Marci Kanstoroom

    Author Bio:
    Marci Kanstoroom is Executive Editor and Senior Web Editor at Education Next. She has written and edited numerous publications on charter schools, teacher quality, and federal education policy, and she has testified on education issues before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science and the Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education. A Maryland native, Kanstoroom holds a B.A. in political science from Yale University and a Ph.D. in government from Harvard University, where she studied political philosophy and American government.


A Battle Begun, Not Won

The following essay is part of a forum, written in honor of Education Next’s 10th anniversary, in which the editors assessed the school reform movement’s victories and challenges to see just how successful reform efforts have been. For the other side of the debate, please see Pyrrhic Victories? by Frederick M. Hess, Michael J. Petrilli, […]

Spring 2011 / Vol. 11, No. 2

Race to the Top

Business model a guide to replicating quality schools

Summer 2008 / Vol. 8, No. 3

Balancing Act

Redefining the district's role under standards-based reform

Fall 2001 / Vol. 1, No. 3

Looking in the Wrong Place

As the proverbial story goes, a drunk, when asked where he had lost his keys, pointed off in the darkness, far from the lamppost under which he was searching. “But the light’s better here,” he explained. So it is with the new federal study of charter schools. That study plans to look at 50 middle […]

Fall 2005 / Vol. 5, No. 4

Blog Posts/Multimedia

Holding Students Accountable for Changing into Their Gym Clothes

Are traditional P.E. classes likely to be an effective tool in fighting obesity? What little research there is finds no association between PE and weight loss and obesity. One reason more P.E. has not led to weight loss might be that traditional PE classes do not always offer students a real workout, particularly in high school. Students don’t like having to change into gym clothes and get sweaty in the middle of the day. So P.E. teachers may end up grading students in part based on whether they change into their P.E. clothes. The 25th Hour PE class at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia is different.


Educators Beware: Bee Season is Approaching

Competition is making a comeback, according to June Kronholz. Her new article looks at the growth of academic bees and bowls like the Scripps National Spelling Bee and the National Geographic Bee. “Americans thrive on competition,” June writes. “But American schools have been suspicious of competition for generations, and are generally horrified by the idea that success should be accompanied by a reward like a title, a trophy, or a cash prize.”


School Districts and Alternatives

In a new article, “Out of the Mainstream,” Lynne Blumberg wonders what ever happened to the alternative high schools that thrived in the 1970s, which were very different from the alternative schools she encounters today. What she found was in part a story about changing times and changing students, but also a story about unchanging school districts.


Getting Effective Teachers into the Schools Where They Are Needed Most

Last month, Education Secretary Arne Duncan affirmed the education department’s commitment to working with districts to get effective teachers into the schools where they are needed most. The Race to the Top competition and proposals to reauthorize No Child Left Behind both include efforts to ensure the equitable distribution of effective teachers. But boosting the numbers of effective teachers in high-need schools is not a simple matter. In a new article, Kati Haycock of the Education Trust and Eric Hanushek of Stanford University engage in a debate over the most promising strategies for increasing the number of effective teachers in high-poverty schools.


A Marketplace Which Includes Virtual Schools or a Good School in Every Neighborhood?

Over at Eduwonk, Andy Rotherham is hosting a debate between Ed Next’s Paul Peterson and Diane Ravitch. Peterson (Saving Schools) and Ravitch (The Death and Life of the Great American School System) both have new books out that diagnose the problems with America’s schools and offer a way forward. The opening statements by Peterson and […]


E.D. Hirsch, Cultural Literacy and American Democracy

In a new book, The Making of Americans, E.D. Hirsch explicitly connects the idea of cultural literacy to the subject of civics—“the role of a common system of public schools in educating a citizenry to the level necessary to maintain a democracy.”


Charter Schools and Basketball

Charter schools are not generally known for their athletic programs–many do not even field teams–but in Washington, D.C., where charter schools now enroll 38 percent of public school students, charter school basketball has gone big time… in some schools.


The Rug Rat Race

A paper being presented today at Brookings seeks to explain why college-educated parents are spending more time than ever with their children. The answer, suggest Garey and Valerie Ramey, economists at UCSD: they’re spending more time with their kids, especially older kids, to help the kids get into competitive colleges. Here’s the abstract for the […]


Are There Really No Bad Schools in Raleigh-Wake County?

