The Education Gadfly


"It's very exciting.?? This is the first accountability system for school meals in the history of the school system." -Jonathan Stein of Community Legal Services in Philadelphia

"Breakfast at school now is on the principal"


1 in 10:

Rate of male high school dropouts who are in jail on any given day, according to a new study.?? The rate for male high school graduates in 1 in 35.

"Study Finds High Rate of Imprisonment Among Dropouts"

Eric Ulas

Video is now available from our recent event, World-Class Academic Standards for Ohio, which was held October 5 in Columbus, Ohio.

What do state and national experts make of the "Common Core" standards effort??? How can states go about crafting top-flight standards??? How will the Buckeye State respond to the Common Core effort and a recent legislative mandate to upgrade its standards? ??Click on the links below to find out.

Opening Speaker:

Why World-Class Standards?

David Driscoll, former Massachusetts Commissioner of Education

Panel Sessions:

Current Efforts to Create National (???Common???) Standards

Michael Cohen, Achieve Inc.

Gene Wilhoit, Council of Chief State School Officers

Chester E. Finn, Jr., Thomas B. Fordham Institute, moderator

Highlighting the Efforts of Top Performing States??

David Driscoll, former Massachusetts Commissioner of Education

Stan Jones, former Indiana Commissioner...

The Education Gadfly


"I just don't want to see us sell our soul as we are racing to the top and not making philosophical decisions along the way." - Connecticut School Board Vice Chairwoman Janet Finneran

Hartford Courant: Board Discusses Application For Funds



Total percentage of students receiving free or reduced-price lunches not to be surpassed by any school in Raleigh's Wake County, according to a longstanding diversity policy based on socioeconomics.

Associated Press: School Diversity Program in N.C. Draws Ire of Voters

The Education Gadfly

The Fordham Institute's newest report???-Stars By Which to Navigate? Scanning National and International Education Standards in 2009--reviews the ???Common Core??? draft standards in math and reading/writing/communications (these drafts were made public on September 21). Our subject-content experts confer ???B??? grades on these drafts; the effort is off to a good start! Are there things to improve? You betcha. As for other influential barometers and benchmarks of educational performance, our reviews also examine the reading/writing and math frameworks behind NAEP, TIMSS, and PISA. Check out the report to find out which ones shine brightly and which ones are dull.

Amy Fagan

Our new report is discussed in two interesting articles---one in the Washington Post and one in Education Week.??Check them out. And to??read??our report directly, click here.


ED just hosted a webinar on the i3, led by OII head Jim Shelton. Though the basic information in the presentation tracked faithfully with the priorities document (so nothing terribly new or different), some of the Q&A was quite interesting.

I'm not sure if they will make the audio available, but there are docs on the site. Also, I tweeted during the event--you can check those out at my twitter account,??@smarick.

Jim and his team have done their homework on this. Apart from the issue in my big complaint, this seems to be thoughtfully put together.


New NY education commissioner Steiner fails first test?

Wise cautions about "innovation" and the i3 from former IES head Whitehurst

Good Toppo article??on Latino aspiration gap

Eric Ulas

The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation is a charter-school authorizer in our home state of Ohio and we currently oversee six schools in Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, and Springfield.??In the Buckeye State, academic performance of schools is gauged by both student proficiency rates and progress (using a "value-added " measure).??Schools are expected to help students make one year or more of academic progress annually and are given a value-added ranking of "below," "met," or "above" corresponding with how much growth their students made. We're proud of the academic progress our schools made last year compared to their district and charter peers. The following chart shows the percent of students in schools by "value-added" rating for Fordham-authorized schools, the home districts in which they are located, and charter schools in the state's eight major urban areas.

Percent of Students in Fordham-authorized Schools, Home Districts, and "Big 8" Charter Schools by Value-Added Rating, 2008-09

Source: Ohio Department of Education interactive Local Report Card...

The Education Gadfly


"There's a history of violence associated with moving kids from one area to another.?? You have a trail of blood and tears ever since they launched (Renaissance 2010)." - Tio Hardiman, director of CeaseFire Illinois

"School closings may be root of Chicago teen deaths"


$60 Million:

Cost of a new Chicago program targeting 10,000 algorithmically selected Chicago students deemed to be most at risk to be involved (as victim or perpetrator) with violence.?? The program will offer various forms of extra support.?? A previous proposal cost $30 million and targeted 1200 students.

"Focus in Chicago: Students at Risk of Violence"


I had the pleasure of attending Fordham-Ohio's conference on standards on Monday. We'll post the video from the conference soon but I just wanted to highlight an issue raised in the panel titled, "Current Efforts to Create National Standards." Gene Wilhoit, executive director of CCSSO and Michael Cohen, President of Achieve, discussed the Common Core Standards in a panel moderated by Fordham President Chester Finn. Checker asked if they thought the assessments that will presumably be developed and eventually tied to the "college-and-career ready" standards would specify "cut scores."?? Wilhoit said yes; in fact, he thinks the whole endeavor will lose credibility if the assessment fails to do so. Then Cohen chimed in and said that there's a possibility that states could set a "graduating bar" and a "college-ready bar" at least at the beginning. Both felt that if a state decided to grant a diploma to a student who had not met a certain standard, they ought to "note that."

I guess this is reasonable. But the whole discussion illustrated for me the complexity of what we're about to ask states to do. Most states already have in place a tiered diploma system. Virginia, for...