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Standards, Testing, and Accountability

Accountability was widely embraced as a reform strategy in the 1990s, but skepticism has grown about whether the approach is working. Amid mounting evidence that state-level accountability systems have been built on wildly differing expectations for student performance, there has been increased interest in the development of common academic standards that could be adopted by all 50 states.

Recent Topics

School Policy

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.

Inside Schools

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.

Government and Politics

The Federal Government Is Not a State, and ESEA Does Not Give Arne Duncan Mandate Authority

Where is the “plain language” of ESEA that gives the Department of Education the authority to mandate statewide teacher-evaluation systems, particularly for states that want waivers on school accountability. Just as with ObamaCare and the question of whether the federal government is a “state,” the administration won’t have a good answer.

Government and Politics

The Federal Government Is Not a State, and ESEA Does Not Give Arne Duncan Mandate Authority

Where is the “plain language” of ESEA that gives the Department of Education the authority to mandate statewide teacher-evaluation systems, particularly for states that want waivers on school accountability. Just as with ObamaCare and the question of whether the federal government is a “state,” the administration won’t have a good answer.

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.

Whither the NEA?

Perhaps the historic coupling of the NEA and the Democratic Party is loosening a bit.

On School Discipline, Let’s Not Repeat All Our Old Mistakes

President Obama’s policy will have a predictable effect: eliminating suspensions and expulsions as an option for school administrators.

Vergara, Harris, and the Fate of the Teacher Unions

We’re in a period of profound change in teacher-union leadership, with more combative leaders in ascendance, But what the unions really need are leaders able to craft winning platforms with a new orientation.

Inside Schools

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.

Rosetta Stone, MegaStudy and Educational Software in Korea

In Korea, where popular teachers become millionaires by broadcasting their lectures online, schools and families are only very slowly warming up to other kinds of online learning.

School Policy

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.

Inside Successful District-Charter Compacts

Teachers and administrators collaborate to share best practices

Rosetta Stone, MegaStudy and Educational Software in Korea

In Korea, where popular teachers become millionaires by broadcasting their lectures online, schools and families are only very slowly warming up to other kinds of online learning.

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

We’ll Miss You, Michael Gove

The path on which Gove and his predecessors placed English education resembles the path taken by U.S. education reformers.

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