What the 2014 Senate Elections Might Mean for Education

If the Republicans take the Senate, Senator Lamar Alexander would take the helm of the Senate HELP Committee, which is a big deal.

A Bad Idea Whose Time Has Come

Before we retreat to the pre-NCLB era of grade-span testing or revert to some other testing-light position, let’s at least recall some of the benefits of annual testing of all kids.

What’s Right About Common Core

The overheated rhetoric around Common Core elides the fact that it incorporates several fundamentally sound and long-overdue ideas that have gone missing from our schools for decades.

The New Education Trust Report: The Triumph of Hope Over Experience

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.

Ed Reform’s Blind Spot: Catholic Schools and Social Capital

By ignoring the closure of urban Catholic schools, we have not only allowed high-quality seats to disappear, we’ve also allowed the further deterioration of the threadbare social fabric of fraying communities.

Howls of Protest? Check!

Whatever the requirements are for earning different credentials, however, the true value of a high school diploma is established by the colleges that admit and the employers who hire our high school graduates.

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Behind the Headline: Montgomery School Officials Ask for Delay in Using New State Tests for Graduation

In Maryland, where students will take new tests based on the Common Core standards for the first time this year, one school board is asking the state to delay a requirement that students pass the new tests to graduate from high school.

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School Reform, Philadelphia Style

On Monday, the Philadelphia School Reform Commission shocked the city by announcing that it would unilaterally cut health care benefits to city teachers rather than continue to negotiate with the teacher’s union.

Behind the Headline: How School Lunch Became the Latest Political Battleground

In the New York Times Magazine, Nicholas Confessore looks at the political fight over efforts to bring healthier food to school cafeterias, and explains how the School Nutrition Association became “Washington’s loudest and most public critic of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.”

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Time for a Reboot

It’s probably time for education reformers and policymakers to admit that just pushing harder on test-driven accountability as the primary tool for changing our creaky old public school system is apt to yield more backlash than accomplishment

Behind the Headline: How Much Do We Spend on Education?

“In poll after poll, Americans vastly underestimate per-pupil education funding and overall school spending,” writes Nathan Benefield on Forbes.com.

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The Stock Market Has Recovered. Why Haven’t Pensions?

Pension plans have not made much of a dent in their long-term unfunded debt. How could this be?

How To Kill Reading Achievement

Complaints about close reading bother me less than its potential overuse, or the creeping notion that close reading is what all reading instruction should look like under Common Core. That would be bad for the standards, and even worse for reading achievement in the U.S.

Behind the Headline: Changes in AP History Trigger a Culture Clash in Colorado

A front-page story in today’s Washington Post looks at the debate that has broken out in Colorado over the new Advanced Placement U.S. History curriculum.

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Behind the Headline: Parent Says No Mush For His First-Grader

In his column, Jay Mathews highlights a blog entry by Mike Petrilli about the weak, content-free curriculum being taught to his first grader in the Montgomery County, Md. public schools.

Job Listing: Staff Assistant with Education Next and PEPG

Education Next and the Program on Education Policy and Governance (PEPG) at the Kennedy School at Harvard are looking for a staff assistant. This is a full-time job with benefits.

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Teach for America’s Retirement Gap

While most TFA teachers may not realize it, almost all are losing out on retirement benefits for their time in the classroom.

District School Authorizers and Next-Generation Accountability

Two important events provide the outlines for a new approach to state-level accountability.

The Latest XPrize and How It May Succeed or Fail

The XPrize is funding its first edtech competition to handsomely reward the team that develops the best software to help children in developing countries teach themselves basic literacy and math.

New OCR Guidance on Equitable Resources: A Godsend for Charter Schools?

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.

Behind the Headline: Chicago Public Schools Will Get Money for No-Show Students, Again

Chicago Superintendent Barbara Byrd-Bennett has announced that schools will continue to receive funding for students that are not enrolled this year, “holding harmless” schools that do not meet enrollment targets.

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Ending Teacher Tenure Would Have Little Impact on its Own

Data from North Carolina suggest that principals are not using the four-year period before teachers qualify for tenure to identify and remove their lowest performers.

Leveled Reading: The Making of a Literacy Myth

Opponents of the Common Core question the idea of improving literacy by introducing higher levels of textual complexity into the instructional mix.

Behind the Headline: A Sharp Dissent Over a School’s Curb on American Flag Shirts

A federal appeals court has declined to rehear a case involving high school students who were not allowed to wear American flag shirts to school on the day of a Cinco de Mayo celebration.

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Broadening the Discussion of Good Schooling

These measures help to offer a more holistic take on the quality of a state’s school system.

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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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