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Worth A Read

A weekly selection of thought-provoking research and commentary focused on education reform.



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Impacts of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program After One Year
04/27/2017
Institute of Education Sciences (IES) - Mark Dynarski, Ning Rui, Ann Webber, & Babette Gutman

The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) released a report entitled: ‘Evaluation of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program: Impacts After One Year.’ The summary reads: “A new study finds that the nation’s only federally-funded private school voucher program for low-income parents had negative impacts on student achievement. However, the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) did have positive impacts on parents’ perceptions of safety at their child’s school.”

There Are No Quick Fixes for Teacher Shortage, Report Warns
04/26/2017
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Brenda Iasevoli

Brenda Iasevoli reviews a new report from Dan Goldhaber and Thomas Dee, ‘Understanding and Addressing Teacher Shortages in the United States.’ The report’s authors contend that teacher shortages do not exist everywhere or in every field. The report suggests that teachers in shortage areas should receive extra pay, school districts should invest in better recruitment strategies, and recruiting candidates in anticipated need areas.

Education Savings Accounts: The New Frontier in School Choice
04/26/2017
American Enterprise Institute - Adam Peshek, Gerard Robinson, and Nat Malkus

Adam Peshek, Gerard Robinson, and Nat Malkus have a new book out from the American Enterprise Institute on Education Savings Accounts or ESAs. “Yet, for all their potential import, ESAs are barely understood. This volume seeks to provide a comprehensive, fair-minded treatment of ESAs and will address the rationale for them, the challenges they pose, what it takes for them to work and the political and legal dynamics at play.”

Public Money for Private Schools: School Vouchers, ESAs, and Tax Credits
04/25/2017
Learning First Alliance - Ann O’Brien

Ann O’Brien explains how vouchers, ESAs, and tax credits work, with links for those interested in learning more. “What are these policies? How do they differ? Here is some background information on a few key types of private school choice.”

Key Takeaways: State Accountability Plans Under ESSA
04/21/2017
Education Week

Education Week has created a dashboard for those interested in reviewing state plans submitted for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). A detailed look at each submitted plan is included.

Job Satisfaction and the Role of Teacher Evaluation
04/20/2017
Michigan State University - Green & Write Education Policy Blog - Amy Auletto

Amy Auletto has reviewed a recently released study on teacher evaluation and teacher satisfaction. The study used regression discontinuity and found that higher teacher effectiveness ratings resulted in teachers having more positive perceptions of their jobs. “As states place more emphasis on formalized teacher evaluation systems with labels such as those used by Tennessee, there may be some unintended consequences for teacher retention.”

Detroit charter fights to maintain diversity as school gets whiter, wealthier
04/20/2017
Michigan Public Radio - State of Opportunity - Jennifer Guerra

Jennifer Guerra shares an audio story about a new bill before the Michigan legislature, which could give charters enrollment preferences to certain students. According to the story, “[The bill] would allow charters in high-poverty neighborhoods to give 'geographic preference' to kids who live in the neighborhood.”

The Upside to Teacher Resignation Letters Going Viral
04/20/2017
NEA Today - Tim Walker

Tim Walker shares a conversation with Alyssa Hadley Dunn, Michigan State University, who recently released two studies on teacher resignation letters. She says, “What these letters are telling teachers is this: ‘I am leaving so I can speak to what is happening. I will try to combat this so you can try to collectively organize and use these letters as support for the arguments you are making every day.'”

The basics: A quick look at what you should know about vouchers
04/18/2017
IndyStar - Allison Carter

Allison Carter discusses vouchers in Indiana and looks into what we know and don’t know about vouchers. Regarding what’s next for vouchers, she writes: “They're a favorite of new Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, so expect a push on the federal level. And since Indiana has been a leader in school choice, expect lots of attention on us.”

Assessing and Resolving California's Growing Teacher Shortage Crisis
04/18/2017
Teachers College Record - Christopher Holland

Christopher Holland critiques proposed legislative efforts in California in response to the state’s looming teacher shortage crisis. His commentary concludes with, “As a result, if state officials want to ensure that California is a perpetual leader in the twenty-first-century century global economy, they need to start seriously investing in public education and seek innovative new solutions to the teacher shortage issue.”

Denying the 'School Choice Deniers' Argument
04/17/2017
FutureEd - Douglas Harris

Douglas Harris looks at the arguments surrounding school choice and the labels that advocates use to frame their arguments. Specifically, he examines a recent Wall Street Journal editorial suggesting that research supports private school choice.

Tax credits, school choice and 'neovouchers': What you need to know
04/14/2017
The Conversation - Kevin G. Welner

Kevin Welner writes about conventional vouchers and tax credits. “A decade ago when I wrote a book explaining these tax credit policies and labeling them ‘neovouchers,’ they existed in only six states and generated about 100,000 vouchers. Today, 17 states have tax-credit policies similar to Arizona’s on their books, generating a quarter-million vouchers and growing every year."

The Tone-Deaf Politics of Denying Racism, Excusing Segregation
04/13/2017
Radical Scholarship - P.L. Thomas

P.L. Thomas discusses 'colorblind' discussions in education policy today. He reviews a recent statement from Rick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), as well as an academic review of a report from AEI. “What is at play here, and linked by AEI, includes an ends-justify-the-means ideology paired with Social Darwinism (masked as 'parental choice’) — all of which is bereft of any sort of ethical grounding, any acknowledgement that ‘some’ (the ellipsis of race, and thus, people of color) are making pleas for being heard to create a more just and equitable education system and country.”

Today's Teaching Force Is Larger, Less Experienced, More Diverse Than Ever
04/13/2017
Education Week - Brenda Iasevoli

Brenda Iasevoli covers a report by Richard Ingersoll that uses the School and Staffing Survey (SASS) to analyze trends in the U.S. teaching force from 1987 to 2012. “In the end, the authors write that their job was to describe the teaching force trends and not to explain or evaluate their implications. Questions about the reasons behind teacher workforce growth, the increase in the number of inexperienced teachers and its impact on schools, or the reasons for the rising number of minority teachers in high-poverty public schools, warrant further investigation.”

Maryland General Assembly passes bill limiting hours of testing in schools
04/10/2017
Baltimore Sun - Ian Duncan

Ian Duncan writes about a recent vote by the Maryland legislature to cap testing at 2.2 percent of classroom time in a year - about 24 hours in elementary and middle school and 26 hours in high school. “The state teachers union argues that students are required to take too many tests, costing them hundreds of hours of time that could otherwise be spent learning over the course of their school careers. The Maryland State Education Association supported the bill.”

How Much Does the Public Understand About Effective Teaching and Learning?
04/06/2017
NEA Today - Tim Walker

Tim Walker discusses a survey conducted by the Center for American Progress. The survey polled 3,000 people on their understanding of effective teaching and learning. According to the report, the results “reveal a general misunderstanding about what makes effective classrooms and educators.”

CT scraps using state test scores to compute teacher ratings
04/06/2017
CT Mirror - Kyle Constable

Kyle Constable reports that the Connecticut Board of Education voted last week to no longer use state test scores in teacher performance evaluations. “State education board Chairman Allan B. Taylor and Education Commissioner Dianna Wentzell both praised the board’s approval of the plan as an important clarification of the role state tests should play: a goal-setting tool for teachers, not part of a formula for rating an individual teacher’s effectiveness in the classroom.”

School Voucher Grade Inflation
04/05/2017
Bloomberg View - Noah Smith

Noah Smith looks at a recent survey paper on vouchers from the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. The paper, written by Greg Forster, was cited by the Wall Street Journal as “evidence that voucher opponents have been cherry-picking the evidence.” Smith reviews Forster’s paper and asks several probing questions about vouchers and the research evidence.

Subgroup-Specific Accountability, Teacher Job Assignments, And Teacher Attrition: Lessons For States
04/05/2017
Shanker Blog - Matthew Shirrell

Matthew Shirrell has blogged about his recently published study in the journal Education Finance and Policy. His study explored the effects of NCLB’s subgroup-specific accountability for teachers. “Specifically, I examine whether teaching in a school that was held accountable for a particular subgroup’s performance in the first year of NCLB affected teachers’ job assignments, turnover, and attrition.”

VAM, Teacher Bashing, and Unintended Outcomes: '(A)ll (teacher) exits increased under the new evaluations'
04/04/2017
Radical Scholarship - P. L. Thomas

P. L. Thomas reviews a recent research analysis by Matthew Di Carlo on the Shanker Blog. He calls Di Carlo’s work some of the best available online. However, he is critical of the ‘dispassionate’ stance taken by Di Carlo in summarizing the research. Thomas says, “I am on edge when I read these careful explications of educational research because they tend to stand so far back from drawing critical conclusions that they leave a great deal of room for forgiving awful and baseless policy.” Thomas pushes for a deeper look beyond the research into the bad politics and bad media behind recent ‘bad’ teacher reforms.

Who Needs Reformers When You Have David Kirp?
04/03/2017
Gary Rubinstein’s Blog - Gary Rubinstein

Gary Rubinstein writes about a recent piece in the New York Times by David Kirp, ‘Who Needs Charters When You have Public Schools Like These?’ Rubinstein is critical of Kirp’s article and suggests, “What I would have liked to have in this article is Kirp writing about all the great things going on at these schools and how anyone visiting these schools would be impressed by them, and then express outrage that the schools have a D- and an F rating thus demonstrating how inaccurate the A to F rating calculations are and how they are likely to be just as inaccurate in all the states throughout the country. Now that would be a powerful article.”

Fix Schools, Not Teachers
04/03/2017
Voices in Education - Harvard Education Publishing - Esther Quintero

Esther Quintero, Senior Fellow at the Albert Shanker Institute, discusses a recent book she edited, ‘Teaching in Context: The Social Side of Education Reform.’ According to Quintero, the book was conceived to help address the problems of dissemination, misperceptions, and applicability in education policymaking. She writes: “Providing ‘lessons’ for policy and practice isn’t a job just for researchers. Ultimately, because the school improvement processes we are trying to influence are complex and dynamic, practitioners, policy makers, and academics need to figure out how to proceed together.”

Teacher Evaluations And Turnover In Houston
03/30/2017
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matthew Di Carlo tackles a new working paper by Julie Berry Cullen, Cory Koedel, and Eric Parsons. The paper looks at the impact of the teacher evaluation system in Houston and focuses on the relationship between teacher turnover and performance before and after the implementation of the new system. He says in his conclusion, “In any case, this study by Cullen, Koedel, and Parsons, like most good policy analysis, illustrates the promise of new evaluations, but also the challenges.”

What's Next for Newark?
03/29/2017
Center on Reinventing Public Education - Michael DeArmond & Patrick Denice

Michael DeArmond and Patrick Denice discuss Newark’s public schools, which are about to return to local control in 2017. “But the key challenge for Newark when it regains local control—and the key challenge for all cities, regardless of the makeup of their school system—will be improving school quality across its diverse system of schools. There just aren’t enough good schools to go around, charter or district. And too often, good schools are clustered in some neighborhoods and not in others.”

Maryland Showdown on Testing, Charters, and the Direction of Public Schools
03/29/2017
The American Prospect - Rachel M. Cohen

Rachel M. Cohen looks at school accountability and ESSA implementation in Maryland. “A heated battle over the future of Maryland’s plan—specifically, how much weight standardized test scores should be given in determining a school’s rating, and how much power the state should have over low-performing schools—has become a flashpoint in the polarized education reform wars, not only within Maryland but across the country. At the crux of the debate are questions about who gets to speak on behalf of racial minorities and low-income children, and what school accountability should look like in the age of Donald Trump.”

Is Test-Based Accountability Dead?
03/28/2017
Education Next - Jay P. Greene, Kevin Huffman and Morgan S. Polikoff

Jay P. Greene, Kevin Huffman, and Morgan S. Polikoff tackle the topic of test-based accountability in the latest Education Next. They attempt to answer the following questions: “So: is accountability on the wane, or is it here to stay? If accountability is indeed dying, would its loss be good or bad for students?”

Shaping Teacher Preparation for the Future
03/27/2017
The Huffington Post - Robert C. Pianta

Robert C. Pianta, dean and professor at the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education, writes about the ever changing regulations governing teacher preparation programs. “We cannot give up on either a federal role in accountability or the funding needed to support good work at the state and local level, but one thing is now clear: those of us who care about teacher preparation can’t wait any longer to take the lead ourselves.”

Liberals, Conservatives Agree: Big Mistake for White House to Push Private School Choice
03/24/2017
U.S. News & World Report - Lauren Camera

Lauren Camera discusses the Trump administration’s push for school choice. Advocates on both sides of the aisle are cautioning against a federal private school choice program.

Challenging the Newspeak of School Quality Measurement
03/24/2017
Harvard University - Scholar Blog - James M. Noonan, Ed.D.

James M. Noonan, a researcher affiliated with the 'Justice in Schools' project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, writes about the challenges of education measurement. “In order to better measure school quality, then, we must first expand our imagination about what school quality means. One way to do so is to be deliberately more expansive in the way we talk about good schools. As shorthand, school quality is woefully non-specific, the Rorschach of education policy jargon. And unless or until students, teachers, and parents dare to be specific about what it means to them – to define it for ourselves – it will continue to be defined for them.”

The Complementary Benefits of Racial and Socioeconomic Diversity in Schools
03/23/2017
National Coalition on School Diversity - Research Brief - Jennifer Ayscue, Erica Frankenberg, & Genevieve Siegel-Hawley

Jennifer Ayscue, Erica Frankenberg, and Genevieve Siegel-Hawley write about the benefits of racial diversity in schools. They say, “Racially diverse learning environments have positive impacts on academic achievement for students of all races.” And conclude, “The short-term and long-term benefits of racially diverse schools provide the structural and attitudinal foundation for social cohesion in multiethnic, democratic societies such as the United States.”

Where Are All the Black Teachers? Discrimination in the Teacher Labor Market
03/22/2017
Harvard Educational Review - Diana D'amico, Robert J. Pawlewicz, Penelope M. Earley, and Adam P. McGeehan

Diana D'amico, Robert J. Pawlewicz, Penelope M. Earley, and Adam P. McGeehan published a study that investigates the lack of racial diversity among public school teachers. The researchers found evidence of workplace segregation and discrimination. “The authors call for researchers, policy makers, and school leaders at the district and building levels to examine hiring practices, which may be symptomatic of broader institutional biases, so that they may identify and eliminate inherent prejudices.”

Keep Us Involved in ESSA Plans, Unions and District Leaders Tell State Chiefs
03/21/2017
Education Week - Politics K-12 - Andrew Ujifusa

Andrew Ujifusa writes about a letter sent by national representatives of school officials to the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The letter expresses disappointment that the U.S. Department of Education removed a key requirement that states detail their work with stakeholder groups in their consolidated plans for ESSA. “Nonetheless, they say the group has an obligation to make sure each chief ‘demonstrates clearly and explicitly in each state plan how stakeholders were involved in its development, and how they will continue this engagement during implementation, review, and future revisions.’”

Five Vital Roles for School Leaders in the Pursuit of Evidence of Evidence-informed Practice
03/20/2017
Teachers College Record - Chris Brown & Joel Malin

Chris Brown and Joel Malin write about the use of evidence by school leaders. “In this commentary, the authors set out thoughts on school leaders’ crucial roles in fostering evidence-informed and -engaged learning environments. They argue that school leaders must address both transformational and pedagogical aspects. Addressing both, they provide a definitive summary checklist for the role of school leaders in developing their schools in this manner.”

White House Budget Proposal Undermines Public Education, Discards Nation's Values
03/16/2017
Learning First Alliance - Joetta Sack-Min

Joetta Sack-Min shares concerns that member associations of the Learning First Alliance (LFA) have with the White House proposal to cut $9 billion in funding for public education and the U.S. Department of Education.

Kentucky Lawmakers Approve Charter School Law
03/15/2017
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Denisa Superville

Denisa Superville reports on Kentucky’s new charter school law. Kentucky was one of the few states that did not have a state charter school law. “The bill says nothing about how charters in Kentucky will be funded. Under its provisions, there will be no limit on the number of charter schools that can be authorized.”

Are school vouchers good for education? That debate is playing out in Indiana
03/14/2017
PBS NewsHour - Lisa Stark

Lisa Stark, Education Week, reports on school vouchers in Indiana. “Indiana is one of nearly 30 states that offer vouchers or similar programs with the goal of allowing parents to use public funds for private schooling. When the state launched the program, it was designed for low-income students. But enrollment skyrocketed when the program was dramatically broadened by then-Gov. Mike Pence.”

What's Next for the Common Core and Its Assessments?
03/14/2017
Future Ed - Scott Marion

Scott Marion, president of the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment, writes about the future of the Common Core State Standards and associated assessments. He discusses what went wrong and what went right. “American education orthodoxy often swings like a pendulum, supporting an initiative only to reject it a decade later. But as our students lag behind those in other nations, we can’t afford to waste the time and effort that went into developing the Common Core and these innovative assessments, especially when they represent such a clear step forward.”

A Practical Path to Recruitment and Retention
03/13/2017
American Educator - Roneeta Guha, Maria E. Hyler, & Linda Darling-Hammond

Roneeta Guha, Maria E. Hyler, and Linda Darling-Hammond look at newly emerging teacher residency programs, which seek to address problems of teacher recruitment, retention, and turnover. “This model fosters tight partnerships between local school districts and teacher preparation programs. Residencies recruit teachers to meet district needs—usually in shortage fields. Then they rigorously prepare them and keep them in the district. While most teacher residencies began in urban districts, consortia of rural districts and charter school organizations have also created them.”

MI: A Blueprint for Education?
03/13/2017
Curmudgucation - Peter Greene

Peter Greene reviews a new report from the Michigan 21st Century Commission, which released its final report this week. The commission was established by Michigan governor Rick Snyder. “The best we can say about this report is that it's has some honest parts about how bad a hole Michigan has dug for its education system. Unfortunately, it doesn't have a clue about how to get out of that hole.”

Report Foreword: A Formula that Works
03/09/2017
Thomas B. Fordham Institute - Aaron Churchill & Chad L. Aldis

Aaron Churchill and Chad Aldis write about a new report issued by Bellwether Education Partners and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. The report looked at how Ohio funds its public and charter schools and makes recommendations to reform school funding structures in Ohio. “Much work remains to be accomplished if Ohio is to craft a transparent, modern school-funding structure. We realize that the profound complexities and political realities of school funding policy make this a daunting task. In our view, the best course forward is to take one manageable step at a time. If state leaders make these essential repairs, Ohio will take its next step in the long journey toward a school funding system that supports an excellent education for all.”

Why School Choice Is Not A Thing
03/08/2017
Curmudgucation - Peter Greene

Peter Greene unpacks the dream of a school choice system, where “every family can choose from a wide range of schools, selecting the one that fits their own child.” He writes that choice systems may actually decrease choices: “It will not expand choice. It will simply give a different group of people the power to decide which choices will be available - disconnected people, outside people, people with a vested financial interest, people who don't have to listen to anyone in the school or community. This is not the expansion of choice - it's the expansion of a market.”

A-F School Rankings Draw Local Pushback
03/07/2017
Education Week - Daarel Burnette II

Daarel Burnette II looks at the expansion of A-F letter grades in 18 states and local push-back in school districts across the U.S. “But in some states that already have them, A-F systems have received fierce backlash from local superintendents and school board members. They complain that the letter grades oversimplify student success or shortfalls, increase pressure to pay attention to tests, ignore school quality factors other than test scores, and demoralize teachers and parents.”

Vouchers in Indiana: A Cautionary Tale
03/07/2017
FutureEd - Phyllis W. Jordan

Phyllis W. Jordan takes a 'deep dive' into Indiana’s voucher programs. FutureEd compiled a report investigating school choice in Indiana. The report found: “Instead of increasing private school options, a substantial number of voucher schools are simply filling existing seats with students subsidized by the state. Fewer than one percent of voucher students now come from failing public schools, and more than half never attended public school at all.”

The State of State Teachers' Pension Plans
03/06/2017
New York Times - Karl Russell and Mary Williams Walsh

Karl Russell and Mary Williams Walsh look at teacher pension systems across the U.S. They write: “A traditional pension can be a very attractive benefit, at least for those who work long enough to get back more money than they contribute. But because of high teacher turnover, mobility from state to state and other factors, only a minority of all newly hired teachers succeed in doing that. Some states make it easier than others.”

It's Not Nothing: The Role of Money in Improving Education
03/06/2017
Education Next - Mark Dynarski

Mark Dynarski discusses the role of spending in K-12 education. He attempts to clarify the statement that 'money doesn’t matter' in schools. He focuses on two recent papers, and writes “Two recent studies that use these methods provide evidence that money matters. But they also provide evidence that it will take massive amounts to close gaps.”

Vouchers Are Not a Viable Solution for Vast Swaths of America
03/03/2017
Center for American Progress - Neil Campbell and Catherine Brown

Neil Campbell and Catherine Brown write about Donald Trump's proposal to reprioritize existing school funding to provide federal vouchers for private-school choice. “In short, vouchers can have detrimental effects on communities and limit high-quality options for students even in areas with an abundance of schools in close proximity to one another.”

Are Charter Schools Overrated? Experts Debate the Question
03/02/2017
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Sarah Tully

Sarah Tully shares the results of a recent live debate on charter schools. “The debate was put on by Intelligence Squared U.S., a nonprofit organization that hosts debates on controversial topics that have ranged from ‘Give Trump a Chance’ to ‘Policing is Racially Biased.’ Online viewers, as well as the live audience, were asked to vote before and after the two-hour event in New York City.”

DeVos and Tax Credit Vouchers: Arizona Shows What Can Go Wrong
03/02/2017
New York Times - Kevin Carey

Kevin Carey, the New America Foundation, discusses the tuition tax credit scheme in Arizona. “Some states, like Alabama and Indiana, limit tax credit vouchers to low- and middle-income families, or to students who were previously enrolled in public school. But others, including Arizona, do not, subsidizing private education for the well-off.” Carey also looks at how tax credit voucher schemes circumvent state Blaine amendments prohibiting public funds for religious schools. He writes that this 'shell-game' moves public money to non-profit donors and ultimately into private schools. This process makes it very difficult to account how public monies are being spent.

NPR Explains Charter Schools
03/01/2017
Curmudgucation - Peter Greene

Peter Greene attempts to provide some balance to a recent one-sided NPR piece on charter schools. “[Claudio] Sanchez decided that the best way to get a fully rounded explanation of charters was to talk to three charter advocates, a journalistic technique akin to interviewing the NRA about guns or the RJ Reynolds company about cigarettes.”

Dismantling Public Education: Turning Ideology into Gold
03/01/2017
Institute for New Economic Thinking - Alex Molnar

Alex Molnar says that policies based on faith in the ‘market’ as a principle of social organization have wrought havoc with a founding principle of American democracy. “In the next decade the distinction between public and private will likely continue to blur, and ever more public tax dollars will be syphoned into private coffers. Public schools will limp along, underfunded and struggling to educate ever larger numbers of students with needs too great to be profitable.”

Vouchers do not improve student achievement, Stanford researcher finds
02/28/2017
Stanford News - Carrie Spector

Education professor Martin Carnoy analyzed 25 years of research and found that voucher programs do not significantly improve test scores. Carnoy says vouchers distract from proven policies and programs with proven impact on test scores and graduation rates.

Imagine vouchers for other public services
02/28/2017
The Des Moines Register - David Wilkerson, Letter to the Editor

David Wilkerson discusses vouchers, education savings accounts, and parents seeking taxpayer assistance for private schools. “School choice is a concept most all can rally around. We have a number of options for families in Iowa. But while no one would likely be excited about helping to pay for my friend’s private golf course membership, he’s not excited about paying for anyone’s private school education.”

Final Thoughts: Strategies for Educators to Promote Equity and Inclusion in Schools
02/27/2017
Michigan State University - New Educator - Dorinda Carter Andrews, Terah T. Venzant Chambers, & Chezare A. Warren

Dorinda Carter Andrews, Terah T. Venzant Chambers, and Chezare A. Warren share how schools can create an inclusive culture. “Here, we offer a few key strategies and resources for school leaders and teachers as they model civility and promote equity and inclusion in schools. This is not intended to be a comprehensive list of ‘what educators should do to counter hate in schools.’ However, because our children our watching, there are immediate steps that should be taken.”

Putting growth closer to the center of Ohio's overall school grading formula
02/24/2017
Thomas B. Fordham Institute - Aaron Churchill

Aaron Churchill looks at how Ohio schools report on performance. “There is no one scientifically correct way to determine school grading weights. It will ultimately come down to judgments on issues of what we prioritize and value, how technically sound an indicator is (all measures have their challenges, including, yes, value added), how we think certain measures will affect behavior, and how we think about fairness to schools and to students.”

New 9-minute Documentary on Threatened School Closings in Michigan
02/22/2017
We the People of Detroit - Community Research Collective

We the People of Detroit’s Community Research Collective has produced a short documentary that examines the causes and effects of school closings in Detroit.

The Decline of Accountability
02/22/2017
Curmudgucation - Peter Greene

Peter Greene discusses the policy movement regarding accountability in the Trump/DeVos era. “Accountability matters. We'll just have to see how completely reformsters will stop caring about it now that they are sitting in the driver's seat as the new status quo.”

Study: Weakening Tenure in Louisiana May Have Caused Thousands of Teachers to Quit
02/22/2017
The 74 - Matt Barnum

Matt Barnum reports on a new research brief on teacher tenure and teacher exits in Louisiana. “The research gives credence to concerns that limiting teacher job protections can make the job less appealing and increase teacher attrition.”

How do states integrate performance assessments into their systems of assessment?
02/22/2017
Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE) - Elizabeth Leisy Stosich, Jon D. Snyder, & Katherine L. Wilczak

Elizabeth Leisy Stosich, Jon D. Snyder, and Katherine L. Wilczak completed a research brief on performance assessments. “In a 2017 study, Stosich, Snyder & Wilczak investigated the policies and capacity building efforts of 12 states to identify the strategies used to integrate performance assessment into state systems of assessment.”

Michigan shuts down bad schools. Leading states build them up.
02/21/2017
Bridge Magazine - Chastity Pratt Dawsey

Chastity Pratt Dawsey investigates the threatened closure of 38 schools in Michigan. “Researchers across the country say Michigan’s school accountability law is in a class all its own. They note that no other state requires the closure each year of its lowest-performing public schools. To the contrary, higher-performing states focus instead on first trying to take concrete steps to improve failing schools by replacing school leaders or adopting other strong measures.”

200 Million Test Scores and What Do We Know? Income, Race, and the Geography of Educational Opportunity in the U.S.
02/20/2017
Partnering in Education Research (PIER) - Center for Education Policy Research (CEPR) - Harvard University

Sean Reardon, Professor of Poverty and Inequality in Education and Professor of Sociology at Stanford University, will explore academic performance and racial/ethnic achievement gaps in a public seminar series on Monday, February 27, 2017. The event will be held at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. It will be live streamed. “Professor Reardon's research focuses on the causes, patterns, trends, and consequences of social and educational inequality, the effects of educational policy on educational and social inequality, and in applied statistical methods for educational research.”

We Have to Say More About Teacher Evaluation Reforms Than Just 'They Didn't Work'
02/16/2017
Education Next - Chad Aldeman

Chad Aldeman discusses the failure of contemporary teacher evaluation systems. He focuses on what states could learn from the last eight years. He concludes, “Rather than discarding this era and moving on, as states and advocates seem won't to do, we should learn from this massive effort: what worked and what didn’t work and why.”

Investigation: Charter school leaders, founders linked to controversial Turkish cleric
02/16/2017
NorthJersey.com - Jean Rimbach, Jeff Pillets, and Hannan Adely

Jean Rimbach, Jeff Pillets, and Hannan Adely investigate the impact of a Turkish cleric on New Jersey charter schools. “[A]n investigation by The Record and NorthJersey.com shows that some founders and leaders of the schools  have close ties to the movement of Fethullah Gulen, the controversial Islamic cleric accused of working to overthrow the government in his native Turkey last summer.”

New CEP Common Core Reports
02/15/2017
Center on Education Policy (CEP) - Diane Stark Rentner, Mathew Frizzell, Nancy Kober, and Maria Ferguson

The Center on Education Policy (CEP) released two new reports this week on state standards and assessments. The first, ‘District Leadership in the New Era of Assessment,’ looked at school district leaders in 42 Common Core-adopting states. The other, ‘What Do Teachers and District Leaders Feel about State Standards and Assessments?,’ is part of a three report summary on leaders’ and teachers' views on the standards.

Imagine a World With an ESSA Statute - But No Accountability Regulations
02/14/2017
Education Week - Andrew Ujifusa

Andrew Ujifusa writes about the possible end of federal accountability rules under ESSA. “Without regulations, state and local officials will just have to show they're meeting the statute, a much lower legal burden than if they had to meet the more specific elements of regulations from the Education Department.”

Report from Indiana University center examines state education funding
02/13/2017
Center for Evaluation & Education Policy (CEEP) - Indiana University

The Center for Evaluation & Education Policy (CEEP) at Indiana University released a new report this week to help guide Indiana legislators during their budget development process. The report was commissioned by the Indiana State Board of Education. There were four key findings: “(1) enrollment is projected to decline modestly in the state's public schools in 2017, compared to 2009, with larger declines in traditional public schools than in charter schools; (2) the state's public school corporations experienced substantial changes in state funding between 2009 and 2017; (3) state funding for school operations is projected to increase through July 2017; however, the increases, when adjusted for inflation, are not sufficient to fully restore funding to pre-2009 levels; and (4) the current funding-formula policy improved equity throughout the study period. Projections indicate that high levels of equity will be achieved in 2017. Equity in funding looks at whether school corporations serving similar types of students (in terms of student income) receive similar funding.”

Not Getting Enough Sleep? Tired Teachers Aren't Usually the Best Teachers
02/13/2017
NEA Today - Dave Stuart, Jr.

Dave Stuart, Jr. discusses the impact of sleep on teachers. “Unfortunately, individual educators can’t do much to make sure their students sleep enough at night, although districts across the country have been devising new policies – including later start times, even nap clubs – to bring schools more in sync with teen sleep patterns. What we can do is pay attention to our own sleep lives. This, it turns out, is something teachers tend to be bad at  – especially early career educators. Too often, in an effort to “get it all done,” teachers stay up late and wake up early, operating on increasingly worsening sleep deficits and calling it a strong work ethic.”

