State Policy

Mathews on Saving Schools

In his commentary on my book, Saving Schools: From Horace Mann to Virtual Learning, Jay Mathews doubts that he will find any time soon “something of the new electronic era that significantly increases achievement in reading and writing for all kids.”

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.

Money Talks – But Does It Educate?

This is American education’s sixty-four-thousand-dollar question. Or is it $64 million? Billion? Or, how about $26 billion? That’s the number moving through the Capitol at the moment.

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.

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.

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.

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