State Policy

Defining “Effective” and Other Keys to a Successful RTTT Application

What most stands out is the palpable disconnect between the RTTT process and what actually occurs in the many charter schools and private schools that have made real progress. If a random selection of administrators at such schools were asked to review the process, the response likely would be a collective laugh.

Scrutiny of Federal School Lunch Program Would Mean Fewer Free Lunches, Better School Data

The federal school lunch program does not do a very good job of verifying that students whose families sign up for the program actually meet the eligibility requirements. While many people might not object to a policy that errs in the direction of generosity to hungry children, having ineligible students on the free lunch list has a lot of other consequences.

What To Do About NCLB

Three separate lines of inquiry provide evidence that existing accountability systems have led to larger gains than expected in a world without them. At the same time, accountability is a relatively new invention, and it needs to be refined and improved.

Wisconsin Teachers’ Union Calls The Shots on RTTT

With the approval of the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC), Wisconsin legislators this week approved a decidedly tepid package of legislation supposedly designed to help the state win a Race To The Top grant.

“The Cartel” in New Jersey

New Jersey is #1 in spending per public school student. Where does the money go, and why so much? The answers may be found in some of the bizarre and dismaying facts and stories recounted in a new education documentary entitled "The Cartel".

Wisconsin’s Race To The Top

Wisconsin appears to be a strong contender for Race To The Top funds. Melody Barnes, the director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, said in a conference call that the president on Wednesday will ‘applaud positive steps forward’ on education reform in Wisconsin. One wonders: has Arne Duncan vetted the pending bills to determine if they represent the kind of change that will meet RTTT criteria?

Stimulating Stagnation in Education

According to a New York Times report, the Obama Administration admits that over half of the jobs it created or saved by its stimulus package were in the field of education. Had that money really been spent in ways to promote educational productivity, it would have been faithful to the investment goals of the stimulus package.

Book Alert: Leading for Equity

This self­-described “celebration” of the Montgomery County Public Schools, a 140,000-­student behemoth in the Washington, D.C., suburbs, is no doubt meant to add the district to the list of superstar systems worthy of national attention.

Book Alert: Unlearned Lessons

Testing impresario W. James Popham has penned a volume that mixes anecdote, personal experience, and scholarly analysis to ask why American schooling has had such a terrible time designing, adopting, or employing good assessment.

Putting the Brakes on Turnarounds

Though the inclination to fix our worst schools is understandable and is often the result of the best intentions, it is misguided. Turnarounds have not only consistently failed in education; they fail in the vast majority of instances in other industries and sectors. Moreover, and most importantly, continuing to pursue turnarounds actually inhibits our ability to build healthy urban school systems.

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