Just one month after President Bush signed the politics-governance Act into law, a provocative set of expert papers commissioned by the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation explores the legislation's key features: it's testing and accountability provisions. The papers identify the questions left unresolved by Congress and the many hurdles facing the U.S. Education Department and states, districts, and schools as they try to make this ambitious law a reality. The papers also offer suggestions for clearing those hurdles.
The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation asked experts to share their knowledge and ideas on topics related to effective education philanthropy. Here are seven papers that answer some of philanthropists' most important questions in the education reform arena.
Charter schools grant significant autonomy to their principals, but do their principals make decisions that would not be possible in ordinary schools? Are they creating schools that are truly different from (and potentially better than) regular district schools? For this report, Bill Triant conducted extended interviews with eight charter school principals in Massachusetts on five dimensions of school operations (teacher hiring, budgetary control, instruction and curriculum, organizational design, and accountability) to shed light on how they use their autonomy. He finds that when charter school principals are given the opportunity to innovate, they do so.
This report traces an initiative that was launched a decade ago by business and government leaders seeking to spark a transformation of K-12 education in American. The New American Schools Development Corporation (NASDC) vowed to cast aside traditional ideas about schools and apply a no-nonsense, business-savvy approach to the design and deployment of "break-the-mold" schools. Ten years later, New American Schools (as the organization is now named) looks a lot more like a member of the education establishment. Mirel's fascinating report shows how this happened.
This unique survey compares the views of parents with children in private, public and charter schools on the quality of their own schools as well as a range of education reform issues. Conducted in Dayton, Ohio, home to one of the nation's fastest growing charter school programs as well as a strong private voucher program, the data show that, while public school parents are generally less satisfied with their children's present schools, the overwhelming majority of parents and non-parents support bold reform in the public school system. The survey also shows strong support among all groups for publicly funded vouchers, higher academic standards and performance pay for teachers.
Charitable giving in the U.S. is at an all-time high, as is the public's concern with the state of our K-12 education system. This guide provides practical advice for the philanthropist who is fed up with the status quo and eager to support effective education reforms. Making it Count reviews the state of U.S. public education, examines different ways that philanthropists are trying to improve it, explains why some strategies work better than others, profiles a number of education philanthropists, and recounts the experiences of the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation.
When schools are held accountable for results and freed from red tape governing personnel decisions, they take advantage of their freedom by adopting innovative strategies for hiring and rewarding teachers, according to this new report by economists Michael Podgursky and Dale Ballou. This study is based on a survey administered to a random sample of 132 public charter schools that have been operating for at least three years.
Why does our system of teacher certification emphasize training in pedagogy rather than subject-matter knowledge? The answer can be found in this report, which traces the emergence of state control over teacher certification. The focus is on efforts by the teacher education establishment to gain monopoly control over the licensing of teachers.
President Bush campaigned on a strong education-reform platform, promising the American people that for the first time in a long time, commonsense?not special interest groups?would dictate federal education policy. Just before he entered the Oval Office, we handed him a briefing book on steps he could take to help transform the K-12 education system. In this "Memorandum to the President-Elect and the 107th Congress," we explained how the federal government has wasted billions of dollars on ineffective programs and offered suggestions for making continued federal funding matter.
More than one-third of the states get low grades for the standards they have developed for teaching evolution, according to this new report. This report is the first comprehensive analysis of how each state handles evolution in its science standards for the public schools.