Distortion in A-F Accountability Scales
02/08/2017
Green & Write - Education Policy Research Insights - David Casalaspi

David Casalaspi provides an overview of A-F report cards. He concludes, “An A-F grading system might be appealing for its simplicity, but it also risks painting with too broad a brush, and policymakers will therefore have to be cautious.”

Addressing California's Growing Teacher Shortage: 2017 Update
02/08/2017
Learning Policy Institute - Desiree Carver-Thomas & Linda Darling-Hammond

Desiree Carver-Thomas & Linda Darling-Hammond update a January 2016 report on teacher shortages in California. “While the state has made initial investments in increasing the supply of well-prepared teachers, these investments will take time to yield qualified educators. More action is needed to ensure a robust, well-prepared teacher workforce now and into the future.”

Do For-Profit Managers Spend Less on Schools and Instruction? A National Analysis of Charter School Staffing Expenditures
02/07/2017
Educational Policy - Mark Weber & Bruce Baker

Mark Weber and Bruce Baker look at “school site expenditures to evaluate spending variations between traditional district operated schools and charter schools operated by for-profit versus nonprofit management firms.” Their study found that charters spend less per pupil on instructional salaries compared with public school districts. Additionally, Weber and Baker find that for-profit charters spend less on instructional salaries than nonprofits.

House Votes to Overturn ESSA Accountability, Teacher-Prep Rules
02/07/2017
Education Week - Politics K-12 - Andrew Ujifusa

Andrew Ujifusa covers an action by the U.S. House of Representatives to overturn key provisions of accountability and teacher-prep policies under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Moody's: Closures may hit Michigan school districts financially
02/06/2017
Free Press - Lori Higgins

Lori Higgins writes about the impact of proposed school closings on the finances of Michigan school districts. According to a report from Moody’s Investors Services: "The school closing process adds unpredictability to an already volatile sector and is credit negative for the affected districts because it makes budgeting for operations challenging and threatens revenues.”

See How States Plan to Approach Equity
02/02/2017
Education Week - Politics K-12 - Alyson Klein

Alyson Klein discusses how state education chiefs plan to improve equity for all students under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) released a list of recommendations. “The recommendations are the culmination of months of work by state chiefs, district leaders, civil rights advocates, and others. They outline 10 areas state leaders can focus on to champion equity, including more specific steps within each of those buckets. State leaders may not decide to push on all 10 of these areas at once—instead they may decide to pick two or three to focus on initially.”

TN teachers' job satisfaction linked to performance scores
02/01/2017
Vanderbilt University - Research News - Joan Brasher

Joan Brasher reports on recent evidence on the relationship between teacher performance ratings and teacher job satisfaction. Researchers found that higher ratings under Tennessee’s new teacher evaluation system causally improved teachers’ perceptions of work relative to lower ratings. “In a full report of the study’s findings, published by American Educational Research Journal, the researchers say there could be several reasons that teacher evaluation scores affect job satisfaction.”

The Gap Within the Gap: Using Longitudinal Data to Understand Income Differences in Educational Outcomes
02/01/2017
AERA Open - Katharine Michelmore & Susan Dynarski

Katharine Michelmore and Susan Dynarski discuss a new measure of economic disadvantage. “Survey data show that the number of years that a child will spend eligible for subsidized lunch is negatively correlated with her or his current household income. Years eligible for subsidized meals can therefore be used as a reasonable proxy for income. Our proposed measure can be used to estimate heterogeneous effects in program evaluations, to improve value-added calculations, and to better target resources.”

School choice shouldn't take away our neighborhood schools
01/31/2017
The Hechinger Report - Andre Perry

Andre Perry writes about schools in New Orleans, where the five remaining public schools will become charters. “New Orleans knows too well how to learn in segregated, independent schools. But of all the systems New Orleans should try to make successful, neighborhood schools is the one we’ve never had.”

How are middle school climate and academic performance related across schools and over time?
01/31/2017
WestEd - Adam Voight and Thomas Hanson

This study, using grade 7 student data from California middle schools, explored the relationship between school climate and academic performance. Key findings include: “(1) middle schools with higher levels of positive student-reported school climate exhibited higher levels of academic performance; (2) increases in a school’s level of positive student-reported school climate were associated with simultaneous increases in that school’s academic achievement; and (3) within-school increases in academic achievement associated with school climate increases were substantially smaller than the academic performance differences across schools with different school climate levels.”

The Every Student Succeeds Act: A 101 Guide
01/31/2017
American Enterprise Institute - Frederick M. Hess and Max Eden

Rick Hess and Max Eden introduce a series of briefs on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). “The goal of these briefs is to introduce ESSA’s broad contours, not to provide comprehensive explanations of the law’s intricacies and ramifications. For the latter, readers will be better served by consulting the full volume.” Authors included in the series include: Patrick J. McGuinn, Jeffrey R. Henig, David M. Houston, Melissa Arnold Lyon, Charles Barone, Martin R. West, Chad Aldeman, and Arnold F. Shober.

Trump's $20 billion school choice plan likely to leave details to the states
01/25/2017
Thomas B. Fordham - Flypaper - Michael J. Petrilli

Mike Petrilli discusses National School Choice Week and forecasts what is likely to happen in the Trump/DeVos era. “Word on the street is that Trump’s advisors are considering some form of a proposal floated last year by Senator Marco Rubio and Congressman Todd Rokita. It would offer individuals and/or corporations a federal tax credit if they donated to scholarship (i.e., voucher) programs in states with their own tax credit initiatives.”

We Live Here: A neighborhood school on the brink of closure
01/25/2017
Michigan Radio - State of Opportunity - Jennifer Guerra

Jennifer Guerra, Michigan Radio, discusses the impact of school closings on neighborhoods. She focuses on Noble Elementary-Middle School in Detroit’s Littlefield neighborhood. “When a school closes, property values go down, crime often goes up, and families move out. Drive around some of those neighborhoods and you see a lot of emptiness. That's a fate Harris and others in the Littlefield neighborhood are hoping to avoid. How did Detroit end up with so many closed schools and emptied out neighborhoods? Find out in part two of our State of Opportunity documentary, We Live Here.”

New Reports Reveal The Big Charter School 'Accountability' Lie
01/24/2017
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant tackles school choice, charter schools, and accountability. “Based on how charter schools operate in states like Florida – Arizona, Ohio, and Pennsylvania also come to mind – and on how Betsy DeVos provided regulatory loopholes for charters in Michigan, there is no reason to believe her claim to support accountability and no reason to believe the charter industry will use her tenure to advance accountability measures.”

What does it really cost to educate students? Let's take another stab at figuring it out.
01/23/2017
Bridge Michigan - Gilda Jacobs & Rob Fowler

Gilda Jacobs, Michigan League for Public Policy, and Rob Fowler, Small Business Association of Michigan, discuss a new effort launched to change the way schools are funded in Michigan. A collaborative, the School Finance Research Collaborative, will create a road map to improve opportunities for Michigan schools. “The collaborative’s report will use multiple proven and established methods to measure school funding adequacy. At the end of this process, we will deliver those findings to Michigan policymakers, stakeholders and taxpayers.”

Charter schools don't serve black children well
01/23/2017
Kappan Online - Joan Richardson

Joan Richardson, Phi Delta Kappan, interviews Julian Vasquez Heilig, Sacramento State University. According to Heilig, “We’ve done a terrible job of talking about why charter schools privately controlling public money is becoming more problematic. The core of the conversation is this: If we don’t pay attention to the democratic control of our schools, democracy could not only die in our schools, democracy could die in our communities.”

Charter schools are not the answer for Kentucky
01/23/2017
Cincinnati.com - Stephanie Winkler

Stephanie Winkler, president of the Kentucky Education Association, writes about charter schools in Kentucky. Kentucky is one of a handful of states that do not have charter schools. She says, “The biggest lie about charter schools is that competition for public dollars will improve education for everyone. But increasing competition is a business principle, not an education policy. What charter schools really do is divert taxpayer money – which is already insufficient – away from your community’s existing public schools and gives that money to private individuals to start their own businesses.”

Does Money Matter in Education? Bruce Baker's New Report Says Yes
01/23/2017
Education Law Prof Blog - Derek Black

Derek Black, Professor of Law at the University of South Carolina School of Law, examines Bruce Baker’s 2012 report on the effects of school funding. Black shares a snippet of an updated report Baker recently released: “He boils the research on those points down to this: ‘While there may in fact be better and more efficient ways to leverage the education dollar toward improved student outcomes, we do know the following: [1] Many of the ways in which schools currently spend money do improve student outcomes; [2] When schools have more money, they have greater opportunity to spend productively. When they don’t, they can’t; [3] Arguments that across-the-board budget cuts will not hurt outcomes are completely unfounded.’” He quotes Baker, “In short, money matters, resources that cost money matter, and a more equitable distribution of school funding can improve outcomes. Policymakers would be well-advised to rely on high-quality research to guide the critical choices they make regarding school finance.”

Are Expectations Alone Enough? Estimating the Effect of a Mandatory College-Prep Curriculum in Michigan
01/20/2017
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis - Brian Jacob, Susan Dynarski, Kenneth Frank, and Barbara Schneider

Brian Jacob, Susan Dynarski, Kenneth Frank, and Barbara Schneider examine the impact of the Michigan Merit Curriculum on the class of 2011 and later. “Our analyses suggest that the higher expectations embodied in the MMC had slight impact on student outcomes. Looking at student performance in the ACT, the only clear evidence of a change in academic performance comes in science.”

Billions in School Improvement Spending But Not Much Student Improvement
01/19/2017
Education Week - Inside School Research - Sarah D. Sparks

Sarah Sparks writes about a new study from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), which released its final evaluation of the School Improvement Grants (SIG) program. Sparks’ blog quotes Lisa Dragoset, Mathematica Policy Research, ”Overall, we didn't find evidence that schools implementing SIG-funded models significantly changed student outcomes more or less than other similar low-performing schools.”

Why the Proficiency-Versus-Growth Debate Matters for Assessing School Performance
01/19/2017
Education Next - Matthew M. Chingos

Matt Chingos discusses the difference between proficiency and growth for assessing school performance. He writes, “The Every Student Succeeds Act, NCLB’s successor, provides states with much greater discretion in how they measure school performance, including in the relative importance assigned to proficiency versus growth measures. The evidence makes clear that growth measures should receive significant weight if schools are to be judged based on how well they serve students rather than on which students they serve.”

So-called 'right-to-work' laws will lower wages for union and nonunion workers in Missouri
01/19/2017
Economic Policy Institute - Working Economics Blog - Ross Eisenbrey

Ross Eisenbrey discusses potential “right to work” legislation in Missouri. “These bills won’t lead to more manufacturing plants or better jobs or anything good. They lead only to weaker unions, less bargaining power for Missouri workers, and lower wages.”

LFA Groups Express Concerns on DeVos Nomination
01/18/2017
Learning First Alliance - Joetta Sack-Min

“A coalition of more than 30 national education groups, including six Learning First Alliance members, is urging the U.S. Senate to thoroughly investigate Betsy DeVos' nomination to become the next U.S. Secretary of Education. The groups circulated a letter to members of the Senate HELP Committee in advance of DeVos' confirmation hearing this evening.”

Barnum: The Growth vs. Proficiency Debate and Why Al Franken Raised a Boring but Critical Issue
01/18/2017
The 74 Million - Matt Barnum

Matt Barnum discusses the student growth versus proficiency debate. The discussion is relevant because of Sen. Al Franken’s questioning of Betsy DeVos during her confirmation hearing. “In short, studies suggest that achievement growth measures better capture the effect of schools and avoid the negative side effects of proficiency. Proficiency can provide important information about how students are performing — but very little about how schools are doing.”

Inside 'The View From Room 205': A Q&A with Reporter Linda Lutton
01/18/2017
Chicago Tonight - Matt Masterson

Matt Masterson writes about WBEZ reporter Linda Lutton’s up close view of poverty in American education. Lawton spent a year in one of Chicago’s poorest schools. “The hourlong radio story focuses on ‘some little kids and a big idea,’ namely that schools can help students achieve the American dream regardless of their backgrounds. That students living in poverty can overcome the litany of obstacles – violence, hunger, a lack of school resources – they face each day as long as they work hard in class.”

Five key trends in U.S. student performance
01/12/2017
Economic Policy Institute - Martin Carnoy and Emma García

Martin Carnoy and Emma García look at trends in the influence of race/ethnicity, social class, and gender on students’ academic performance in the United States. “We use individual student microdata gathered from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) to estimate the math and reading performance of students in the fourth and eighth grades from 2003 to 2013, and the math performance of eighth-graders from 1996 to 2013.”

Charter Schools and Democratic Accountability
01/12/2017
National Association of State Boards of Education - The State Education Standard - Jeffrey R. Henig

Jeff Henig, writing for the State Education Standard (NASBE), discusses the need to define the public nature of charter schools. Henig’s piece is part of a special edition on charter schools, the landscape and the horizon. Other authors in the series include: Bryan Hassel, Robin Lake, Andy Smarick, Nelson Smith, Rick Kahlenberg, Halley Potter, and Samuel Henry. Henig says, “The hybrid nature of charter schools— which occupy a nebulous space between the private and public sectors—accounts for much of their appeal. On the one hand, charters are intended to act more like private businesses, innovating and responding to parents’ demands lest they lose their student ‘customers’ and the governmental financial support that follows the students. On the other hand, charters were meant to be public institutions, open to all and accountable for meeting public needs as articulated through democratic processes.”

Will Betsy DeVos Restart The 'Education Wars'?
01/12/2017
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant wonders if the nomination of Betsy DeVos will reignite long simmering disputes about public education in the United States. “This strong opposition to the DeVos nomination from Democrats indicates that if Weingarten is right, that the education wars are returning, the conflict will be different from the past. This time the lines dividing political parties won’t be blurred, and Democrats will know whose side they should be on.”

Betsy DeVos: Dangerous for Students and the Promise of Public Education
01/11/2017
NEA Today - John Rosales

John Rosales discusses the nomination of Betsy DeVos for secretary of education. “With no experience as an educator or elected official, and despite a decades-long record of undermining public schools by promoting taxpayer-funded vouchers for private and religious schools, lobbyist and Republican donor Betsy DeVos could become the next secretary of education.”

Why the racist history of school vouchers matters today
01/10/2017
Think Progress - Casey Quinlan

Casey Quinlan explores the racist history of school vouchers. She interviews Erica Frankenberg who said, “In addition to creating incentives for advantaged families to leave public schools, school choice programs don’t provide enough money to truly benefit low-income families, because the private school tuition is often much higher than what is offered through vouchers.”

A disturbing look at how charter schools are hurting a traditional school district
01/09/2017
The Washington Post - Answer Sheet - Carol Burris

Carol Burris tells the story of Bethlehem, PA. The piece serves as a cautionary tale of the impact of charter schools in one school district in Pennsylvania. Burris says, “America must choose either a patchwork of online schools and charters with profiteers on the prowl, or a transparent community public school system run by citizens elected by their neighbors. A dual school system with the private taking funding from the public, simply cannot survive.”

Understanding Teacher Morale
01/05/2017
Metropolitan Educational Research Consortium

The Metropolitan Educational Research Consortium (MERC) at Virginia Commonwealth University studied the impact of teacher satisfaction in seven school districts. “The report shares both the process and the findings of this collaborative research effort. This research project was also designed to support action by local policy makers, school division leaders, central office personnel, principals, and teachers.”

In Milwaukee, school vouchers have helped many private schools to fail
01/04/2017
London School of Economics - Michael R. Ford

Michael Ford, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, discusses the effectiveness of school vouchers. His research found: “more than 40 percent of schools which received school voucher revenues now no longer exist. He writes that this high voucher school failure rate is down to the design of the scheme itself. Educational entrepreneurship and school failure, it seems, are two sides of the same coin.”

Why Michigan Doesn't Have School Vouchers and Probably Never Will
01/04/2017
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Arianna Prothero

Arianna Prothero writes about school choice in Michigan and the impact of Blaine Amendments. She writes that vouchers in Michigan are unlikely, because Michigan’s Blaine Amendment is the most restrictive in the country. She says that, “Michigan's Blaine Amendment expressly prohibits even ‘indirect’ funding of private schools, whether through ‘payment, credit, tax benefit, exemptions or deductions, tuition voucher, subsidy, grant or loan.’”

Does Money Matter in the Long Run? Effects of School Spending on Educational Attainment
01/03/2017
American Economic Journal - Joshua Hyman

In a forthcoming journal, Joshua Hyman, University of Connecticut, studied the long-run effects of increases in education expenditures on educational attainment in Michigan after Proposal A. He finds that increases in spending lowered class sizes, raised teacher salaries, and reduced the student to administrator ratio. Additionally, “Students exposed to $1,000 (10 percent) more spending were 3 percentage points (7 percent) more likely to enroll in college and 2.3 percentage points (11 percent) more likely to earn a postsecondary degree.” This article preview is only available for American Economic Association members.

Thoughts on Junk Indicators, School Rating Systems & Accountability
01/02/2017
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker looks at the use, misuse, and abuse of student growth metrics for evaluating teachers and for imposing employment consequences based on those metrics. He reminds his readers, “Measures are only useful to the extent that they measure what we intend them to measure and that we use those measures appropriately based on their design and intent.”

Teachers Are Stressed, And That Should Stress Us All
12/30/2016
NPR Ed - Morning Edition - Corey Turner

Corey Turner, NPR, covers a recent report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that studied teacher stress and health. The report found that, “Teaching is one of the most stressful occupations in the country, but introducing organizational and individual interventions can help minimize the negative effects of teacher stress.”

Op-ed: Indiana fails test on teacher bonuses
12/28/2016
Lafayette Journal & Courier - Dale Glenn

Dale Glenn, a former principal and an adjunct professor at Indiana University, writes about Indiana’s merit pay system: “In effect, it undermined the poorer districts and gave to the wealthy, shattering inner-city morale and contributing to a teacher shortage.”

Indiana's vouchers wow GOP
12/27/2016
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette - Emma Brown & Mandy McLaren

Emma Brown and Mandy McLaren, Washington Post, discuss Indiana’s school voucher program: “The voucher program, one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing, serves more than 32,000 children and provides an early glimpse of what education policy could look like in Donald Trump’s presidency.”

'Kingdom Gain' Through School Vouchers: It's Already Working
12/26/2016
Jersey Jazzman - Mark Weber

Mark Weber discusses school vouchers, wealthy Christians, the [Betsy] DeVos family, the idea that competition will improve schools, and a whole host of important topics in his most recent blog. He concludes, “If DeVos, or Pence, or Trump, try to weasel their way out of acknowledging this reality over the next several months, they should be called out on it -- hard. The plain truth is that Betsy DeVos's beloved school vouchers are going to get her exactly what she wants: "Kingdom gain" at the expense of the American taxpayer.”

Four Ways Teachers Can Reduce Implicit Bias
12/22/2016
Huffington Post - Jill Suttie

Jill Suttie discusses implicit bias in American schools. She lists four ways that teachers can reduce bias in their classrooms: (1) cultivate awareness of biases; (2) work to increase empathy and empathic communication; (3) practice mindfulness and loving-kindness; and (4) develop cross-group friendships in their own lives.

Three Important Details When Discussing School Segregation
12/16/2016
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matthew Di Carlo pushes his readers to look at school segregation through three lenses. “Segregation within districts is of particular note in that most legal and policy efforts to desegregate schools concentrate within districts. Yet, to the degree segregation reflects and perpetuates inequality of opportunity, and insofar as such inequality can be just as, if not more, pronounced between as it is within districts, integration within a given district, while positive and important, may be only part of the story.”

School Choice Won't Save Education
12/15/2016
Curmudgucation - Peter Greene

Peter Green discusses the pro-choice [school] argument from David S. D’amato. “I appreciate D'amato laying out this pro-choice argument in clear, straightforward terms, providing me with the chance to lay out in similar terms why I think he's mostly wrong. If I were willing to try my readers' patience, we could get into the parts of his argument that even pro-choicers disagree with, but I think this is enough thumb damage for smartphone based readers in one day.”

NAACP President Says Charter School Growth Weakens Public School System
12/14/2016
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Lesli A. Maxwell

Lesli A. Maxwell writes about the NAACP moratorium on new charters. “It wants greater transparency and accountability for charter schools. Similar concerns have been raised by the Movement for Black Lives, a coalition of civil rights activists that includes Black Lives Matter.”

Will DeVos Learn From Detroit's School Choice Mistakes?
12/14/2016
CRPE - Robin Lake

Robin Lake, Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE), discusses ways in which Betsy DeVos, Trump's nominee for secretary of education, has helped create the wild west for schools, the unregulated charter school environment in Michigan. “The uncomfortable truth is, things are both better and worse in the Motor City as a result of school choice. Ms. DeVos and her advisors will be ineffective in supporting choice if they fail to recognize and learn from Detroit’s failures. Choice proponents should know better than anyone that markets, especially those serving disadvantaged and inexperienced customers, don’t function without good information and big investments in new capacity.”

The reason America's schools are so segregated - and the only way to fix it
12/14/2016
Washington Post - Answer Sheet - Richard Rothstein

Richard Rothstein looks at new bill introduced by the New York City Council to study racial segregation in public schools. “School segregation is primarily a problem of neighborhoods, not schools. Schools are segregated because the neighborhoods in which they are located are segregated. Some school segregation can be ameliorated by adjusting school attendance boundaries or controlling school choice, but these devices are limited and mostly inapplicable to elementary school children, for whom long travel to school is neither feasible nor desirable.”

The Charter School Company Store
12/12/2016
School Finance 101 - Bruce D. Baker

Bruce Baker discusses “various methods by which charter school operators work largely within existing policy constraints, to achieve financial gain.” He also sheds light on arrangements between ‘graduate’ schools and alternative teacher preparation providers that allow charters to funnel public money to private organizations. “So, I know many will say, what’s the big deal? Relay affiliated charter schools are (at least perceived as) highly successful and their success reliant on strict adherence to their specific pedagogy. So why not grow their own/train their own teachers?”

The Education of Barack Obama
12/12/2016
The Nation - Dana Goldstein

Dana Goldstein investigates president Obama’s education legacy. “Only recently has the president focused on progressive issues like school funding and desegregation. Don’t expect Trump to do the same.”

Is School Segregation Getting Worse? By Some Measures, No - but It's Not Getting Any Better
12/11/2016
The 74 - Matt Barnum

Matt Barnum discusses school segregation and how integration can help students. “Most troubling is the rise of income segregation. No matter how we slice the data, low-income students are increasingly likely to be isolated in schools, which research overwhelmingly finds has a deleterious effect on their academic progress.”

Dangers to public education mount
12/10/2016
Rutland Herald - Opinion - William J. Mathis

Bill Mathis, managing director of the National Education Policy Center and a member of the Vermont Education Board, discusses upcoming challenges facing public education.

Equity and ESSA: New Report Describes How States, Districts, and Schools Can Use the New Law to Close the Opportunity Gap for Underserved Youth
12/07/2016
Learning Policy Institute

The Learning Policy Institute (LPI) released a report this week on the equity aspects of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). “This report can help states develop thoughtful plans that focus on improving educational quality and equity.”

EdNext Podcast: School Suspensions and Teacher Race
12/07/2016
Education Next - Marty West

Marty West, Constance Lindsay, and Cassandra Hart investigate teacher race and school discipline. They discuss a recent paper published by EdNext by Lindsay and Hart: “We find consistent evidence that North Carolina students are less likely to be removed from school as punishment when they and their teachers are the same race. This effect is driven almost entirely by black students, especially black boys, who are markedly less likely to be subjected to exclusionary discipline when taught by black teachers. There is little evidence of any benefit for white students of being matched with white teachers.”

A principled federal role in PreK-12 education
12/07/2016
Brookings - Douglas Harris, Helen F. Ladd, Marshall S. Smith, and Martin R. West

Douglas Harris, Helen F. Ladd, Marshall S. Smith, and Martin R. West will discuss Donald Trump’s victory in 2016 and the federal government’s role in society through a series of memos for the Brookings Institution. “In order to provide concrete and constructive recommendations based on [these] principles, the Brown Center invited a diverse roster of experts of contribute memos on specific issues in education that are likely to face the new Trump administration. These memos will be released serially on the Brown Center Chalkboard over the coming weeks.”

Top 10 in 10: Overview of Michigan's 10 in 10 Strategic Plan
12/06/2016
Michigan Department of Education - Norma Jean Sass

Michigan’s Department of Education has released an updated strategic plan: “It’s Michigan’s strategic plan to become a top 10 education state in the next 10 years.”

Five Questions You Should Ask about Secretary of Education Nominee Betsy DeVos
12/06/2016
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig  provides five questions that we should be asking about Donald Trump’s education nominee, Betsy DeVos: “(1) Is Betsy DeVos qualified for Secretary of Education?; (3) What is Betsy DeVos’ ideology?; (4) Do Republican and Democrat education ‘reformers’ both support Trump and DeVos?; and (5) So what should the progressive education agenda be in this new Trump era?”

Charter school practices in Michigan similar to public schools
12/01/2016
University of Michigan - Education Policy Institute - Julie Monteiro de Castro

“A new study by the University of Michigan's Education Policy Initiative shows Michigan's charter schools follow similar practices as the traditional public schools that their students would otherwise attend.” The study, completed by U-M researchers Susan Dynarski, Brian Jacob, and Mahima Mahadevan, measured different approaches taken by charters and traditional public schools in Michigan.

What cyber charter schools are and why their growth should worry us
11/30/2016
The Conversation - Bryan Mann & David Baker

Bryan Mann & David Baker, Penn State University, investigated cyber charter schools. They said, “Our research, along with a body of academic work, suggests that the public should be concerned about an expansion of the cyber charter schooling model.”

Exploring the consequences of charter school expansion in U.S. cities
11/30/2016
Economic Policy Institute - Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker, Rutgers University, studied charter school expansion for the Economic Policy Institute. He found the following effects of charter school expansion: (1) District schools are surviving, but under increased stress; (2) Charter expansion is not driven by well-known, high-profile operators; and (3) Charter schools are expanding in predominantly low-income, predominantly minority urban settings. Baker’s report includes recommendations for policymakers thinking about improving charter school laws.

Supportive But Not Supported: School District Leaders' Opinions on Implementing the Common Core State Standards
11/29/2016
American Enterprise Institute - Nat Malkus & Jenn Hatfield

Nat Malkus and Jenn Hatfield, American Enterprise Institute, surveyed school district leaders who had attempted to implement CCSS. Their findings include: (1) Common Core brought major changes in other areas, including assessments, instruction, as well as curriculum; (2) Common Core was implemented along with other major reforms, and some districts reported four or more implementation efforts; and (3) school district leaders favored the new standards, but felt unsupported.

Pushing Back Against Teacher Attrition
11/29/2016
Teachers College Record - Rachel Klein

Rachel Klein, a consultant for the New York City Department of Education, draws on induction programs for insight into what helps novice teachers navigate the first few years of teaching. She says, “Teaching is complex, challenging, and exceedingly overwhelming as a novice. But we know from those doing the work that mentorship eases the challenges and supports new teachers in becoming effective and confident.”

For unions in Wisconsin, a fast and hard fall since Act 10
11/27/2016
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Dave Umhoefer

Dave Umhoefer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, studied the impact of Act 10 on unions in Wisconsin. His team found, “Nationally, no state has lost more of its labor union identity since 2011, a Journal Sentinel analysis found.”

New study shows variety in teachers' influences on kids' futures, and how poorly we measure that
11/21/2016
The Hechinger Report - Meredith Kolodner

Meredith Kolodner summarizes recent research from Matthew Kraft and David Blazar. “Most teachers know from their own experience that running a successful classroom requires a number of different skills, including managing class activities, exercising discipline, keeping students engaged and teaching content to what is often a wide range of learners. Kraft and Blazar’s study gives some empirical evidence that these skills are distinct, and that teachers who master one of them don’t necessarily master the rest.”

What the Best School Districts Do Right: Four lessons for better district-school coherence
11/21/2016
Education Week - Susan Moore Johnson

Susan Moore Johnson, Harvard University, studied school management approaches in five large urban school districts. Her team found that: (1) Principals are central to establishing and maintaining coherence; (2) Centralized policies and practices succeed when they are continuously informed by those inside the school; (3) Coherence in school management requires the knowledge and expertise of leaders at all levels of the system; and (4) Achieving coherence depends on trust.

Real Teacher Accountability
11/20/2016
Curmudgucation - Peter Greene

Peter Greene discusses his own version of teacher accountability - how teachers can (and do) hold themselves accountable to their communities. “But the best accountability system for educators is still a strong relationship with the school community. It may not serve many needs of bureaucrats or policy wonks, but it serves the needs of the school, the community and the students. Build a formal digitized number-spewing accountability system if you must, but if relationships are not at its heart, you'll end up with nothing but empty, useless, meaningless faux data.”

How Workable is Trump's $20 Billion School Choice Proposal?
11/17/2016
Education Week - Politics K-12 - Alyson Klein

Alyson Klein reports on Donald Trump’s $20 billion voucher promise: "Trump said during the campaign that he'd like to use existing federal funds to support his big school choice program, even though he didn't say, specifically what pot of money he was referring to. The department's current budget is about $70 billion, with roughly $15.5 billion going to Title I grants for districts, and $12 billion going to state grants for special education."

New Evidence On Teaching Quality And The Achievement Gap
11/17/2016
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matt Di Carlo discusses the ‘so-called ‘achievement gap’” and how it has persisted for generations. His blog focuses on a recent Mathematica Policy Research study that investigated the measurable differences in access to effective teaching in 26 districts. “So, to reiterate, this study does not support the idea that simply equalizing test-based effectiveness between teachers of higher and lower income students, within or between these 26 districts, would have a large aggregate impact insofar as access is already pretty much equal, on the whole. This also means that moving ‘effective’ teachers to higher poverty schools could actually create ‘reverse’ Effective Teaching Gaps.”

What does the 2016 election mean for public schools?
11/16/2016
Learning First Alliance - Richard M. Long

Richard Long discusses upcoming challenges that public schools face after 2016. "We as educators and advocates must now come together to protect the immediate safety and well-being of our schoolchildren as well as their prospects for future success. Their lives are at stake."

