Publications

The State of State Math Standards 2005

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States still have far to go in setting rigorous, high quality expectations for K-12 math instruction. Although a majority have replaced or revised their math standards since 2000, many have failed to make substantial improvements. The review was led by David Klein, Professor of Mathematics at California State University-Northridge, and evaluates the content, writing quality, and clarity of K-12 math standards in each state. Klein and his team attribute many of  the shortcomings to overuse and wrong applications of manipulatives and calculators; wrong-headed guidance from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics; and lack of true mathematics competence among those writing the standards.

The State of State English Standards 2005

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Do states' current English/language arts and reading standards expect what they should? Are they demanding enough? Clear enough? Are states using them to guide not only the curriculum and assessment system for students but also their teacher-training programs? Sandra Stotsky, research scholar at Northeastern University and former senior associate commissioner in the Massachusetts Department of Education, finds that most states have revised or replaced their standards since 2000 and made some improvements, especially to K-8 standards. However, major shortcomings remain in other areas including high school literature requirements.

Fwd: Opportunities Lost: How New York City got derailed on the way to school reform

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How did New York City's experiment in school reform, once so promising, become such a mess? Author Sol Stern explains in this third edition of Fordham's new Fwd: series of short articles of interest to K-12 education reformers.

The Mad, Mad World of Textbook Adoption

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Statewide textbook adoption, the process by which 21 states dictate the textbooks that schools and districts can use, is fundamentally flawed. Textbook adoption distorts the market, entices extremist groups to hijack the curriculum, enriches the textbook cartel, and papers the land with mediocre instructional materials that cannot fulfill their important education mission. The adoption process cannot be set right by tinkering with it, concludes The Mad, Mad World of Textbook Adoption, the latest release from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Rather, legislators and governors in adoption states should eliminate the process and devolve funding for and decisions about textbook purchases to individual schools, individual districts, even individual teachers.
 
The Mad, Mad World of Textbook Adoption is the first of a new Fordham Institute series, "Compact Guides to Education Solutions," that provides practical solutions to K-12 education problems for policy makers, legislators, school leaders, and activists. These concise guides are meant to help drive reforms at the local, state, and national levels by offering actionable policy recommendations.

Fwd: Where Do Public School Teachers Send Their Kids to School?

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Does it matter where public-school teachers send their own children to school? If so, how and why? What can we learn from them?

What we are grappling with here is the question of connoisseurship. Stock analysts, for example, watch carefully when corporate directors buy or sell the stock of companies on whose boards they serve.

Similarly, we can assume that no one knows the condition and quality of public schools better than teachers who work in them every day. If these teachers are more likely than the general public (which may not have nearly as much information or expertise in these matters) to send their own daughters and sons to the public schools in which they teach, it is a strong vote of confidence in those schools. If they do not, then we might reasonably conclude that those in the best position to know are signaling a strong "sell" about public education in their communities.

A Wide-Angle Look at the Charter School Movement in Ohio/Dayton, circa September 2004

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Charter school opponents have been taking shots nationally at charter schools in recent days, but these sorts of attacks have been a common occurrence in Dayton, Ohio since charter schools first opened there in 1998. Herewith is a report from the field on how charter schools are faring in the Buckeye State circa September 2004.

The Stealth Curriculum: Manipulating America's History Teachers

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Widely used supplemental materials may be dangerous to educational health! These works often include hefty doses of political manipulation and ideological bias, courtesy of their authors. This study casts a wary glance toward materials that seldom come under scrutiny. This study is the fifth in a series dedicated to reforming social studies education.

School Finance in Dayton: A Comparison of the Revenues of the School District and Community Schools

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This report, prepared for the Thomas B. Fordham Institute by Public Impact, compares charter school funding and district school funding. It finds that charter schools are under-funded compared to their district counterparts, even after accounting for differences in students and grade levels. These findings should be taken seriously by those who argue that charter schools drain funds from district schools.

Prepared for the Thomas B. Fordham Institute By Public Impact

A Consumer's Guide to High School History Textbooks

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A Consumer's Guide to High School History Textbooks is a summary review of 12 widely used U.S. and world history textbooks.

Grading the Systems: The guide to state standards, tests, and accountability policies

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Co-published by the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation and AccountabilityWorks, with support from the Smith Richardson Foundation, this report looks at six elements of K-12 accountability systems in 30 different states. Each state is rated on standards, test content, alignment of tests to standards, test rigor, testing trustworthiness and openness, and accountability policies. The major conclusion: while some states have the basis of a sophisticated and rigorous accountability system in place, no state has every element of a serious standards-based education reform package in place. And few states are as open to evaluation as they ought to be.

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