GOP Rep. John Kline’s ESEA reauthorization bills
slipped out of the House Education and the Workforce Committee on a party-line
but will likely stall in their current state. The time for
posturing has passed: If Congress wants any role in education policy, it’s got
to start compromising

The dithering on Capitol Hill was in stark contrast to
the activity at the Education Department, which received NCLB
waiver applications from twenty six more states and D.C.
by its Tuesday deadline.
While the merits
(and, indeed, the constitutionality) of the feds’ waiver program are far from
, Congress has given states few alternatives.

It’s a welcome surprise to find a GOP candidate willing to
talk about education, but Rick Santorum seems to be bringing all the wrong
kinds of attention to important policies worthy of thoughtful support (home schooling) and skepticism (universal higher ed).

The National Association of Charter School Authorizers' latest brief in its Cyber Series is yet another bit (byte?)
to add to the mounting evidence that best practices for charter
authorizing provide a useful framework for overseeing online schools.

Congratulations are due to Robin Lake,
the newly
announced successor
to Paul Hill as head of the Center on Reinventing Public
Education (CRPE) at the University of Washington-Bothell. Congrats are due to
Paul, too, for building such a...

the birth of the No
Child Left Behind Act
more than a decade ago, state and
local education officials have not kept quiet their disdain for the federal
law. So when President Obama announced in September that his administration
would offer states freedom from components of the law it is no surprise that
states around the country jumped on the chance. Ten states (Colorado, Florida,
Georgia, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Minnesota,
and Oklahoma) have already been granted waivers from the Obama Administration
with the understanding that they must demonstrate how they will prepare
children for college and careers by setting new academic targets to improve
achievement among all students, reward high-performing schools, and help those
that are falling behind.

is one of 26 states, along with the District of Columbia that applied for a
second-round waiver. If approved (and most observers believe it will be), what
will the waiver mean for the Buckeye State? What changes will it bring about in
the coming months and years? The chart below breaks down some of the biggest
changes and outlines what Ohio schools can expect to see under the plan. (See table below)

Superintendent Stan Heffner hopes that the proposed changes will result in more
students being prepared for either college or the workforce when they leave high
school and help end the academic disparity...

With the House Education and the Workforce Committee marking up two bills to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (a.k.a. No Child Left Behind) this morning (you can stream the markup live on the committee website), take a moment to look back at Mike Petrilli's January analysis of where Congress disagrees and what a compromise could look like:

Democrats across and beyond the nation’s capital—in the Administration,
on Capitol
, in advocacy
, and in think
—are up in arms about the ESEA reauthorization
released by House GOP leaders on Friday. Or at least they are pretending to be.
While they contained a few surprises, the House bills were pretty much as one
would expect: significantly to the right of both the Senate Harkin-Enzi bill
and the package put forward by Republican Senator Lamar Alexander and his
colleagues. In the parlance that we’ve been using at Fordham for three
years now
, the House GOP embodies the views of the Local Controllers,
Senator Alexander embraced Reform Realism, and Harkin-Enzi represents a
mishmash of ideas from the Army of the Potomac
and the System Defenders.
But while there are significant differences among the
players, a clear path toward a workable, maybe even bipartisan, package is
still visible. In short: all roads lead to Lamar. Not only does the Alexander
package represent smart policy,...



Mike Petrilli and Ty Eberhardt discuss the soft spots in President Obama's education record.

For a more in depth view at the president's education record, please read the article on Education Next.

It’s Rick-sanity!

From Lin-sanity to charter school discipline, Mike and Rick take on political correctness in this week’s podcast. Amber breaks down the recent Brown Center report and Chris defends Michael Jackson’s dance moves.

Amber's Research Minute

The 2012 Brown Center Report on American Education

Download the PDF

Amber's Weekly Poll

Tune in next week to find out the answer!

What's Up With That?

‘Billie Jean’ dance move a show stopper - 9 year-old boy suspended for performing Michael Jackson dance move.


