarding careers

SPRING 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 2

Purposeful Parenthood

Better planning benefits new parents and their children

SPRING 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 2

The Meaning of Community at Democracy Prep

School culture supports students and their families

SPRING 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 2

Black Men and the Struggle for Work

Social and economic barriers persist

SPRING 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 2

More Harm Than Good

A review of “Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed,” by Jason L. Riley

SPRING 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 2

A Tribute to Martha Derthick

With Martha Derthick’s passing on January 12, 2015, America lost one of its preeminent scholars of American politics.

SPRING 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 2

New Hampshire’s Journey Toward Competency-Based Education

State lifts barriers to innovation, allowing districts and charters to personalize learning

Family Breakdown and Poverty

To flourish, our nation must face some hard truths

SPRING 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 2

Race and Poverty in Baltimore

A review of “The Long Shadow” by Karl Alexander, Doris Entwisle, and Linda Olson

Spring 2015 / Vol. 15, No. 2

U.S. Students from Two-Parent Families Achieve a Grade Level Higher than Peers from Single-Parent Families

The United States has one of the highest percentages of single-parent families among developed countries

An International Look at the Single-Parent Family

Family structure matters more for U.S. students

SPRING 2015 / VOL. 15, NO. 2

What Does Online Learning Look Like?

Examples from Florida and Pennsylvania

Blog Posts/Multimedia

New Orleans: A Success Story? Yes. A National Model? Maybe Not.

Which strategy should the charter sector pursue in the short- to medium-term: selective chartering or a district-wide replacement strategy?

09/03/2015

Six Education Themes for 2016

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

09/03/2015

Behind the Headline: Indianapolis Pact Couples New Teacher Roles and Big Pay Boosts

The school board in Indianapolis has approved a new teacher contract that will allow six schools to implement an experimental program that allows high-performing teachers to take on new roles, reach more students, and earn higher salaries.

09/03/2015

EdNext Podcast: Is Support for the Common Core Dropping or Stabilizing?

Marty West and Paul E. Peterson discuss the public’s changing opinion of the Common Core.

09/02/2015

Behind the Headline: Tests Matter

In US News, Nina Rees takes a close look at what the public says about testing in two recent polls, and in particular considers why PDK/Gallup found that respondents believe there is too much emphasis on testing, while EdNext found that respondents support annual standardized testing.

09/02/2015

What We’re Watching: America’s Neglected Gifted Kids

Brandon Wright talks with The Wall Street Journal about what schools are doing for academically gifted students, the subject of a book he has written with Chester Finn.

09/01/2015

The Fall 2015 Issue of Education Next is Here!

The cover features three articles assessing school reform in New Orleans on the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

09/01/2015

Education Governance: Who Makes the Decisions and Who Has the Power?

Our education governance system, lamented and disparaged as it often is, is one of the least understood aspects of American K–12 schooling.

09/01/2015

Behind the Headline: The Obligations of High-Output Charter High Schools

Should charter schools be forced to backfill — to admit new students whenever they have an open seat because a student has left? Charter school advocates are divided over this issue. Paul Hill and Robin Lake of CRPE lay out their positions for and against backfilling on The Lens, the blog of CRPE.

09/01/2015

Scott Walker’s Act 10 Caused an Uproar, But Things Are Mostly Back to Normal

In the midst of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s controversial 2011 budget bill, many warned that the state’s public employees, including teachers, would retire in droves.

08/31/2015

‘No-Racially-Disparate-Discipline’ Policies Opposed by Both Teachers and General Public

In 2014 the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice, acting together, sent every school district a letter asking local officials to avoid racial bias when suspending or expelling students.

08/31/2015

Behind the Headline: How Common Core Can Help in the Battle of Skills vs. Knowledge

While many people blame standardized testing for narrowing the elementary school curriculum to reading and math, the real culprit is “a longstanding pedagogical notion that the best way to teach kids reading comprehension is by giving them skills — strategies like “finding the main idea” — rather than instilling knowledge about things like the Civil War or human biology.” So writes Natalie Wexler in an op-ed in the New York Times.

08/31/2015

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.

08/28/2015

Keep Your Yardsticks Off Teachers’ Careers, Unless . . .

… the results of teacher evaluations are used to give teachers better on-the-job training and meaningful opportunities for advancement.

08/28/2015

Can Teachers Really Teach Anywhere?

Teachers are much more likely to move within a state than to cross state lines.