The school board in Wake County, N.C. will vote today on a proposal to do away with the policy of assigning students to schools to achieve socioeconomic diversity. Wake County parents unhappy with the school assignment policy elected a school board last fall with a majority of members who pledged to limit long bus rides for students and promote neighborhood schools. A 2009 book by Gerald Grant tells the story of how Raleigh and Wake County ended up with integrated schools in the first place.


New Teacher Evaluation System in D.C. Includes Test Scores

Podcast: Jason Kamras, deputy to D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee in charge of human capital, talks with Education Next about the new teacher evaluation system put in place in D.C.


Increasing the Number of Great Teachers Instead of Moving the Great Teachers Around

Great teachers make a big difference, but there aren’t enough great teachers to go around. So which students and schools should get them? Last week, the House Committee on Education and Labor held a hearing on the topic of what the federal government can and should do to make the distribution of effective teachers more equitable.


Does Teaching More Science Content Produce Better Scientists?

A new study does not demonstrate what the authors believe it demonstrates: that teaching more science content leads only to more content knowledge, not to higher-level science competence.


Fix the Preschool Misstep

In “Early Childhood Misstep” over at, Chester E. Finn, Jr. dissects the “Early Learning Challenge Fund,” the House’s effort to boost early childhood programs run by the states. He writes: The early-childhood crowd is, of course, gaga over this bill… In reality, however, it’s a flawed piece of work that the Senate would do […]


New Education Next Podcast: Charter Schools, Unions, and Linking Teachers with Student Achievement Data

Education Next’s Paul Peterson and Chester E. Finn, Jr. discuss the week’s education news, including an announcement that a charter school in Massachusetts has signed a collective bargaining agreement with its teachers, an agreement that includes merit pay. Click here to listen to the podcast. Play in new window | Download


Uncomfortable Reading on Race and Education

What was the educational impact of the civil rights movement?


Bahrain, Exeter Offer Clues About the Gender Gap in Math

Why do boys outperform girls in math, especially at the highest levels of math achievement? Two sets of economists released papers this summer examining the size of the gender gap in math achievement and investigating some possible contributing factors.


The Problem with Preschool for All

The campaign for universal preschool has gained great momentum, but a troubling contradiction casts a shadow over this movement. The main argument that preschool advocates make is that we need to give disadvantaged kids a boost up the ladder of educational success. Helping the least advantaged kids catch up would require intensive programs starting early […]


Russ Whitehurst Reviews Crossing the Finish Line

Russ Whitehurst, former director of the Institute for Education Sciences at ED, has reviewed the new book Crossing the Finish Line for Education Next. “Crossing the Finish Line …demonstrates the high value of information locked away in administrative databases, and suggests new and potentially powerful approaches to increasing the nation’s population of college-educated citizens,” Whitehurst […]


Why Don’t More College Students Cross the Finish Line?

A book released today takes a close look at why only 60 percent of students entering four-year colleges are graduating. One finding: scores on the SAT and ACT tests are not good predictors of whether students are likely to graduate from college.


Bringing High-Quality Charter Schools to Scale

There are more than 4500 charter schools across the United States today, but in only a few cities do charter schools enroll a significant percentage of public school students. And in most of those charter-dense cities, a lot of charter schools are merely mediocre. In one small city, though, school reformers will find the holy […]


International Benchmarking May Not Be a Good Bet for States

In August, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released a new report summarizing the performance of U.S. students on international tests. There is always great excitement when the “league tables” from international tests are published.  Now states are starting to get into the game as well, signing up to participate in PISA and TIMSS […]


President Obama Should Put Down “Hot, Flat, and Crowded,” Pick Up Education Next

The editorial board of the Washington Post has recommended some beach reading for President Obama: He should start with Patrick J. Wolf’s article in the new issue of Education Next. Mr. Wolf, a professor of education reform at the University of Arkansas, is the principal investigator of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, which allows low-income […]


Principals and Teachers Unaware That Courts Defer to Schools When It Comes to Discipline

Courts have given school authorities broad powers over student discipline. So why do students act as if they’re entitled to so many legal protections—and why do principals and teachers grant them? A new study, released today on the Education Next website, finds that federal and state courts have increasingly sided with schools in student discipline […]


What Is to Be Done (by the U.S. Department of Education)?

As the education blogosphere turns its attention from Secretary Duncan’s Race to the Top fund to his Investing in Innovation fund, economist Eric Hanushek offers his take on what federal education policy can and cannot accomplish.

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