The Blog

The List

The other day I delivered to my school board president, via email, a list. “This is what I found in my 'followup' folder for just the last month!” I wrote. “Obviously, we can't get it all in at a single meeting, but can we chip away at it?”

New Ed Next Podcast: Will the Federal Role in Education Double?

Education Next's Paul Peterson and Chester E. Finn, Jr. talk this week about Education...

Why are Some Environments Better than Others for Charter Schools? Today’s Policy Question

This has been a good year for evidence on the effectiveness of charters, highlighted by a major national study from CREDO and a new study in the continuing work from New York City. Nonetheless, understanding and interpreting the scientific research within the political and media environment is made more difficult by the political context.

A Controversy That Wasn’t

Consider this scenario. A 16-year-old boy transfers to a high school in Georgia from out of state and shows up the second day wearing a hot pink wig and high heels.

Special Ed Vouchers Level the Playing Field for Disabled Kids

As Jay Greene and I argue in our brand new Ed Next article, "The Case for Special Education Vouchers," parents of special ed students should be provided with vouchers that would allow their children to attend private school. The moral and equitable case for providing special ed vouchers is strong: some special ed students get a raw deal from the traditional public schools, which often are unable to provide the needed services or specialized teachers that a disabled student needs.

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.

From Courthouse to Schoolhouse

Is the involvement of courts an obstacle to school reform, or an asset? A new book, From Schoolhouse to Courthouse: The Judiciary’s Role in American Education, edited by two Ed Next bloggers, Marty West and Josh Dunn, attempts to address this broad topic in a comprehensive way.

Defending PISA

In an article in the Fall 2009 issue of Education Next, “The International PISA Test,” Mark Schneider argues that American states ought to think twice before participating in the PISA exam and that the policy advice offered in connection with PISA is not based on solid research. If Mark Schneider has doubts about the usefulness of PISA, he should wonder whether the United States has, under his leadership, used PISA effectively.

Challenging PISA Again

Andreas Schleicher recently blogged in response to my EdNext article, “The International PISA Test,” but his response fails to deal with important issues I raised in my article: the quality of PISA’s analysis and the degree to which PISA’s reports ignore the limits of the data in support of conclusions that seem to have been determined in advance of the analysis. Another issue I raised is how PISA should fit into the U.S. system of testing and data collection.

New Ed Next Podcast: Charter Schools Narrow Achievement Gaps in New York City

Education Next’s Paul Peterson and Chester E. Finn, Jr. tackle another hot topic in...


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