Trump's School Choice Expansion Plan May Face Uphill Battle
11/16/2016
NY Times - Associated Press

This NY Times/AP article summarizes potential school choice initiatives that could be implemented by the Trump administration. "Education observers said there are other ways to push that agenda, including tax incentives to move children from public to private schools or a Race to the Top-style grant program in which states are encouraged to adopt choice-friendly policies in exchange for funds."

Educators Brace for Trump
11/15/2016
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig covers potential policy changes faced by educators in the next administration. "The Wall Street Journal recently reported on what Trump has in mind for education. In fact, Donald Trump has promised a bill in the first 100 days."

Filling the Dozen Top Jobs in Trump's Department of Education
11/15/2016
Education Next - Fredrick Hess

Rick Hess discusses the future of the Department of Education and who will be part of the new administration. "I’ll be clear: I don't know who will populate the Trump administration's Department of Education. I do have a few thoughts on some of the folks I'd like to see in the mix, though—and I figured I’d share them with you, if only so that fewer folks feel obliged to inquire. Please understand that this isn’t an exhaustive, careful, or complete list."

Pence, Trump, and the Ed Reform Agenda
11/10/2016
Education Next - Paul E. Peterson

Paul Peterson writes about the education reform agenda under the Trump/Pence administration. “The Obama Administration’s propensity to legislate “by pen and phone” will give Trump many opportunities to change direction quickly. Letters from the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights to school district officials, warning them that the prosecutorial weight of the federal government will be employed if they do not justify disparities in discipline rates and resources across racial and ethnic lines, will be withdrawn or simply ignored.”

What Crazy Will Trump and the Republicans Deliver?
11/09/2016
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig reacts to the election of Donal Trump: “I really need to hear from my elders… How did they feel when Nixon was elected? How did they prepare their community for what was coming? When I finish this post I am going to call my grandmother immediately. I’d also like to hear from Gary Orfield, Mike Kirst, Diane Ravitch, Linda Darling-Hammond, Angela Valenzuela and other elders whose wisdom we need at such a time as this. We really should set up a series of lectures and convenings to prepare our heart and minds for the next four years. I suspect the Trump presidency will challenge our notions of a civil and just nation and test the strength of our democracy.”

'I'm Going to Reassure Them That They Are Safe': Talking to Students After the Election
11/09/2016
NEA Today - Cindy Long

Cindy Long discusses the election results and how educators can talk to students about the election of Donald Trump. “Stories are flooding social media from parents whose children are afraid of what the 2016 presidential election results might mean. One boy with Autism was crying because he saw Trump mocking a disabled person. A teenager who is gay is afraid of what he will do to the LGBT community. Muslim students are asking if they’re going to be safe; Latino students are asking if they will be deported.”

Massachusetts Voters Say No to Raising State Cap on Charter Schools
11/08/2016
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Arianna Prothero

Arianna Prothero writes about the election results in Massachusetts, where voters rejected a bid to raise the cap on the number of charter schools allowed to open in the state. “The ballot question to expand the presence of charters in the state had drawn national attention: political heavy-weights such as U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and billionaire and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg weighed in on the initiative, and millions have poured in from out-of-state organizations and donors to sway voters on the issue.”

How one school created a 'safe, comfortable place' for students and teachers
11/07/2016
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Kevin Welner and Carol Burris

Kevin Welner and Carol Burris profile Hillsdale High School (San Mateo, CA) as part of the 2015-16 Schools of Opportunity Project. “A strong, student-centered culture that is fostered by a strong system of teacher learning is just one of the reasons that Hillsdale was selected as a gold School of Opportunity.”

Talking school choice research and history plus NAACP stance on charters
11/03/2016
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig joins the Rick Smith Show to discuss school choice research and recent development in the civil rights community calling for a moratorium on charter schools. The Rick Smith show is a progressive talk radio show, which airs across the state of Pennsylvania.

The effects of good teacher professional development on student achievement
11/02/2016
Flypaper Blog - Thomas Fordham Institute - Amber M. Northern

Amber Northern writes about research on professional development. “The boost to teacher outcomes did not translate to student achievement gains, as measured on both state math assessments and a study-administered test. Unfortunately, we can’t be sure why. But this study does suggest that professional development alone on discrete aspects of math knowledge is unlikely to move the needle much on student achievement.”

Lessons learned about the impact of content-focused teacher professional development on student achievement
11/02/2016
NCEE Evaluation Brief - Institute of Education Sciences

A new NCEE Evaluation Brief attempts to answer the question: Does content-focused teacher development work? The evaluation looked at findings from three IES studies. “Taken together, the three IES studies suggest that existing models of PD could potentially be delivered in a way that supports teachers in improving their knowledge and practice to some degree. But the studies also indicate that the field does not yet fully understand how to ensure that teacher PD leads to measurable improvements in student learning.”

School turnaround under ESSA: Progress, but not a silver bullet
10/31/2016
Brookings - Brown Center Chalkboard - Elizabeth Mann

Elizabeth Mann writes about school turnarounds under ESSA. “While progress is possible, we should be careful not to hastily generalize from success stories. Under ESSA, as before, there is ample reason to worry that local elected officials, such as school board members and superintendents, may abandon this type of comprehensive turnaround strategy, with its high costs and long time horizon, before it has a chance to work.”

Ten Teacher Recommendations in Facilitating Conversations About Race in the Classroom
10/31/2016
Harvard Education Publishing Group - The Blog of Harvard Education Publishing - H. Richard Milner IV

Rich Milner writes about creating and facilitating conversations about race in classrooms. “What should teachers do to facilitate conversations about race inside of the classroom? Below, I offer ten recommendations to help middle and high school teachers create classroom environments that encourage, cultivate, and address race with and among students. Some of these practices may be transferable to elementary school classrooms as well, but my focus here is on middle and high school students.”

What Obama Never Got About Education
10/27/2016
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant looks at the Obama administration's education policies. He writes: "As early as 2010, many of the best minds in education policy - education historian Diane Ravitch, economist Richard Rothstein, and education researcher David Berliner - could already see that the Obama administration was going in the wrong direction on education. In an overview of their remarks at the website of the Economic Policy Institute, the three experts describe Obama's education policies as ‘a lot like Bush policies.'"

Vote 'no' on charter schools
10/27/2016
Boston Globe - Jonathan Kozol

Jonathan Kozol, author of ‘Death at an Early Age’ and ‘Savage Inequalities,’ discusses charter schools, raising the cap, and public education in Massachusetts. “This commonwealth has been an exemplar of democratic public education ever since the incubation of the common school idea at the midpoint of the 19th century. For all its imperfections and constant need of diligent repair, it remains a vision worth preserving. The privatizing forces from outside of this state have wisely recognized the powerful symbolic victory they’d gain by turning Massachusetts against its own historic legacy.”

Race to the Top's Impact on Student Achievement, State Policy Unclear, Report Says
10/26/2016
Education Week - Politics K-12 - Alyson Klein

Alyson Klein shares a report from the Institute for Education Sciences (IES), which found no evidence that Race to the Top (RttT) had any long-term impact on student achievement or state policy. "So what do the report's conclusions mean for the program's future? Nothing. Congress has already gotten rid of the program and made it virtually impossible for any future secretary of education to resurrect it."

Education, Politics, and Music: An Interview with the Jersey Jazzman
10/26/2016
Teacher Cast - www.teachercast.net - Jeffrey Bradbury

Jeffrey Bradbury interviews Mark Weber (@jerseyjazzman) for his New Jersey educator podcast. "Welcome to a the Jersey Educator Podcast, a show created by NJEA members ... for NJEA members.  Whether you are a teacher, an education support professional, or a New Jersey Student Education Association member, this show will serve as a platform to help you bring out the best in your students ... each and every day in your schools."

Charter Management Organizations and the Need for Reform
10/26/2016
Voices @ Temple Law - Susan L. DeJarnatt

Susan L. DeJarnatt, Temple Law School, writes about Pennsylvania's charter sector and Charter Management Organizations (CMO). "Although charter schools in Pennsylvania must be organized as non-profits, CMOs can be and often are for-profit organizations. The Pennsylvania charter law doesn't mention them because the legislature apparently did not envision such entities in the late 1990s when it wrote the law. But they have become an increasingly important part of the charter sector."

Wall Street Firms Make Money From Teachers' Pensions - And Fund Charter Schools Fight
10/26/2016
International Business Times - David Sirota, Avi Asher-Schapiro, & Andrew Perez

An International Business Times/MapLight investigation uncovers the connection between pension funds and the charter school fight in Massachusetts. "[It] found that executives at eight financial firms with contracts to manage Massachusetts state pension assets have bypassed anti-corruption rules and funneled at least $778,000 to groups backing Question 2,  which would expand the number of charter schools in the state."

Social And Emotional Skills In School: Pivoting From Accountability To Development
10/25/2016
Shanker Blog - David Blazar and Matthew A. Kraft

David Blazar and Matthew A. Kraft discuss nonacademic indicators as a requirement of ESSA, which "assess students' success in school and, in turn, hold schools accountable." They write: "Even as we continue to wrestle with important question about which skills to prioritize and measure, there still are many ways we can learn from the data and resources that are currently collected by education agencies."

It's not anti-charter to oppose lifting cap
10/21/2016
CommonWealth Magazine - Michael Loconto

Michael Loconto discusses a ballot question in Massachusetts on charter school growth. "There is an alternative: public district schools and charters can continue to coexist and thrive under the cap. Massachusetts residents should celebrate that our schools consistently outperform every state in the nation."

What New Challenges To The Charter School Industry Reveal
10/20/2016
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant writes about the complications facing the charter industry in 2016-17. His blog covers a new report out this week, 'Who controls our public schools: The privatization of American public education,' from the Independent Media Institute. He says, "The report presents a comprehensive survey of the abundant news accounts and prominent studies documenting the origins of the modern charter industry, its incredibly successful public relations and marketing effort, and the significant problems it leaves in its wake, including widespread financial fraud and abuse, dubious academic results, and a weakening of democratic control of local schools." *Bryant discloses that he consulted on the report.

The Strange Case of the Disappearing NAEP
10/20/2016
Education Next - Tom Loveless

Tom Loveless looks into the long term trend test of the NAEP and the funding of the test in future years. "Why NAEP has abandoned its foundational assessment and embarked on its current agenda should be the central question of NAEP’s request for funding next year."

The 'Value-Added' of Teacher Preparation Programs: New Research
10/19/2016
National Education Policy Center - Audrey Amrein-Beardsley

Audrey Amrein-Beardsley reviews a recently published study in the journal 'Education of Economics.' The study investigated teacher quality differences between teacher preparation programs. She writes, "Needless to say, this research is particularly relevant, here, given ‘Sixteen US states have begun to hold teacher preparation programs (TPPs) accountable for teacher quality, where quality is estimated by teacher value-added to student test scores.' The federal government continues to support and advance these initiatives, as well (see, for example, here)."

How Joy Became the New Grit
10/19/2016
Edushyster - Joan Goodman

Joan Goodman, University of Pennsylvania, discusses the co-opting of *joy* by charter management organizations (CMOs). "When I first began visiting no excuses schools, I was struck by the striking juxtaposition of teachers presiding over silent class periods during which children diligently followed instructions, only to interrupt them periodically with the demand for reciprocal clapping, rhymed motivational cheers, and choral responses that seemed more appropriate to an athletic or marching event than an academic environment."

A Few Reactions To The Final Teacher Preparation Accountability Regulations
10/19/2016
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matthew Di Carlo reacts to the final regulations for teacher preparation programs released recently. "These regulations will guide states, which are required to design their own systems for assessing TP program performance for full implementation in 2018-19."

Can Teaching Survive as a Profession?
10/19/2016
DanielKatz.net - Daniel Katz

Daniel Katz, chair of the educational studies department at Seton Hall University, tackles education reform and teaching as a profession. He writes, "In order to redirect our efforts so that teaching can genuinely thrive, we need better ideas competing for time and attention." His blog lists eight areas that "demand our attention."

School Organizational Contexts, Teacher Turnover, and Student Achievement Evidence From Panel Data
10/17/2016
American Educational Research Journal - Matthew A. Kraft, William H. Marinell, Darrick Shen-Wei Yee

Kraft, Marinell, and Yee (2016) discuss school organizational contexts, teacher turnover, and student achievement in New York City. "We find that improvements in school leadership especially, as well as in academic expectations, teacher relationships, and school safety are all independently associated with corresponding reductions in teacher turnover. Increases in school safety and academic expectations also correspond with student achievement gains."

Listening to and Learning from Teachers: A Summary of Focus Groups on the Common Core and Assessments
10/12/2016
Center on Education Policy - Diane Stark Rentner, Nancy Kober, Mathew Frizzell, and Maria Ferguson

The Center on Education Policy at the George Washington University issued a report summarizing teacher focus group discussions around the Common Core State Standards and aligned state math and English language arts assessments. "This report summarizes discussions from five elementary teacher focus groups conducted in Delaware, Illinois, Utah, and Wisconsin in spring and summer of 2016. Topics addressed include the Common Core State Standards, curricula, instructional materials, CCSS-aligned state assessments, student achievement data from those assessments, and accountability."

A Closer Look At The Debate Over Charter Schools
10/12/2016
NPR - WBUR - Jeremy Hobson

Jeremy Hobson investigates charter schools with guests Kevin Welner and Michelle Rhee. "As controversy continues over charter schools in the United States, Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson dives into the debate with Michelle Rhee, who ran Washington's public schools from 2007 to 2010, and Kevin Welner, director of the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder."

Cozy charter-school tie-ups bring risk of fraud, federal audit finds
10/12/2016
Detroit Free Press - Lori Higgins

Lori Higgins writes about the findings of a new federal audit on charter schools: "The audit, conducted from 2011 to 2013, states that a lack of separation between the schools and their management companies can lead to internal control weaknesses that open the door to waste, fraud and abuse; a lack of accountability over federal funds and little assurance that charter schools are following federal guidelines while implementing federal programs."

Are charter schools truly innovative? The answer can depend on your definition
10/12/2016
Boston Globe - James Vaznis

James Vaznis investigates charter schools in Massachusetts: "For decades, charter schools have been billed as "laboratories of innovation," conjuring up images of teachers and administrators brainstorming and testing cutting-edge instruction that - if proven successful - could deliver salvation to urban education. But the track record of Massachusetts charter schools on innovation is mixed. While some charters are innovative, others simply strive to build high-quality schools using existing methods and do not necessarily invent new practices."

New Report Examines the Sources of Newly Hired Teachers in the U.S.
10/11/2016
The National Center for Education Statistics

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released 'Sources of Newly Hired Teachers in the United States: Results from the Schools and Staffing Survey, 1987–88 to 2011–12.' The report examines the sources of newly hired public and private primary and secondary school teachers in the U.S. The study uses data spanning 25 years from four administrations of the Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), a sample survey of U.S. elementary and secondary schools.

Why Do Some Students Perform Better Than Others In School?
10/11/2016
NPR - WBUR - Jeremy Hobson

Jeremy Hobson talks with Dan Losen, director of the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at UCLA. "Today, we’re talking about inequality and the achievement gap that persists between white, middle class students and poor, minority students in this country — and what might help to narrow it."

Charter cap debate clouds original intent
10/10/2016
CommonWealth Magazine - Jack Schneider

Jack Schneider discusses the original purpose of charter schools: "Charter schools were supposed to be places of innovation-something we have not seen in practice. This vision, however, can still be rescued. Charters can play a critical role in the strengthening of all public schools. But not if Question 2 passes and we eliminate the cap. However ironic it may seem, then, a vote against charter expansion may be the only way to save the original promise of charter schools—as places for innovation."

Coming to a City Near You: Common School Performance Measures
10/06/2016
Center for Reinventing Public Education - Robin Lake

Robin Lake discusses a new report on how cities have developed Common School Performance Frameworks (CSPF), which are “a set of performance metrics developed locally that apply to all schools, both district and charter.”

200 Million Test Scores and What Do We Know? Studying Educational Opportunity with Big Data
10/05/2016
EdPolicyWorks - University of Virginia - Sean Reardon

Sean Reardon, Professor of Poverty and Inequality in Education at Stanford University, will be giving a free, live streamed Ed Policy seminar this Friday October 7th from 11-12:30 PM EST. “Talk Abstract: We test students a great deal in the United States. In grades three through eight alone, U.S. students take roughly 50 million standardized state accountability tests each year. Their scores on these tests, aggregated within geographic school districts and student subgroups, provide a useful proxy measure of the sum total of educational opportunities available to children in different communities and groups.”

Pennsylvania School Tax Burden
10/05/2016
Consortium for Policy Research in Education - Gregory Collins

“In [this] policy brief, ‘Pennsylvania School Tax Burden,’ Gregory Collins examines how the new formula directs state basic education funding, how it is allocated to local school districts based on need, its ability to pay, and the local school tax effort. ‘Pennsylvania School Tax Burden’ examines the claim that differences exist in local school tax burdens across Pennsylvania's 500 districts.”

Seven Things I Learned from Attending a Charter School Board Meeting
10/04/2016
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan

Nancy Flanagan writes about her experience attending a charter school board meeting. “I’m still mulling over what to make of this. When schools are unsafe or plagued by low achievement, I understand [the] parents' desire to have options. But GTA's [Grand Traverse Academy] test scores are, at best, average - and sometimes significantly lower - compared to surrounding traditional public school.”

Wayne State University College of Education hosts lecture and community conversation featuring professor, policy advisor and author David L. Kirp
10/03/2016
Wayne State University - Staff

The educational leadership and policy studies program in the Wayne State University College of Education is hosting a discussion that features David L. Kirp, the James D. Marver Professor of Public Policy at the University of California-Berkeley, senior fellow at the Learning Policy Institute, and a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times.

The Wisdom of Mandatory Grade Retention
10/02/2016
Education Next - Brian A. Jacob

Brian Jacob discusses mandatory grade retention in Michigan. “Last week, Michigan’s legislature passed a bill requiring schools to hold back third-graders who fall a grade-level behind in reading. If Governor Rick Snyder signs the bill, Michigan will become the 17th state to adopt such a policy. Mandatory grade retention is clearly popular, at least among many state legislators. This is understandable given the importance of early reading skills for future outcomes and the shockingly low levels of basic reading proficiency in many communities. But is it good policy?”

Can student test scores provide useful measures of school principals' performance?
09/29/2016
Institute of Education Sciences - Mathematica Policy Research - Hanley Chiang, Moira McCullough, Stephen Lipscomb, Brian Gill

"A new report from the Institute of Education Sciences [completed by researchers at Mathematica Policy Research] examines the accuracy of test-based measures of principal performance that could be implemented broadly. The study assessed the predictive validity of these measures—the extent to which ratings from these measures accurately reflect principals’ contributions to student achievement in future years. These findings suggest that states and districts should exercise caution when using these measures to make major decisions about principals."

Elizabeth Warren Clarifies The Charter Schools Debate
09/29/2016
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant explores recent comments by Sen. Elizabeth Warren regarding Question 2 in Massachusetts. Question 2 calls for lifting the cap on the number of charters in Massachusetts. Bryant says, “Senator Warren’s opposition to Question 2 is proof the car wreck is happening.”

The Bubble Bursts: The 2015 Opt-Out Movement in New Jersey
09/28/2016
Consortium for Policy Research in Education - Jonathan A. Supovitz, Francine Stephens, Julie Kubelka, Patrick McGuinn, Hannah Ingersoll

A new report  from Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE) analyzes the scope, factors, and context of the opt-out movement that occurred in New Jersey in the spring of 2015. “Using test participation data released in February 2016 by the New Jersey Department of Education, we found that approximately 135,000 students did not take the state assessment in the spring of 2015. Depending on how it was calculated, this represented between 11-19% of the population of students eligible for testing in grades 3 to 11 in the state. There was also a positive correlation between higher district opt-out rates and wealthier districts.”

New Study: Principals Play a Large Role in Teacher Retention
09/23/2016
Education Week - District Dossier - Brenda Iasevoli

Brenda Iasevoli reports on a new study by Susan Burkhauser, ‘How Much Do School Principals Matter When It Comes to Teacher Working Conditions?,’ published in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. “What's new about Burkhauser's study is that it suggests that a teacher's perception of working conditions is closely related to his or her perception of the principal. That is, the way a teacher sees her principal can shape the way she perceives conditions in the school, even before any changes are made, and regardless of what else is going on in the school or district.”

Massachusetts Charter Schools and Their Problems With 'Attrition'
09/22/2016
Jersey Jazzman - Mark Weber

Mark Weber looks at lifting the charter school cap in Massachusetts and high school attrition. “Is it really worth expanding charters and risking further injury to BPS when the charter sector appears, at least at the high school level, to rely so heavily on cohort attrition?”

The Details Matter In Teacher Evaluations
09/22/2016
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matthew Di Carlo unpacks a recent working paper by Matthew Steinberg and Matthew Kraft. “Steinberg and Kraft use data from the Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) project, and, after adjusting the measures for comparability, they simulate how different weights and cutpoints would affect final results of evaluations in eight large school districts. The simulated evaluation systems include observations, value-added scores, and student surveys. They also examine discrepancies in results caused by observations conducted principals versus those done by external observers.”

'Class sizes in Michigan, the quiet crisis,' policy brief and online comparison tool
09/21/2016
Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy - University of Michigan

New research from the Education Policy Initiative at the University of Michigan's Ford School of Public Policy found that many Michigan K-12 students experience very large core classes—with 40 or more students—but that some students are at greater risk. The policy brief, 'Class Size in Michigan: Investigating the Risk of Being in Very Large Classes,' was authored by Brian Jacob, Rene Crespin, CJ Libassi, and Susan Dynarski. “Black students, students attending schools in cities, and students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch at their schools face a disproportionate risk of being in a class of 40 or more. These disparities are particularly troubling because numerous studies have confirmed the negative impact of large classes on test scores and adult outcomes such as college degree completion.”

EdNext Podcast: Should Massachusetts Allow More Charter Schools?
09/21/2016
Education Next - Martin West

Marty West, EdNext editor-in-chief, talks with Sarah Cohodes, Teachers College, and Susan Dynarski, University of Michigan. The podcast includes discussion of a recent policy piece by Cohodes and Dynarski, which advanced that Massachusetts’ charter school cap “holds back disadvantaged students.”

Racism, Xenophobia, and the Election
09/21/2016
Rethinking Schools - The Editors of Rethinking Schools

The editors of Rethinking Schools discuss how teachers and students are discussing the 2016 presidential campaign. “We need to seize on teachable moments to address racism and white supremacy during this election cycle and, after that, continue and increase our efforts. From the dinner table to the classroom, from staff meetings to school boards, educators need to find ways to put the issue of race and racism front and center and keep it there.”

Opinion: If You Can't Stand the Heat, Stay Out of the Classroom
09/21/2016
NJ Spotlight - Mark Weber

Mark Weber discusses the impact of classroom temperature on schools, teachers, and students. “Overheated classrooms are yet another sign of how politicians really value teachers. Sure, they’re happy to tell us we’re important, but when it comes time to make certain we have decent working conditions — and students have decent learning conditions — too many are back in their air-conditioned offices, making excuses for not raising the revenues needed to upgrade our schools.”

Report: Teacher Shortage Crisis Can Be Averted by Keeping Educators in the Profession
09/19/2016
NEA Today - Cindy Long

Cindy Long discusses new research from the Learning Policy Institute (LPI) that addresses the causes and consequences of teacher shortages. “Reducing attrition would actually make a greater difference in balancing supply and demand than any other intervention, the researchers found. In fact, reducing attrition by half could virtually eliminate shortages.”

School reform: What went wrong, what went right, and what we should do in the future
09/19/2016
Washington Post - Answer Sheet - William J. Mathis and Tina M. Trujillo

Bill Mathis and Tina Trujillo share their new book, 'Learning from the Federal Market-Based Reforms,' on the Answer Sheet blog. “If we were serious about improving education and truly guaranteeing that all children were successful, we would have to do things differently than we did under NCLB. To figure out how things should be changed, we called on a collection of the nation’s most eminent scholars to address what went wrong, what went right, and what we should do in the future.”

Solving Teacher Shortages: Attracting and Retaining a Talented and Diverse Teaching Workforce
09/15/2016
Learning Policy Institute (LPI)

The Learning Policy Institute (LPI) released a series of new reports this week. The new reports analyze causes and impact of teacher shortages. "According to new research conducted by the Learning Policy Institute (LPI), the nation is staring at a serious teacher deficit that is only going to get worse unless steps are taken now to address it. The analysis, 'A Coming Crisis in Teaching? Teacher Supply, Demand and Shortages in the U.S.,' is part of a package of research reports and briefs released today that provide the most comprehensive look to date at the causes and consequences of teacher shortages and offer evidence-based policy recommendations to develop a strong and stable teaching workforce."

Why I left a profession that I love
09/15/2016
Center for Teaching Quality - Brianna Crowley

Brianna Crowley discusses her decision to leave teaching after only 9 years. “But if I’m honest, those frustrations weren’t the real catalyst for leaving. Teaching is a (mostly) awesome profession where I had the honor of  leading 110 unique souls every day. I left not out of frustration with the bad, but instead to follow a passion, to pursue a dream. I left because I want to change the system.”

What Are the Best Measures of School Quality? Educators Speak Out
09/14/2016
NEA Today - Brenda Álvarez

Brenda Álvarez shares the results of a national online poll from the National Education Association, which asked educators to specify school-level indicators they cared most about. "The two highest ranking indicators fell under the umbrella of widening the school curriculum, which came in at 85 percent, and health and wellness programs at 73 percent."

America has a teacher shortage, and a new study says it's getting worse
09/14/2016
Washington Post - Joe Heim

Joe Heim shares the findings of several new reports on teacher shortages across the country. "Regardless of the state, students in high-poverty and high-minority schools are typically hit hardest when there are teacher shortages. In 2014, on average, less than one percent of teachers were uncertified in low-minority schools, while four times as many were uncertified in high-minority schools, the study showed."

School choice, metro Detroit's new white flight
09/13/2016
Bridge Magazine - Mike Wilkinson and Chastity Pratt Dawsey

Against the backdrop of a regional high school football game, Mike Wilkinson and Chastity Pratt Dawsey write about the impact of schools of choice in Michigan. "Moving out of East Detroit. East Detroit students have flooded into neighboring districts for more than a decade, with more than 2,900 using schools of choice to leave East Detroit. Most headed for districts that were far whiter than East Detroit, which saw the white population of its schools fall from 50 percent to 18.6 percent from 2009 to 2015."

Schools of Opportunity Project Honors 20 Exemplary High Schools From Coast to Coast
09/12/2016
National Education Policy Center (NEPC) - Kevin Welner & Carol Burris

Kevin Welner & Carol Burris shared the results of the annual 'Schools of Opportunity' project from the National Education Policy Center (NEPC). The project "identifies and recognizes excellent public high schools that actively strive to close [the] opportunity gaps - the differences in opportunities and resources that drive the well-known achievement gaps."

Who Gains Most From School Choice? Not Low-Income Students Of Color
09/08/2016
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant discusses school choice and communities of color. “Certainly, you can’t criticize parents for wanting to navigate to the best of their abilities any system of education, whether it’s based on choice or not. But it’s hard to see how a system based on school choice – that so easily accentuates the advantages of the privileged – is going to benefit the whole community, especially those who are the most chronically under-served.”

Back-to-School Statistics Show Slight Enrollment Increases in 2016
09/07/2016
Learning First Alliance - Joetta Sack-Min

Joetta Sack-Min reports on the latest figures from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). “This fall, 50.4 million students will attend more than 98,000 public elementary and secondary schools, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, which each year releases the latest data on public and private schools in the U.S. In recent years, the number of students has remained relatively steady--this year's total had a slight bump--while the number of minority students has increased.”

Should black communities beware of charter schools?
09/07/2016
Michigan Radio - Stateside - Cynthia Canty

Cynthia Canty interviews Andre Perry on charter schools in urban areas. “Perry joined us today to talk about why he believes it's time for activists like those in the Black Lives Matter movement to pay more attention to charter schools.”

Inside Detroit's Radical Experiment to Save Its Public Schools
09/06/2016
Time - Josh Sanburn

Josh Sanburn writes about the challenges and changes inside Detroit’s public schools. MSU’s David Arsen is quoted: “It’s the Wild West. There’s nothing like it in the country. Charters are giving out computers and sneakers just to get the kid in the door. National advocates for charters are looking at Detroit and saying, ‘Don’t do it that way.’”

Teleconference: Parents and community groups demand charter accountability
09/01/2016
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig discusses a recent conference call that included a coalition of parents, lawmakers and elected leaders, education leaders, and community groups. “Recent news reporting and academic studies have documented the waste, fraud and abuse by privately-managed charter schools, which have cost taxpayers millions while hurting students. The California Teachers Association and other civil rights groups have sponsored and supported numerous pieces of legislation to ensure equal access for all students.”

Should Value-Added Models Control for Student Absences?
09/01/2016
Teachers College Record - Seth Gershenson

Seth Gershenson investigates the impact of student absences on value-added models. “Regardless of how between-school differences are accounted for, VAM-based rankings of teacher effectiveness are insensitive to how, and whether, student absences enter the value-added model’s conditioning set. … these findings suggest that controlling for student absences in teacher evaluation systems’ value-added models is a relatively inexpensive way to increase teacher buy-in.”

Education Matters, But Direct Anti-Poverty and Inequality-Reduction Efforts Matter More
08/31/2016
34justice.com - Ben Spielberg

Ben Spielberg looks at the impact of poverty and inequality vs. education. “None of this evidence changes the fact that education is very important.  It just underscores that direct efforts to reduce poverty and inequality – efforts that put more money in the pockets of low-income people and provide them with important benefits like health care – are most important if our goal is to boost opportunities for low-income students.”

What Kids Wish Their Teachers Knew
08/31/2016
NY Times - Donna De La Cruz

Donna De La Cruz unpacks a question posed by a Denver elementary school teacher, Kyle Schwartz: "I wish my teacher knew ..."

New PDK Poll Finds Shifting Attitudes on Public Schools
08/30/2016
Learning First Alliance - Joetta Sack-Min

Joetta Sack-Min shares the findings of the 2016 PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. “Joshua P. Starr, the chief executive officer of PDK International, noted the public’s divide in prepared remarks about the findings. ‘There’s a real question today about education’s return on investment,’ Starr remarked. ‘While we know that a college degree is essential in today’s economy, parents and the public want to see a clearer connection between the public school system and the world of work.’”

