The Fordham Report 2006: How Well Are States Educating Our Neediest Children?

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The Fordham Report 2006: How Well Are States Educating Our Neediest Children? appraises each state according to thirty indicators across three major categories: student achievement for low-income, African-American, and Hispanic students; achievement trends for these same groups over the last 10-15 years; and the state's track record in implementing bold education reforms. It finds that just eight states can claim even moderate success over the past 15 years at boosting the percentage of their poor or minority students who are at or above proficient in reading, math or science. In addition, most states making significant achievement gains--including California, Delaware, Florida, New York, Massachusetts, and Texas--are national leaders in education reform, indicating that solid standards, tough accountability, and greater school choice can yield better classroom results.

Turning the Corner to Quality

Policy Guidelines for Strengthening Ohio’s Charter School

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At the request of Ohio's top government and education leaders, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, National Association of Charter School Authorizers, and National Alliance for Public Charter Schools have issued a report seeking to strengthen the state's charter school program. Among its 17 recommendations are calls for closing low-performing charter schools and holding sponsors more accountable for oversight of the growing charter movement while also helping more high-performance schools to open and succeed in Ohio. In return for sharply stepped-up accountability, restrictions on the formation of high-quality charters should be removed, and charter schools should receive more equitable funding.

Turning the Corner to Quality bases its findings on research and analysis of Ohio school performance data; a review of best practices in other states; input from experts in charter school finance, sponsorship, accountability and policy; and evaluation of dozens of policy options.

The State of State Standards 2006

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Two-thirds of schoolchildren in America attend class in states with mediocre (or worse) expectations for what their students should learn. That's just one of the findings of Fordham's The State of State Standards 2006, which evaluates state academic standards. The average state grade is a "C-minus"--the same as six years earlier, even though most states revised their standards since 2000.

To Dream the Impossible Dream: Four Approaches to National Standards and Tests for America's Schools

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Education policy leaders from across the political spectrum flesh out and evaluate several forms that national standards and testing could take.

Fund the Child

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Everyone agrees that education funding today is a mess. But a broad, bipartisan coalition now urges a new method of funding our public schools--one that finally ensures the students who need the most receive it, that empowers school leaders to make key decisions, and that opens the door to public school choice. It's a 100 percent solution to the most pressing problems in public school funding--and it's called Weighted Student Funding.

The State of State World History Standards 2006

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Our world is quickly shrinking and becoming evermore interconnected. But is America's K-12 education system preparing students for life in a global village? Unfortunately, it is not. Renowned historian Walter Russell Mead, author of Fordham's The State of State World History Standards 2006, found that thirty-three states deserved D or F grades for their world history standards. States do the worst when it comes to teaching Latin American history. At a time of intense national debate about immigration and assimilation, many states do not seem aware that there are countries and cultures south of the Rio Grande.

Trends in Charter School Authorizing

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Belatedly, policymakers and researchers are recognizing that quality charter schools depend on quality charter school authorizing. This report presents findings from a pioneering national examination of the organizations that sponsor, oversee, and hold accountable U.S. charter schools. Its primary aim is to describe and characterize these crucial but little-known organizations.

Related resources

Authorizer Survey Online Appendix: Full Survey Responses (Word File)

Authorizer Survey Database (final data)

Playing To Type? (2006)

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Most discussions of charter schools assume that they are monolithic. This study—the first of its kind—categorizes the nation’s charter schools into a robust typology according to their educational approaches. It also provides demographic information by type—how many are in each category, what their student populations look like, and so forth—and makes a first attempt at comparing their test scores. The result is a much richer and more accurate picture of the charter school universe.

Fwd: Teacher Education: Coming Up Empty

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The nation’s leading teacher educators made a startling admission last year in their tome, Studying Teacher Education, by conceding there’s little evidence that what happens in ed schools helps in the K-12 classroom. But more astonishing, writes Kate Walsh in Fordham’s Teacher Education: Coming Up Empty, is that the professoriate ignores the most pressing education problem of our time, the achievement gap. “Had the panel asserted that teacher education should be the front line in the nation’s war against the achievement gap,” Walsh writes, “it could have made a sound case for justifying the existence of the profession. Instead, it passes on this mandate to help right educational inequities, and thus consigns itself to irrelevance.

The State of State Science Standards 2005

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Science education in America is under attack, with "discovery learning" on one flank and the Discovery Institute on the other. That's the core finding of our just-released comprehensive review of state science standards, the first since 2000. Written by pre-eminent biologist Paul R. Gross, The State of State Science Standards finds that even though the majority of states have reworked, or crafted from scratch, their science standards over the past five years, we're no better off now than before. That's the bad news. The good news is that many of the standards are easily fixed. More involvement by bench scientists, and better editing, could greatly improve what's out there. Plus, there are a number of excellent models to follow (California, Massachusetts, and South Carolina, for example). The public's anxiety about the future of our nation's scientific prowess is palpable—and reasonable. How serious are we in addressing their concerns? To find out, read the report.