Curriculum & Instruction

How to separate the wheat from the chaff on technical credentials

On this week’s podcast, Mary Alice McCarthy, a director of the Center on Education and Skills at New America, joins Mike Petrilli and David Griffith to discuss how leading states like Florida are vetting thousands of technical credentials to identify the ones worth pursuing. On the Research Minute, Amber Northern examines the relationship across the globe between testing policies and student achievement.

Amber’s Research Minute

Annika B. Bergbauer et al., “Testing,” National Bureau of Economic Research (July 2018).

Equity and access in American high schools

On this week’s podcast, Erin Lockett, a senior policy analyst at the Foundation for Excellence in Education, joins Mike Petrilli and David Griffith to discuss her organization’s recent report on access to rigorous coursework in high school. On the Research Minute, Amber Northern examines the effects of a free-college initiative on graduation rates in New Mexico.

Amber’s Research Minute

Christopher Patrick Erwin and Melissa Binder, “Does Broad-Based Merit Aid Improve College Completion? Evidence from New Mexico's Lottery Scholarship,” Education Finance and Policy (July 2018).

An #Eduween riddle: How is pre-school research like a skunk?

On this week’s podcast, Russ Whitehurst, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and founding director of the Institute of Education Sciences, joins Mike Petrilli and David Griffith to discuss early childhood education and whether we expect too much from it. On the Research Minute, Amber Northern examines an alternative approach to remedial education in Tennessee.

Amber’s Research Minute

Thomas J. Kane et al., “Remedial Math Goes to High School: An Evaluation of the Tennessee SAILS Program,” Center for Education Policy Research, Harvard University (October 2018).

Education 20/20: Heather Mac Donald

VIDEO: Education 20/20: Heather Mac Donald on double standards in school discipline

Twenty years ago, conservative ideas were gaining traction in K–12 education. Charter schools were opening all over the place, vouchers were finally being tried, academic standards were rising, results-based accountability had become the watchword in policy circles, and reformers were taking the idea of “character education” seriously.

But no victory is ever final. In recent decades many of these reforms, given life by conservatives, have been transformed by progressives, reshaped by their obsession with identity politics, or just abandoned. And conservatives have too often stopped talking about why education matters, skipping ahead to structural changes, typically summed up with “more school choice.”

The Education 20/20 speaker series, sponsored by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and the Hoover Institution, aims to refill the conservative void in the education reform conversation. Over the course of the 2018–19 school year, prominent conservative writers, intellectuals, and policymakers will provide compelling answers to the age-old question, “What's the purpose of school?”

On Thursday, September 27th, Heather MacDonald, author of The Diversity Delusion, kicked off the series with her perspective on race-based discipline reform, including why it hurts the children it purports to help and how it cuts against one of the core purposes of schooling. Watch now.

Featured Speaker:

Heather Mac Donald
Thomas W. Smith Fellow
Manhattan Institute

We aren't teaching kids how to read

On this week’s podcast, Emily Hanford, a senior education correspondent and producer at APM Reports, joins Mike Petrilli and David Griffith to discuss her recent documentary on the sad state of reading instruction. On the Research Minute, Amber Northern examines TNTP’s new report about the inferior academic experiences of disadvantaged students.

Amber’s Research Minute

The Opportunity Myth,” TNTP (September 2018).

Will civics education save American democracy?

On this week's podcast, Elizabeth Mann Levesque, a fellow at Brookings, joins Mike Petrilli and David Griffith to discuss the state of civics education in America. On the Research Minute, Amber Northern examines how repeating a grade affects students’ high school outcomes.

Amber’s Research Minute

Louis T. Marian et al., “How Does Repeating a Grade Impact Students' High School Persistence and Behavior? The Case of New York City,” RAND Corporation (July 2018).

How good are states’ English language arts standards?

On this week's podcast, literacy expert Tim Shanahan joins Robert Pondiscio and David Griffith to discuss his review of states’ English language arts standards for Fordham’s new report, “The State of State Standards Post-Common Core.” On the Research Minute, Amber Northern examines the results of the 2018 Education Next poll.

Amber’s Research Minute

Albert Cheng et al., “Public Support Climbs for Teacher Pay, School Expenditures, Charter Schools, and Universal Vouchers: Results from the 2018 EdNextPoll,” Education Next (Winter 2018).

How African American children view our education system

On this week's podcast, Sekou Biddle, a vice president at UNCF, joins Mike Petrilli and David Griffith to discuss African American youth’s near-universal aspirations to go to college, but frustration at an education system that is not preparing them for success. On the Research Minute, Amber Northern covers a new comprehensive look at America’s colleges of education.

Amber’s Research Minute

Jacqueline E. King, “Colleges of Education: A National Portrait,” American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (August 2018).

All about ed tech

On this week’s podcast, Gisèle Huff, executive director of the Jaquelin Hume Foundation, joins Mike Petrilli and David Griffith to discuss the use of technology in education. On the Research Minute, Amber Northern covers Fordham’s recent study on reading and writing instruction in America's schools.

Amber’s Research Minute

David Griffith and Ann M. Duffett, “Reading and Writing Instruction in America’s Schools,” Thomas B. Fordham Institute (July 2018).

In a paper titled Ohio’s Plan to Raise Literacy Achievement, the Ohio Department of Education recently wrote that districts have “a limited understanding of how to build early literacy in young children.” This is manifestly troubling, as so much in life hinges on reading fluency—and it’s not as if there were a dearth of quality research on how kids learn to read. This is, in fact, one of the most thoroughly analyzed parts of schooling. (Fordham’s new literacy lifelines offer concise practical advice based in research.)

If this what-is-known and how-to-do-it knowledge isn’t well-lodged in the minds of district leaders and practitioners in Ohio schools, something needs to change. One can go back to Jeanne Chall’s 1967 book or the report in 2000 from the National Reading Panel. But a more recent and accessible review is a fine paper by Anne Castles, Kathleen Rastle, and Kate Nation. In what they call a “comprehensive tutorial review on the science of learning to read,” the authors review the major research findings and offer insight on how evidence can inform practice. The paper is organized around three general phases of literacy development, which they define as: (1) cracking...