Why school? Americans speak out on education goals, standards, priorities, and funding
08/29/2016
PDK International - Joshua P. Starr

This week PDK International released the 48th Annual PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. Multiple blogs and follow-up articles are linked to from this informational page.

What's the Purpose of Education? Public Doesn't Agree on the Answer
08/29/2016
NEA Today - Tim Walker

Tim Walker reviews the findings of the 2016 PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. “For the 15th consecutive year, a plurality of Americans (19%) believe lack of funding is the top problem facing public schools, and, by 53% to 45%, a majority favors raising local property taxes to help improve public schools. Furthermore, if taxes were raised, 34% of respondents said they would want the revenue to be allocated toward hiring new teachers and raising their salaries. Seventeen percent cited more supplies and technology, and an equal number would spend the money on classes and extracurriculars. Infrastructure improvements and new schools were identified as the top spending priority by 8 percent.”

It's All Cyclical
08/25/2016
Eduwonk.com - Derrell Bradford, 50CAN

Derrell Bradford discusses the myriad problems facing education reformers: “I love a good bout of self pity now and again, but in this instance I think we could all use a bit of tough love and advice: Get over it.”

John Oliver Slams Charter Schools And His Critics Totally Miss The Point
08/24/2016
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant analyzes reaction to John Oliver’s recent segment on charter schools. Oliver, during his most recent episode on HBO, looked at the problems facing these schools. “None of Oliver’s critics seriously refuted the crux of his argument that there might be something fundamentally wrong by design, rather than by implementation or intent, with the idea that  a ‘free market’ of privately operated and essentially unregulated schools is a surefire way to improve education opportunities for all students.”

Report Names the 50 Most-Segregating School District Boundaries by Income
08/23/2016
Education Week - Politics K-12 - Andrew Ujifusa

Andrew Ujifusa shares the results of a new report from EdBuild, which identified the most segregated district boundaries by income in the United States. “The EdBuild report points the finger directly at a 1974 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Milliken v. Bradley, in which the court held that school desegregation plans cannot be enforced across districts lines, as helping to increase such economic segregation between schools.”

Educators Mobilize as School Takeovers Open Door For Charter Expansion
08/23/2016
NEA Today - Brenda Álvarez

Brenda Álvarez covers a constitutional amendment in Georgia that would allow state takeover of public schools. “If history is any indication of what this could mean, Georgia will be among several states to fragment school authority, disenfranchise communities of color, and ignore parent and community concerns.”

Do Unions Belong in the Fight Against Corporate School Reform?
08/21/2016
Common Dreams - Steven Singer

Steven Singer looks at the role of teacher unions and the health of public education. He says, “THAT’S why corporate education reformers hate teachers and their unions. We make it nearly impossible to swipe school budgets into their own pockets. So do unions belong in the fight against corporate education reform? Answer: Heck yeah! In fact, they are essential to it.”

ESSA Didn't Settle Federal Education Policy. Far From It.
08/18/2016
Education Next - Chad Aldeman

Chad Aldeman, Bellwether Education Partners, digs into the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) implementation timetable: “To get a sense of why this matters, it’s important to consider the timeline ESSA laid out. As of August 1 this year, NCLB is dead, and, so are any waivers issued under NCLB. States are busy preparing their new accountability systems, which must be in place beginning with the 2017-18 school year, and states will be submitting their plans in the spring and summer of 2017.”

AEI: Comparing Public and Charter Schools
08/18/2016
Curgudgucation - Peter Greene

Peter Greene takes a closer look at the findings of a recent AEI report that attempted to compare charter schools to public schools. “AEI has always taken a patient long-term view of the charter biz, and this report concedes some ground in order to consolidate a more defensible position. … But don't expect it to change any charter fan's mind. Their premise remains the same -- charters must exist and must go on. Data like this will not change their goals; it will just help them fine tune their pursuit of those goals.”

Civil Rights organizations vs. Wealthy: Are charter schools better?
08/17/2016
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julien Vasquez Heilig covers the charter school debate within and between civil rights groups. The blog includes several media clips on the following topics: (1) NAACP’s call for a moratorium on charter schools.  Do charters have more freedom and less accountability?; (2) What’s the role of inequality in fueling the charter movement? What is the alternative to private-control and privatization of resources for public education?; and (3) Do charter students perform better? What are the alternatives to charters that have 400-1000% more impact?

Charter schools vs. 'traditional' [sic] public schools
08/17/2016
America Enterprise Institute - Nat Malkus

Nat Malkus, writing for the conservative American Enterprise Institute, discusses charter schools and public schools using national data. “The results show that which 'traditional' [sic] public schools you compare charters to matters a lot.”

What High Schools Can Do to Keep Students from Dropping Out
08/15/2016
AJE Forum - Stephen Kotok, Sakiko Ikoma and Katerina Bodovski

Stephen Kotok, Sakiko Ikoma and Katerina Bodovski discuss how high schools can keep students from dropping out. Based on a recently published article in the American Journal of Education, ‘School Climate and Dropping Out of School in an Era of Accountability,’ the authors investigate the impact of school climate, organization, and composition on dropout decisions. “Although devoting time and resources to the improvement of school climate may seem like a distraction from instructional and test prep time, our research suggests that such process of capacity building is critical and ultimately raises the level of academic success over time.”

Who opts out and why? Results from a national survey on opting out of standardized tests
08/11/2016
Teachers College - Columbia University - Oren Pizmony-Levy & Nancy Green Saraisky

Oren Pizmony-Levy and Nancy Green Saraisky completed a report based on the National Survey on Opting Out of Standardized Tests. Some key findings are: "(1) The opt out movement includes more than just parents who have opted their children out; (2) Approximately three‐quarters of respondents who are parents or guardians of school‐aged children (74.5 percent) have opted their children out of testing; (3) Parents refuse standardized tests even in states where opting out is not permitted or discouraged by policy makers; (4) The typical opt out activist is a highly educated, white, married, politically liberal parent whose children attend public school and whose household median income is well above the national average; (5) Most participants have come to the opt out movement during the past 3‐4 years; (6) The opt out movement is about more than just opposition to high‐stakes testing; (7) Motivations vary, depending on whether the respondent was a teacher or not; and (8) Opt out activists are concerned with current educational reforms and efforts to improve public schools."

California's Too-Colorful Accountability Plan
08/11/2016
Education Next - Chester E. Finn, Jr.

Checker Finn writes about California’s new color-coded approach to school accountability: "Not only is it manifestly discriminatory against color-blind people like me; it’s overall baffling and unhelpful to just about everyone who might ever want to make use of it."

Debating charter schools: Julian Vasquez Heilig vs. Howard Fuller
08/11/2016
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig appeared on Andre Perry's WBOK 1230 AM #FREECOLLEGE show. "It's rare that the media brings a balancing perspective to education reformers arguments for anti-democratic, top-down, private control and privatization of our public schools."

What Happens to Student Learning When Teachers Change Positions in Schools?
08/10/2016
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk reports on a new report on teacher "churning." The study by Allison Attebery, Susanna Loeb, and James Wyckoff looks at the impact of teacher turnover in New York City. "The new research study is among the first to provide some preliminary evidence that this churn, though probably unavoidable to some degree, on average isn't doing students any favors."

The teacher pay gap is wider than ever: Teachers' pay continues to fall further behind pay of comparable workers
08/09/2016
Economic Policy Institute - Sylvia Allegretto & Lawrence Mishel

Sylvia Allegretto and Lawrence Mishel update their research on teachers' pay. "What this report finds: The teacher pay penalty is bigger than ever. In 2015, public school teachers' weekly wages were 17.0 percent lower than those of comparable workers-compared with just 1.8 percent lower in 1994. This erosion of relative teacher wages has fallen more heavily on experienced teachers than on entry-level teachers."

Summative School Ratings: Not So Great
08/08/2016
Curmudgucation - Peter Greene

Peter Greene writes about summative school ratings (grades): "When the primary objective of a school is to make its numbers so that its summative rating doesn't take a hit, it's very easy to start seeing students as obstacles or problems -- not the whole purpose of the school. Ultimately my objection to summative ratings for schools is that instead of giving schools one more tool for helping students, they get in the way of doing that job -- the most important job we have in schools."

How Think Tanks Amplify Corporate America's Influence
08/07/2016
New York Times - Eric Lipton and Brooke Williams

Eric Lipton and Brooke Williams look into the world of think tanks. The article investigates the complicated role that think tanks play in amplifying corporate influence on public policy. The article is part of a series examining research influence in Washington, D.C.

Thinking About Tests While Rethinking Test-Based Accountability
08/05/2016
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matt Di Carlo writes about recently released test results in New York: "That said, no matter what you think of the new NYC approach (and I think there are arguments on both sides), there was an opportunity here not to ignore completely the testing results, but rather to present them in a manner a bit more consistent with building a more comprehensive infrastructure for assessing student and school performance, as NYC officials claim to be attempting to do."

Foundations Unfiltered
08/03/2016
EduShyster - Jennifer Berkshire

Jennifer Berkshire interviews Megan Tompkins-Stange for the blog EduShyster. "Tompkins-Stange spent five years conducting confidential interviews with insiders at some of the foundations most involved in education reform. What they told her will surprise you. Or not..."

Illegal Admission Policies in California Charter Schools Detailed in ACLU Report
08/03/2016
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Arianna Prothero

Arianna Prothero shares the findings of a new report from the ACLU of Southern California. “The group analyzed admission policies on websites, in handbooks and other public materials for around 1,200 charter schools, categorizing at least 250 as having exclusionary admissions standards.”

Cyber Schools Slammed by Charters (Again)
08/02/2016
Curmudgucation - Peter Greene

Peter Greene offers his personal thoughts on a new report from The Fordham Foundation, which found problems with online charters in Ohio. “So this report is kind of like having Ford do a report on the safety of Yugos. But there are charts and graphs and conclusions that sort of match what we already know. There are some charts, many words and pages here, many drawn up by the Department of Redundancy Department, but the bottom line is clear enough. Ohio cyber schools aren't doing a very good job, and some folks you should try bricks and mortar charters instead.”

On the Relative Efficiency of New Jersey Public School Districts
08/02/2016
New Jersey Education Policy Forum - Bruce D. Baker & Mark Weber

Bruce Baker and Mark Weber dig into the 'relative efficiency' of New Jersey public school districts. According to the authors, the findings “are consistent with previous findings in cost-efficiency literature and analyses specific to New Jersey.”

How Media Coverage of Charter Schools Changed in the Past Decade
08/02/2016
American Enterprise Institute - Fredrick M. Hess, Kelsey Hamilton, Jenn Hatfield

Rick Hess, Kelsey Hamilton, and Jenn Hatfield analyze the 'tone' [sic] of press coverage of charter school in 2005 to 2015. “We found that the tenor of 2015 coverage was broadly mixed, but more negative than positive. On the whole, the analysis suggested little support for oft-heard claims that the media are strongly biased for or against charter schools.”

Researchers: No Consensus Against Using Test Scores in Teacher Evaluations, Contra Democratic Platform
07/25/2016
The 74 - Matt Barnum

Matt Barnum, writing for the anti-teacher website ‘The 74,’ solicits feedback from researchers in response to the Democratic Party platform, which advocated against the use of test scores in teacher evaluations. The interview responses are from leading education scholars and present informed opinions that test scores, as they exist now, are not a reliable way to evaluate teachers for high stakes decisions.

Democratic Party Platform: End 'Test-and-Punish' for Students of Color, Teachers
07/25/2016
Education Week - Politics K-12 Blog - Andrew Ujifusa

Andrew Ujifusa covers the Democratic Party platform, which was released last week. “The platform reflects several of the top K-12 policy priorities of [the] American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, both of which have backed presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. As we discussed last week, it's a strong repudiation of groups that favor test-based accountability as a key tool in identifying and addressing the needs of minority students and struggling schools.”

Is Stress in the Classroom Contagious?
07/25/2016
NEA Today - Tim Walker

Tim Walker shares the results of a recent study that found a strong link between “a teacher’s occupational stress and a student’s physiological strain.” More, “The results, says co-author Eva Oberle, highlight the need to properly address the lack of support in too many schools. ‘Our study is a reminder of the systemic issues facing teachers and educators as classroom sizes increase and supports for teachers are cut.’”

Lessons Learned From the Great Recession: Layoffs and the RIF-Induced Teacher Shuffle
07/22/2016
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis - Dan Goldhaber, Katharine O. Strunk, Nate Brown, & David S. Knight

Dan Goldhaber, Katharine O. Strunk, Nate Brown, & David S. Knight completed a study on the effects of teacher layoffs during the Great Recession. From the abstract, “We find that the layoff process leads far more teachers to leave their schools for other district schools than is necessary to reach budget savings targets. In other words, the layoff process induces teacher churn, impacting even teachers who are not actually laid off. Placebo tests confirm that this ‘structural churn’ results from the layoff process rather than from differential mobility of targeted teachers.”

Donald Trump Jr.'s call for school choice in context
07/21/2016
The Conversation - Emily Costello & Kalpana Jain

Emily Costello & Kalpana Jain react to recent comments from Donald Trump Jr. regarding school choice in the U.S.  The authors share excerpts from scholars about what the research says about school choice, including quotes from Kevin Welner and Josh Cowen.

Think teachers can't be fired because of unions? Surprising results from new study
07/21/2016
Washington Post - Answer Sheet - Jennifer Berkshire

Jennifer Berkshire, author of the EduShyster blog, interviews Eunice Han, who completed a study on teacher unionization effects. The study, ‘The Myth of Unions’ Overprotection of Bad Teachers,’ found “the opposite of what people think: that unionized districts actually fire more bad [sic] teachers.”

Author's Advice to White Teachers in Urban Schools: Drop the 'Savior Complex' and Learn from Students
07/18/2016
NEA Today - Maya Elie

Maya Elie interviews Chris Emdin about his new book: 'For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood … and the Rest of Y'all Too.' Here’s part of Emdin’s response: "I'm not demonizing white folks or speaking to just white folks, I'm speaking to the rest of y'all too! There are black folks who also enforce those same white supremacist ideologies. The tools are for everyone, the tools are for the fact that we have 80% of white people in urban schools, but it’s also for you black and brown educators who are conditioned to accept the pedagogies that white folks are implementing. It ain't about being racist, it’s about being aware of race."

Book Review - Mission High
07/18/2016
AJE Forum - Jesus Tirado

Jesus Tirado, University of Georgia, reviews Kristina Rizga’s ‘Mission High: One School, How Experts Tried to Fail it, and the Students and Teachers who made it Triumph.’ Tirado says, “"Mission High’ (2015) provides great insight into how complex schooling is and how history and policy shape people’s experiences today. Readers will appreciate and empathize with the struggles, triumphs, and personal insights of the students, teachers, and administrators throughout the book and see why tests should not be the ultimate and only evaluation."

A Myth Grows In The Garden State
07/15/2016
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matt Di Carlo takes a closer look at New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s 'fairness funding' plan: "Pu[t] simply, Governor Christie believes that 'money doesn’t matter' in education. He and his advisors have been told that how much you spend on schools has little real impact on results. This is also a talking point that, in many respects, coincides with an ideological framework of skepticism toward government and government spending, which Christie shares."

Book Review - Improving Teacher Evaluation Systems: Making the Most of Multiple Measures
07/15/2016
Teachers College Record - Terek Azzam

Terek Azzam reviews 'Improving Teacher Evaluation Systems: Making the Most of Multiple Measures,' a new book by Jason A. Grissom and Peter Youngs. He says: "The inclusion of pragmatic considerations along with supporting research-based evidence is a core strength of the book because it ties theory, research, and practice together. Conceptually, the text covers four main domains that include: a) perspectives on value added models (Chapters Two to Five); b) the potential for alternative evaluation criteria (e.g., student surveys and classroom observations) (Chapters Six to Eight); c) the utility of evaluation systems for teachers and school leaders (Chapters Nine, Ten, and Twelve); and d) issues with the implementation of large-scale evaluation systems (Chapters Eleven and Thirteen)."

Continuing Change in Newark
07/15/2016
Education Next - Richard Lee Colvin

Richard Lee Colvin looks into the tenure of Christopher Cerf as the state-appointed superintendent of Newark Public Schools. "From the start, Cerf understood that as superintendent he had to take a different approach from Anderson's, and do all he could to smooth the political waters."

How charter schools in Michigan have hurt traditional public schools, new research finds
07/15/2016
Washington Post - Answer Sheet - Jennifer Berkshire

Jennifer Berkshire, author of the EduShyster blog, interviews David Arsen, Michigan State University, who completed a study on school districts in Michigan. The study, ‘Which Districts Get Into Financial Trouble and Why: Michigan’s Story,’ found that: “80% of the explained variation in district fiscal stress is due to changes in districts’ state funding, to enrollment changes including those associated with school choice policies, and to the enrollment of high-cost, special education students. We also find that the districts in which the state has intervened have significantly higher shares of African-American and low-income students than other financially troubled Michigan districts, and they are in worse financial shape by some measures.”

More than Patrons: How Foundations Fuel Policy Change and Backlash
07/15/2016
Political Science & Politics - Sarah Reckhow

Sarah Reckhow, Michigan State University, writes about her recent study of how foundations have attempted to "coordinate and lead social-policy change from the top for Common Core and teacher quality." She concludes, “Although the long-term policy outcomes are still uncertain, the previous decade has shown that philanthropists have the resources, capacity, and inclination to substantially shape the direction of educational policy at the national level.”

New Book on Market-Based, Educational Reforms
07/14/2016
VAMboozled! - Audrey Amrein-Beardsley

Audrey Amrein-Beardsley shares the release of a new book on market based educational reforms. "As Larry Cuban put it, the book’s editors have a 'cast of all-star scholars' in this volume, and in Gloria Ladson-Billings words, the editors 'assembled some of the nation’s best minds’ to examine the evidence on today's market-based reforms as well as more promising, equitable ones.

50 years ago, one report introduced Americans to the black-white achievement gap. Here's what we've learned since
07/13/2016
Chalkbeat - Heather C. Hill

Heather Hill, Harvard University, looks at one of the most influential education research reports ever released: the Coleman report. “It all started with a 700-page report that said something surprising: family background, not schools, explained most of the yawning gap between the achievement of America’s white and black students.”

If Rewards Improve Test Scores, What's Really Being Tested?
07/12/2016
NEA Today - Tim Walker

Tim Walker interviews Jeffry A. Livingston, economics professor at Bentley University, who studied the impact of paying students for standardized test performance. Livingston completed the research along with John A. List and Susanne Neckermann from the University of Chicago.

State education proposal would add $1.4 billion to school budget
07/12/2016
Bridge Magazine - Ron French & Mike Wilkinson

Ron French & Mike Wilkinson examine the findings of a recent adequacy study and calls to revamp the way the state of Michigan funds schools. "The study framed its analysis in terms of per-pupil spending, but did not offer an overall price tag for its recommendations. Bridge’s calculation of $1.4 billion is likely on the conservative side, since the study did not consider costs for special education students."

CA: K12 Caught Lying and Cheating, Again
07/10/2016
Curmudgucation - Peter Greene

Peter Greene writes about a settlement in California with the California Virtual Academies and K12. "K12, a for profit company, provides the curriculum and programming for CAVA, a non-profit cyber charter in California. As part of the settlement, K12 must cancel $160 million in 'credits' that CAVA 'owed' it and which represented part of the crushing debt that K12 saddled CAVA with. In addition, it must pay $8.5 million to the state."

Evaluation of Ohio's EdChoice Scholarship Program: Selection, Competition, and Performance Effects
07/07/2016
Thomas B. Fordham Institute - David Figlio & Krzysztof Karbownik

David Figlio & Krzysztof Karbownik completed a report for the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a school choice advocacy organization, on Ohio's Educational Choice Scholarships. "…the EdChoice Scholarship Program provides publicly funded vouchers to more than eighteen thousand Buckeye students who were previously assigned to some of the state’s lowest-performing schools, located primarily in low-income urban communities…"

NEW from IAP: Learning from the Federal Market-Based Reforms: Lessons for ESSA
07/07/2016
The Becoming Radical - P.L. Thomas

P.L. Thomas shares the release of a new book edited by William J. Mathis and Tina Trujillo, which looks at market-based reforms and the future of ESSA. "Drawing on the work of the nation’s most prominent researchers, the book explores the major elements of these reforms, as well as the social, political, and educational contexts in which they take place. It examines the evidence supporting the most common school improvement strategies: school choice; reconstitutions, or massive personnel changes; and school closures. From there, it presents the research findings cutting across these strategies by addressing the evidence on test score trends, teacher evaluation, 'miracle' schools, the Common Core State Standards, school choice, the newly emerging school improvement industry, and re‐segregation, among others."

For New School Choice Laws, 2016 Has Been a Slow Year
07/05/2016
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Arianna Prothero

Arianna Prothero writes, "When it comes to charter school or voucher-related laws, 2016 has not yielded much for choice advocates."

Worth A Read to Return July 15th
07/01/2016
Great Lakes Center - Daniel J. Quinn

Worth A Read, a project of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice, will return July 15, 2016. Worth A Read is a weekly selection of thought-provoking research and commentary focused on education reform. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of educational issues.

QUIZ: What Did 'Teacher Quality' Look Like in 1966?
07/01/2016
Education Week - Inside School Research - Sarah D. Sparks

Sarah Sparks shares a portion of a test James S. Coleman used during his landmark study: "Though the study did provide insight on teachers' backgrounds, education, and racial attitudes, co-author James McPartland, also of Johns Hopkins, said the study lacked much insight into differences in real teacher practices."

We Don't Buy It: Why New Jerseyans Will Reject Governor Chris Christie's Offer to Sell Out Urban Schools
07/01/2016
Teachers College Record - Zoë Burkholder

Zoë Burkholder offers a brief critique of Governor Chris Christie’s proposed school funding formula for New Jersey: "Placing it into historical perspective, the author argues that New Jerseyans will reject his proposal, which offers cash to middle class suburban families in the form of property tax relief, while eviscerating the budgets of urban school districts with high concentrations of poor and working class students of color. We refuse to go back to separate and unequal public schools."

NCES releases Data Point on Teacher Job Satisfaction
06/30/2016
National Center for Education Statistics - Data Point

This "Data Point" uses Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) data from 2003-04, 2007-08, and 2011-12 to examine job satisfaction among teachers in both public and private schools. This study describes job satisfaction overall and also for teachers who had varying perceptions of administrative support.

How Fair is the 'Fairness Formula' for New Jersey School Children & Taxpayers?
06/30/2016
New Jersey Education Policy Forum - Mark Weber & Ajay Srikanth

Mark Weber and Ajay Srikanth provide a "first look" at Chris Christie's 'Fairness Formula.' In their analysis, they show: (1) "The 'Fairness Formula' will greatly reward the most-affluent districts, which are already paying the lowest school tax rates as measured by percentage of income; (2) The 'Fairness Formula' will force the least-affluent districts to slash their school budgets, severely increase local property taxes, or both; and (3) The premise of the ‘Fairness Formula’ - that the schools enrolling New Jersey's at-risk students have "failed" during the period of substantial school reform - is contradicted by a large body of evidence."

Advanced-Stage Charter Syndrome: What 'Maturity' Means to the Charter Movement
06/30/2016
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan

Nancy Flanagan reports on a series of articles on the 25th anniversary of charter schools in America. "If you want to know what your state may look like, given twenty-plus years' worth of burgeoning charterism, simply take a look at Michigan."

What States Can Do to Promote District-Charter Collaboration
06/29/2016
Center for Reinventing Public Education - Alex Medler

Alex Medler reports on charter school and public school collaboration. The new paper explores how policymakers could foster cross-sector relationships. He recommends, prioritizing federal funding around collaboration; making special education funding more “rational and portable,” and helping districts adopt national authorizing standards.

Do Alternative Teaching Programs Create a Revolving Door for Schools?
06/29/2016
Education Week - Inside School Research - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk shares results from a study published by the American Educational Research Journal, which found that alternatively certified teachers were more likely than traditionally certified teachers to leave the profession. "For the researchers, the bottom-line finding is that alternative certification teachers may need more supports if the gap in turnover rates is to shrink. Otherwise, alternative certification may be fueling instability in schools serving low-income students and students of color, even if those teachers are taking hard-to-fill jobs."

Report: At-risk students need more Michigan funding
06/29/2016
Detroit Free Press - Lori Higgins

Lori Higgins shares findings from a critical report released on school funding in Michigan. The report recommends changes to school funding in Michigan. "Whether lawmakers in Michigan do anything about the findings remains to be seen. The 2015 state law that required the study doesn't require the state to take action on its findings."

Ed Reform Battle in Los Angeles
06/28/2016
Education Next - Richard Whitmire

Richard Whitmire looks at the school choice debate in Los Angeles. As charters continue to grow, overall enrollment in L.A. is declining.

A Sea of Charter Schools in Detroit Leaves Students Adrift
06/28/2016
New York Times - Kate Zernike

Kate Zernike writes about the problems facing Detroit parents seeking to utilize myriad choices for school enrollment. "Detroit now has a bigger share of students in charters than any American city except New Orleans, which turned almost all its schools into charters after Hurricane Katrina. But half the charters perform only as well, or worse than, Detroit’s traditional public schools."

Class Size and Money Both Matter in Education
06/22/2016
Tucson Weekly - David Safier

David Safier summarizes two recent briefs from the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) on why class size and money matter in education. “I believe the papers are right on both counts, but as always when I site [sic] research, whether I agree or not, I have to add that no conclusions in education research are conclusive. Education has so many moving parts, it's impossible to create perfect control groups or isolated variables. That being said…” *The Great Lakes Center funded both briefs summarized in this piece.

America's Not-So-Broken Education System
06/22/2016
The Atlantic - Jack Schneider

Jack Schneider addresses the claim that the American education system is broken. “If the educational system had broken at some point, a look backward would reveal an end to progress—a point at which the system stopped working. Yet that isn’t at all the picture that emerges. Instead, one can see that across many generations, the schools have slowly and steadily improved.”

Statement of David G. Sciarra, ELC Executive Director, on Governor Chris Christie's School Funding Plan
06/21/2016
Education Law Center - Sharon Krengel

David G. Sciarra, Education Law Center (NJ) Executive Director, reacts to a plan by Governor Chris Christie to alter school funding formula in New Jersey. “The Governor’s school funding plan announced today is not only the opposite of fairness, it would spell the end of our State’s commitment to an education that will prepare all New Jersey children to be good citizens and productive participants in our economy.”

Teacher pay around the world
06/20/2016
Brookings - Brown Center Chalkboard - Dick Startz

Dick Startz discusses how American teachers are being underpaid. “Making teaching a financially more attractive career isn’t the only thing that matters for who teaches. It does matter though, and probably it matters a lot.”

Teachers' Opinions Of Teacher Evaluation Systems
06/17/2016
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matthew Di Carlo looks at how new teacher evaluation systems are being implemented throughout the nation. “ … among the most important early indicators of how well the new systems are working is their credibility among educators. Put simply, if teachers and administrators don’t believe in the systems, they are unlikely to respond productively to them.”

Politics & Prejudices: Destroying schools, destroying Detroit
06/15/2016
Detroit Metro Times - Jack Lessenberry

Jack Lessenberry writes about politics and schools in Detroit: "No city without a public school system parents can trust ever has any hope of attracting anyone capable of voting with their feet. Without that, Detroit is doomed to be, at best, a place of childless hipsters and menacing slums. You now know who did this to the city, and why."

Striving for Equity: District Leadership for Narrowing Opportunity and Achievement Gaps
06/14/2016
Harvard Education Press - Robert G. Smith and S. David Brazer

Robert G. Smith and S. David Brazer have a new book out from Harvard Education Press. "Based on in-depth interviews, 'Striving for Equity' brings to light the complex and illuminating stories of thirteen longtime superintendents—all leaders of the Minority Student Achievement Network (MSAN) — who were able to make progress toward narrowing opportunity and achievement gaps in traditional school districts with diverse populations and multiple, competing agendas."

The NAEP proficiency myth
06/13/2016
Brookings - The Brown Center Chalkboard - Tom Loveless

Tom Loveless takes a closer look at recent statements made by Campbell Brown on the reform website 'The 74.' She claimed that "two out of three eighth graders cannot read or do math at grade level." Loveless dug into the comments and what can and cannot be said using NAEP.

Why I reject the American obsession with achievement gaps
06/12/2016
Washington Post - Jay Mathews

Jay Mathews discusses a recent study from Stanford’s Sean Reardon, which studied the geography of racial/ethic test score gaps. He says, "We should be working to raise everyone’s level. The gaps don’t matter, particularly if you are going to school in Detroit."

Seeking accountability, states revise charter laws
06/10/2016
Philadelphia Public School Notebook - Connie Langland

Connie Langland writes about the need to update and improve charter accountability laws: "More than a dozen states have done 'complete overhauls' of their public charter school oversight laws, regulations, and policies over the last six years, Fenton said. Four states — Maine, Mississippi, Alabama, and Washington - are newcomers, having only recently enacted charter school laws. But in Pennsylvania, the charter law was written in 1997 and it hasn’t been updated since then."

Market malfunctions in the charter sector
06/08/2016
Fordham Institute - Flypaper Blog - Chester E. Finn, Jr. & Brandon Wright

Chester E. Finn, Jr. and Brandon Wright (4th in a series of essays marking the 25th anniversary of America's first charter school law) discuss the economic considerations of charter school market failures. They discuss the problem of too few vs. too many schools, weak consumer information, and distracted supplier effects. They say: "… we’ve reluctantly concluded that the marketplace alone—understood as individuals choosing the school their child will attend—is not a sufficient mechanism for assuring strong academic achievement and other important educational outcomes."

New Research Report: Are U.S. Schools Inefficient?
06/07/2016
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo, Bruce Baker, & Mark Weber

Matthew Di Carlo shares findings from a new report by Bruce Baker and Mark Weber on school funding efficiencies. Di Carlo says: "… what Baker and Weber offer is an accessible, empirical discussion of the difficulties inherent in comparing educational efficiency between nations, difficulties that should be heeded far more often than they are in our public discourse."

Maybe Old Teachers Don't Suck
06/07/2016
Curmudgucation - Peter Greene

Peter Green, on his blog Curmudgucation, looks closely at the implications of a new report and policy brief from the Learning Policy Institute (LPI): "As always, I cast a somewhat dubious eyeball at educational research, but the implications here are fairly clear-- it would be useful to stop looking at experienced teachers as big ticket items that are fat that needs to be trimmed from budgets and instead see them as a major driver of excellence within schools."

