For all of the talk about how different reading instruction is meant to be in the Common Core era, and for all of the hand wringing over the critical “instructional shifts” embedded in the new literacy standards, a glimpse at the world of classroom implementation reveals that the more things change...
Today’s big news (regarding ObamaCare’s subsidies in states with federal exchanges) is that the judiciary actually expects the executive branch to pay attention to the clear language of laws passed by the legislature. ( Update : At least, the D.C. circuit does.) That this lesson in Civics 101 is...
Mike and 50CAN’s Marc Porter Magee take on career and technical education, sorting by student achievement, and charter schools’ noncognitive effects. Amber reports on charters’ productivity. Amber's Research Minute The Productivity of Public Charter Schools by Patrick J. Wolf, et al., (Fayetteville...
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...
Alan J. Borsuk
Here’s a suggestion for something to include in Wisconsin-specific education standards for Wisconsin children: By the end of first grade, children will know that two Badgers plus two Badgers equals four Badgers. You want Indiana-specific standards for Indiana kids? By the end of first grade,...
It feels like there are two very different charter-school conversations going on. The first is about policy and practice; the other is about philosophy and politics. Both have their place. But a recent collection of events and articles demonstrate why it’s important to understand the difference...
One of the great misconceptions in education is that the reform movement is monolithic. There have always been competing camps, often defined on ideological grounds. Conservatives and libertarians tend to stress school choice, for example; liberals are much more comfortable with an intrusive...
First of a two-part analysis looking at early indicators to future success.
The most interesting story coming out of the landmark Vergara and Harris decisions is the coming irresistible-force-immovable-object collision of reformers’ aggressive new litigation strategy and teachers unions’ stout-defense approach to leadership. These cases provide the nation’s unions an...
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...
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-...

A tribute to the work of E. D. Hirsch, Jr.

Learn about E. D. Hirsch in this short video that follows his career, how he came to develop the Core Knowledge curriculum, and his thoughts on the future of the Common Core. Featured in the video are prominent education reformers such as David Coleman, Joel Klein, Chester E. Finn, Jr., Tom Birmingham, Randi Weingarten, Valarie Lewis, Sol Stern, Kati Haycock, and Dan Willingham.
Roughly 30,000 kids in Ohio take advantage of a publicly funded voucher (or “scholarship”). But as students flee public schools for private ones, how does life change for the private schools that take voucher kids? Can private schools coexist with a publicly-funded voucher program? Can they adapt...
Last Friday, I laid out policy scenarios that might result from the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Harris v. Quinn. To recap, the case involved plaintiff Pam Harris and other Illinois home-healthcare workers whom public-employee unions had successfully organized (with the help of their allies in...
NEA saber rattling, a teacher-quality decree from the White House, and balanced literacy crawls from the grave yet again in NYC. Amber spills about TFA spillover effects. Amber's Research Minute Examining Spillover Effects from Teach For AmericaCorps Members in Miami-Dade County Public Schools by...
This groundbreaking study finds that nearly all parents seek schools with a solid core curriculum in reading and math, an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, and the development in students of good study habits, strong critical thinking skills, and excellent...
Pardon the Gadfly Mike and Dara talk school discipline , teacher-prep programs , and high school exit exams . Amber's Research Minute Amber gets practical about school choice. Making School Choice Work Michael DeArmond, Ashley Jochim, and Robin Lake, (Seattle, WA: Center on Reinventing Public...
Bravo to Fordham’s original gadfly! The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools yesterday inducted Fordham president Chester E. Finn, Jr. into its Charter School Hall of Fame —established to honor pioneers in the development, growth, and innovation of charter schools. At its annual conference...
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...
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.
My chief mentor, the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, occasionally warned against “ semantic infiltration ,” which he correctly attributed to the late arms-control expert, Fred Ikle. It is, of course, the judo-like practice of using terms that are appealing to an audience as fig leaves for practices...
Bad ideas in education are like horror movie monsters. You think you’ve killed them, but they refuse to stay dead. A generation ago, the infamous “reading wars” pitted phonics-based instruction in the early grades against “whole language,” which emphasized reading for meaning instead of spelling,...
by Michael Hansen Foreword by Michael J. Petrilli and Amber M. Northern, Ph.D. Press Release In the overwhelming majority of American classrooms, pupils are divided roughly equally among teachers of the same grade in the same school. Parceling them out uniformly is viewed as fair to teachers—and...
After twenty years of expanding school-choice options, state leaders, educators, and families have a new tool: course choice, a strategy for students to learn from unconventional providers that might range from top-tier universities or innovative community colleges to local employers, labs, or...

On the Rocketship: Expanding the high-quality charter school movement

June 26, 2014 - 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm

Richard Whitmire’s forthcoming book, On the Rocketship: How Top Charter Schools are Pushing the Envelope, is “the best account yet of what is happening with charters,” says the ...

While education reforms are nearly always won via legislation, rare exceptions do occur—and sometimes they’re significant. The year 2014 has already proven to be a landmark one for education reform thanks to judicial decision. Perhaps the most notable example thus far is Vergara v. California ,...
“Nobody expects new surgeons to be any good. It wasn’t until my fortieth or fiftieth bypass surgery that I started feel like I knew what I was doing.” “I wish I could go back and retry those cases from my first year. If I knew then what I know now, they’d never have been convicted.” “Look, every...
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...