Education Reform in 2014

On August 1, Chester E. “Checker” Finn, Jr., will step down from his role as founding president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, passing the baton to Michael J. Petrilli. Here is his “farewell address” as president.

Teacher-Tenure Decision Is NOT an Abuse of Judicial Power

Vergara precedents are multiple, judge's actions restrained

Vergara precedents are multiple, judge’s actions restrained

A Few Reflections on the Common Core Wars

Monday’s Politico story on the messaging battle over the Common Core has kicked up another round of recriminations, particularly on the Right.

Abracadabra

When policy discourse is taken over by slogan-speak, it undermines the credibility of future attempts at serious policy discussion.

Five Reasons Districts Should Love Course Access

Course Access is still a new policy, but for many students, no matter where they live or what school they attend, it will give them a significantly greater chance to fulfill their potential.

Pre-Kraziness

What is the benefit conferred by preschool if there’s no school after the pre?

Race to the Top Wasn’t

What President Obama termed “the most meaningful education reform in a generation” has proven to be more a cautionary tale than a model.

Charter School Productivity Report: Red Flags or Red Herrings?

Our finding that charter school sectors in all 28 states that we study demonstrate higher productivity and/or return on investment than their traditional public school sectors has ruffled some feathers at the National School Boards Association.

The Politics of Teacher Evaluation Formulas

As states revamp their teacher evaluation systems, they continue to search for that magic number: the percentage of a teacher evaluation rating that should be based on student academic performance.

Not Teacher Quality, but Quality Teaching

Any pedagogy, curriculum, approach, or technology has to be within the skills of ordinary teachers to implement well and effectively. If it takes a superstar teacher it’s a nonstarter.

Can We Strike 1-to-1 from the Edu-Dictionary?

A 1-to-1 laptop or iPad roll out is not a new instructional model. Whether a student can or cannot carry a machine around all day tells us little to nothing about a school’s actual pedagogy, about the quality of interactions between students and teachers, or about the rigor of the software programs delivered through those devices.

Americans Stink at Math (But We’re Much Better Now)

Elizabeth Green’s story for Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, “Why Do Americans Stink at Math?” is a must-read. But for all the time Green spends documenting the ways Americans stink at math, she never mentions that we’ve gotten much better.

Teacher Retention and Quality in Tennessee

Some Tennessee districts are much better at retaining highly effective teachers than others.

Course Access Opens New Horizons for Students

Course access programs allow students to enroll in a variety of online, blended, and face-to-face courses from a wide selection of accountable providers, in addition to the courses they take through their local schools

Money-Ed

Across all 28 states in the study, public charter school sectors were more cost effective and/or generated a higher return on investment (ROI) than traditional public schools

Sweden and School Choice

Last week, Slate published a critique of Sweden’s school choice program that managed to be both inaccurate and fallacious.

Five Thoughts on the New Yorker Cheating Story

Rachel Aviv’s article about a cheating scandal involving teachers at one middle school in Atlanta is very well-written, but the sources of the pressure on Atlanta teachers and principals to improve and the threat behind it are more complex than NCLB alone.

Why Kids are Hiring Competency- Based Education

An alternative school in Boston offers flexibility in pacing, help when students need it, and the chance to continuously reengage on material even if you didn’t master it the first time around–in all, the flexibility, support, and hope that human beings, and particularly teenagers, crave.

Glenn Beck’s Common Core Hysteria Doesn’t Help Advance Conservative Education Policy

Screenings of “We Will Not Conform” might channel populist angst on the right against the Common Core, but they do nothing to address the very real concern that inspired the Common Core in the first place — the fact that standards for what kids should know varied wildly across the states — or to propose alternative standards.

By Guest Blogger    Blog, Editorial  

The Future of Test-based Accountability

We may be in a transformative period fueled by a kind of restlessness that nobody is getting accountability right, the achievement problem remains, and ideas are not manifold about what to do next.

Computers Enable Good Teachers

The power of educational technology does not come from replacing teachers, but from empowering teachers to provide better instruction.

Former Indiana State Chief Tony Bennett and the Politics of Personal Destruction

Last summer, Tony Bennett resigned the Florida superintendency when slammed with alleged improprieties from his tenure as Indiana state chief. Last week, he was cleared of all but one very minor charge.

Two Charter School Debates: When Philosophical Opposition Masquerades as Policy Commentary

There’s lots of important work out there aimed at improving the way the charter sector works, but it often gets overshadowed by articles that are just thinly veiled attacks on the idea of charter schooling.

The Splintering School Reform Movement

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.

Private Schools Should Learn from Charter Schools Without Adopting their Regulatory Scheme

Do we really want government agencies to oversee and regulate private schools that participate in choice programs?

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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

Sponsors