Does Teaching Experience Matter? Let's Count the Ways
06/06/2016
NEA Today - Tim Walker

Tim Walker reports on a new brief from the Learning Policy Institute (LPI), which studied the impact of teacher experience on effectiveness. Tara Kini and Anne Podolsky write in Does Teaching Experience Increase Teacher Effectiveness? "We find that teaching experience is, on average, positively associated with student achievement gains throughout a teacher’s career."

A Stanford professor's high-stakes plan to save California schools
06/04/2016
CALmatters - Judy Lin

Judy Lin covers Michael Kirst’s approach to local control in California. “California’s push for local control is anchored in a principle the governor calls subsidiarity, the idea that teachers, principals and local school administrators are better equipped to deal with classroom problems than state lawmakers or government bureaucrats.”

Does Teaching Experience Increase Teacher Effectiveness? A Review of the Research
06/03/2016
Learning Policy Institute - Tara Kini & Ann Podolsky

Tara Kini and Ann Podolsky compiled a report and a research brief looking into the impact of teaching experience on teacher effectiveness. "Our report reexamines this critical question in light of recent research using advanced research methods. Based on a review of 30 studies published within the last 15 years, the authors find that as teachers gain experience throughout their careers, their students’ achievement gains increase."

Charter Schools: Failing the Test Series
06/02/2016
Capital & Main - Staff

Capital & Main, an online publication that explores the economic and social fault lines of contemporary California, is running a series on charter schools this week. The series looks at the positives and negatives of charter school autonomy, the power brokers in the movement, special needs students, and who the winners and losers are in charter schools. Several videos are included in the series.

Could ESSA Spark an Overhaul of How We Fund Schools?
06/02/2016
Education Next - Michael J. Petrilli

Mike Petrilli, Fordham Institute, investigates provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act that could be used to expand parental choice. "But smart state leaders and savvy advocates could use the ESSA opportunity to tip the scales in favor of reform—and in favor of the disadvantaged kids who need the most help. Who is ready to try it?"

Rx for Teacher Burnout
06/02/2016
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Hal Portner

Nancy Flanagan provides space for Hal Portner, a former teacher and administrator, and a member of the Connecticut State Department of Education. "Regardless of the roles they assume, teacher leaders help shape the culture of their schools, districts, states, and nation. They influence the practice among their peers, impact the profession, and most importantly, work to improve student learning."

The K-12 Funding Crisis
05/31/2016
Education Week - Charles J. Ogletree Jr. & Kimberly Jenkins Robinson

Charles J. Ogletree Jr. & Kimberly Jenkins Robinson dig into K-12 education funding: "Ending the disparities in educational opportunities across the country will require federal policies to close the opportunity and achievement gaps when individual states refuse to close them on their own. Without such foundational reforms, we are not just tinkering at the margins of education reform. We are tinkering toward nowhere."

The Push and Pull of Research: Lessons from a Multi-site Study of Research Use in Education Policy
05/26/2016
William T. Grant Foundation - Christopher Lubienski, Elizabeth Debray, Janelle Scott

Christopher Lubienski, Elizabeth Debray, Janelle Scott address a key question: “Given what we already know, what steps can the field take to develop our understanding of how to collectively bring about optimal circumstances for effective uses of research?” The authors conducted a multi-year analysis of the role of intermediary organizations in influencing research use. They found that research “played virtually no part in the decision making for policymakers.”

Gritting My Teeth Over Grit (Bootstrap Theories)
05/25/2016
thejosevilson.com - José Vilson

José Vilson discusses the impact that the grit dialogue has on schools, kids, opportunity, and how it is being misused. "I prefer if people just said grit meant that yes, we value hard work and passion, and that’s as far as it goes. Unfortunately, a handful of people are making tons of money on the idea that 10,000 of fixing your attitude about ideas students may or may not be interested in might close the achievement gap."

Are U.S. Schools Resegregating?
05/23/2016
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matthew Di Carlo responds to a recent report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), which looked into access to educational opportunities from the nation’s low income and minority public school population. “The results, most generally, suggest that the proportion of the nation's schools with high percentages of lower income (i.e., subsidized lunch eligible) and Black and Hispanic students increased between 2000 and 2013.”

Building a better school board
05/19/2016
Bridge Magazine - Ted Roelofs

Ted Roelofs discusses the difficulties encountered by school board members in Michigan. “The job description is not exactly enticing: Crummy or non-existent pay. Long meetings. And the prospect of fights over anything from school closings, to sex education, to the resignation of a basketball coach.”

Far from top ten in education, Michigan is falling further behind the rest of the nation
05/19/2016
The Education Trust-Midwest

Education Trust-Midwest released a new report, ‘Michigan’s Talent Crisis: The Economic Case for Rebuilding Michigan’s Broken Public Education System,’ on Thursday. “In addition to providing a comprehensive report on the status of public education in Michigan, the new report outlines specific next steps for Michigan to systemically improve its K-12 education system based on strategies proven [sic] to work in leading states across the country.”

Rumors of Death Premature: Portfolio Management Still Alive and Kicking in New Orleans
05/19/2016
Education Next - Paul Hill & Ashley Jochim

Paul Hill and Ashley Jochim write about portfolio management in New Orleans. The authors were responding to a piece by Jay Greene, who had declared that portfolio management was dead in New Orleans. “It looks pretty lively, with all public school kids in charter schools and results improving steadily.”

Snapshot of the Teaching Profession: What's Changed Over a Decade?
05/19/2016
NEA Today - Tim Walker

Tim Walker reviews some of the findings from the 2014 Digest of Education Statistics, released this month by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). “A wide variety of subjects are covered, including funding, student enrollment, attitudes on education, demographic profiles, international comparisons. There’s also quite a bit of information on public school teachers – who they are, where they work, what they teach, and what they earn – and the trends that have shifted (or not) over the past decade or so.”

The 'Intolerable' Fight Over School Money
05/18/2016
National Public Radio - Morning Edition - Cory Turner

Cory Turner, NPREd, discusses ongoing negotiations and tensions stemming from school funding changes under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Study: To Close the Achievement Gap, Close the Resource Gap
05/16/2016
Education Testing Service - Tom Ewing

The Education Testing Service (ETS) released a new report this week. The report, 'Mind the Gap: 20 Years of Progress and Retrenchment in School Funding, Staffing Resources & Achievement Gaps,' was written by Bruce D. Baker, Rutgers University and Danielle Farrie and David G. Sciarra of the Education Law Center (ELC) of New Jersey. “Using over twenty years of National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) data on revenue and expenditures for schools, the authors explore the relationship between substantive and sustained school finance reforms and improved student outcomes. They focus on income inequality — specifically child poverty — for evaluating gaps in those educational resources and outcomes.”

Detroit schools' decline and teacher sickout reflect bad economy and demographic shifts
05/15/2016
Los Angeles Times - Joy Resmovits

Joy Resmovits discusses the impact of recent teacher sickouts for the Detroit Public School System (DPS). “The distrust and financial insecurity that exploded this month followed years of buildup — a mounting deficit, dramatically declining enrollment and management by one state-appointed official after another. The problems paralleled Detroit's overall downturn as it lost population and jobs as industry declined.”

Teachers Are Increasingly Frustrated With Their Work, And That's Bad For Students
05/12/2016
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant digs into a recent survey of classroom teachers. He writes: “The reality is teachers’ work conditions are inextricably connected to their ability to engage in quality instruction and to develop cultivating relationships with students. Teachers know this, but people in charge won’t until they start listening to them.”

The problem that school choice has not solved
05/11/2016
The Washington Post - Emma Brown

Emma Brown shares a new analysis of New York City’s high school graduation rates. “Researchers found that — a decade after the city adopted a universal school choice policy for high school students — a child’s likelihood of graduating on time remains tightly linked to the poverty rate, household income and adult educational attainment in that child’s neighborhood.”

Teachers Value Planning Time, Collaboration with Colleagues, Survey Finds
05/10/2016
Learning First Alliance - Joetta Sack-Min

Joetta Sack-Min shares findings from a survey from the Center on Education Policy (CEP). Key findings include: “[1] The teaching field is getting more complex and demanding; [2] Teachers do not feel their voices are being heard in state and national policies; [3] Teachers are maintaining autonomy in their classrooms, despite concerns; and [4] Use of time and class size matter to teachers.” (This is the same survey reported in Jeff Bryant’s blog, also Worth A Read).

Suburban Schools: The Unrecognized Frontier in Public Education
05/10/2016
Center for Reinventing Public Education - Sean Gill, Jordan Posamentier, & Paul Hill

The Center for Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) released a recent report, which reviewed the trends of changing student populations in suburban public school systems. “While some might argue that suburbs have been lucky to avoid battles over education policy, teacher strikes, and state interventions, many suburbs are economically distressed and not well equipped to handle the new challenges associated with disadvantaged students.”

What do teachers do when they leave teaching?
05/09/2016
Brookings - The Brown Center Chalkboard - Dick Startz

Dick Startz shares data from the Teacher Follow-up Survey (TFS) to answer the following questions: “[1] When teachers leave teaching, where do they go next? [2] Are they getting good jobs outside of education? [3] Or are subsequent jobs more of a lateral move? Or [4] do teachers who quit teaching also quit working?”

The Difference Between Educational Equality, Equity, and Justice... and Why It Matters
05/02/2016
American Journal of Education - AJE Forum - Joseph Levitan

Joseph Levitan discusses the differences between educational equality, equity, and a just education. “Although they are seemingly similar terms, the concepts of equality, equity, and justice orient thinking about policy in different and important ways.”

Money, Race and Success: How Your School District Compares
04/29/2016
New York Times - Motoko Rich, Amanda Cox, & Matthew Bloch

Motoko Rich, Amanda Cox, & Matthew Bloch address educational inequalities across the U.S. Their reporting comes from a new study from the Stanford Education Data Archive. “The study, by Sean F. Reardon, Demetra Kalogrides and Kenneth Shores of Stanford, also reveals large academic gaps in places like Atlanta, which has a high level of segregation in the public schools.”

Achievement Gaps and Racial Segregation: Research Finds an Insidious Cycle
04/29/2016
Inside School Research - Education Week - Sarah D. Sparks

Sarah Sparks summarizes recent findings of a new study that provides a “massive new database that allows researchers to compare school districts across state lines.” According to Sparks, the study data “has led to the unwelcome finding that racial achievement gaps yawn in nearly every district in the country — and the districts with the most resources in place to serve all students frequently have the worst inequities.” This is the same study reported in the NY Times (also Worth A Read).

How school districts sell funding projects across Michigan
04/28/2016
Bridge Magazine - Mike Wilkinson

Mike Wilkinson reports on school bond issues across Michigan. He interviews district leaders on communicating with the public regarding bond issues. Detailed bond passage rates and local analyses are provided.

Charter Schools And Longer Term Student Outcomes
04/28/2016
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matthew Di Carlo reflects on a recent article from the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. The article is part of an analysis of charter high schools, but this study focuses on the longer term outcomes of charters:  college persistence and labor market earnings. “It’s also clear that research on the longer term effects of charter school attendance (and other policy interventions as well) are important not only for their value in assessing the impact of these policies, but also for the potential they have to shed light on the strengths and weaknesses of common outcomes that we use for the purposes of such evaluation.”

Teacher Pay Decay
04/28/2016
Curmudgucation - Peter Greene

Peter Greene shares the findings of a documentary from WRAL in North Carolina, which looked at the state of pay in that state. “The WRAL story is of interest to everyone because in the process of whipping up an interactive graphic based on National Center for Education Statistics, they came up with a map that shows how every state has fared over the past decade-and-a-half.”

What Frustrates This Educator about Rick Hess
04/27/2016
Cloaking Inequity - Nicole Mirra

Nicole Mirra reacts to recent comments from Rick Hess, who poked fun at paper titles presented at the 2016 annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). “It sounds to me like Hess has his own privileged assumptions about what ‘real’ research is.”

Should Reformers Support Education Savings Accounts?
04/26/2016
Education Next - Matthew Ladner & Nelson Smith

Matthew Ladner and Nelson Smith discuss Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), or neo-vouchers, which allow parents to spend state money on approved educational expenses (including private schooling). Ladner argues that ESAs are a better option to charter schooling. Smith counters that ESAs pose a substantial risk to the charter school movement.

Summary of research on the association between state interventions in chronically low-performing schools and student achievement
04/25/2016
Institute of Education Sciences (IES) - REL Central

This report from REL Central presents a summary of research on the associations between state interventions in chronically low-performing schools and student achievement. The majority of the research focused on one type of state intervention: working with a turnaround partner. Although researchers sought to include research on a variety of state intervention types, few studies were identified that examined other types of interventions such as school closure, charter conversion, and school redesign.

Why the charter school debate has moved beyond 'better' or 'worse'
04/20/2016
The Conversation U.S. - Joshua Cowen

Joshua Cowen looks into the research on charter schools, searching for an answer to the question: are charter schools good or bad? “So, it’s time to move the debate away from ‘are charters good or bad for kids’ and to a more careful consideration of the strengths and weaknesses of the charter approach in many different places.”

State education agencies and researchers as partners in improving student outcomes
04/20/2016
Brown Center Chalkboard - Brookings - Carla Howe

Carla Howe looks at the need for state education agencies (SEAs) to partner with external researchers. “Ultimately, both SEAs and researchers stand to benefit from successful partnerships, and not just through increasing the number of publications by researchers or having evidence-based results available for SEAs to put to use for decision-making about student learning—though these are two very compelling reasons.”

Changing The Narrative: Leveraging Education Policy To Address Segregation
04/19/2016
Shanker Blog - Jennifer Jellison Holme & Kara S. Finnigan

Jennifer Jellison Holme & Kara S. Finnigan share a set of strategies, based on their research, to address racial and economic segregation. “Taken together, the tools we have outlined can help the educational system move away from a decades long focus on the symptoms of educational failure, and address one of the key roots of the problem. We cannot afford to wait any longer.”

Financing Personalized Learning: What Can We Learn From First-Generation Adopters?
04/19/2016
Center for Reinventing Public Education - Larry Miller, Betheny Gross, Tricia Maas, Jose Hernandez, Alton Lu, Robin Lake

The Center for Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) released a paper looking at the costs associated with implementing personalized instruction in schools. “The findings from this study suggest that those interested in implementing and supporting these models need to think hard about how to use scarce public and private dollars to their greatest effect so that personalized learning can achieve its promise.”

The Teacher Hazing Ritual
04/18/2016
Education Next - Robert Pondiscio

Robert Pondiscio discusses teacher preparation, struggling schools, and teacher turnover. “We assume struggling schools are filled with untalented or tenured layabouts. Far more often, these teachers are good people trying their best and failing. And they fail not in spite of their training, but because of it.”

Virtual Charter Schools Perform Worse Than District Schools, Report Says
04/12/2016
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Arianna Prothero

Arianna Prothero shares the results of a recent virtual school report produced by the National Education Policy Center. The report, part of an annual review of virtual and blended learning options, found that despite the lackluster academic performance, virtual schools continue to grow. This report was funded in part by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

How the Community School Model Transformed a Texas School
04/11/2016
NEA Today - Cindy Long

Cindy Long writes about Walter P. Webb Middle School in Austin, Texas. Web MS is a community school, "A community school is designed to tap into that social capital to better serve the entire community … Community schools offer a personalized curriculum that emphasizes real-world learning and community problem-solving. Schools become centers of the community and are open to everyone—all day, every day, evenings and weekends."

Want To Teach In Urban Schools? Get To Know The Neighborhood
04/10/2016
NPR Ed - All Things Considered - Michel Martin

Chris Emdin, Teachers College, Columbia University, speaks with NPR’s Michel Martin about his new book, For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood … And the Rest of Y'All Too. Emdin was recently honored by the American Educational Research Association (AERA) with an early career award.

What is the Conceptual Use of Research, and Why is it Important?
04/08/2016
William T. Grant Foundation - Caitlin Farrell & Cynthia Coburn

Caitlin Farrell & Cynthia Coburn reflect on recent interviews with school leaders in a major urban school district. "The conceptual use of research is a potentially powerful way to inform policy. When used conceptually, research serves to introduce new ideas, help people identify problems and appropriate solutions in new ways, and provide new frameworks to guide thinking and action."

The Social Side of Education: How Social Aspects of Schools & School Systems Shape Teaching & Learning
04/08/2016

The Shanker Institute hosted an event last week on the social side of education. The event sought to "shine a light on these issues by foregrounding recent evidence demonstrating that social aspects of schools and school systems deeply influence school improvement." The event was live streamed and recorded.

Fewer poor students are being enrolled in state universities. Here's why
04/05/2016
The Conversation - Robert Kelchen & Luke J. Stedrak

Robert Kelchen and Luke J. Stedrak write about evidence of university systems reducing access for low-income students at public colleges. They recommend: "States should consider placing provisions in both their enrollment-based and performance-based funding systems to encourage colleges to continuing [sic] to enroll an economically diverse student body."

Testing time at schools: Is there a better way?
04/04/2016
CNN - Kelly Wallace

Kelly Wallace, CNN, discusses the growing debate among parents, teachers, and policymakers, whether children should be subjected to lengthy exams in language arts and math. This article and accompanying video discuss several alternatives to high-stakes testing.

A Smarter Charter: Finding What Works for Charter Schools and Public Education
04/01/2016
Teachers College Record - Michael Mindzak

Michael Mindzak, Western University, reviews a recent book by Richard Kahlenberg and Halley Potter. According to Mindzak, the authors "explore the fundamental paradox concerning what went wrong with charter schools over the past two decades. The authors problematize charter schools and the key issues that have plagued them since their inception by diving straight into these struggles. Important considerations for the charter school movement emerge from this analysis, along with examples of successful charters with records of empowering educators and contributing to positive student learning. Educator and policymaker challenges are presented to spark a new direction for charter schools to become the schools they were originally envisioned to be."

Professor Critical of National Education Group's Report on Teacher Preparation
04/01/2016
University of Arkansas - Heidi S. Stambuck


Heidi Stambuck shares information about a recent academic review completed of a NCTQ report. The review was co-written by Chris Goering, University of Arkansas, and P.L. Thomas, Furman University. Note: The GLC contributes to the Think Twice think tank review project, which produced the review.

Common Core's major political challenges for the remainder of 2016
03/30/2016
Brown Center Chalkboard - Bookings - Tom Loveless

Tom Loveless elaborates on the Common Core’s political future, and "discuss[es] four key challenges that CCSS will face between now and the end of the year": (1) impending TIMSS & PISA trends; (2) teacher support; (3) possible efforts to change NAEP; and (4) the growing Opt-out movement.

More Ohio Charter Fakery
03/29/2016
Curmudgucation - Peter Greene

Peter Greene reacts to a recent story in the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch on the Akron Digital Academy (a virtual charter school in Ohio). The story indicates that state regulators inflated attendance reports and possibly overpaid state aid. Greene concludes: "Add to this the research showing that cyber charters are bad, so very very bad, that even the biggest defenders and fans of the charter industry will no longer stand up for them and one wonders why any state allows them to operate at all outside of very strict and specific strictures. The need to clamp down on cyber charters should be obvious even in a state like Ohio, no matter how many invisible students they serve."

Reading Recovery: An Evaluation of the Four-Year i3 Scale-Up
03/28/2016
Consortium for Policy Research in Education - Henry May, Philip Sirinides, Abigail Gray, & Heather Goldsworthy

CPRE released its evaluation of one of the most ambitious and well-documented expansions of a U.S. instructional curriculum: the Investing in Innovation (i3) scale-up of Reading Recovery, a literacy intervention for struggling first graders. "The study included an in-depth analysis of program implementation. Key findings focus on the contextual factors of the school and teachers that support the program’s success and the components of instructional strength in Reading Recovery."

Michael Kirst: California students better prepared for college
03/26/2016
San Jose Mercury News - Opinion - Michael Kirst

Michael Kirst, president of the California State Board of Education and professor emeritus of education at Stanford University, discusses positive trends in California high schools. "California's colleges and universities are reporting unprecedented numbers of top-notch students applying. This is a signal that students recognize the stronger preparation now required for college and careers. But considerable work remains among educators to ensure access and equity are priorities statewide."

The Changing Face of Teacher Preparation
03/24/2016
Michigan State University - College of Education

The Education Policy Center at Michigan State University is hosting 'The Changing Face of Teacher Preparation: Aspirations, Designs and Evidence,' a one-day conference on teacher preparation. The conference will bring together some of the nation's top researchers and leaders of various types of programs.

The Power of the Network: Teach For America's Impact on the Deregulation of Teacher Education
03/23/2016
Educational Policy - Kerry Kretchmar, Beth Sondel, & Joseph J. Ferrare

Kerry Kretchmar, Beth Sondel, & Joseph J. Ferrare illustrate the relationships between Teach For America (TFA) and the deregulation of university-based teacher education programs. "We use policy network analysis to create a visual representation of TFA’s connections to individuals, organizations, and private corporations who are working to shift the way teachers are prepared."

Hiring Non-Certified Teachers No Way to Address Teacher Shortage, Say Experts
03/23/2016
NEA Today - Tim Walker

Tim Walker reports on a recent poll of California voters and a report released in January by the Learning Policy Institute (LPI). The poll indicates that voters in California are concerned with the state’s looming teacher shortage, while the report from LPI showed the number of underprepared teachers in California is climbing.

How Can White Teachers Do Better by Urban Kids of Color?
03/22/2016
Colorlines - Christopher Emdin

Colorlines, a daily news site published by Race Forward, shares an excerpt of Chris Emdin’s newest book, "For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood … and the Rest of Y'all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education." In this excerpt Emdin explains how White teachers in urban schools can overcome their class and race privilege and truly connect with their students.

No, great schools can't close achievement gaps all by themselves
03/22/2016
The Washington Post - Answer Sheet - Kevin Welner

Kevin Welner shares a new infographic from the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) and the Schott Foundation.  Welner unveiled the infographic at a White House summit on education policy. The infographic is based on the policy recommendations drawn from a recent book, 'Closing the Opportunity Gap' by Welner and Prudence Carter (Stanford), as well as a policy brief by Jennifer King Rice (University of Maryland). Note: Rice produced the policy brief for NEPC with funding from the GLC.

Teacher-Evaluation Shifts: Georgia to Scale Back Testing Component
03/17/2016
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk
Stephen Sawchuk relays news of Georgia’s decision to reduce the weight placed on student achievement growth for teacher evaluation. "Under the bill, which has passed both the state House and Senate, tests would count for only 30 percent of each teacher's annual review."
Charter Schools Suspend Black and Disabled Students More, Study Says
03/16/2016
New York Times - Motoko Rich

Motoko Rich shares the findings of a new report from the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at UCLA. "Black students are four times as likely to be suspended from charter schools as white students, according to a new analysis of federal education data. And students with disabilities, the study found, are suspended two to three times the rate of nondisabled students in charter schools."

Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card (5th Ed.)
03/16/2016
Education Law Center - Bruce Baker, Danielle Farrie, Theresa Luhm, and David G. Sciarra

Bruce Baker, Danielle Farrie, Theresa Luhm, and David G. Sciarra share the latest results of the Education Law Center’s school funding report card. "The National Report Card (NRC) evaluates and compares the extent to which state finance systems ensure equality of educational opportunity for all children, regardless of background, family income, place of residence, or school location. It is designed to provide policymakers, educators, business leaders, parents, and the public at large with information to better understand the fairness of existing state school finance systems and how resources are allocated so problems can be identified and solutions developed."

Survey: Number of Future Teachers Reaches All-time Low
03/15/2016
NEA Today - Mary Ellen Flannery

Mary Ellen Flannery reports on the results of a national survey, which finds: "the number of students who say they will major in education has reached its lowest point in 45 years. Just 4.2 percent intend to major in education—a typical first step to becoming a teacher—compared to 11 percent in 2000; 10 percent in 1990; and 11 percent in 1971, according to data gathered by the UCLA’s Cooperative Institutional Research Program."

Opting Out of the Education Reform Industry
03/12/2016
Monthly Review - Wayne Au & Jesslyn Hollar
Wayne Au and Jesslyn Hollar write about the education reform industry, high-stakes testing, and the Opt Out movement. "High-stakes tests provide the data that is the very fuel of the corporate education reform machine. By opting out of these tests, students, parents, and teachers have the power to take away the data. With the data seized and the machine deprived of its fuel, the corporate reformers cannot produce public education for private gain. This is why opting out is so threatening to the reform industry—and it should be."
Facing facts: Ohio's school report cards in a time of rising expectations
03/10/2016
Fordham Institute - Aaron Churchill

Aaron Churchill attempts to dig into the results of Ohio’s school report cards. "Since 2005, the Fordham Institute has conducted annual analyses of Ohio’s school report cards, with a particular focus on the performance of urban schools, both district and charter. This year’s analysis again takes a deep-dive look at the student achievement and school quality in the Ohio Big Eight areas."

Closing the Achievement Gap Requires Closing the Gap Between Schools and Central Offices
03/09/2016
Center for Educational Leadership - Max Silverman

Max Silverman, an associate director at the University of Washington Center for Educational Leadership, tackles school and central office collaboration. He writes, "Building this new model of school and central office collaboration is not easy. It requires changes in how teachers, principals, and central office leaders work together. Here at CEL, we are growing more convinced that the path to turnaround is not paved by mandates or simplistic accountability measures, but rather it is a road of learning, collaboration, and reciprocal accountability."

Community Schools as an Effective Strategy for Reform
03/08/2016
Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE) - Julia Daniel & Jon Snyder

Julia Daniel, doctoral student at the University of Colorado Boulder, and Jon Snyder, Stanford University, summarize the empirical basis for several features of community schools. "Investing in programs that address the multiple needs of students and communities so that children can succeed in school produces excellent returns for individuals and for society."

Teacher Eval: Waist Deep in the Big Muddy
03/08/2016
Curmudgucation - Peter Greene

Peter Greene reviews a recent article in the Atlantic. The article by Thomas Toch, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching argues that teacher evaluation [reform], now given a bit of freedom in the new ESSA, should stay the course. Greene writes, "The Obama-era teacher evaluation systems sucked. They collected lousy information about things that aren't even the most important part of a teacher's work. They consistently proved to be unreliable and invalid. They provided no useful information to anybody. One of the few bright spots of ESSA is the end of the federally-mandated inaccurate unreliable nonsense evaluation system."

On (Wisconsin)
03/07/2016
Medium.com - Sara Goldrick-Rab

Sara Goldrick-Rab, soon to be professor of higher education policy and sociology at Temple University, writes about her reasons for leaving the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "Terrified sheep make lousy teachers, lousy scholars, and lousy colleagues. And today at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, thanks to #FakeTenure, I’m surrounded by terrified sheep. To be honest, commitments to the growing number of people whom I am responsible for (including my two children, but also my students and staff), put me at risk of becoming one of them."

Do school vouchers improve results? It depends on what we ask
03/02/2016
The Conversation - Joshua Cowen

Joshua Cowen reviews a series of reports on Louisiana’s statewide school voucher program. Regarding negative results from the vouchers, he says: “It may be tempting to use this news as an argument against vouchers, especially because the evidence is drawn from the most sophisticated research tools available to scholars who study these programs. However, it should be stressed that test scores provide only one indicator of program success or failure.” And adds later, “The question is whether test scores are the only way to judge schools and school performance.”

Teachers And Professional Collaboration: How Sweden Has Become The ABBA Of Educational Change
03/02/2016
Shanker Blog - Andy Hargreaves

Andy Hargreaves discusses school reform in Sweden, professional collaboration, and teacher collegiality. “The world is finally starting to realize that we cannot create societies of highly skilled and successful learners, unless we have professionally run schools and school systems where well qualified and highly valued teachers are able, encouraged and expected to collaborate for the benefit of all students. It’s time for teachers everywhere not to say the equivalent of another Abba song – ‘Take a Chance on Me’ – but to proclaim ‘invest in us as a strong and growing profession’.”

Support From the Start: A 50-State Review of Policies on New Educator Induction and Mentoring
03/01/2016
New Teacher Center - Liam Goldrick

The New Teacher Center released an update of state policies on teacher induction, ‘Support From the Start: A 50-State Review of Policies on New Educator Induction and Mentoring.’ The review provides a comprehensive national summary as well as individual state policy snapshots. According to NTC, “Each state’s existing policies are analyzed against key criteria most critical to the provision of universal, high-quality induction and mentoring support for beginning educators.”

Overregulation Theory isn't enough to explain negative voucher effects
02/29/2016
Brookings - The Brown Center Chalkboard - Paul Bruno

Paul Bruno investigates a new working paper on the effects of Louisiana’s statewide voucher program. The primary focus of the blog is on ‘Overregulation Theory.’  He says, “According to Overregulation Theory, regulations imposed by Louisiana’s voucher scheme were so burdensome that only the private schools most desperate to boost enrollment opted to participate.” And, “While it is plausible that regulations did reduce private school participation, it is not obvious that Overregulation Theory is entirely consistent with the available evidence.”

Who won the education 'award' nobody wants to receive?
02/23/2016
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Valerie Strauss

Valerie Strauss shares the 2015 winner of the Bunkum Awards - presented by the National Education Policy Center - “it is given for what presenters say is ‘shoddy’ educational research based on weak data, questionable analysis and overblown recommendations.” NOTE: The GLC is a contributor to the Think Twice think tank review project, which selected the recipient.

A 'broader bolder' approach to even the education playing field
02/23/2016
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Elaine Weiss

Elaine Weiss describes the relaunch of the Broader, Bolder Approach (BBA) to Education: “With its relaunch, BBA establishes the framework for developing those policies. It links four strategies to alleviate out-of-school barriers to success and four others to narrow opportunity gaps within and across schools. It also works to bridge school-community divides that exclude important voices from school reform discussions, neglect critical needs those reforms must address, and leave key assets to enable them on the table.”

Teacher-Peer Learning Can Boost Student Performance, Study Says
02/23/2016
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk reported on a new working paper released last week. “In short, the study finds that the pairing of teachers in this manner bore fruit for student learning: Students taught by the teachers targeted for learning with a more-skilled peer learning scored higher than the average student taught by such a teacher in a control school, by about 0.12 of a standard deviation, on tests administered at the end of the 2014 school year. The effects persisted the following year, too. Explaining the effects poses some challenge, because the principals and researchers pretty much left the teachers alone to decide how to work together.”

