The Pension IOU

Teachers should insist that all forms of compensation—including retirement benefits—are paid for upfront and that benefit promises are matched by real contributions.

Behind the Headline: America’s Most Challenging High Schools 2014

Jay Mathews notes that 67 of the 100 most challenging high schools in the U.S. (as rated by the Challenge Index, which rewards schools for the number of students taking Advanced Placement and IB tests) do not have football teams.

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What Education Reformers Can Learn from Kosher Certification

Can we have standards without the government imposing them?

Recent Edu-Reads, For Your Perusing Pleasure

School boards, charter schools, and more

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Behind the Headline: School District Weighs School Choice Program to Fight Declining Enrollment

In New Jersey, Andy Polhamus reports on discussions taking place in Pitman, a school district faced with declining enrollment that is considering opening up its schools to students from other districts.

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Behind the Headline: D.C. Releases Proposed School Boundaries and Far-Reaching Student Assignment Policies

In Washington, D.C., the school district is considering a major overhaul of school boundaries that could include a shift away from automatically assigning students to neighborhood schools.

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Behind the Headline: Can Free College Save American Cities?

In a long feature in Politico, Cassie Walker Burke tells the story of the Kalamazoo Promise scholarship program, which provides college scholarships to graduates of Kalamazoo Public Schools.

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Behind the Headline: Opting In to Enthusiasm for the Common Core Tests

While newspapers are reporting on parents who are opting their kids out of state testing, students in Brooklyn who attend Uncommon Schools charters are gearing up for the tests in “wacky and joyful” ways.

The Two Tracks of School Reform

Standards-based reform and school choice are interdependent, maybe even codependent.

A Concluded Battle in the Curriculum Wars

Abundant research supports content-oriented curricula in the “softer” subjects of English Language Arts and social studies/history.

How Generous Are Public Pensions?

For the average full-career state worker, traditional defined benefit plans are working quite well.

Charter Schools, the Time Is Now to Take on Special Ed in a Big Way

What does it take for charters to achieve success with kids who have disabilities? Something not so different from what works with low-income kids.

Indiana and the Common Core

Could more states join Indiana in dropping the standards?

Beating the Odds: Some School Boards Can Do It

A new study uses survey data from 900 school board members in 419 school districts.

Focus on the Opportunities Ed Tech Brings, Not the Hype

When we talk educational technology, there’s far too much excited talk about big purchases of tablets or assessment systems and far too little about just what educators and students are supposed to actually do with these.

Behind the Headline: Barack Obama vs. the Culture of Poverty

Two giants of the blogosphere, Jonathan Chait of New York magazine and Ta-Nehisi Coates of the Atlantic, have been engaging in an epic debate this month over the concept of “the culture of poverty.”

School Reform and Vocational School Reform in Korea

Meister High Schools are converted vocational schools that partner with companies in specific industries to create educational experiences tailored to the needs of the workforce.

Behind the Headline: More Americans Moving to Cities, Reversing the Suburban Exodus

According to new data from the Census Bureau, the American city is experiencing something of a renaissance, as more Americans, especially young professionals and Baby Boomers, move to the centers of the nation’s metropolitan areas.

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Homework Horror Stories

Recent stories in the popular press have featured children burdened with an enormous amount of homework, three hours or more per night. Are these students’ experiences typical or rare?

Cutting the Tie Between Education and Housing

Middle income families wanting good schools often purchase homes in good school districts that are just barely within their financial means, causing them to live hand-to-mouth.

Behind the Headline: Can The Success Of D.C.’s Best Middle Schools Be Replicated?

How to raise the quality of middle schools in the district’s public schools has been a point of debate for candidates in Washington, D.C.’s mayoral race.

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Behind the Headline: Mass. Charter School Bill Stalls In Legislature

A bill that would raise the cap on charter schools in Boston and other urban districts has failed to advance in the Massachusetts legislature.

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Politico’s Voucher Story Is Bogus

This morning, Politico published an attention-grabbing story about how some private schools that teach creationism receive public funding through tuition tax credits and school vouchers.

Behind the Headline: A Good Turnaround Principal is Hard to Find, Urban Leaders Say

Leaders of urban school districts are telling the Obama administration that efforts to turn around low-performing schools via the $5.5 billion School Improvement Grant (SIG) program are unlikely to have much impact.

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Common Core and the Midterms

It won’t be a huge issue in the fall, but it will have repercussions thereafter.

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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

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