Two weeks ago, when the House Education and the Workforce committee marked-up two major ESEA reauthorization bills, Democrats and their allies screamed bloody murder. Ranking member (and former chairman) George Miller called the bills “radical” and “highly partisan” and said they would “turn the clock back decades on equity and accountability.” A coalition of civil rights, education reform, and business groups said they amounted to a “rollback” of No Child Left Behind.

Barack Obama
Perhaps Representative Miller and his allies are "conservatives" on education after all.
Photo by George Miller.

Miller put forward his own bills, which most of the self-same groups quickly endorsed, and which, Miller argues, “eliminates inflexible and outdated provisions of No Child Left Behind and requires states and [districts] to adopt strong but flexible and achievable standards, assessments, and accountability reforms.”

So let’s see how Miller and company do at “eliminating inflexible and outdated provisions of NCLB” and requiring “strong but flexible” accountability systems. The package…

  • Requires states to expect “all” students to reach college and career readiness eventually. (Didn’t we learn from NCLB that calling for “universal proficiency” merely pushes states to lower the bar?)
  • Tightens
  • ...

The No Child Left Behind Act requires public schools that have not made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for two consecutive years to offer children of low-income families the opportunity to receive supplemental educational services (SES). SES comes primarily in the form of tutoring offered outside of regular schools hours and is often provided by private entities. Schools failing to meet AYP requirements are required to set aside 20 percent of their Title I funding to pay for SES and to measure the effectiveness of tutoring on student achievement. How much impact does SES have on student achievement though? A recent report by the Center for American Progress sets out to answer this question as well as provide policy recommendations that aim to improve the SES program.  

The report found that many states and school districts are extremely deficient in the evaluation and recording of SES providers and their results. A combination of self-reporting and unreliable data collection methods such as parent surveys has resulted in lack-luster evidence on the effectiveness of tutoring programs.  In addition to the lack of sufficient data among states and districts, the number of tutoring hours that students receive is critical in the impact on student achievement. Research has proven the “magic” number to be 40 hours. Students receiving less than 40 hours of tutoring do not demonstrate any statistically significant gains in reading and math.  The report also states that another problem with SES is that tutors do not have to have any...

Save the podcast!

Mike and Janie make the case for keeping the Education Gadfly Show going with witty analysis of Common Core critics, student discipline follies, and the GOP’s education conundrum. Amber delves into teacher dissatisfaction and Chris asks “What’s up with that?” one last time.

Amber's Research Minute

 The MetLife survey of The American Teacher - Download the PDF

What's Up With That?

Teacher's health insurance policy includes free plastic surgery.

Twenty-six states and the District of Columbia submitted
applications for the second round of No Child Left Behind waivers by Tuesday’s
deadline, but a crucial question lingers: Did the Administration’s highly
controversial program for offering states freedom from NCLB’s most onerous
requirements make the situation any better? Tomorrow morning, the Fordham
Institute will host experts from the media, the Administration, and think tanks
to answer at “Weighing the Waivers: Did the Administration Get It Right on
ESEA Flexibility?

This panel discussion will investigate how the
Education Department’s ambitious attempt to bypass a Congress gridlocked over
ESEA reauthorization will alter state policies and the federal role in
education. There is still
time to register
, but for those unable to attend in person, you can stream
the discussion live from our website beginning at 9 a.m. EST. Don’t miss it!

Sounding off on "snobs" and Santorum

Mike and Rick break down the week’s news, from the prospects of John Kline’s ESEA reauthorization proposals to the college-for-all controversy. Amber analyzes the latest report on Milwaukee’s voucher program Chris wonders whether robbing a bank is enough to get a school bus driver fired.

Amber's Research Minute

The Comprehensive Longitudinal Evaluation of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program

Amber's Weekly Poll

Tune in next week to find out the answer!

What's Up With That?

School bus dispatcher was bank robbery getaway driver -

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.