Chetty et al. v. Rothstein on VAM-Based Bias, Again
02/22/2016
VAMboozled! - Audrey Amrein-Beardsley

Audrey Amrein-Beardsley discusses an ongoing, two-way communication between economists regarding the use of Value-Added for educational reform. The debate stems from a series of working papers produced by Chetty, Friedman, and Rockoff. Intertwined in the back and forth is commentary from Berkeley economist Jesse Rothstein, who has been critical of the work of Chetty, et al.. NOTE: The GLC has funded several Think Twice reviews of the Chetty, et al. working papers.

#HowMuchTesting and for What Purpose? Join the Debate!
02/16/2016
Cloaking Inequity - Matthew R. Lavery, University of Central Florida

Matthew Lavery writes about a 'key session' at AERA's annual meeting this April in Washington, DC: 'How Much Testing and for What Purpose? Public Scholarship in the Debate about Educational Assessment and Accountability.' He writes: "prominent educational researchers will respond to questions and concerns raised by parents, students, teachers, community members, and the public at large. Any and all of you with an interest in educational testing and accountability are invited to post your questions, concerns, and comments using the hashtag #HowMuchTesting on Twitter, Facebook,Instagram, Google+, or the social media platform of your choice, as these are the posts to which AERA's panelists will respond."

How Competition Hurts Children in Detroit's Schools
02/16/2016
Huffington Post - Donald Cohen

Donald Cohen, In the Public Interest, responds to the latest round of policies intended to ‘fix’ schools in Detroit. “The situation in Detroit is damning evidence against unchecked charter school expansion. Allowing more charters without planning and oversight prevents communities from stable, safe schools where children can learn from great teachers.”

From Evidence-based Programs to an Evidence-based System: Opportunities Under the Every Student Succeeds Act
02/15/2016
Education Next - Martin R. West

Martin West writes about the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA): "As with so much in the new law, what happens as a result of ESSA’s evidence provisions will depend less on what they require of states and more on what states make of the opportunities that they create. Let’s hope—and work to ensure—that states take full advantage."

Embedding Leadership in the Teaching Profession
02/10/2016
NEA Today - Brenda Álvarez

Brenda Álvarez reports on the 2016 National Summit on Teacher Leadership in Washington, D.C. "The National Education Association (NEA), along with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), and the U.S. Department of Education, organized the summit to allow participating teachers, state superintendents, and union representatives to share ideas, best practices, and examples of existing teacher-leadership efforts. Additionally, the group identified common challenges and created concrete, actionable teacher leadership plans to address them back home. Nineteen states were represented at the summit, and included an education team from the U.S. Department of Defense."

State Takeovers of Low-Performing Schools: A Record of Academic Failure, Financial Mismanagement & Student Harm
02/09/2016
The Center for Popular Democracy - Aditi Sen

The Center for Popular Democracy released a report this week, which looks at the record of state takeovers: “In the past decade, the debate over school control has shifted to include ‘takeover districts’ in which schools that are deemed ‘chronically failing’ are removed from the local school district and placed in a statewide district with a separate governance structure that is far less transparent and accountable to the public. Three states, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Michigan, had already established districts of this kind by 2014.” The report finds: “The rapid proliferation of the takeover district as an educational panacea is alarming.”

How Should States Measure School Success?
02/08/2016
Education Next - Andy Smarick

Andy Smarick discusses K-12 accountability systems and ESSA: “I’ve been cautiously optimistic about ESSA’s potential to remedy this situation. The #ESSADesign competition happily reduced my emphasis on ‘cautiously.’ ”

Teaching Higher: Educators' Perspectives on Common Core Implementation
02/08/2016
Harvard University - Center for Education Policy Research - Thomas J. Kane, Antoniya M. Owens, William H. Marinell, Daniel R. C. Thal, & Douglas O. Staiger

This report from Harvard’s Center for Education Policy Research (CEPR) looks at implementation of Common Core (in Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, and Nevada). “We asked teachers and principals about the types and amounts of professional development they received, the textbooks they were using, the online resources they found most helpful, and the alignment between Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and teacher evaluations.”

Teach For America's Preferential Treatment: School District Contracts, Hiring Decisions, and Employment Practices
02/08/2016
Education Policy Analysis Archives (EPAA/AAPE) - T. Jameson Brewer, Kerry Kretchmar, Beth Sondel, Sarah Ishmael, Megan Manfra

A special edition of Education Policy Analysis Archives (EPAA/AAPE) was focused on Teach For America. This article provides, "evidence that school districts are contractually obligated to reserve and protect positions exclusively for [TFA] corps members, jobs held by corps members are not a result of equal and open competition, corps member positions are specifically not limited to ‘so-called shortage areas,' and TFA's partnership with charter schools and alumni of the organization have skewed hiring practices in favor of TFA over non-TFA teachers." EPAA/AAPE is a peer-reviewed, open-access, international, multilingual, and multidisciplinary journal designed for researchers, practitioners, policy makers, and development analysts concerned with education policies.

The IMPACT Of Teacher Turnover In DCPS
02/03/2016
Shanker Institute - Matthew Di Carlo

Matthew Di Carlo looks at results from a working paper published by NBER. The report found that teachers who left were replaced by teachers with higher scores (on IMPACT, the district evaluation system) the following year. "It's a very strong analysis that speaks directly to policy in a manner that does not fit well into the tribal structure of education debates today."

South Dakota Proposals Would Link Higher Teacher Pay to Staffing Ratios
02/03/2016
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk reports on a proposal in South Dakota to overhaul school funding: "The funds would be sent to districts largely based on formula calculated off of a target average teacher salary, which would be keyed to a teacher-student ratio rather than per-pupil expenditures, as is the case in most states."

Teacher Moneyball: Can big data and predictive analytics help find the next generation of star educators?
02/03/2016
Brookings - The Brown Center Chalkboard - Jacob Murray

Jacob Murray discusses the use of big data to predict educator success: “Developing valid, reliable and unbiased aptitude and performance assessments is an ongoing challenge.  And there is a dizzying array of social scientists, conferences and companies racing to create the next predictive metrics and software for everything from student behavior, to fitness, to financial stock performance.  Yet, in the case of identifying new, high-potential teachers, this pursuit would be worthwhile if it could help to select great future educators.”

Deconstructing the 2015 NAEP Results
02/02/2016
Center on Education Policy (CEP) - Nancy Kober

Nancy Kober shares insights from a panel of experts: “This short piece helps explain what they [2015 NAEP results] mean and don't mean for the future of public education.”

Teacher Turnover in High-Poverty Schools: What We Know and Can Do
02/01/2016
Teachers College Record - Nicole S. Simon & Susan Moore Johnson

Nicole Simon and Susan Moore Johnson studied the impact of teacher turnover rates in low-income schools: "Together, these studies suggests that, on average, when teachers leave schools serving low-income minority students, they are not fleeing their students. Rather, teachers often choose such schools because of their commitment to social justice. When these teachers leave, it is frequently because the working conditions in their schools interfere with teaching and learning. Therefore, to retain talented, effective teachers in high-poverty schools, policy makers and practitioners should adopt strategies designed to improve the teaching environment."

GOP-led states increasingly taking control from local school boards
02/01/2016
Washington Post - Lyndsey Layton

Lyndsey Layton covers the path taken by many GOP governors to disempower locally elected school boards: "Although the particulars vary, an appointed manager wields broad powers to redesign schools or close them entirely. The state manager can hire and fire, set curriculum, reconfigure the school day, sell property and, in some cases, break existing labor contracts. Increasingly, state managers are turning over traditional public schools to charter school operators, which are funded by tax dollars but are privately managed."

Portfolio Management School Districts and Teacher Quality
02/01/2016
Green & Write Education Policy Research Insights - Michigan State University - Dave Reid

Dave Reid looks into the portfolio model for school district reform: "Portfolio management is a relatively recent reform in public education where a district’s central office, rather than managing a set of uniform public schools, operates a more diverse set of schools (including traditional public schools, charter schools, and non-profit organizations) as a portfolio. Urban school districts are increasingly considering this model as a way to reform their school systems, believing that it can ensure equity in school choice and better hold schools accountable for performance."

When winners are losers: Private school vouchers in Louisiana
01/28/2016
Brookings - Susan M. Dynarski
Susan Dynarski explores the recent results of a voucher study in Louisiana. Despite the negative effect, Dynarski believes the study is a sign of progress in educational research. "Previous research that uses lotteries to study schools has almost uniformly yielded positive results, with the occasional zero effect. The Louisiana study bucks that trend, and that’s a sign that science is working as it should. Science and policy move forward by learning from successes as well as from failures."
Sick of Inequality: The Case for the Detroit Teacher Strike
01/28/2016
The Progressive - José Luis Vilson

José Luis Vilson discusses education in Detroit, the Flint water crisis, and local accountability. "To whom is it not obvious that schooling is as much a public good as safe drinking water? While Governor Snyder subverts the public will by perpetuating deplorable learning conditions for students who attend DPS schools, educators must subvert anti-striking laws with sick outs. After this much calamity, I’d be sick of the inequity, too."

The Narrative Of School Failure And Why We Must Pay Attention To Segregation In Educational Policy
01/28/2016
Shanker Blog - Kara S. Finnigan and Jennifer Jellison Holme

Kara Finnigan and Jennifer Holme discuss their recent research, which has focused on the ways that students are segregated from one another across school district lines by race and by social class, and educational policies that seek to reverse these trends. "The nation's failure to address school segregation has created a serious, deep-seated problem, analogous our decaying tooth story: policymakers have sought to address symptoms (i.e. failing schools, high dropout rates) with various solutions (accountability, market-based reforms) and yet, while some of these steps make the problem somewhat or temporarily better, the underlying maladies persist and, in fact, often serve to undermine those very reform efforts."

Even the best teachers can't erase inequities
01/27/2016
Detroit News - Rick Joseph

Rick Joseph, 2015-16 Michigan Teacher of the Year, writes about the impact of poverty, school choice, and equity in this Op-Ed in the Detroit News. "Public education and creative, equitably funded, nimble public education systems must be upheld and cultivated on behalf of all students, everywhere, to help us make Michigan the great state it can and should be."

A Failing Grade for K-12 State Takeovers
01/27/2016
Education Week - Commentary - Kent McGuire, Katherine Dunn, Kate Shaw, & Adam Schott

Kent McGuire, Katherine Dunn, Kate Shaw, & Adam Schott offer commentary on plans to adopt a state takeover model in Georgia and Pennsylvania. "A common thread in all of these 'reforms,' along with the new proposals in Georgia and Pennsylvania, is the heavy reliance on standardized-test scores to deem schools 'failing' and in need of state intervention—even as the Every Student Succeeds Act, the new federal education legislation, acknowledges that a broader set of indicators should be used to measure schools' progress, moving us away from rigid, high-stakes-testing accountability."

Spending in nation's schools falls again, with wide variation across state
01/26/2016
Washington Post - Education - Emma Brown

Emma Brown summarizes recent federal data on per-pupil spending in K-12 public schools. The results point toward a wide variation between states and an overall downward trend. The national average was $10,763, down 0.6 percent from 2012 (adjusted for inflation). "The nation’s per-pupil spending on K-12 public schools dropped in 2013 for the third year in a row, reversing more than a decade of funding increases, according to federal data released Wednesday."

Teacher Turnover, Teacher Quality, and Student Achievement in DCPS
01/25/2016
National Bureau of Economic Research - Melinda Adnot, Thomas Dee, Veronica Katz, James Wyckoff

This working paper examines the effects of teacher turnover and other teacher related effects on school quality as measured by student performance in DC public schools. "Employing a quasi-experimental design based on data from the first year years of IMPACT, we find that, on average, DCPS replaced teachers who left with teachers who increased student achievement by 0.08 SD in math." Note: this is a working paper from NBER that has not been peer-reviewed or published in a journal.

Maryland Democrats say they will take up bills that deal with overtesting
01/20/2016
The Washington Post - Ovetta Wiggins

Ovetta Wiggins shared plans from the head of the Maryland Senate’s education committee, who noted: “lawmakers will try to address standardized testing during the ongoing legislative session, despite Gov. Larry Hogan’s statement that he would rather wait for a commission to weigh in on the issue this summer.”

New Report: Does Money Matter in Education? Second Edition
01/20/2016
Shanker Blog - Matthew DiCarlo

Matthew DiCarlo describes a new report, ‘Does Money Matter in Education?,’ which was written by Bruce Baker (Rutgers). “The report presented a thorough, balanced review of the rather sizable body of research on the relationship between K-12 education spending and outcomes. The motivation for this report was to address the highly contentious yet often painfully oversimplified tribal arguments regarding the impact of education spending and finance reforms, as well as provide an evidence-based guide for policymakers during a time of severe budgetary hardship. It remains our most viewed resource ever, by far.”

Analysis of the stability of teacher-level growth scores from the student growth percentile model
01/19/2016
IES - REL West - Andrea Lash, Reino Makkonen, Loan Tran, Min Huang

This WestEd report, funded by IES and released by REL West, examined the stability over years of teacher-level growth scores from the Student Growth Percentile (SGP) model, which many states and districts have selected as a measure of effectiveness in their teacher evaluation systems. The authors of the report caution: “states may want to be cautious in using student growth percentile scores for teacher evaluation.”

Foundation Influence in Education Policy Deserves Greater Scrutiny
01/15/2016
The Chronicle of Philanthropy - Frederick M. Hess, Jeffrey Henig, and Jenn Hatfield

Rick Hess, Jeff Henig, and Jenn Hatfield discuss the role that philanthropy plays in education policy. “For all the commotion though, it’s striking how rarely the strategies, scope, and importance of education philanthropy are subjected to extended scrutiny and analysis. For all the ink devoted to high-profile foundation efforts, we know remarkably little about the patterns of giving and the accomplishments of these grant makers, and even less about how the patterns are changing.”

Inside the Every Student Succeeds Act
01/15/2016
Education Week - Staff

Education Week has been running several special reports on the passage of ESSA and the challenges of implementation. “This special report on ESSA looks at what the law will mean for virtually every aspect of public schooling when it takes full effect in the 2017-18 academic year. Topics include accountability and testing, teacher quality, research, regulation, funding, early-childhood education, and thorny issues involving student groups that often lag behind their peers.”

Teacher Tenure: An Outmoded 'Job For Life' or Essential Right to Due Process?
01/13/2016
Albert Shanker Institute

The Shanker Institute hosted an event this week to discuss teacher tenure. Guest speakers included: Jane Hannaway, Georgetown; Richard Kahlenberg, Century Foundation; Marc Tucker, National Center on Education and the Economy; and Randi Weingarten, AFT. "In this panel, we will explore these divergent viewpoints by focusing on what tenure laws actually consist of, how they work in practice, how they might be improved, and, of course, their impact on important outcomes such as teacher retention and student achievement." Video clips are shared on this link.

How much does it cost to educate a student in Michigan? We'll soon have an answer
01/13/2016
Michigan Public Radio - State of Opportunity - Jennifer Guerra

Jennifer Guerra discusses an adequacy study underway in Michigan, which is designed to find out how much it takes to educate a student. "Brian Whiston, Michigan's superintendent of schools, hopes the state legislature takes the APA [evaluation firm] report seriously, considering it spent 'several hundred thousand dollars to do the study.'"

School Vouchers and Student Achievement: First-Year Evidence from the Louisiana Scholarship Program
01/12/2016
The National Bureau of Economic Research - Atila Abdulkadiroglu, Parag A. Pathak, Christopher R. Walters

Atila Abdulkadiroglu, Parag A. Pathak, Christopher R. Walters, in a recent National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) report, evaluate the Louisiana Scholarship Program (LSP), a prominent school voucher plan. The study "reveals that LSP participation substantially reduces academic achievement. Attendance at an LSP-eligible private school lowers math scores by 0.4 standard deviations and increases the likelihood of a failing score by 50 percent. Voucher effects for reading, science and social studies are also negative and large. The negative impacts of vouchers are consistent across income groups, geographic areas, and private school characteristics, and are larger for younger children."

Teacher Evaluation in Chicago: Differences in Observation and Value-Added Scores by Teacher, Student, and School Characteristics
01/12/2016
University of Chicago Consortium on School Research - Jennie Y. Jiang and Susan E. Sporte

Jennie Y. Jiang and Susan E. Sporte, in a new report from the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research (UCCSR), find: "teachers with the lowest scores on the REACH Students teacher evaluation system are overrepresented in schools serving the most disadvantaged students, while teachers with the highest observation scores are underrepresented in these schools. The study uses data from the 2013-14 school year, which represents the first comprehensive snapshot of evaluation scores for Chicago Public School teachers under the new REACH Students teacher evaluation system."

Impact of Teacher Union Debate Still Unknown, MSU Researcher Says
01/08/2016
Michigan State University - MSU Today - Joshua Cowen, Nicole Geary, Andy Henion

Michigan State University professor Joshua Cowen and colleagues have begun a four-state study that will be the first to examine how state-level reforms, and local teacher contract provisions, actually impact teacher quality and labor markets.

The charter-school scam deepens: The sick new 'bubble' that could explode urban schools
01/05/2016
Salon - Jennifer Berkshire

Jennifer Berkshire interviews University of Connecticut professor Preston Green on his new study, "Are We Heading Toward a Charter School 'Bubble'?: Lessons from the Subprime Mortgage Crisis."

Promoting a quality teaching force
01/05/2016
The Brown Center Chalkboard - Brookings - Helen F. Ladd

Helen Ladd, Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy, reacts to passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and makes recommendations for building a high quality teaching force: "(1) to induce high quality college graduates to enter the teaching profession by offering competitive teacher salaries and good working conditions (an attraction strategy); (2) to encourage teachers to remain in the profession as they gain experience in order to take advantage of the skills they have learned on the job and to avoid the costs of teacher churn (a retention strategy); and (3) to encourage teachers to improve their professional skills by getting master’s degrees (an investment strategy)."

Relay Graduate School of Education: A Policy Brief
01/04/2016
Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools - Kate Peterson
Kate Peterson, a graduate student at Arcadia University, looked into the Relay 'Graduate School' of Education. "Relay Graduate School of Education is an independent institution of higher education run by charter school supporters. From its founders, to its board members, to its professors, and to its partners and philanthropic investors, Relay oozes charter school support. It was created as a teacher supply source for charters and remains just that."
Exploring Cross-State Variations in Resources, Outcomes and Gaps
12/30/2015
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker looks at cross-state variations in resources, outcomes, and gaps. In his blog, he discusses an annual report on the state of school finance systems in the U.S. In 2016, in collaboration with ETS, Baker will be releasing an update of a funding fairness report first produced in 2012.

Can Community Schools Dampen the School Takeover Fever?
12/18/2015
NEA Today - Brenda Álvarez

Brenda Álvarez discusses a recent report from the Annenberg Institute for School Reform and the Southern Education Foundation (SEF), which "makes a strong case for collaborative, grassroots efforts to help turn around struggling schools."

School Reform, Passion and Mic Drops
12/16/2015
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vazquez Heilig shares clips from his recent panel discussion to the Maryland State Education Association (MSEA). Heilig was part of a panel that included Richard Kahlenberg and Jennifer King Rice.

Closing Schools: Privatization Disguised as 'Accountability'
12/15/2015
NEA Today - John Rosales

John Rosales covers a recent forum on the impact of school closures on students and communities. The forum was held December 10 at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C. The panelists included Linda Darling-Hammond, Jitu Brown, Julian Vasquez Heilig, and Judith Browne-Dianis.

Bad Apples
12/14/2015
Edushyster.com - Jennifer Berkshire

Jennifer Berkshire interviews Rutgers Professor Bruce Baker about charter school policies.

ESSA Changes to Teacher-Quality Funding: Which States Snag More Cash?
12/11/2015
Education Week - Politics K-12 - Stephen Sawchuck

Stephen Sawchuk reports on changes made to federal policy under ESSA that will affect states’ teacher-quality funding.

Charter schools are a 'gravy train', say researchers
12/10/2015
Al Jazeera America - Ned Resnikoff

Ned Resnikoff looks at a new report examining the methods charter school operators use to enrich themselves. "The policy framework for U.S. charter schools encourages 'privatization and profiteering', a research institute said in a report released Thursday." The report was produced by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) with funding from In the Public Interest. A disclaimer: NEPC also receives funding from the GLC for research projects.

New Report Shines A Light Into The Charter School Black Box
12/10/2015
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant discusses charter school reforms and improved accountability. Bryant draws on a policy brief produced by Gary Miron (Western Michigan) and Bruce Baker (Rutgers) for the National Education Policy Center (NEPC). "They propose reasonable recommendations for revisions of laws and financial reporting requirements and a tightening of the regulatory provisions for these schools." A disclaimer:NEPC also receives funding from the GLC for research projects.

The long-term impact of NCLB waivers on ESEA renewal
12/10/2015
Brown Center Chalkboard - Brookings - Elizabeth Mann

Elizabeth Mann looks at the impact of waivers on NCLB implementation and renewal.

New Orleans, Indiana, Nevada Top Charter and School Choice Rankings
12/09/2015
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Arianna Prothero

Arianna Prothero shares findings from two reports released by the Fordham Institute and the National Association of Charter School Authorizers. "New Orleans has been ranked the number one city for school choice overall, while Indiana and Nevada tied for the top spot on a separate ranking of state charter school oversight policies."

Study Finds Unions Improve Teacher Quality, Lead To Lower Dropout Rates
12/08/2015
Campaign for America's Future - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant shares "a recent report, which reveals a common critique of teachers unions is based on 'myths'. The report uses empirical data analysis to correct the record on the effects of unions on the teaching workforce and, in turn, on an important measure of student education attainment: high school dropout rates."

Picture Post Week: Follow up on who's running America's charter schools
12/07/2015
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker shares several slides demonstrating who runs America’s charter schools. "These slides are made possible by my meticulous graduate student Mark Weber, who spent hours aligning operator classifications and school links first presented by Gary Miron and colleagues, and merging those classifications to the 2011-12 National Center for Education Statistics Common Core of Data and Civil Rights Data Collections."

Teachers Feel Declining Classroom Independence, Fed Data Shows
12/04/2015
Education Week - Inside School Research - Sarah D. Sparks

Sarah Sparks reveals new data from the Schools and Staffing Survey (2011-12), which show teachers feeling as if they have less independence compared to 2003. "NCES analysts found music educators were the most independent bunch of all teachers. Thirty-four percent reported being "highly autonomous" in 2012, down only 2 percentage points from in 2003. By comparison, 25 percent of special education teachers felt autonomous in 2003, but only 16 percent did nearly a decade later."

Go Ahead, Pass Every Student Succeeds Act, But Don't Celebrate It
12/03/2015
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant digs into the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which passed the House on Wednesday. “For sure, there are things to like and dislike about the bill, but while lawmakers and policy wonks are back-slapping and glad-handing each other, this is also an opportune time to reflect on where we are in the evolution of education policy compared to where we should be.”

Behavioral Nudges and Intrinsic Motivation: What Works for Teachers?
12/02/2015
Education Policy Initiative - Ford School of Public Policy - University of Michigan

In a new research project funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Brian Jacob, the University of Michigan’s Education Policy Institute, joins together with the University of Chicago’s Damon Jones and Brian Keyes to study if particular “nudges” will influence whether teachers apply for the federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness program. The loan forgiveness program provides student loan debt relief of either $5,000 or $17,500 to eligible teachers.

Scoring the New Every Student Succeeds Act
12/02/2015
Education Next - Fredrick Hess

Rick Hess breaks down what he likes and dislikes in the new Every Student Succeeds Act. He concludes: “On the whole, it seems to me that ESSA does reasonably well on this scorecard. It retains the big thing that NCLB got right for students (e.g. transparency) while stripping away ham-fisted dictates that created problems for students and schools.”

Gov. Snyder's education district has failed its transparency test
12/02/2015
Metro Times - Curt Guyette

Curt Guyette looks into the governance and reporting struggles surrounding Detroit’s Education Achievement Authority. “Conceived by the Snyder administration as an experimental approach to educating students in the state's lowest-performing schools, the EAA has been a profound failure since it first began operating 12 Detroit schools as well as overseeing three charters in the fall of 2012.”

To rebuild Detroit, restore the schools
12/01/2015
Bridge Magazine - Chastity Pratt Dawsey

Chastity Pratt Dawsey interviews Detroiters seeking to build up Detroit’s public schools.  She also discusses the issues central to the governor’s rebuilding plan for the schools.

University Faculty Perceptions of Teacher Evaluation Law in Indiana
11/30/2015
Center for Evaluation & Education Policy - Indiana University - Colleen Chesnut and Molly Stewart

Indiana University’s Center for Evaluation & Education Policy (CEEP) issued brief that examines faculty perceptions of Indiana teacher evaluation changes. According to the authors, “Our  research reveals that faculty members share the concern that their student—future school administrators—will face difficulties in implementing the revised teacher evaluation processes in Indiana, simply because they will lack sufficient time or organizational capacity to do so.”

A New ESEA: A Cheat Sheet on What the Deal Means for Teachers
11/24/2015
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk and Alyson Klein discuss what the 'new' ESEA means for teachers.

Teacher Evaluations Fall Off The Education 'Reform' Agenda
11/24/2015
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant analyzes recent comments by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who stated last week: "I have for a very long time also been against the idea that you tie teacher evaluation and even teacher pay to test outcomes. There's no evidence. There’s no evidence."

Districts steer disproportionate funds to a small segment of the teaching force
11/23/2015
Brookings - The Brown Center Chalkboard - Marguerite Roza

Marguerite Roza looks at national labor statistics for teachers against other professions. She finds teachers take longer to get to the top of the salary schedule than other groups. Her focus is on the impact this has on teacher turnover and recruitment at the front end of the profession.

What Education Policy Makers Can Learn From A 'Failing School'
11/19/2015
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant digs into Kristina Rizga’s new book, Mission High: One school, how experts tried to fail it, and the students and teachers who made it triumph. Read more about her book here: http://www.missionhighbook.com/

Who Are (And Should Be) The Teaching Experts?
11/19/2015
Shanker Blog - Bryan Mascio

Bryan Mascio, doctoral student at the Harvard School of Education, discusses how we can "fix teaching."

Why 1904 testing methods should not be used for today's student
11/18/2015
The Conversation - Robert Sternberg

Robert Sternberg looks at testing in a recent 'Conversation' article. He asks, “Why are archaic tests being used today?” Specifically, he notes that today’s testing fails when weighed against validity, equity, and common sense. Sternberg suggests replacing current college admission criteria (ACT, SAT, GPA) with Kaleidoscope, an initiative which focuses on open-ended questions and provides admissions information beyond standardized tests.

The New ESEA, in a Single Table
11/18/2015
Education Next - Michael J. Petrilli

Mike Petrilli shares a single table, which compares and contrasts recent iterations of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). ESEA was discussed in a conference committee of Congress this week.

A Bad Bargain: How teacher collective bargaining affects students' employment and earnings later in life
11/17/2015
Education Next - Michael F. Lovenheim and Alexander Willén

Michael F. Lovenheim and Alexander Willén look at how laws that support teacher collective bargaining affect student employment earnings in adulthood. “We find no clear effects of collective-bargaining laws on how much schooling students ultimately complete. But our results show that laws requiring school districts to engage in collective bargaining with teachers unions lead students to be less successful in the labor market in adulthood.”

Teachers' Unions: Shades of Grey
11/16/2015
Education Week - Straight Up - Katharine Strunk and Joshua Cowen

Katharine Strunk and Joshua Cowen pinch hit for Rick Hess over at Education Week. Strunk and Cowen share an excerpt from a forthcoming paper, which attempts to describe how teachers’ unions affect policy and district operations. “In short, neither supporters nor opponents of teacher unionization and collective bargaining definitively know what the strengths and weaknesses of these organizations actually are—at least not in such a way as to unambiguously suggest that wholesale reductions in union influence will improve education outcomes, nor to mount an intransigent defense of teachers' unions and their CBAs.”

Recognizing Great High Schools By What They Actually Do
11/11/2015
Huffington Post - Education - Kevin Welner and Carol Burris

Kevin Welner and Carol Burris share information regarding the Schools of Opportunity project, launched last year. Seventeen schools in New York and Colorado were singled out for “Gold-level” recognition. If you are interested in finding more information about the project, visit http://opportunitygap.org.

AERA Issues Statement on the Use of Value-Added Models in Evaluation of Educators and Educator Preparation Programs
11/11/2015
AERA - American Educational Research Association

The American Educational Research Association (AERA) issued a statement this week on the use of Value-Added Models in evaluation of educators and educator preparation programs. “The statement addresses the challenges facing the validity of inferences from VAM, as well as specifies eight technical requirements that must be met for the use of VAM to be accurate, reliable, and valid. It cautions that these requirements cannot be met in most evaluative contexts.”

Five Cynical Observations About Teacher Leadership
11/10/2015
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan

Nancy Flanagan offers her commentary regarding teacher leadership and how “real” teacher leadership is often clouded by groups pushing their agenda. “Who's really in charge of explaining school-embedded teacher leadership, selecting the right goals and purposes for individual classrooms? Who is inspiring teachers to find their own paths—based on their own carefully honed experience and observations—to lead?”

Would Hillary Clinton be an Anti-Charter School President?
11/09/2015
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Arianna Prothero

Arianna Prothero discusses recent comments made by Sec. Hillary Clinton regarding charter schools.

Are we facing a nationwide teacher shortage?
11/09/2015
Brookings - Brown Center Chalkboard - Dick Startz

Dick Startz attempts to wade through data related to education degrees and recent graduates. “Rather than talking about shortages in terms of body count, we should be asking whether we are producing (and retaining) enough really, really good people in the classroom. Quantity matters when it comes to teacher supply, but it’s a mistake to talk about quantity without talking about quality at the same time.”

Detroit students unfairly pay the price for the district's debts
11/05/2015
Bridge Magazine - Craig Thiel

Craig Thiel, senior research associate at the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, looks at the challenges facing the Detroit Public Schools (DPS). “As decision makers coalesce around solutions to the district’s academic and financial failings, they must ensure current students have the financial resources promised to them and avoid burdening them with past legacy costs they cannot afford.”

