Publications

Publications
Any number of organizations are offering advice about what to teach schoolchildren about the events of September 11, 2001, yet (unlike that day's murderous pilots) most sorely miss the mark. Fordham's publication, "Teaching about 9/11 in 2011: What Our Children Need to Know," highlights the danger of slighting history and patriotism in the rush to teach children about tolerance and multiculturalism. It combines ten short essays by distinguished educators, scholars, and public officials from our 2003 report, "Terrorists, Despots, and Democracy: What Our Children Need to Know," essays that feel more timely than ever, and includes a new introduction by Chester E. Finn, Jr. reflecting on how the lessons of these essays apply today.
Ohio adopted the Common Core standards in ELA and math in June 2010, but now stands at a crossroad in making sure statewide assessments are aligned to those standards. Ohio is a participating member in two federally funded assessment consortia—the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) and the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC)--but is a decision-maker in neither. This primer outlines both consortia and suggests that Ohio make a decision soon to begin the massive reboot required to realign assessments, professional development, and accountability systems to match the Common Core.
Each year, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute conducts an analysis of student achievement in Ohio's Big 8 urban districts and charter schools. 2010-2011's analysis looks at performance, growth (as measured by value-added), growth over time, comparisons between students in district schools, charters (and charters by type and authorizer type), e-schools, and more.
To what extent have Ohio's leaders met the challenges and opportunities before them in K-12 education? What needs to happen next?
In this "Ed Short" from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, Amanda Olberg and Michael Podgursky examine how public charter schools handle pensions for their teachers. Some states give these schools the freedom to opt out of the traditional teacher-pension system; when given that option, how many charter schools take it? Olberg and Podgursky examine data from six charter-heavy states and find that charter participation rates in traditional pension systems vary greatly from state to state. When charter schools do not participate in state systems, they most often provide their teachers with defined-contribution plans (401(k) or 403(b)). But some opt-out charters offer no alternative retirement plans at all for their teachers. Read on to learn more.
In this Fordham Institute paper, analysts examine public data and find that the proportion of students with disabilities peaked in 2004-05 and has been declining since. At the state level, Rhode Island, New York, and Massachusetts have the highest rates of disability identification, while Texas, Idaho, and Colorado have the lowest. Read on to learn more.
Political leaders hope to act soon to renew and fix the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, also known as No Child Left Behind). In this important paper, Thomas B. Fordham Institute President Chester E. Finn, Jr. and Executive Vice President Michael J. Petrilli identify 10 big issues that must be resolved in order to get a bill across the finish line, and explore the major options under consideration for each one. Should states be required to adopt academic standards tied to college and career readiness? Should the new law provide greater flexibility to states and districts? These are just a few of the areas discussed. Finn and Petrilli also present their own bold yet "reform realist" solutions for ESEA. Read on to learn more.
The latest results of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) garnered all the usual headlines about America's lackluster performance and the rise of competitor nations. And to be sure, the findings that America's 15-year-olds perform in the middle of the pack in both reading and math are disconcerting for a nation that considers itself an international leader, priding itself on its home-grown innovation, intellect, and opportunity. But that's not the entire story. Read on to learn more.
Statewide survey of Ohio school district superintendents (and other education leaders) on the most critical issues facing K-12 education in the Buckeye State, including budgets, school effectiveness, and troublesome laws.
Reviewers evaluated state standards for U.S. history in grades K-12. What they found is discouraging: Twenty-eight states—a majority—deserve D or F grades for their academic standards in this key subject. The average grade across all states is a dismal D. Among the few bright spots, South Carolina earns a straight A for its standards and six other jurisdictions—Alabama, California, Indiana, Massachusetts, New York and the District of Columbia—garner A-minuses. (The National Assessment's "framework" for U.S. history also fares well.) Read on to learn how your state scored.

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