There’s apprehension in some ed-reform circles that things have gone sideways.
There’s the resistance to Common Core coming from the right and the left. There’s frustration with ESEA waivers. There’s the mess in Newark. There are twelve students demanding Harvard divorce Teach for America.
But each of these is, of course, an anecdote, and “data” is not the plural of “anecdote.” So are these chapters in a larger backlash-to-reform narrative, or are they just well-publicized exceptions to the reform-is-winning rule?
I’ve spent some time going through four recent surveys of the views of the public, educators, parents, and insiders. They offer encouragement to the reform community, though with one important exception. In short, many of today’s most prominent reforms are quite popular, but it looks like folks are perturbed by a meddlesome Uncle Sam. (If you have time, I recommend your taking a gander at the data from Education Next, Phi Delta Kappan, Whiteboard Advisors, and Education Post.)
Consistent with public opinion data going back decades, today’s Americans think their local schools are doing fine, but they think schools in the rest of the nation are seriously troubled. Whether you ask the public or parents, only 1–4 percent believe the nation’s schools deserve an A.
Though people rate their local schools much higher, there’s broad agreement that low-income kids, even in our esteemed local schools, aren’t getting what they need....