Will students recover from credit recovery?

In a new Education Next article, Sarah Carr examines the burgeoning online credit-recovery industry. She expresses concern regarding the speed with which the education system is embracing online credit recovery, with “so little known about the efficacy” of these programs—a reasonable concern in our view. While online, competency-based learning holds great promise, credit recovery smacks of perverse incentives. Schools want to boost their graduation rates; students want to get their diplomas; and for-profit providers want to get paid. Put it together and there’s nobody left to maintain academic standards—save, perhaps (and ironically), the NCAA.

Indiana’s school-voucher program serves almost 20,000 kids. One-third of the state’s private schools participate in the program, and they are reportedly reaching capacity. Policymakers and advocates are now turning to the question of school supply—how to make it possible for participating schools to expand their facilities and/or encourage the many private schools on the sidelines to jump into the game (check out our report School Choice Regulations: Red Tape or Red Herring? to learn more about what exactly deters private schools from doing so). The full study should be released in May.

As expected, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and the United Federation of Teachers reached a labor agreement. The union had gone without a contract since 2009 (the New York Times contends that union leaders chose to wait for the new mayor in the hopes that he would give away “more in raises than was prudent”—which, the paper contends, he did not). Interestingly, the contract deal includes a “buyout” clause for unemployed teachers, by which the city will pay unemployed teachers to quit instead of remaining in the so-called “absent teacher reserve.” On this one, we generally agree with our friends at the National Council on Teacher Quality: It’s a better agreement than you might expect, given de Blasio’s politics and proclivities. 

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