Teacher Retention and the Economy: An Example from North Carolina
11/04/2015
Education Next - Chad Aldeman

Chad Aldeman looks at teacher turnover data from North Carolina: "Teachers are following the same broad economic trends that all other workers follow."

Commercialism in Schools: No Windfall For Districts and Students Pay a Huge Price
11/04/2015
NEA Today - Tim Walker

Tim Walker covers commercialism in schools. “Discussion about commercialism’s impact on young people usually focuses on how peddling junk food on school grounds or during school activities contributes to the obesity crisis. But corporate marketing in schools can also affect what children learn.”

Report: Test-Based Teacher Evaluations Have Gained 'Strong Foothold' in States
11/04/2015
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Alyson Klein

Alyson Klein shares information from a press release by the National Council of Teacher Quality (NCTQ), which investigated how teacher evaluations based on student outcomes (tests) are being implemented nationally.

Certification, Genuine Teacher Leadership, and Power Struggles
11/03/2015
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan

Nancy Flanagan discusses the complicated web that is teacher certification. Her blog this week is in response to news regarding Ann Marie Corgill, Alabama Teacher of the Year ’14, and Ann's decision to quit her job.

What the national drop in 2015 NAEP test scores really means
10/28/2015
Washington Post - Answer Sheet - Carol Burris

Carol Burris takes a swipe at recent NAEP scores, education reforms, and the problem of making grandiose claims about test score data. “NAEP is a truth teller. There is no NAEP test prep industry, or high-stakes consequence that promotes teaching to the test.  NAEP is what it was intended to be—a national report card by which we can gauge our national progress in educating our youth.”

If the Obama Administration Wants Fewer Tests, It Will Have to Give Up On Test-Based Teacher Evaluations
10/28/2015
Education Next - Michael J. Petrilli

Mike Petrilli opines about the Obama Administration’s recent 'reversal' of policy regarding school testing. “The Obama administration is trying to have it both ways. It wants fewer tests but isn’t willing to give up on test-based teacher evaluations. Meaning that, alas, it has failed this test.”

No Child Left Behind: What Worked, What Didn't
10/27/2015
NPR Ed - Cory Turner

Cory Turner discusses the reauthorization of ESEA, NCLB, and the history of federal dollars in U.S. classrooms. “Congress is trying to do something it was supposed to do back in 2007: agree on a rewrite of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. It's not controversial to say the law is in desperate need of an update.”

How Snyder's plan to fix Detroit school debt impacts other districts
10/27/2015
Bridge Magazine - Chastity Pratt Dawsey

Chastity Pratt Dawsey covers the latest happenings in Michigan school reform, debt, and governance issues in the Detroit Public Schools. “For now, the proposal for fixing Detroit’s schools requires public school districts across Michigan to help pay off the spiraling debt in the state’s largest school system. Snyder warns that if the state does not fix the DPS debt load soon, the cost will continue to worsen.”

Evidence at the Crossroads Pt. 1: What Works, Tiered Evidence, and the Future of Evidence-based Policy
10/27/2015
William T. Grant Foundation - Vivian Tseng

Vivian Tseng talks about the “What Works” agenda and research use in schools. “To move forward, let’s take a good hard look at the current evidence initiatives and identify what can be learned from them. We will need to come to terms with outsized expectations, develop ways to improve programs and systems, and determine how the federal evidence agenda can better align with state, local, and practice needs.”

Understanding the Nation's Report Card: A Symposium on the 2015 Results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress
10/26/2015
Center for Education Policy - Staff

The Center for Education Policy (CEP) is hosting a symposium on November 5th at George Washington University on the 2015 results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP): “an informative and nonpartisan dialogue.” Open the link to find more information.

Why The Democratic Presidential Debate Ignored Education
10/20/2015
The Progressive - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig discusses the absence of debate on education policy during the Democratic Party presidential debate in Las Vegas. “Clearly, education can be a winning issue for Democrats as it is ‘the top turn out message,’ according to recently conducted survey. If Hillary, Bernie, or any of the other candidates want to capture the hearts and minds of the Democratic base and primary voters, they should turn the page on the Republican’s 1990s ideas for education policy.”

Student Discipline, Race And Eva Moskowitz's Success Academy Charter Schools
10/19/2015
Shanker Blog - Leo Casey

Leo Casey discusses student discipline, race, and Success Academy Charter Schools. “The challenge posed to Success Academy and similar charter schools by the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education’s guidance on student discipline is serious. To be in conformance with civil rights law, these schools will need to make radical reforms to their ‘no excuses’ school culture and practices.”

Are Test Scores Good Proxies for School Quality?
10/15/2015
Education Next - Matt Barnum

Matt Barnum, a policy and research editor at the Seventy Four (a pro-charter, anti-teacher website founded by former CNN reporter Campbell Brown), summarizes research findings on standardized test scores associated with student outcomes.

The non-debate on education policy by the Democratic presidential candidates, and what they got wrong
10/15/2015
Brookings - The Brown Center Chalkboard - Michael Hansen

Michael Hansen discusses education policy during the Democratic presidential debate. “However, the one education policy issue that did get some airtime focused on the cost of higher education and student debt. Sanders and Clinton both weighed in on the need to eliminate tuition costs for students pursuing a college degree, though they differed on the conditions for making this benefit available. Yet, both candidates are missing the main issue about the costs of higher education.”

Are There Edu-Tribes? Are They at War? Who's Winning?
10/14/2015
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan

Nancy Flanagan responds to Sam Chaltain’s recent piece on established “edu-tribes.” Flanagan argues that “There has never been a common, all-American vision about what public education is supposed to be … How about you?”

The Legacy of Arne Duncan, 'A Hero in the Education Business'
10/12/2015
The Nation - Zoë Carpenter

Zoë Carpenter reports on the departure of Arne Duncan from the Obama administration, “The Secretary of Education will step down at the end of the year, after proving himself a champion for the corporate reform movement.”

Where Have All The Teachers of Color Gone? (With Answers)
10/11/2015
thejosevilson.com - Jose Vilson

Jose Vilson discusses institutional racism, teachers of color, and historical contexts of teacher retention. “So, to answer the question, teachers of color are either dismissed or leave. They’re dismissed largely because their schools are more likely to get shut down due to the major reasons we see out there: standardized test scores, restructuring plans, and lack of parental voice and real choice. They leave due to the lack of autonomy in teaching in ways that would more readily impact students of color. Things like scripted lessons and curricula and silencing in common planning meetings contribute to the profession being stolen from right under them.”

He continues, “These are issues that also affect white teachers who’ve decided to stay in the profession long enough to consider it a career. This is why solidarity matters, and why we all must advocate for teachers of color.”

U.S. Public Schools Could Benefit From Less Test-Taking and More Equitable Funding, Says Finnish Educator
10/09/2015
NEA Today - John Rosales

At an event hosted by the NEA Foundation, Pasi Sahlberg, currently a visiting professor of practice in education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education,  spoke about collaboration, teacher voice, and equity in reforming education in the U.S. The NEA Foundation’s Harriet Sanford had this to say about the event: “After nearly three decades of educational restructure and reform have swept across the nation, the universal quest to ensure that all children enter the 21st century ready to learn and thrive remains an elusive goal. Our theme seeks to bring into sharp focus the “what,” “why,” and “how” of the evolving profession of teaching.”

Schools in Transition: A Guide to Support Transgender Students in K-12
10/08/2015
NEA Today - Brenda Álvarez

Brenda Álvarez looks at a 2013 school climate survey conducted by GLSEN on the rate of verbal and physical harassment by gender identity. Álvarez also shares a new guide for supporting transgender students in K-12 schools: “The guide is a roadmap for educators and parents to provide safe and supportive environments for all transgender students, offering practical advice, field-tested tips, and narratives of real experiences from students and educators.”

The Ugly Charter School Scandal Arne Duncan Is Leaving Behind
10/07/2015
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant discusses Arne Duncan’s “surprise announcement to leave his position in December.” Bryant’s blog focuses on a pending investigation of Duncan’s “poor job of overseeing federal dollars sent to charter schools.”

Arne Duncan's bipartisan legacy: Attracting vitriol from the right and the left
10/07/2015
Brookings - The Brown Center Chalkboard - Arnold F. Shober

Arnold Shober looks at Arne Duncan’s legacy: “More than Margaret Spellings or Rod Paige, Arne Duncan was a bipartisan institution—he attracted vitriol from the right and the left. Was he a conservative sell-out? Foes on the left like Fenwick English, Kenneth Saltman, and the National Education Association thought so. Was he an imperious, waiver-happy Common Core evangelist? Christel Swasey and Glenn Beck pushed that line.”

New Harvard Network Will Tackle Teacher Quality's 'Non System'
10/06/2015
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk reports on a new Harvard University initiative, Transforming Teaching, which will oversee projects to “boost the coherence of the nation’s systems for scaling up great teaching.” According to Sawchuk, the project will be led by Jal Mehta and has the backing of several teacher organizations.

Recent Evidence On The New Orleans School Reforms
09/30/2015
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matt Di Carlo attempts to wade through the recent research evidence from New Orleans. “In the meantime, there is certainly cause for optimism about the impact of the NOLA reforms, but also a need for patience and additional evidence before drawing strong conclusions. Short term testing results alone are not how one should judge the reorganization of a major city school district.” The GLC has attempted to share a wide variety of stories on NOLA reforms - you can search (New Orleans) on the Worth A Read page to organize the articles by topic. We invite readers to utilize our search feature for topic analysis.

Whose Choice? Student Experiences and Outcomes in the New Orleans School Marketplace
09/30/2015
Stanford University - SCOPE - Fred Adamson, Channa Cook-Harvey, and Linda Darling-Hammond

A new research brief and report by Fred Adamson, Channa Cook-Harvey, and Linda Darling-Hammond looks at charters and other public and private schools in New Orleans. “This policy brief and report examine the results of the New Orleans experiment in terms of the experiences of students and families managing their way through a portfolio of charter schools in this unusual context. Among many findings, the research shows that New Orleans reforms have created a set of schools that are highly stratified by race, class, and educational advantage, operating in a hierarchy that provides very different types of schools and to different types of children.”

Can a Charter School Grow Its Own Teachers?
09/29/2015
Education Writers Association - Emily Richmond

Emily Richmond interviews (podcast) Becky Vevea (WBEZ Chicago) who recently shared a story about Noble Street Charter Schools’ “radical in-house approach to teacher preparation, recruiting, and training its own recent graduates.” Noble is utilizing coursework through Relay, a pro-charter organization that offers alternative graduate educational opportunities, to prepare, recruit, and develop teachers.

Arne Duncan Really F---ing Cares About Kids
09/24/2015
Education Week - Straight Up - Rick Hess

Rick Hess critiques a recent profile of Arne Duncan that was published by Politico (also shared this week by Worth A Read). Whether it is "enough" that Duncan cares about kids, Hess concludes, “It's nice that Duncan cares.  I'm perfectly happy to concede that he wants do to the right thing. But I don't think that makes him unique, and I don't actually think he cares a lot more than anyone else. In any event, caring isn't enough. It doesn't mean one is necessarily right on important questions. And it certainly doesn't justify divisive, self-satisfied, or blinkered leadership.”

New MSU program raises bar for autism education
09/24/2015
Detroit Free Press and Lansing State Journal - R.J. Wolcott

R.J. Wolcott shares information from Michigan State University’s new Early Learning Institute (ELI) for children on the autism spectrum. The program utilizes applied behavior analysis (ABA), and is made possible by a $50,000 donation from two MSU alumni.

Arne Duncan's Wars
09/23/2015
Politico - Michael Grunwald

Michael Grunwald profiles Education Secretary Arne Duncan. “With drive, ingenuity and a willingness to throw elbows, Obama’s closest friend in the Cabinet has tried to reshape American schools. Now will the backlash erase his legacy?”

A Safer Place? LGBT Educators, School Climate, and Implications for Administrators
09/23/2015
The Educational Forum - Kappa Delta Pi - Tiffany E. Wright & Nancy J. Smith

A special issue of Kappa Delta Pi’s Educational Forum looks at sexuality, gender, identity, and education. Abstract: "This article presents nonparametric, descriptive, and qualitative results of the National Survey of Educators' Perceptions of School Climate 2011 compared with survey results from 2007 to provide insight regarding the workplace climate for LGBT educators and guidance for school leaders in creating an environment that supports these teachers." The article is currently available for free.

Education Gap Between Rich and Poor Is Growing Wider
09/22/2015
New York Times - Edwardo Porter

Edwardo Porter discusses education, segregation, civil rights, and the War on Poverty. “For all the progress in improving educational outcomes among African-American children, the achievement gaps between more affluent and less privileged children is wider than ever, notes Sean Reardon of the Center for Education Policy Analysis at Stanford. Racial disparities are still a stain on American society, but they are no longer the main divider. Today the biggest threat to the American dream is class.”

Seattle Teachers' Strike A Win For Social Justice
09/18/2015
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant looks into the recent teachers' union strike in Seattle. He argues that the strike was about more than traditional union complaints, and a reflection on social justice by teachers. “The connection of education injustice, represented by standardized testing, to broader social injustices is also driving teachers’ demands for equity teams in schools to address widespread imbalances in disciplinary action based on race.”

The State of Teacher Diversity in American Education
09/17/2015
The Albert Shanker Institute - Shanker Staff

The Albert Shanker Institute, this week, released a new report on the state of teacher diversity in American education. “This report shows that nationally, progress toward greater diversity is being made, but it is quite modest compared to the need for more minority teachers. In the nine cities studied—Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.—the picture is much more bleak, and there are only a few pockets of progress, surrounded by serious setbacks.”

What It Takes to Build a Truly Equitable Education System
09/16/2015
NEA Today - Brenda Avarez

Brenda Ávarez shares the recommendations of a recent policy brief by Jennifer Rice King, University of Maryland. The brief was released on Tuesday by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) and supported in part by the Great Lake Center for Education Research & Practice. “Investing in Equal Opportunity: What Would It Take to Build the Balance Wheel? uses a framework based on the vision of Horace Mann, who 150 years ago argued that education should be free and universal.”

Delaware Eyes Revamp to Pay, Creation of Teacher-Leader Roles
09/16/2015
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk looks at recommendations from a panel of lawmakers and state education officials, which outlines an approach to expand teacher career ladders. “To be clear, right now these are just preliminary recommendations in Delaware. The legislature has created several new working groups to begin hashing out all the nitty-gritty details, but this is an initiative to watch.”

Michigan lawmaker pushes education voucher system for Detroit students
09/16/2015
MLive - Jonathan Oosting

Jonathan Oosting examines comments made by Rep. Tim Kelly, which called for vouchers in Detroit and possibly for Michigan. Kelly is the chairman of the House [Mich.] Appropriations subcommittee on School Aid. “Michigan has one of the nation's strictest constitutional prohibitions against public dollars directly or indirectly going to parochial schools, and Kelly acknowledged that his proposal would likely trigger lawsuits if enacted into law.”

Growing economic segregation among school districts and schools
09/10/2015
The Brown Center Chalkboard - Brookings Institution - Ann Owens

Ann Owens discusses economic segregation in schools and shares recent research she co-authored with Sean Reardon and Christopher Jencks. The research project: “measured segregation in terms of how unevenly students are distributed between school districts or schools in comparison to the composition of the metropolitan area (or the district in the case of segregation between schools).” The authors found: “segregation by family income between school districts within metropolitan areas rose from 1970 to 2010.”

How Jeb Bush's Florida Plan for School 'Choice' Created an Industry of Corruption and Chaos
09/09/2015
Alternet - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant writes on charter school policies in Florida: “Aided by influencers like the Waltons and others, Jeb Bush put South Florida squarely at the forefront of the charter school bonanza. And the rise of the charters as big business in Florida brought with it new and special forms of financial corruption.”

10 Years In, Tulsa's Pre-K Investment Is Paying Off
09/08/2015
NPR Ed - Claudio Sanchez

Claudio Sanchez shares research findings from Tulsa’s pre-school program: “These findings are important because Tulsa's program is considered a model for high-quality preschool programs nationwide, and the city has received extensive funding from the state to make it so. Phillips says her research now shows precisely how children have benefited over time.”

One of nation's largest school districts ditches high school final exams
09/08/2015
Washington Post - Donna St. George

Donna St. George shares information about Montgomery County (MD) dropping final exams at the high school level. From the article, “Montgomery County’s Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesdayto eliminate the two-hour semester-end exams and replace them with shorter assessments taken during the quarter that could take different forms: tests, essays, portfolios and projects.”

More School Choice Means Long, Lonely Commutes for Kids
09/04/2015
Mother Jones - Stephanie Mencimer

Stephanie Mencimer reports on a new study, which may debunk the notion that poor kids are ‘trapped' in bad neighborhood schools.  In her conclusion, Mencimer shares her take on the study: “What's really interesting about the JHU study is that it isn't a criticism of school choice per se, but a challenge to decades of poverty research that has accepted at face value the idea that where a child lives dictates where she goes to school.”

Why Are Colleges Really Going Test-Optional?
09/03/2015
NPR Ed - Cory Turner

The NPR Ed team looks at recent efforts at universities across the U.S. to remove test score-based admissions. “It's hard to know why. Without test scores, some students may have trouble standing out. And some who are accepted likely can't afford to go — even with help.”

The misuse of research to support deregulation and privatization of teacher education
09/02/2015
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Valerie Strauss

Kenneth Zeichner and Hilary G. Conklin share the introduction of a recent paper published by Teachers College Record. “In our view, continuing down the current path of destroying and replacing the college and university system of teacher education in the United States will serve to widen, not narrow, the inequities in opportunities and outcomes that currently exist.”

Policy Brief: Should Louisiana and the Recovery School District receive accolades for being last and nearly last?
08/28/2015
The Network for Public Education - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig, in a policy brief for the Network for Public Education, further investigates academic success in New Orleans. “In conclusion, the national comparative data suggest that there is a dearth of evidence supporting a decade of test-score-driven, state-takeover, charter-conversion model as being implemented in New Orleans.”

Indianapolis Pact Couples New Teacher Roles and Big Pay Boosts
08/28/2015
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk shares information on a recent contract approved in Indianpolis. “The Opportunity Culture idea comes from Public Impact, a consulting group. According to the group, six Indianapolis schools are participating, using this coming school year to figure out exactly how the new models will work.” The Great Lakes Center funded a review of the original report from Public Impact. You can click here to read more about Dr. Patricia Hinchey’s review from 2013.

People Don't Like Current Education Policies, So Why Do Policy Leaders?
08/27/2015
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant highlights recent results from the 47th PDK/Gallup poll and digs into a recent column by Valerie Strauss (also on the poll). “So the schools American families participate in are generally doing their jobs, but we need better, more qualitative ways of assessing their work, and what schools mostly need is more funding and support. Why don’t we ever hear policy makers and political leaders talk about that?”

Charter Schools: Taking Stock
08/27/2015
Education Next 0 Chester E. Finn, Jr. and Bruno V. Manno

Chester E. Finn, Jr. and Bruno V. Manno reflect back on 25 years of charter schools in the U.S. “Where it has worked well, the charter-school movement has worked so well that it amply deserves to be sustained and perfected. Where it hasn’t, policymakers should push back against its tendency to turn into a self-interested protector of mediocrity. Millions of children’s futures—and billions of tax dollars—are at stake.”

PDK/Gallup poll results support the need for digital age professional learning
08/27/2015
ISTE - Yolanda Ramos

Yolanda Ramos reflects on the 2015 PDK/Gallup Survey: “What we know for sure at ISTE — and what the poll results support — is that teacher quality is a key factor in any child’s education. That is why 95 percent of parents who participated in the survey said that great teachers are the cornerstone of successful schools. But how do we impact that all-important teacher quality that families crave? And how do we assure that teacher quality matches the needs of today’s digital age learners?”

Follow the Data to Frame New Questions
08/24/2015
Learning First Alliance - Joshua Starr, PDK International

Joshua Starr, PDK International, shares the latest results from the PDK/Gallup survey. “This year’s results offer many new findings, affirmation of consistent attitudes, and interesting nuggets for further exploration. As always, the 2015 PDK/Gallup poll provides both a unique opportunity to understand how Americans think about public education and a challenge to policy makers to hear and heed what they are saying.”

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon: Why China Has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World
08/24/2015
Teachers College Record - Anita Rao Mysore

Anita Rao Mysore reviews Yong Zhao’s latest book, Who’s Afraid of the Big Red Dragon: Why China Has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World, for Teachers College Record.

What does the 2015 PDK/Gallup Poll tell us about teacher leadership?
08/24/2015
Center for Teaching Quality - Barnett Berry

Barnett Berry considers the implications for teacher leadership from the first round of results released by the 2015 PDK/Gallup Survey. Berry says, “We know from several recent polls from PDK that the vast majority of the public trusts teachers. The next step is to make sure the public knows more about teachers who are already leading in the ways they seek—and to help build demand for them among what was once a reluctant policy community.”

Poll: Americans Want Less Standardized Testing and More School Funding
08/23/2015
NEA Today - Tim Walker
Tim Walker reports on the 2015 PDK/Gallup Survey of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. “The results reflect the growing momentum in communities across the nation as parents and educators have joined forces to demand less testing and more time to learn. And lawmakers at every level of government are finally getting the message.”
Is anybody listening?
08/23/2015
PDK International - Joan Richardson
Joan Richardson, Kappan editor, discusses the results of the latest PDK/Gallup survey. “Are policy makers getting ready to listen to the quiet messages that may be bubbling up from these important sectors of the American public? Or are they just listening to the loudest voices in the room today?”
The Myth of the New Orleans School Makeover
08/22/2015
The New York Times - Andrea Gabor
Andrea Gabor adds to the ongoing discussion regarding the impact of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans’ public schools. “There is also growing evidence that the reforms have come at the expense of the city’s most disadvantaged children, who often disappear from school entirely and, thus, are no longer included in the data.”
Professional Development Is Useless! Or Not.
08/19/2015
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan

Nancy Flanagan discusses teacher professional development, teacher learning, and a recent report from The New Teacher Project (TNTP). As always, she purposefully engages her readers with an interesting question: “Who is judging the impact of teachers' professional learning, and what are their goals?”

The 2015 EdNext Poll on School Reform
08/18/2015
Education Next - Michael Henderson, Paul Peterson, and Martin West

The latest Education Next poll tests public thinking on testing, opt out, CCSS, and more. “The American public is displaying its independent streak. Critics of testing will take no comfort from the findings of the 2015 Education Next poll—but neither will supporters of the Common Core State Standards, school choice, merit pay, or tenure reform.”

What If Teachers Could Be Promoted?
08/18/2015
Education Week - Straight Up - Matthew Kraft

Matthew Kraft discusses teacher career development, pay-for-performance, and what drives teachers. “Amazing teachers need to be recognized and rewarded for their work in meaningful ways. Small add-ons to the current system such as stipends for additional leadership roles and modest pay-for-performance bonuses based on what some teachers perceive as arbitrary measures will not accomplish this. Even more than recognition and compensation, stand-out teachers' talents need to be enlisted in helping others to rise to their levels.”

The 'Mindset' Mindset: What We Miss By Focusing on Kids' Attitudes
08/16/2015
Salon - Alfie Kohn

Alfie Kohn takes a closer look at Carol Dweck’s work on ‘growth mindset.’ He finds, “The problem with sweeping, generic claims about the power of attitudes or beliefs isn’t just a risk of overstating the benefits but a tendency to divert attention from the nature of the tasks themselves: How valuable are they, and who gets to decide whether they must be done?”

Experts: Keep 'Grit' Away From Teacher Evaluations
08/13/2015
NEA Today - Tim Walker

Tim Walker investigates the role of “grit” in education. “But critics say that the grit discussion is troublesome on a much broader scale. Some experts believe, for example, that a focus on building student resilience and tenacity provides another excuse for education leaders to ignore more fundamental problems – lack of access to critical resources and supports, for example – facing public schools in disadvantaged areas.”

Can We Interest You In Teaching?
08/12/2015
New York Times - Op-ed - Frank Bruni

Frank Bruni discusses Motoko Rich’s recent story on teacher shortages in the U.S. “How do we make teaching more rewarding, so that it beckons to not only enough college graduates but to a robust share of the very best of them?”

Recent Evidence On Teacher Experience And Productivity
08/12/2015
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matt Di Carlo reviews a recent paper by John Papay and Matthew Kraft, who examined the relationship between experience and test performance. “These results as a whole indicate that teacher productivity improves most rapidly during teachers' first years, but they also suggest that improvement continues beyond five years, and perhaps even throughout the late career years, especially in math.”

Wanted: New American Teachers
08/11/2015
On Point - NPR - Tom Ashbrook

Tom Ashbrook, with guests Ross Brenneman, Paul Bruno, Angela Minnici, and Mari Koerner, discusses teacher shortages in the U.S.  “With a new school year right in front of us, many schools across the country are still desperate to fill teaching positions. We’ll look at the teacher shortage.”

Podcast: Teacher shortages? with special guest Dr. Pia Wong
08/11/2015
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig shares a podcast with guest Dr. Pia Wong: “So what is really going on? What are the solutions? What are the implications of the current teacher shortage for equity and access? Are Teach For America and other alternative certification pathways the key to solving these shortages? These questions and more are addressed in this Cloaking Inequity podcast addressing the reemerging teacher shortage in schools.”

Teacher Shortages Across The U.S.
08/11/2015
The Diane Rehm Show - NPR - Diane Rehm

Diane Rehm covered the topic of teacher shortages in the U.S. this week with guests: Linda Darling-Hammond, Stephen Sawchuk, Anthony Carnevale, Chad Aldeman, and Monica Vasquez. “As we head into the new academic year, we look at what’s causing a shortage in teachers and how some school districts are responding.”

Individual-Level VAM Scores Over Time: 'Less Reliable than Flipping a Coin'
08/10/2015
Vamboozled - Audrey Amrein-Beardsley

Audrey Amrein-Beardsley shares an article by Stuart Yeh from Teachers College Record. Yeh’s study, 'A re-analysis of the impacts of teacher replacement using value-added modeling,' investigates the assumptions of value-added models, including those from Chetty et al.

Sources of Influence on the Problem of a Validity Evidence Gap for Education Achievement Tests
08/10/2015
Teachers College Record - Gabriel Della-Piana, Connie Kubo Della-Piana & Michael K. Gardner

Gabriel Della-Piana, Connie Kubo Della-Piana and Michael K. Gardner “build on previous scholarship describing signs that appropriate validity evidence for education achievement measures is either not gathered, not reported, or not accessible for independent review.”

Teacher Shortages Spur a Nationwide Hiring Scramble (Credentials Optional)
08/09/2015
New York Times - Motoko Rich

Motoko Rich discusses staffing issues in districts around the country. Districts in many places around the country are having a hard time filling empty slots in classrooms.

New Orleans: Historical Enrollment and Exit Trends 9th Grade Cohorts - Part 1
08/06/2015
Center for Action Research on Reforms - Charles Hatfield and Barbara Ferguson

Charles Hatfield and Barbara Ferguson completed a study of three ninth grade cohorts, beginning with the 2006-07 year. Their research shows that the percentage of Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) 9th graders who graduate within four years is almost double that of Recovery School District (RSD) 9th graders, and the RSD's dropout rate is nearly triple that of the OPSB. The Center (aka Research on Reforms) publishes reports on efforts to reform schools in New Orleans, Lousiana.

TNTP: Why Does Professional Development Suck?
08/06/2015
Curmudgucation - Peter Greene

Peter Greene looks at TNTP’s recent report on teacher professional development. His take, “TNTP used a long convoluted chain of possible cause and improbable effect to evaluate development. We could do better just by handing every teacher in the session a single question: was the session useful, middling, or a waste of time?”

New Orleans Test Scores Have 'Shot Up' 10 Years After Katrina, Report Says
08/04/2015
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Arianna Prothero

Arianna Prothero reveals recent research from the Education Research Alliance (ERA) in New Orleans.  According to a report by Douglas Harris, student academic performance rose in New Orleans over the last decade. “The education overhaul following Hurricane Katrina boosted student performance by eight to 15 percentage points in the last decade. (That's effects of 0.2 to 0.4 standard deviations for the more statistically minded among you).”

'Reform' makes broken New Orleans schools worse: Race, charters, testing and the real story of education after Katrina
08/03/2015
Salon - Jennifer Berkshire

Jennifer Berkshire investigates the story behind the test score gains in New Orleans. The real cost of reforms, according to Berkshire is “… the 7,000 teachers whose firing was described as a wound that won’t heal; the shunting aside of special education students and English language learners, especially in the first years of the experiment; the loss of trust among New Orleanians who believe they’ve been shut out of any meaningful decision-making regarding their city’s schools.”

How far apart are Democrats and Republicans on school reform?
08/03/2015
Brookings - Brown Center - Michael B. Henderson

Michael Henderson reflects on the differences between Democrats and Republicans on school reform. “Americans may value education, but as an issue it is not at the forefront of their minds.  When asked what they think is the most important issue facing the nation, only about five percent say education.”

On Ron Thorpe and The Bridge Between Teaching and Leading
07/29/2015
thejosevilson.com - José Luis Vilson

José Luis Vilson writes about teacher leadership and remembers Ron Thorpe, who passed away earlier this summer. Thorpe was the CEO of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) and an advocate for policies supporting and strengthening teacher leadership.

The Unexplored Consequences of Student Mobility
07/29/2015
NEA Today - Jasmine Song

Jasmine Song shares information from a recent research brief from the National Education Policy Center on the causes, consequences of, and solutions to student mobility. The brief, by Russell Rumberger, professor of education at the University of California-Santa Barbara, highlights the pitfalls of student mobility and explores how policymakers, educators, parents and students can help ease the transitions associated with changing schools. This brief was funded by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

School of choice, or a revolving door?
07/28/2015
Bridge Magazine - Ron French

Ron French covers a recent study by Michigan State University researchers on inter-district school choice in Michigan. According to the article, more than 80 percent of school districts in Michigan now allow school of choice students to enroll. The results of the study indicate: “fewer than half stay in that neighboring district. And the students who most often bounce between schools are the students most likely to be hurt academically by the instability.”

Is There A Pension Crisis?
07/28/2015
Shanker Blog - David Cay Johnston

David Cay Johnston addresses the topic of defined benefit pensions: “But the principle remains. And the principle is that defined benefit pension plans are good market economics. They are efficient. And when they are under professional, competent, non-political management the only problems with them arise are from the failure to properly fund them, a failure that, in many cases, should lead to criminal prosecutions and imprisonment.”

