State Policy

Is Common Core Running Off the Rails Already? Waving the Caution Flag

I've mixed feelings on the whole Common Core enterprise--largely because I find it easy to envision scenarios where it fails in ways that undermine promising improvement efforts. But the effort also has real promise, which is why I trust my friends on the Common Core train will take the following not as reflecting ill wishes but as a big ol' yellow caution flag.

South Carolina Leading the Pack?

South Carolina is on the cusp of leapfrogging most of the competition by passing one of the most ambitious pieces of school choice legislation in the country.

Three Things the NY Times Article on Florida Virtual School Missed

The recent New York Times article, "In Florida, Virtual Classrooms with No Teachers," takes us to Miami, where schools are using a blended learning approach. There’s a lot to discuss here, including the fact that the implementation has been rocky — most notably because several of the schools made no effort to tell either students or parents that they wouldn’t be in traditional classrooms. But as we’ve seen in the past with the Times, the article is framed by an assumption that the traditional classroom is best.

The Dead End of Scientific Progressivism

In Education Myths I argued that we needed to rely on science rather than our direct experience to identify effective policies. Our eyes can mislead us, while scientific evidence has the systematic rigor to guide us more accurately. That’s true, but I am now more aware of the opposite failing — believing that we can resolve all policy disputes and identify the “right way” to educate all children solely by relying on science.

Feeling Too Good About Our Schools

Each time international tests of student achievement are released, there is a parade of glib commentators explaining why we should not pay much attention to the generally poor performance of U.S. students.

Sputnik for the 21st Century

On Pearl Harbor Day 2010, the United States (and much of the rest of the world) was attacked by China.

What Did Klein Learn? Not Much, Apparently

I love Joel Klein. He made New York City a magnet for reform-minded entrepreneurs, sent forth more than a few excellent leaders to other big city school systems, and is never afraid to speak his truth. But his Wall Street Journal op-ed today is really lame.

Brookings, Baseball and Value Added Assessments of Teachers

I have always been suspicious of consensus documents with multiple signatures. They have the patina of authority but usually produce pabulum. So it was a pleasant surprise to read the latest consensus document from the Brookings Institution on “the important role of value added” when assessing teacher performance.

The College Board and Foreign Languages

Italian professors all across the country should salute the College Board and the advocates who pressed for reviving the course, including Dr. Margaret Cuomo, the Italian Language Foundation, and the Italian Government.

Proposals for a Cost-Conscious Era: Gold Star Teachers

The Gold Star program offers teachers who are at least reasonably effective the opportunity, should they so choose, to teach more kids per class and to be rewarded for taking on a larger workload. Such a state-level program would offer a chance to reshuffle the incentives and create a productivity-enhancing dynamic.

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