"Finger scan replaces tickets in lunch line"

This in Idaho, no less, which is one of only five states not to use a unique statewide student identifier (like a social security number) in its data system--out of privacy concerns, one surmises.

Liam Julian

Would you or someone you know love to work in education policy? Are you confused about where to start? Then the??Fordham Fellows program might be for you! The deadline fast approaches....

It looks like Missouri will be the next state to adopt the big daddy of alternative certification programs, the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence.

Liam Julian

Don't miss Mike talking about the stressed state of American Catholic schools on today's??edition of NPR's All Things Considered.

Liam Julian

Mike shouldn't??assume that??paying kids for AP scores (as in Waterbury) is??always a??slam-dunk. In fact,??according to Education Week,??the author of the very study Mike??cited??"said the main spur for the score jumps at the schools in Texas' Advanced Placement Incentive Program, or APIP, didn't seem to be cash."

And when we're talking A-F grades,??to??assert??that paying kids??for better??ones will necessarily yield better ones is hasty. Lots of studies on this front??are inconclusive; others return results that contradict their predecessors.

Liam thinks that if paying students to pass AP tests worked, "wouldn't we know it by now?" Yes, we would, and we do, and it does.

Liam Julian

Looks like the fine citizens of Waterbury, Connecticut, are not yet flitting through Flypaper. Otherwise, I'm sure district leaders there would have thought thrice before doling out dollars to students who pass AP tests.

Paying students for tests: another day arrives, another place tries it. Forgetting for a moment the ethical considerations that are trampled and the unintended consequences that are ignored in these pay-for-grades schemes--if they really worked, wouldn't we know it by now?

Liam Julian

Ben Bernanke and some around our office suggest that teaching more about finance in American public schools may have prevented our current economic crisis. (What crisis?) I'm unconvinced, and Free exchange, the Economist's blog, points out that others are, too.

It might not be The Wire (apologies to our friends at Quick and the Ed), but yesterday HBO announced plans to air an edu-documentary this summer: Hard Times at Douglas High: A No Child Left Behind Report Card.

Today's "daily article" from First Things--one of the preeminent Catholic journals in the country--provides a great write-up of Fordham's Catholic schools report.

Every generation lives off the cultural inheritance of its predecessors. Among that inheritance for today's American Catholics is a network of parochial schools built by their immigrant forebears, which served both to teach the faith and ground the community. But today, many of those Catholic schools in urban areas are facing a near-fatal financial crisis.

After providing an excellent overview of our findings and recommendations, the author, Mary Rose Rybak, questions our enthusiasm for Catholic schools educating non-Catholics--not to mention converting Catholic schools to charter schools as a means of keeping their doors open.

The reformers at the Fordham Foundation see Catholic schools as one answer to the problem of urban education because they are good schools. But it is worth asking a few questions: To what extent are these schools excellent because they are Catholic, in the sense that they express a commonly held worldview, center a religious community, and participate in a shared faith life? And what effect will it have on their excellence if they cease to be Catholic, in the sense of primarily educating Catholics as Catholics? Will these schools still retain their excellence?

It does appear that Catholic schools continue to provide an excellent education to non-Catholics; consider the school voucher studies that show that inner-city private schools (which means, mostly, Catholic schools) significantly...