Some Early-Summer Reads, Part 2

Here’s the second half of my compilation of recent publications you might want to read.

*Those of you who read Robin Lake’s awesome BTCIK interview last week know that the Center for Reinventing Public Education is out with a new publication. Since 2005, CRPE has produced an annual Hopes, Fears, and Realities report on charter schools, a collection of similarly themed papers by a number of the field’s leaders. This year’s edition focuses on innovation. All four chapters are absolutely worthwhile; I’m especially partial to Ethan Gray’s piece on charter incubation and Jeffrey Henig’s contemplation of charters expanding to suburban and affluent areas. If you like charters, follow urban education reform, or simply really like CRPE (like me), check it out.

*If you’re interested in the educator-evaluation debate, you ought to take a look at Democrats for Education Reform’s recent report, Culture of Countenance. A number of groups have begun analyzing the consequences of the nation’s rapid overhaul of laws and regulations related to evaluations. DFER’s contribution is giving attention to the most overlooked aspect—observations. An underreported finding of the MET study is that observations may be the wobbliest leg of the new stool. This report builds on that, echoing one of the most important arguments in The Widget Effect—that the culture surrounding evaluations undermines the entire system, observations in particular.

*The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice recently released results from its most recent public opinion survey. This one focused primary on “school moms,” mothers of school-age kids. Big takeaways include the following: school moms are more optimistic than other Americans about the direction of our schools (but even their overall support is tepid); most Americans (including these moms) view dimly Uncle Sam’s role; Americans underestimate what we spend on schools; and a plurality of moms would pick a private school first for their children. There are lots of other important results related to charters, vouchers, and parent triggers. If you like data and polling, definitely take a stroll through the numbers.

-Andy Smarick

This blog entry first appeared on the Fordham Institute’s Flypaper blog.

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