Nice to see that at least one state is trying to exorcise its anti-Catholic demons . If??the country cares about saving its Catholic schools , it should hope Florida's efforts are elsewhere replicated.

Liam Julian

The American Enterprise Institute's education scholar, Rick Hess, has a new piece out about mayoral control of district schools. Basically, Hess concludes that mayoral control is no panacea for a city's educational problems... so cross it off your "Educational Panacea" list.

School Funding's Tragic Flaw ,??a new paper from Education Sector's Kevin Carey and Marguerite Roza of the Center on Reinventing Public Education is a nice, quick introduction to the reasons that school funding is often inequitable and unfair and??under-funds the neediest schools. Carey and Roza contrast two schools (one in Virginia and the other in North Carolina)??that serve??similar kids but??have drastically different budgets to show why inequity persists.

They point to a number of problems. Federal Title I funding is skewed toward the wealthiest states, and at the district level, its sneaky ???comparability??? provision effectively erases differences in teacher salaries between schools, giving schools with more experienced teachers more than their fair share of dollars. (District budgeting practices are to blame for that, too.) And some states are far better than others at making up for local property wealth differences.

Carey and Roza call for some sensible solutions, including changes to Title I and for districts to let money follow the child --that is, to ???allocate a standard amount of money per student to each school.??? These ideas may not be new to Flypaper regulars, but this paper is worth checking out because it...

To further illustrate the point that contamination may have occurred among Reading First and presumably "non" Reading First schools, a point I made in my piece in??today's Gadfly,??Connie Choate, the director of Arkansas Reading First, writes:

I believe the design of the Impact Study is flawed.?? The study compared funded Reading First schools with non-funded RF schools within the same district.?? However in their RF proposals districts were required to include a plan for spreading the RF methodology to non-funded schools.?? States were also required to do the same.?? For example, all teachers across the state were invited to participate in ELLA, Effective Literacy, Summer Reading Camp, and several other professional development opportunities that are part of Reading First.?? We aligned all of this professional development to SBRR.?? So, even non-funded schools have benefited from RF.?? One example is the revision of the State English Language Arts Frameworks. The knowledge gained from the National Reading Panel Report and Reading First enabled the state to revise the English Language Arts Framework to align with SBRR.?? All professional development offered by the state is now aligned to SBRR.?? This should align curriculum and instruction in all schools to SBRR, not just

Guest Blogger

A post from guest blogger and Fordham Vice President for Ohio Programs & Policy Terry Ryan .

Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann is embroiled in serious scandals and faces impeachment. His own political party (the Democrats) has disowned him, and he is under intense pressure from the Governor, the statehouse, and the media to resign immediately.

We take no joy in Dann's troubles, but his leaving office would raise some interesting questions. In September, Dann held a press conference to announce lawsuits aimed at closing two Dayton charter schools (he subsequently added two more schools). Dann cited the state's charitable trust laws and alleged that the schools had violated their "charitable" missions as 501(c)3 organizations because they were underperforming academically (see Gadfly's take on the first lawsuits .) One of the schools originally targeted by Dann has subsequently closed, but the second has vowed to fight the lawsuit. Oral arguments for that case are set for May 15 in Dayton.

If successful, this novel theory of trust law would effectively turn the state attorney general into a charter-school prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner. Under Dann's legal theory, his office would determine whether a...

Back when the controversy over unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers exploded (no pun intended) in the middle of the 2008 Democratic primary, Senator Barack Obama used an unfortunate analogy to defend his association with the bomb-thrower:

The notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago when I was 8 years old, somehow reflects on me and my values, doesn't make much sense, George. The fact is, is that I'm also friendly with Tom Coburn, one of the most conservative Republicans in the United States Senate, who during his campaign once said that it might be appropriate to apply the death penalty to those who carried out abortions. Do I need to apologize for Mr. Coburn's statements? Because I certainly don't agree with those either.

Umm, as about a million commentators said at the time, this is hardly moral equivalency. Ayers tried to blow stuff up and then refused to apologize for it. Coburn is making a public policy proposal. (One I'm not crazy about, by the way.)

But that hasn't deterred Eduwonkette, the anonymous blogger and proud member of the American Educational Research Association. I wondered if she...

Liam Julian

At the very least, probably it could fix our schools' cafeterias.

Ohio AG Marc Dann isn't the only one coming in for a beating. Take a look at this analysis of the recent Reading First interim evaluation study from Dr. James Salzman, the co-director of the Ohio Reading First Center.

To paraphrase Mark Twain: There are lies, damned lies, and the latest Reading First report. The report is methodologically flawed, statistically glamorous, and ultimately meaningless in terms of its conclusions. It's caused the usual sharks to roil the waters as if chum were being served. And in the end, it says nothing about the positive impact of Reading First in Ohio.

Makes Fordham's critique of the evaluation and defense of the program seem dispassionate and reserved. The key Ohio points:

- Students in Ohio have gained more than a year's reading achievement for each year that they are in the program....If students stay within the program, they are able to catch up to benchmark scores in fluency, even though they start significantly behind.

- Students have closed the gap on state performance on the third grade Ohio Achievement Test (OAT) over the past four years.

- Teachers have

Liam Julian

Mushy Mike knows it's not news that college graduates live longer than high-school graduates. The article??to which he refers??is a comment on the lousy healthcare that many poor Americans receive, and it really doesn't have??much to do with getting a college education. To assume (as Mike seems to) that if we directed more academically unprepared pupils onto ivied campuses we'd see a marked drop in healthcare disparities is, for sundry reasons too numerous to expound upon here, an incredible oversimplification. College attendance, of course, does not cause disparities in health, wealth, happiness, etc. as much as it reflects the disparities that already exist. And I do not believe universities have the redemptive powers to magically reshape anyone who attends their classes.

K-12 schools are supposed to be places where students, regardless of their backgrounds, can garner the information they need to succeed at college or in the workplace. K-12 schools, not colleges,??are supposed to be the equalizers. Obviously, America hasn't yet structured the k-12 system to work as it should, and we keep graduating 18-year-olds who can't read. Therfore, ed reformers, having so far failed to markedly improve k-12 classrooms,??are??shifting their aspirations for k-12 schools onto colleges. It's...