State Policy

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.

A Language Arts Curriculum for Students in Jail

In “School on the Inside: Teaching the incarcerated student,” just posted on the Ed...

An Apple Campus

There is an interesting development at Beverly High School in Beverly, Massachusetts, north of Boston. Parents have been informed that every student must use an Apple MacBook in his and her 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.

School Vouchers in DC Produce Gains in Both Test Scores and Graduation Rates

One should not under-estimate the impact of the DC school voucher program on student achievement. According to the official announcement and the executive summary of the report, school vouchers lifted high school graduation rates but it could not be conclusively determined that it had a positive impact on student achievement. Something about those findings sounds like a bell striking thirteen. Not only is the clock wrong, but the mechanism seems out of whack. How can more students graduate from private schools if they weren’t learning more?

Is the Learning Disabilities Epidemic Waning?

Almost a decade ago, Fordham and the Progressive Policy Institute published a phone book-sized treatise, Rethinking Special Education for a New Century. One of its most important chapters was “Rethinking Learning Disabilities,” written by a who’s who of cognitive psychologists and reading experts, including Reid Lyon, Jack Fletcher, Sally Shaywitz, and Joseph Torgeson. They argued that most children with learning disabilities suffered from poor reading instruction, not an underlying neurological problem.

When Schools Shun Competition, Middle Class Families Seek It Out After School

June Kronholz writes that the self-esteem movement in the 1990s made many educators squeamish about competi­tion. In fact, American educators have had a love/hate relationship with it over the past century. But what we have seen is that as schools move away from promoting competition, those parents who think schools are not providing enough competitive outlets go outside of the traditional education system.

Research and Policy: Master’s Degrees

There are a variety of educational policies that simply conflict with research. One of the largest is pay for master’s degrees.

Current Strategies Won’t Solve Our Teacher Quality Challenges

In our new report, Opportunity at the Top: How America’s Best Teachers Could Close the Gaps, Raise the Bar, and Keep Our Nation Great, Emily Ayscue Hassel and I asked a simple question: "Will our nation’s bold efforts to recruit more top teachers and remove the least effective teachers put a great teacher in every classroom?” We ran the numbers and discovered a disappointing answer: No. Even if these reforms were wildly successful, most classrooms still would not have great teachers.

Edutopia: Inside George Lucas’ Quixotic Plan to Save America’s Schools

It was just about a year ago that I first started paying attention to Edutopia. They’ve been around for years, but they weren’t on my radar screen. Then suddenly, they wouldn’t stay off it. You couldn’t listen to the radio without hearing their ubiquitous underwriting credit on NPR, with its sublimely confident tagline “What Works in Public Education.”


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