Diplomatic Mission

President Obama’s path to performance pay

President Obama’s path to performance pay

Does Competition Improve Public Schools?

New evidence from the Florida tax-credit scholarship program

New evidence from the Florida tax-credit scholarship program

By Cassandra M.D. Hart and    Homepage, Journal, Research, State and Federal  

I3 Is “New American Schools” All Over Again

Alexander Russo nailed it this morning when he wrote that “old school reforms win big in i3.” Indeed. What hit me when I saw the list of winners–especially the groups that brought home the big bucks–was that this is New American Schools all over again.

Toothless Reform?

If the feds get tough, Race to the Top might work

If the feds get tough, Race to the Top might work

Why Is Reform So Hard?

Many people find it hard to believe that student performance has been flat for four decades when we have more than tripled funding for schools and when we have put into place a number of reform measures. The recent discussions in Congress, however, shed some light on this.

Can an Education Bill Save the Obama Presidency?

March 18, 2010 was a red letter day. On that date, for the very first time, more Americans disapproved than approved of the way President Obama was handling his job as president. Obama needs to move beyond divisive partisanship if he is to re-cement his relationship with the American public. The President’s education bill gives him the opportunity to rediscover the middle ground.

Obama’s Education Strategy Makes Good Political Sense, But to Boost High School Graduation Rates, Something Bolder is Needed

The Obama Administration’s governing skills shifted upward this weekend. Making education the centerpiece of the Administration’s second year is a vast improvement over the first-year focus on endless spending, health reform and cap-and-trade. The President needs to take one step further, however, if he wants to find a way to lift four-year high school graduation rates from 70 percent to 100 percent.

A Virtual Race to the Top

Now that the first round of Race to the Top awards have been announced, we can appreciate the impact that this new federal initiative is having on stimulating new thinking at state and local levels. Promising money to states if they come up with sensible ideas seems to work more effectively than punishing schools and districts for low performance. But some of the truly bold new ideas in education today are escaping the attention of RttT policymakers.

A Pernicious Parlor Game

So, the announcement of the round one Race to the Top finalists is upon us. In the run-up, a pernicious parlor game in edu-policy circles has been “name the RTT finalists.” Thankfully, it’s about to come to a close. Unfortunately, it’ll be followed by “name the RTT winners.”

What Happened When Kindergarten Went Universal?

Benefits were small and only reached white children

Benefits were small and only reached white children

By Elizabeth U. Cascio    Homepage, Research, State and Federal  

Will the Common Core Standards Prove Safe and Effective?

Even though they still haven’t seen the light of day in draft form, much less been joined by any assessments, the evolving “common core” standards project of the National Governors Association (NGA) and Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is already being laden with heavier and heavier burdens. This is enormously risky and, frankly, hubristic, since nobody yet has any idea whether these standards will be solid, whether the tests supposed to be aligned with them will be up to the challenge, or whether the “passing scores” on those tests will be high or low, much less how this entire apparatus will be sustained over the long haul.

It Depends on What the Meaning of “Transparency” Is

Yesterday, on his Eduwonk blog, Andy Rotherham weighed in on the brewing controversy over the Race to the Top review process. Rotherham suggests that Duncan try a variation of the “it depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is” defense, explaining, “‘Transparent’ is not synonymous with contemporaneous. In other words, a process can be transparent while it is going on or it can be transparent after the fact.” It’ll be amusing to see whether Duncan tries that defense; somehow, I don’t think it’ll play that well.

The Future of No Child Left Behind

End it? Or mend it?

End it? Or mend it?

Lost Opportunities

Lawmakers threaten D.C. scholarships despite evidence of benefits

Lawmakers threaten D.C. scholarships despite evidence of benefits

A “Race to the Top” Flip-Flop

The Wall Street Journal editorial page has already taken the Administration to task for backing away from some of its tougher “Race to the Top” provisions, but check out this morsel, thanks to Education Daily…

Saving Jobs or Stimulating Reform?

Podcast: Education Next’s Paul Peterson and Chester E. Finn, Jr. talk this week (Nov. 24) about the effect of the stimulus package on education, a sector that has proven to be very good at job creation.

Poor Schools or Poor Kids?

To some, fixing education means taking on poverty and health care

To some, fixing education means taking on poverty and health care

Defining “Effective” and Other Keys to a Successful RTTT Application

What most stands out is the palpable disconnect between the RTTT process and what actually occurs in the many charter schools and private schools that have made real progress. If a random selection of administrators at such schools were asked to review the process, the response likely would be a collective laugh.

Election Postmortem

Podcast: Education Next’s Paul Peterson and Chester E. Finn, Jr. talk this week (Nov. 19) about what the results of the 2009 off-year elections mean for education.

Scrutiny of Federal School Lunch Program Would Mean Fewer Free Lunches, Better School Data

The federal school lunch program does not do a very good job of verifying that students whose families sign up for the program actually meet the eligibility requirements. While many people might not object to a policy that errs in the direction of generosity to hungry children, having ineligible students on the free lunch list has a lot of other consequences.

Should Failing Schools Be Fixed or Closed?

Video: Andy Smarick talks with Education Next about why the Obama administration needs to rethink its embrace of turnarounds and adopt a new strategy for the nation’s persistently failing schools.

Fraud in the Lunchroom?

Federal school-lunch program may not be a reliable measure of poverty

Federal school-lunch program may not be a reliable measure of poverty

What Happens When States Have Genuine Alternative Certification?

We get more minority teachers and test scores rise

We get more minority teachers and test scores rise

Wisconsin Teachers’ Union Calls The Shots on RTTT

With the approval of the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC), Wisconsin legislators this week approved a decidedly tepid package of legislation supposedly designed to help the state win a Race To The Top grant.

Wisconsin’s Race To The Top

Wisconsin appears to be a strong contender for Race To The Top funds. Melody Barnes, the director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, said in a conference call that the president on Wednesday will ‘applaud positive steps forward’ on education reform in Wisconsin. One wonders: has Arne Duncan vetted the pending bills to determine if they represent the kind of change that will meet RTTT criteria?

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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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