photo credit: Marco Bellucci via photopin cc 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...
Morgan Polikoff
photo credit: albertogp123 via photopin cc 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...
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 ...
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...
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-...
Mike and Kathleen Porter-Magee discuss New York State’s half-release of its half-good Common Core test, commend TFA’s diversity surge, and debate the debate about the AP U.S. History Framework. Amber shares a wonky study about teachers’ work hours. Amber's Research Minute " New Measures of Teachers...
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...

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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
As Gadfly readers know—from his “ farewell address ,” if not before—the irreplaceable Checker Finn stepped down as the Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s president last week, handing me the reins and the opportunity of a lifetime. As Checker made clear, he’s not retiring, disappearing, or giving up the...
Andy's odyssey: Part two This series is wrestling with a set of related questions. Is education reform inherently anti-conservative? Are reformers behaving as though it is when it should be informed by conservatism? What have we wrought by stiff-arming conservatism? How might things be better if we...
Source: Students Matter Note: NCTQ recently updated their data to reflect Ohio's new seven-year probationary period. 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...
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...
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.
Eva Myrick Chiang
Imagine reading this job advertisement: WANTED: Credentialed professional with at least a master’s degree to run a school. Will work on average fourteen hours per day or more, six days per week, and be on call twenty-four hours a day most days of the year. Must handle pressure and stress well—oh,...
Shaun Dougherty and Michael Gottfried
The discourse around college and career readiness has focused primarily on implementation of the Common Core. Notably absent is much consideration of how those programs might serve the needs of students with less direction or discernment about what career paths may be most productive or in demand...

Steering great leaders into the principal's office

July 31, 2014 - 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm

A school’s leader matters enormously to its success—and the success of its students and teachers. But how well are U.S. districts identifying, recruiting, selecting, and placing the best possible candidates in their principals’ offices? And is attracting leaders to the job more than a district-...

Monday’s Politico story on the messaging battle over the Common Core has kicked up another round of recriminations, particularly on the Right. What particularly caught my eye was my good friend Rick Hess ’s allegation that supporters of the Core (myself among them) were expressing hubris and vanity...
On August 1, Chester E. “Checker” Finn, Jr., will step down from his role as founding president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, passing the baton to Michael J. Petrilli, Fordham’s longtime executive vice president. Finn will remain on staff as a distinguished senior fellow and president...
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...