Many of our recent ed-reforms—e.g. Teach for America, alternative certification, the Hamilton Project, and various “new teacher” projects—implicitly subscribe to the idea that great teachers are born, not made. Ed schools, too, largely consider “training” teachers to be beneath their dignity. Hence...
Michelle and Robert applaud Secretary Duncan’s reasonableness, question a North Carolina trial judge (but have a solution), and disparage union agency fees. Amber tells us how classroom peers affect the achievement of students with special needs. Amber's Research Minute “ Peer Effects in Early...
The number of non-teaching staff in the United States (those employed by school systems but not serving as classroom teachers) has grown by 130 percent since 1970. Non-teachers—more than three million strong—now comprise half of the public school workforce. Their salaries and benefits absorb one-...
photo credit: DonkeyHotey via photopin cc It’s too soon to guess TIME Magazine’s person of the year, but a clear favorite has emerged for Common Core person of the year: the man, woman, or group that has done the most to advance the adoption and implementation of Common Core State Standards in the...
Being an education reformer is often frustrating. No matter how zealously we push an idea or how smart we think it is, sometimes nothing changes. Or—the Common Core is a recent example—we make fast, bold gains at the outset, only to see our efforts watered down, neutered, or repudiated outright...
This post is an excerpt from a speech I gave last week at the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce’s state of the schools event . We’re in the midst of the biggest backlash to education reform in a decade, if not a generation. While some in the movement believe we need to just improve our message, or...

Building a Better Teacher: How Teaching Works (and How to Teach It to Everyone)

September 02, 2014 - 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Elizabeth Green’s new book, Building a Better Teacher: How Teaching Works (and How to Teach It to Everyone), takes a look at the science and art of being and building a great...

Neerav Kingsland
Marc Tucker is the author of an important new report: Fixing Our National Accountability System. Although Marc and I disagree on the promise of Relinquishment (most specifically on charter schools), I agree with much of this thinking. But, in this report, Marc makes a strategic mistake in...
I have a complicated relationship with testing. I refuse to pretend that it’s caused no mischief in our schools—narrowing curriculum, encouraging large amounts of ill-conceived test prep, and making school a joyless grind for too many teachers and students alike—but neither can any fair-minded...
Back in May, Fordham published Expanding the Education Universe: A Fifty-State Strategy for Course Choice , where we explained the idea of “course access,” a system that greatly expands learning options by allowing students to take courses from a number of organizations at once. The brief also...
Results from the annual Education Next poll are out this week, and the news is not good for us proponents of the Common Core. Support among the public dropped from 65 percent to 53 percent in just one year (from June 2013 to June 2014); Republicans are now almost evenly split on the issue, with 43...
Morgan Polikoff
Nearly all American K–12 students are exposed to it every day. It decides, in large part, what students will learn in school and how they will learn it. It is never evaluated for quality in any serious way, but when it is rigorously evaluated, its impact on student achievement is significant.
I’ll have what she’s having. New York’s latest round of state test results were released last week and the biggest news is the scores posted by Success Academy, the network of twenty-two charter schools throughout New York City run by Eva Moskowitz. Only 29 percent of New York’s kids met the new...
In back-to-back days last week, I had the chance to spend time with different groups of leaders interested in improving state-level reform work. These conversations were very different than the philosophical fights about the advisability of big reforms like educator effectiveness and Common Core ...
School leaders matter. But are districts identifying, recruiting, selecting, and placing high-potential principal candidates? To what extent do these practices enable districts to find and hire great school leaders? In Lacking Leaders: The Challenges of Principal Recruitment, Selection, and...
This study weighed existing state education standards against the Common Core education standards. The findings? The Common Core standards were clearer and more rigorous than English language arts standards in 37 states and math standards in 39 states.
Neerav Kingsland
David Kirp had a piece in The New York Times on Sunday: Teaching is not a Business . You should check it out. My take on his piece: Language: Dan Willingham has written about how the education debates often use one of two types of rhetoric: either Romantic era words (nurture, relationships, whole...
As a huge fan of both school choice and the NFL, I love the idea of a major star leading a great school and becoming a voice for school reform. Successful athletes who take time to give back, work with young athletes, and ensure kids get a great education should be commended, right? But a recent...
My Fordham colleague Andy Smarick is engaged in a one-man intellectual odyssey this summer aimed at quelling his intellectual discomfort on a fascinating question: is education reform inherently anti-conservative? “At its heart, conservatism is about humility. It holds that there is great value in...
The movie version of The Giver hits theaters today. It’s followed next weekend by If I Stay. If neither title rings a bell, ask a fifteen-year-old. A long line of young adult (YA) novels and series have made it to the multiplex in recent years, including some big Hollywood hits like The Fault in...
By Arnold F. Shober and Michael T. Hartney Foreword by Dara Zeehandelaar and Amber M. Northern Are the nation’s 90,000-plus school board members critical players in enhancing student learning? Are they part of the problem? Are they harmless bystanders? Among the takeaways are the following: Board...

A fern between two Mikes: The Vergara fight goes coast to coast

August 14, 2014 - 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm

Join Fordham's Mike Petrilli and AEI's Mike McShane for a livestreamed event on the growth of Vergara-like fights nationwide and the pros and cons of taking the tenure debate to the courts. 

Tune in on Thursday, August 14, at 1:00 p.m. EDT and follow the conversation with ...

Why do American public schools spend more of their operating budgets on non-teachers than almost every other country in the world, including nations that are as prosperous and humane as ours? We can’t be certain. But we do know this: The number of non-teachers on U.S. school payrolls has soared...
With fewer than one hundred days left until the 2014 election and with control of the U.S. Senate a virtual coin toss, few are focusing on the potential impact a Republican takeover might have. Should Republicans get the keys to the Senate and gain control of both houses, they will still have find...
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English language arts and mathematics represent a sea change in standards-based reform and their implementation is the movement’s next—and greatest—challenge. Yet, while most states have now set forth implementation plans, these tomes seldom address the...
With the release last week of half of the test questions from the most recent round of New York State Common Core ELA/Literacy and math tests, we can now begin to see if the tests are, as one New York principal insisted last spring, “confusing, developmentally inappropriate and not well aligned...
Education Next
With a 2010 New York Times Magazine cover story, “ Building a Better Teacher ,” twenty-something journalist Elizabeth Green leapt to national prominence—as did the heroes of her article, Deborah Ball, the dean of the University of Michigan ed school, and Doug Lemov, a founder of Uncommon Schools, a...
It’s open season on teacher employment protection laws in U.S. state courts. The watershed moment, of course, was June’s Vergara v. California verdict holding California’s laws unconstitutional. Vergara began back in March of 2012, when nine public school students filed suit against the State of...
Foreword by Chester E. Finn, Jr. and Michael J. Petrilli In recent years, policymakers and reform advocates have viewed State Education Agencies (SEAs) as the lead organizations for implementing sweeping reforms and initiatives in K–12 education—everything from Race to the Top grants and federal...