A recent Education
piece (“Obama’s
Education Record
”) by Fordham’s Mike Petrilli and Tyson Eberhardt presents
a hard-hitting case against the President’s prowess as a K-12 reformer (a
reputation sullied by overspending, lackluster results, and micromanagement).
Still, compared to this mini-book (and attached
) from the Pacific Research Institute’s Lance Izumi, their essay reads
like an Obama festschrift. (Nowhere, for example, do Petrilli and Eberhardt
liken Obama to Louis XIV, as Izumi does.) While Izumi references the imprudence
of ARRA spending (a critique echoed in Petrilli’s and Eberhardt’s piece), the
majority of his broadside lambasts the Common Core State Standards—an
unprecedented federal overreach in his eyes. For those who have followed the
CCSS debate, Izumi’s deftly chosen
(and not
exactly even-handed
) arguments are not new. He contends that these
“national standards” are unconstitutional, costly, and none-too-rigorous. Big
statements, if just loosely grounded in fact. We’ve previously
the first argument. And the rigor of the CCSS is equivalent to the
best of pre-existing state standards (which those states were—and remain—free
to retain). We are obliged to note, however, that Izumi spurned our own
of their merits in favor of a
more problematic one
. As for the...


We’ve long cast doubt on
the efficacy of school-turnaround efforts, notably
those championed
(and funded) by the federal school-improvement-grants
(SIG) program. This new report from the Council of the Great City School offers
a welcome primer on SIG—but does little to allay our concerns. The report first
details the history, participation, and look of the SIG program: It was written
into NCLB but got a makeover (and a boatload more cash) with the passage of
ARRA. Now, SIG prioritizes schools (bucketing them into three “tiers”—I, II, or
III—with Tier I being the neediest) and doles out dollars to districts
accordingly. To be eligible for SIG, districts must choose one of four
interventions for each funded school. In general, the “turnaround model” asks
that schools replace their principal and half their staffs. The “transformation
model” only requires a changing of the principal guard. The “restart model”
converts the school to a charter—or hands the management reins off to an
outside agency. The “closure model” is self-explanatory. There’s much more background
on SIG here, but what’s interesting is the forty-three member-district survey
the CGSC conducted as part of this report. From this, we learn that districts
seem to be less aggressive with their turnaround efforts post ARRA...

This post originally appeared on the National Review Online and is adapted from an Education Next article.

The “Race to the Top” education initiative is one of
President Obama’s most vaunted domestic-policy successes. The name itself
connotes progress, forward movement, even competition. And there’s plenty of
substance for the president to brag about: Forty-six states and the District of Columbia
signed on to rigorous common standards; dozens of states got serious about
teacher evaluations; key jurisdictions removed caps on charter-school
expansion. This is what New Yorker contributor Steven Brill called “a
sweeping overhaul” of the system.

With the Department of Education proposing a new $5 billion Race to the Top–style
competitive grant program aimed at teacher policy, however, it’s worth taking a
closer look at Race to the Top’s results. When you do, the scorecard changes

The Race to the Top was good for education reform. But
the 2010 election, it turns out, was much, much better.

Did the 2009–10 period, in which states were competing for Race to the Top
funds, see the most reforms ever enacted? No. That distinction belongs to 2011,
after the 2010 midterm elections swept historic Republican majorities into
office in state after state.

Start with teacher evaluations . In
2009, no state specified ineffectiveness as grounds for the dismissal of a
teacher (incredible but true!). By 2010—in part...

Embracing the Common Core

Embracing the Common Core - Michael Cohen Presentation

Mike Cohen, president of Achieve, speaks at Embracing the Common Core: Helping Students Thrive to the specifics of PARCC (the assessment consortia Ohio joined last fall) and warned that the implementation of the new standards in ELA and math will not be easy and that districts should start the implementation process now.

Download his presentation here.

Weighing the waivers

Mike sat down with Fordham’s new school choice czar, Adam Emerson, to question just how flexible ESEA flexibility turned out to be and to ponder Obama’s abandonment of the D.C. voucher program. Amber looks at a new study on how much value principals add while Chris learns that they sometimes need to bob and weave when handing out teacher evaluations.

Amber's Research Minute

Estimating the Effect of Leaders on Public Sector Productivity: The Case of School Principals

Amber's Weekly Poll

Tune in next week to find out the answer!

What's Up With That?

Springfield, MA teacher punches vice principal during evaluation