08/28/2015

New Orleans Education Coverage by Education Next

Research, features, and opinion from Ed Next authors on schools in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina

08/28/2015

Charter Schools: Taking Stock

It’s time to review the progress of the charter movement and the challenges that lie ahead, what we’ve done right as well as where we’ve gone astray..

08/27/2015

Finland Offers Lessons For Building Student, Teacher Agency

American schools don’t expect youth to be responsible for themselves or their learning. Finnish schools are different.

08/27/2015

Behind the Headline: 2 Polls Span 2 Poles On Testing In Schools

Does the American public support annual testing or think there’s too much testing, or both?

08/26/2015

Behind the Headline: From Scholarship Student to Charter School Teacher, a Young Man Helps New Orleans Come Back

In the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Danielle Dreilinger tells the moving life story of Gary Briggs, a teacher in a New Orleans charter school.

08/26/2015

Top K-12 Education Policy People on Social Media 2015

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

08/26/2015

EdNext Podcast: Comparing the EdNext Poll to the PDK Poll

Martin R. West and Paul E. Peterson discuss the findings of the 2015 Education Next poll and compare the results with the findings from this week’s PDK/Gallup Poll.

08/26/2015

What We’re Watching: Virtual Tour of Success Academy Charter Schools

An immersive, 360-degree panoramic view inside a Success Academy elementary school.

08/25/2015

Why Do Two Good Polls Get Different Results?

Gauging public opinion on parental opt-out, charters, Common Core and vouchers

08/25/2015

CNN’s Misleading Story on Homework

CNN’s story relies on the results of one study that is limited in what it can tell us, but CNN even gets its main findings wrong.

08/25/2015

Behind the Headline: How New Orleans Proved Urban Education Reform Can Work

“The creation of high-achieving urban charter schools is one of the most impressive triumphs of American social policy,” writes Jon Chait of New York magazine. “Nowhere has this revolution had a more dramatic impact than in New Orleans, because nowhere has reform been carried out with such breadth,” he continues.

08/25/2015

Common Core’s Silent Majority

The public is still quietly backing Common Core by a margin of nearly 15 percentage points

08/24/2015

The Feds Have Not Convinced Parents, Teachers, or the General Public on School Discipline

In January 2014, the Obama administration’s Departments of Justice and Education, acting together, sent every school district in the country a letter warning local officials to avoid racial bias when suspending or expelling students.

08/24/2015

Behind the Headline: Time Out for Opt-Outs?

“Americans aren’t as pissed off about standardized testing as headlines often make it seem. In fact, it looks like most of the country’s adults support it. What the public isn’t so fond of are the people who are pissed off—the ones who are so pissed off they’re boycotting the assessments as part of a growing ‘opt-out movement.’” So writes Alia Wong in “Time Out for Opt-Outs?” in the Atlantic.

08/24/2015

Digital Providers: Let Great Teachers Drive Technology Use, Get Results

What should we take away from News Corp.’s recent announcement that it is writing off losses stemming from its digital education wing Amplify?

08/24/2015

Behind the Headline: State Law Forces Milwaukee to Put Vacant Schools Up for Sale

A new law in Wisconsin is forcing the Milwaukee school system to put all its vacant and surplus buildings on the market this October. Charter and private school operators will be able to purchase the properties.

08/22/2015

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.

08/21/2015

Behind the Headline: Billions in Pell Dollars go to Students Who Never Graduate

While the federal government does not collect data on the graduation rates of students who receive Pell grants, an investigation by the Hechinger Institute suggests that billions of taxpayer dollars are going to students who never earn degrees.

08/21/2015

Job Opportunity at Education Next

Education Next is looking to hire a communications consultant, someone to help us promote articles appearing in EdNext by writing press releases, communicating with traditional media outlets, and maintaining a lively social media presence.

08/21/2015

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.

08/20/2015

New Poll Offers News Both Heartening and Glum for Education Reformers

When it comes to fundamental principles and practices regarding K–12 education, the American public is generally pretty sensible and steadfast.

08/20/2015

Teacher Retention Rates Are Up, Not Down

The data simply don’t support the notion that teachers are leaving schools in droves in response to recent education reforms.

08/20/2015

What We’re Watching: The New Hampshire Education Summit

The 74’s Campbell Brown interviewed GOP presidential candidates about education policy in New Hampshire on August 19.

08/19/2015

Common Core: How Much Do People Know About Its Real Impact?

Are opinions about the Common Core driven by the public debate broadcast in the media or are they rooted in direct knowledge about what is happening in schools?

08/19/2015
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