Publications

Publications
Whether the United States should embrace national standards and tests is perhaps today's hottest education issue. For guidance in addressing it, this report looks beyond our borders. How have other countries navigated these turbid waters? What can we learn from them? Expert analysts examined national standards and testing in Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, the Netherlands, Russia, Singapore and South Korea.
Over the past five years, the number of students taking at least one Advanced Placement exam rose by more than half. This news is celebrated but is there a downside? To find out, Fordham commissioned the Farkas Duffett Research Group to survey AP teachers in the US. The AP program remains popular with its teachers. But there are signs that the move toward "open door" access to AP is starting to cause concern.
As Gov. Ted Strickland concludes his 12-city "Conversation on Education" tour to gather ideas for reforming public education in Ohio, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute has put forth a report of five recommendations designed to keep improvements in the Buckeye State's public schools on track toward three critical goals: 1) maximizing the talents of every child; 2) producing graduates as good as any in the world; and 3) closing the persistent academic gaps that continue between rich and poor, and black and white and brown.
The most exciting innovation in education policy in the last decade is the emergence of highly effective schools in our nation's inner cities, schools where disadvantaged teens make big gains in academic achievement. In this book, David Whitman takes readers inside six of these secondary schools—many of them charter schools—and reveals the secret to their success: They are paternalistic.
This publication reports the results of the first two (of five) studies of a multifaceted research investigation of the state of high-achieving students in the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) era. Part I examines achievement trends for high-achieving students since the early 1990s; Part II reports on teachers' own views of how schools are serving high-achieving pupils in the NCLB era.
Too Good to Last: The True Story of Reading First is an in-depth and alarming study of Reading First's betrayal. Under the leadership of White House domestic policy chief Margaret Spellings and with support from Congress, Reading First was to provide funding to primary-reading programs that were based on scientific research. Backlash and brouhaha followed. Aggrieved whole-language program proprietors complained bitterly that their wares couldn't be purchased with Reading First funds. Then the administration turned its back on Reading First, allowing the program to be gutted and starved of funding.
This report examines whether the reputation the Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs have for academic excellence is truly deserved. Our expert reviewers looked at the four AP and IB courses most similar to the core content areas in American high schools--English, history, math, and science--and found that, in general, the courses do warrant praise. In a few cases, they deserve gold stars.
NCLB allows each state to define proficiency as it sees fit and design its own tests. This study compares state tests to benchmarks laid out by the Northwest Evaluation Association to evaluate proficiency cut scores for assessments in twenty-six states. The findings suggest that the tests states use to measure academic progress and student proficiency under NCLB are creating a false impression of success, especially in reading and especially in the early grades.
America's true competitive edge over the long haul is not its technical prowess but its creativity, its imagination, its inventiveness. And those attributes are best inculcated not by skill-drill or 'STEM' but through liberal arts and sciences, liberally defined. Thus argues this new Fordham volume, edited by Chester E. Finn, Jr. and Diane Ravitch, which also explores what policymakers and educators at all levels can to do sustain liberal learning and sketches an unlovely future if we fail.
If you thought whole-language reading instruction had been relegated to the scrap heap of history, think again. Many such programs (proven to be ineffective) are still around, but they're hiding behind phrases like 'balanced literacy' in order to win contracts from school districts and avoid public scrutiny. Louisa Moats calls them out in Fordham's new report, Whole-Language High Jinks.

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