Rethinking Teacher Preparation: Empowering Local Schools to Solve California's Teacher Shortage and Better Develop Teachers
07/28/2015
Bellwether Education Partners - Sara Mead, Chad Aldeman, Carolyn Chuong, Julie Obbard

Bellwether Education Partners released a new report looking at how to strengthen California’s teacher supply–and improve the quality of teacher preparation at the same time.

The importance of the teacher supply to education reform
07/23/2015
Brookings - Brown Center on Education Policy - Paul Bruno

Paul Bruno argues that insufficient attention to the supply of teachers may be preventing many education reforms, including teacher quality and evaluation efforts, from realizing their full potential.

Who's actually running America's charter schools?
07/22/2015
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker

How have you spent your summer? Bruce Baker, Rutgers University, has spent his summer studying charter schools. His recent blog post focuses on the distribution of charter school providers: “In all of this time that we’ve been allowing and inducing charter school growth, while studying KIPPs and others to validate positive effects – we’ve paid far too little attention to the actual distribution of providers out there.”

Why the Shortage of Latino Teachers in Chicago Schools?
07/21/2015
Education Writers Association - Latino Ed Beat - Natalie Gross

Natalie Gross explores the shortage of latino teachers in Chicago schools:  “in a district where Hispanic students make up the largest racial or ethnic group at nearly 46 percent, a significantly smaller percentage of the teaching staff — 18.6 percent — is also Hispanic, according to figures on the CPS website.”

Research On Teacher Evaluation Metrics: The Weaponization Of Correlations
07/21/2015
Shanker Institute - Cara Jackson, Urban Teacher Center

Cara Jackson, Urban Teacher Center, looks at multiple-measure teacher evaluation systems and responds to two conference presentations. “Given both the flawed nature of each individual measure, as well as the fact that these measures were intended to capture something that is complex and multifaceted, people should think twice before weaponizing correlations in an effort to support their claims about how good/bad a particular measure is.”

Accountability and the Erasure of Democracy
07/20/2015
Educarenow Blog - Bill Boyle

Bill Boyle focuses his blog on the word “accountability” and how it functions. “And in thinking deeply about the role of accountability in education, we need to recognize the increasing, and mostly unconscious creep of economic utilitarianism beyond the bounds of economics and into all aspects of life. Essentially, this spread is represented by the ideology of market fundamentalism, which says that all value is reduced to the single value of economics. That is, all is commodified, has a price, and can thus be measured in terms of its efficiency, which is translated into its ability to reduce costs, to add monetary value as the ultimate value that can then be measured as profit.”

Public School Choice and Racial Sorting: An Examination of Charter Schools in Indianapolis
07/15/2015
American Journal of Education - Marc L. Stein

Marc Stein, Johns Hopkins University, studied public school choice and racial isolation in Indianapolis: “I find evidence that the process of charter school choice in Indianapolis leads to higher degrees of racial isolation and less diversity within schools than is present in the underlying process of student school transfers in the public school district from which a majority of these students came.” The American Journal of Education is a paid site - non subscribers will only have access to the abstract.

Results of President Obama's Race to the Top: Win or lose, states enacted education reforms
07/14/2015
Education Next - William G. Howell

William G. Howell describes his recent study on the effects of Obama’s Race to the Top on education policymaking around the country. “The overall findings ... indicate that Race to the Top had a meaningful impact on the production of education policy across the United States.”

Recruiting And Retaining Educators Of Color
07/14/2015
Shanker Blog - Audra Watson, Travis Bristol, Terrenda White, & José Luis Vilson

Audra Watson, Travis Bristol, Terrenda White, and José Luis Vilson discuss teacher recruitment, preparation, and retention for educators of color. They make the following three recommendations: (1) districts must focus on retaining teachers of color; (2) teachers of color need differentiated professional development; and (3) teacher preparation programs must invest in teacher diversity. “If we are serious about improving outcomes for students of color, it is time to make this a part of our strategy. The policy recommendations above can begin to provide stakeholders with concrete strategies for increasing the racial/ethnic diversity of our country’s teaching force.”

Study Paints Sobering Picture of Unequal Access to Teacher Quality
07/13/2015
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk breaks down a recent journal article from Educational Researcher written by Dan Goldhaber, Roddy Theobald, and Lesley Lavery. “Any way you define teacher quality, disadvantaged students, academically struggling students, and nonwhite students get fewer good teachers, concludes a new study.”

New Orleans Recovery School District Not Quite as Recovered as Advertised
07/13/2015
National Education Policy Center - William J. Mathis, Huriya Jabbar, and Mark Gooden

Huriya Jabbar and Mark Gooden offer a response from the National Education Policy Center to recent claims by groups regarding reform efforts in New Orleans. “Ten years after Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent reforms, there remain more questions than answers. Even if the reforms implemented under such a hyper-politicized arrangement show some clear gains in student achievement, as seems to be the case, it is important to attend to the serious equity concerns that remain in the system, and to examine other outcomes, beyond test scores.”

Controversial Wis. Licensing Proposals Deleted From Budget
07/09/2015
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk reports on a controversial licensing program in Wisconsin, which would have let teaching applicants bypass training in pedagogy or teaching methods. “Wisconsin Republicans have nixed several proposals in budget legislation that would have eased teacher licensing rules, the Wisconsin State Journal reports.”

No More No Child Left Behind?
07/08/2015
National Public Radio (NPR) - On Point - Michel Martin

Guest host Michel Martin discusses the end of No Child Left Behind with Lindsey Layton, of the Washington Post, Kati Haycock, of Education Trust, and Chester Finn, of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.

Lawmakers Move to Limit Government's Role in Education
07/08/2015
The New York Times - Jennifer Steinhauer and Motoko Rich

Jennifer Steinhauer and Motoko Rich look at proposals to overhaul the controversial No Child Left Behind law. “Teachers, administrators and parents are wearied by the here-we-go-again congressional infighting, as they have also become increasingly angry about the central role played by standardized tests in their children’s lives, with protests and boycotts proliferating in recent years.”

Big News or Flawed Research? The New Special Education Controversy
07/06/2015
Huffington Post - Kevin Welner and Russell Skiba

Kevin Welner, University of Colorado Boulder, and Russell Skiba, Indiana University, discuss erroneous education research in response to a new journal article by Paul Morgan and colleagues.

Can The 2016 Election Be About Making It Work For American Families?
07/02/2015
Education Opportunity Network - Elaine Weiss

Elaine Weiss, Broader/Bolder Approach to Education, discusses the importance of the 2016 election: “This election must be about changing that reality and giving our children and their families a real future.”

Teach For America Counter Narratives: Alumni Speak Up and Speak Out
06/29/2015
Peter Lang International Academic Publishers - T. Jameson Brewer & Kathleen de Marrais

T. Jameson Brewer and Kathleen de Marrais have a new book out that shares the stories of Teach For America alumni: “This book – the first of its kind – provides alumni of TFA with the opportunity to share their insight on the organization. And perhaps more importantly, this collection of counter-narratives serves as a testament that many of the claims made by TFA are, in fact, myths that ultimately hurt teachers and students. No longer will alumni voices be silenced in the name of corporate and neoliberal education reform.”

After Pushback, White House Yields on College Ratings
06/29/2015
Education Writers Association - Emily Richmond

Emily Richmond, Education Writers Association, speaks with Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed, on the Obama Administration’s scaling back of college ratings: “After nearly two years of public debate, and vociferous pushback from the higher education community, the White House announced it is pulling back on plans to rate the nation’s colleges based on a complex matrix of performance measures and student outcomes.”

'Truths' Devoid of Empirical Proof: Underlying Assumptions Surrounding Value-Added Models in Teacher Evaluation
06/29/2015
Teachers College Record - Jessica Holloway-Libell & Audrey Amrein-Beardsley

Jessica Holloway-Libell and Audrey Amrein-Beardsley look critically at the role of value-added models (VAMs) in educational policy. “Despite the overwhelming and research-based concerns regarding value-added models (VAMs), VAM advocates, policymakers, and supporters continue to hold strong to VAMs’ purported, yet still largely theoretical strengths and potentials. Those advancing VAMs have, more or less, adopted and promoted a set of agreed-upon, albeit 'heroic' set of assumptions, without independent, peer-reviewed research in support."

It All Turns on Affection
06/27/2015
Educarenow Blog - Bill Boyle

Bill Boyle discusses the incongruity of imposing technocratic solutions in contexts, such as education, which require the “nexus of human relationship.”

ESEA falls short on dropout prevention
06/25/2015
Brookings - The Brown Center Chalkboard - Mark Dynarski

Mark Dynarski writes that efforts to reauthorize ESEA fall short on dropout prevention: “Even as the number of teen mothers has declined sharply, and juvenile arrests likewise have declined, the dropout rate—the percent of students who stop attending school in a year—has only fallen gradually from six percent to four percent in the last forty years.”

The Collapse of State School Finance Systems & Why It Matters
06/25/2015
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker follows up on a recent post, which identified America’s 'Most Financially Disadvantaged School Districts.' He says: "It’s time to start fixing this. Accepting the evidence that substantive, sustained and targeted school finance reforms matter. And acknowledging the simple truth that maintaining such an inequitable system serves no legitimate public, national or state interest."

Kalamazoo Promise scholarship program 'significantly' increases college grad rates, study finds
06/25/2015
Bridge Magazine - Julie Mack

Julie Mack tackles the effects of the Kalamazoo Promise. “To measure the impact of The Promise, researchers analyzed the changes over time in college enrollment, number of credits taken and post-secondary program completed for both students who qualified for The Promise and those who did not.”

Will Value-Added Reinforce The Walls Of The Egg-Crate School?
06/25/2015
Shanker Blog - Susan Moore Johnson

Susan Moore Johnson, Harvard University, discusses policy implications for value-added methods (VAMS): “In this column, I bring an organizational perspective to the prospect of using VAMS to improve teacher quality. I suggest why, in addition to VAMS’ methodological limitations, reformers should be very cautious about relying on VAMS to make decisions that have important consequences for both teachers and their students.”

Walton Foundation-Funded Charter Schools Marred By Fiscal Mismanagement
06/24/2015
Alternet - Steven Rosenfield

Steven Rosenfield reports on a new report from In the Public Interest and the American Federation of Teachers, 'Cashing in on Kids,' which is critical of the Walton Family Foundation’s involvement in school privatization efforts.

Time to End the Vicious Cycle of Inequality Begetting Unequal Education
06/24/2015
Economic Policy Institute - Emma Garcia

Emma Garcia writes about a new EPI study of academic preparation of kindergarteners by social class and race.

Unfinished Business: Addressing Unequal Opportunities in Education
06/18/2015
National Association of State Boards of Education - The State Education Standard - Peter Cookson

Peter W. Cookson Jr., Georgetown University, says: “As schools retool to prepare students for an economy in which critical thinking and collaboration are paramount, will all students share the benefits?”

Indiana Voucher Program Costs Climb to $40 Million, Says State Report
06/16/2015
Education Week - Charter & Choice - Arianna Prothero

Arianna Prothero shares information provided by the Indiana Department of Education that estimates Indiana’s voucher program cost the state $40m for 2014-15.

Take Me To Church [On TFA, #BlackLivesMatter, and Education]
06/15/2015
thejosevilson.com - Jose Vilson

Jose Vilson tackles Michelle Malkin’s rant on Teach For America. “Her latest article, reposted by the diabolical folks at that news rag, poses Teach for America (TFA) as a once-well meaning do-gooder organization who’ve let the inmates run the asylum (yes, I know what I did there).”

Here's what Jeb Bush really did to public education in Florida
06/15/2015
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Valerie Strauss

Valerie Strauss discusses Jeb Bush’s education portfolio. “Here’s what you won’t hear — and what is vital to know to fully assess Bush’s education reform record and to understand why his critics call him a privatizer — and not a reformer — of public education.”

Turnaround Trends: More States Consider Creating Their Own School Districts
06/11/2015
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Arianna Prothero

Arianna Prothero shares the findings of a new policy brief produced by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute on state reform and turnaround districts. The brief was written by Nelson Smith, senior adviser to the National Association of Charter School Authorizers.

Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card
06/08/2015
Education Law Center - Bruce Baker, David Sciarra, & Danielle Farrie

Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card’ is coauthored by Bruce Baker of the Rutgers Graduate School of Education; David Sciarra, Executive Director of Education Law Center (ELC); and Danielle Farrie, ELC Research Director. According to the report, “Public school funding in most states continues to be unfair and inequitable, shortchanging the nation’s 49 million school public school students, especially those living in poverty, out of the educational opportunities they need to succeed. Despite an economic rebound, states have been slow to restore the cuts to K-12 education triggered by the 2007 downturn, and school funding remains below pre-recession levels in many states.”

Evidence of Grade and Subject-Level Bias in Value-Added Measures
06/08/2015
Teachers College Record - Jessica Hollaway-Libell

Jessica Hollaway-Libell, Kansas State University, explores potential grade- and subject-level bias in value-added measures. “This research note investigates an unexplored feature of bias in VAM-based estimates—that which is associated with grade levels and subject areas. Findings contribute an alternative perspective regarding how we think about VAM-based bias and teacher classifications.”

What's Gone Wrong in Wisconsin?
06/04/2015
Cloaking Inequity - Dave Vanness

Dave Vanness, associate professor at the University of Wisconsin Madison, discusses higher-education legislation in Wisconsin. Recent legislation has cut funding for the UW system, changed governance the structure of the university, and redefined tenure at the university level.

Can Charter Schools Be Rescued From the Charter Industry?
06/04/2015
NEA Today Online - Tim Walker

Tim Walker discusses charter schools, accountability, and public scrutiny. “As the [charter] sector's many failures pile up, educators and parents turn the spotlight on charter school accountability and transparency.”

Nevada's groundbreaking school-choice law: Help or hindrance to public system?
06/03/2015
CSMonitor.com - Stacy Teicher Khadaroo

Stacy Teicher Khadaroo covers a new Nevada law, which will allow virtually all K-12 parents to opt out of the public school system and use state education dollars for a “customized education.”

Silver Linings Casebook: How Vergara's Backers May Lose by Winning
06/03/2015
University of Maryland Law Journal of Race, Religion, Gender, and Class - Kevin Welner

According to Kevin Welner, director of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC), promoting a legal strategy to achieve one set of ends can open the door for very different uses; in this case, that of teacher job protections and education rights litigation. In their eagerness to take on teacher job protections, the plaintiffs in Vergara v. State of California and follow-up litigation in New York may be inviting litigation with very different goals for school policy and reform.

The Five Stages of Common Core on the Standards' 5th Anniversary
06/02/2015
Education Week - State Ed Watch - Catherine Gewertz

Catherine Gewertz looks back on the last five years of Common Core State Standards. “Reaction to the common core seems to have progressed through distinct stages, not unlike the five stages of grief identified by Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her 1969 book ‘On Death and Dying.’”

Teacher To Teacher: Classroom Reform Starts With 'The Talk'
06/02/2015
Shanker Blog - Melissa Halpern

Melissa Halpern, a high school English teacher and Ed.M candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, discusses how we talk to students and the need to make sense of the realities of everyday teaching practices. “What have students learned that is important to them, and what do they wish they could learn? What makes them feel happy and empowered at school? What makes them feel bored, stressed, or dehumanized?”

DC civil rights organizations fail to represent education civil rights agenda
06/02/2015
The Hill - Judith Browne Dianis, John H. Jackson, and Pedro Noguera

Judith Browne Dianis, John H. Jackson, and Pedro Noguera discuss how civil rights organizations have failed to represent the education civil rights agenda when calling for testing under NCLB and ESEA renewal. “Data from these annual assessments are not a reasonable proxy for educational opportunity, and even more, educational equity. African American and Latino students are more likely to be suspended, expelled or pushed-out of school regardless of their performance on the test; and despite some improvement in graduation rates, significant disparities remain.”

For the Poor, the Graduation Gap Is Even Wider Than the Enrollment Gap
06/02/2015
New York Times - The Upshot - Susan Dynarski

Susan Dynarski, the University of Michigan, tracks data from the Education Longitudinal Study (ELS). According to Dynarski, “Rich and poor students don’t merely enroll in college at different rates; they also complete it at different rates. The graduation gap is even wider than the enrollment gap.”

Education Makes The Progressive Punchlist
05/27/2015
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant discusses a new video featuring Robert Reich from MoveOn.org, where Reich calls out ten ideas to “Reinvest Education.”

Educators and Parents Demand Less Testing...and Lawmakers Listen
05/26/2015
NEA Today Online - John Rosales

John Rosales discusses national and state efforts to prioritize classtime and reduce students' time spent on testing.

Education reformers have it all wrong: Accountability from above never works, great teaching always does
05/24/2015
Salon - Jal Mehta

Salon shares an excerpt of Jal Mehta’s new book: “The Allure of Order: High Hopes, Dashed Expectations, and the Troubled Quest to Remake American Schooling.” Mehta is an associate professor in education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Ask a Teacher: How Should Teachers Really Be Evaluated?
05/22/2015
Slate.com - Matt Collette

Matt Collette, shares Slate’s latest education podcast with the Teacher Project at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He asks three working teachers to answer questions submitted by listeners, including “If you were to design a system for evaluating teacher performance, what would it look like?”

Trust: The Foundation Of Student Achievement
05/21/2015
Shanker Blog - Esther Quintero

Esther Quintero shares some of her work on 'the social side of education' and discusses our narrow focus on student test scores. Quintero reports that she is at least 'hopeful' that there is a growing movement to view education, performance, and improvement more broadly. “We have a choice. We can continue to measure only what we are familiar with -- e.g., student learning using standardized tests -- or we can broaden what we measure -- e.g., non-cognitive student outcomes, social aspects of schools etc. All are valuable, and should play a role in school improvement.”

Are Schools To Blame For The Testing Circus As Much As Any Vendor Or Public Official?
05/21/2015
Eduwonk.com - Andy Rotherham

Andy Rotherham shares a snippet of his recent piece that ran in U.S. News & World Report. “It turns out, surprisingly enough, when adults in a school make tests into a big deal – telling kids they really matter, wearing matching shirts for solidarity, holding pep rallies, emphasizing test prep rather than teaching and launching parent-teacher association campaigns to make sure everyone is fortified with enough snacks – the kids pick up on it. A cynic might think it’s a deliberate effort to sour parents on the tests.”

61 Years After Brown v. Board Of Education, Many Schools Remain Separate And Unequal
05/17/2015
Huffington Post - Rebecca Klein

Rebecca Klein covers the 61st anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education ruling. “In many states, there continues to be stark disparities in resources provided to black students and white students. In Nevada, for example, high-minority school districts receive significantly less state and local funding per pupil than low-minority districts.”

The State of Preschool 2014
05/15/2015
National Institute for Early Education Research - Steven Barnett

The 2014 State Preschool Yearbook is the newest edition of our annual report profiling state-funded prekindergarten programs in the United States. This latest Yearbook presents data on state-funded prekindergarten during the 2013-2014 school year as well as documenting more than a decade of change since the first Yearbook collected data on the 2001-2002 school year.

Thoughts on School Funding & Baltimore
05/15/2015
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker looks at school funding Maryland and discusses the context of how Baltimore schools are organized and funded. “Baltimore certainly isn’t proof positive of the failure of pouring tons of money into traditional urban public school districts. First, we haven’t poured that much money into Baltimore, given its needs. Second, it hasn’t performed as poorly as some might characterize.”

Does High-Stakes Testing & Accountability = Social Justice & Civil Rights?
05/13/2015
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig shares his recent Social Justice Keynote for the California Association of Latino Superintendents and Administrators (CALSA). “High-stakes tests were created to sort, they were not created for civil rights and social justice purposes. However, now that the federal government is requiring and monitoring high-stakes testing, they have been retread as civil rights and social justice.”

Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day...: This Week's 'Round-Up' of Useful Posts & Articles on Ed Policy Issues
05/13/2015
NEPC Best of the Edblogs - Larry Ferlazzo

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC) recently shared Larry Ferlazzo’s weekly ‘round-up’ of education policy blogs and articles.

Why Math Is A Social Justice Issue [Edutopia]
05/12/2015
Edutopia - José Vilson

José Vilson discusses math literacy, advanced requirements for graduation, and dropouts in his recent piece for Edutopia. “Equity shows up here as the foundation for ensuring that all students have the opportunity to take math, and have multiple doors open to them because of the math they take.”

System Failure: Louisiana's Broken Charter School Law
05/12/2015
Center for Popular Democracy

The Center for Popular Democracy released a new report, ‘System Failure: Louisiana's Broken Charter School Law,’ which investigates Louisiana’s financial oversight of charter schools. “Without reform, Louisianans face many more years of failing schools and millions—if not billions—of dollars more lost to charter school fraud and financial mismanagement.”

Silencing Dialogue: More on Turning the Deficit Gaze
05/10/2015
Educarenow - Bill Boyle

Bill Boyle discusses the language of deficit-oriented beliefs, unintentional racism, and how critical voices of the dominant culture are silenced.

Those Kids, Our Schools: Race and Reform in an American High School
05/07/2015
Harvard Education Press - Shayla Reese Griffin

In her new book, “Those Kids, Our Schools,” Shayla Reese Griffin examines patterns of racial interaction in a large, integrated high school and makes a powerful case for the frank conversations that educators could and should be having about race in schools.

'Don't Yelp Us!' Debate Over Teacher Evaluation Data Spawns a New Bad Idea
05/07/2015
NEA Today Online - Jasmine Song & Tim Walker

Jasmine Song & Tim Walker discuss the debate surrounding teacher privacy, transparency and student test scores. “The debate reemerged recently when a parent in Loudon County, VA, filed a lawsuit against state officials requesting the release of the state’s teacher evaluation data.”

Schools of Opportunity: the inaugural winners
05/07/2015
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Kevin Welner & Carol Burris

Kevin Welner & Carol Burris share the results of the "Schools of Opportunity" project, which “seeks to identify and recognize public high schools that seek to close opportunity gaps through practices ‘that build on students’ strengths’ — not by inundating them with tests.”

Research and the pursuit of equity under ESEA
05/07/2015
Bookings - The Brown Center Chalkboard - Mark Dynarski

Mark Dynarski discusses the role of research in recent drafts to reauthorize ESEA. “Current drafts of the reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) fall short of a commitment to use research to improve education. The bills—the ‘Student Success Act’ in the House and the ‘Every Child Achieves Act’ in the Senate—no doubt represent compromises and tradeoffs as any major legislation would. But who is arguing for less research and innovation in education?”

Teaching = Thinking + Relationship
05/05/2015
Shanker Blog - Bryan Mascio

Bryan Mascio, former teacher and current doctoral student at HGSE, discusses teaching, school reforms, and professionalism. “True education reform can only come once we stop thinking of our students and teachers as objects to be trained and, instead, begin to see teaching and learning as highly complex cognitive processes that have vital relationships at their core.”

Most states lacked expertise to improve worst schools
05/05/2015
Washington Post - Lyndsey Layton

Lyndsey Layton shares results from a new brief released by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), which studied School Improvement Grants (SIGs). “Eighty percent of states and the District told federal researchers that their states had at least one significant gap in expertise needed to significantly improve the worst schools.”

Opt-out parents have a point
05/05/2015
American Enterprise Institute - Fredrick M. Hess

Rick Hess attempts to make sense of the opt-out movement and what it means for education reform. “But there’s another possibility. It’s that these parents are being reasonable when they worry that the reform agenda, whatever its merits when it comes to schools steeped in dysfunction, does more harm than good for their kids.”

John Oliver Explains Everything That's Wrong With Standardized Testing
05/04/2015
Huffington Post - Ed Mazza

Ed Mazza shares John Oliver’s recent segment on standardized testing. John Oliver is a former correspondent for the “Daily Show,” and now hosts his own comedy news program on HBO called “Last WeekTonight.” It is worth the time to watch the segment!

Pumping Up the Teacher Pipeline
04/28/2015
NEA Today Online - Cindy Long

Cindy Long shares information from a recent report from ACT that shows a decline in high school graduates who intend to go into teaching. “Along with low pay, decreasing enrollment in education programs is also a reaction to the recession years when the bottom dropped out of education funding. In the 2008-2009 school year, teaching positions were slashed around the country and tens of thousands of educators were given pink slips.”

Who wants to teach? Prep program numbers declining
04/25/2015
Detroit Free Press - Lori Higgins

Lori Higgins reports on sharp enrollment decreases in teacher preparation programs. “Statewide, enrollment in teacher prep programs declined 38% from 2008-09 to 2012-13, according to the most recent federal data available. Nationally, the drop was 30% during the same time period.”

The Persistence Of School And Residential Segregation
04/24/2015
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo
Matt Di Carlo discusses school and housing segregation in U.S. education policy. “It follows, then, that discussions about the current, alarmingly high rates of school segregation, particularly that between districts, are far more serious and complicated than is often suggested, and that the ‘maintenance’ of residential integration – the primary precondition for school integration – may be even more difficult than its establishment.”
What 'The Cage-Busting Teacher' Means For School Reformers
04/24/2015
Education Next - Fredrick Hess
Rick Hess offers advice, based on his recent work ’The Cage-Busting Teacher,’ to school reformers. “The key is to treat teachers as adults who are able—and who deserve—to hear both the good and the bad. This is how we talk to professionals we respect. Of course, as I frequently tell teachers, it’s then on them to respond in kind.”
An Alternative To Failed Education 'Reform,' If We Want One
04/23/2015
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant reacts to the opt-out movement and standardized testing. He presents alternatives to our current failed reform agenda. Specifically, Bryant looks at California as an outlier to the national NCLB-era accountability.

The next phase of teacher evaluation reform: It's up to you, New York, New York!
04/23/2015
Brookings - The Brown Center Chalkboard - Thomas J. Kane

Tom Kane believes that New York’s second round of teacher evaluation reforms could provide a blueprint for other states as they tweak their own systems.

Why Aren't More School Leaders and Teachers Joining Forces to Get Rid of Destructive Policy?
04/23/2015
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan
Nancy Flanagan asks an important question: Why Aren't More School Leaders and Teachers Joining Forces to Get Rid of Destructive Policy? “So why aren't teachers, parents and school leaders everywhere joining forces to put a stop to the worst of it--the selling off of public resources to for-profit CMOs, teacher evaluation by test data and loss of local control over core work: curriculum, instruction, assessment?”
What about those high income families that opted out long before the school year started?
04/22/2015
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker digs into the outrage against the opt-out movement and presents evidence that high income families are already opting out of testing (by attending private schools). “Annual testing of everyone really isn’t annually testing everyone anyway, and as a result, really isn’t serving the public interest as well as you might think!”

We Have to Fix School Funding Formulas, Experts Say, But Where's the Political Will?
04/21/2015
NEA Today Online - Tim Walker

Tim Walker shares commentary from a recent panel on education funding at the Education Writers Association National Seminar in Chicago on April 20. “The panelists agreed that the dialogue over school funding can get bogged down in specifics over dollar amounts. Education funding can increase in a specific state, but unless it is distributed fairly and effectively, opportunity gaps will likely not be reduced.”

New Orleans Recovery School District (RSD) Proponents Now Offer a Disclaimer
04/21/2015
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig shares a snippet of a piece originally published by Mercedes Schneider on the state-run Recovery School District (RSD) in New Orleans.

History of Shanker, Charters and the Search for Teacher Voice
04/15/2015
Advancing Teaching - Richard Kahlenberg

Richard Kahlenberg discusses teacher voice in decision-making, tapping into teacher wisdom, charter schools, and his biography of Albert Shanker. “In researching the Albert Shanker bio, I was struck that when he proposed charter schools, teacher empowerment was at the center of his thesis.”

Early Results Show Common Core Boosts Achievement in Kentucky
04/15/2015
Learning First Alliance - Joetta Sack-Min

Joetta Sack-Min shares new research, sponsored by the Gates Foundation, on student achievement under the Common Core State Standards in Kentucky. It is interesting to note that the researchers used ACT scores and not CCSS aligned tests for the study - Kentucky was an early adopter of CCSS aligned tests.

'Where's the Accountability?' Ignoring Poor Track Record, Lawmakers Push Voucher Expansion
04/14/2015
NEA Today Online - Kinjo Kiema

Kinjo Kiema discusses public opinion and policies related to school voucher expansion. “Voucher programs have become easy money for private schools. Who ends up footing the bill? Students and taxpayers.”

Teacher Leadership on the Global Stage
04/14/2015
Homeroom - Official Blog of the U.S. Department of Education - Arne Duncan

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan shares his response to a recent summit on the teaching profession. “I came away from the summit discussions with a renewed energy and commitment to teacher leadership and collaboration at all levels of education.”

As policymakers consider a reauthorized ESEA, let's try using what we know about federal policies for school improvement.
04/14/2015
Center for Education Policy - Jennifer McMurrer, Diane Stark Rentner, & Nancy Kober

This blog from the Center for Education Policy discusses the "lessons learned from CEP’s research on state, district, and school implementation of federal school improvement policies and programs and urges the Congress to consider these findings as it works to reauthorize ESEA."

NYSED Recommends 'Teacher Effectiveness Gnomes' to Fix Persistent Inequities
04/14/2015
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker reviews a proposal from NYSED to address teacher equity. “I guess I knew that when ED released their 'teacher equity' regs late fall of 2014, that we were in for a whole lot of stupid.”

Bigger Classes for Better Teachers? Not So Fast, [Review] Says
04/13/2015
Education Week - Teaching Now - Jordan Moeny

Jordan Moeny reports on a review of a recently released report that suggested that districts could save money and improve learning by offering the most effective teachers higher salaries to take on slightly larger classes. A review by Patricia Hinchey finds significant flaws in the idea. This review, produced by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC), was funded in part by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

Opt-out movement likely inconsequential for teacher evaluations
04/09/2015
Brookings - Brown Center Chalkboard - Matthew Chingos

Matt Chingos talks opt-outs, New York evaluations, and policy implications for value-added models. “The broader lessons is that while opt-out may have some success as a political strategy, it is unlikely to have much of a direct, broad-based impact on the teacher evaluation system in New York or any other state.”

Don't opt out of standardized tests, Ann Arbor superintendent asks parents
04/07/2015
MLive - Lindsay Knake

Lindsay Knake shares a request from Ann Arbor (Mich.) schools superintendent to parents, asking them not to opt-out of the interim assessments. The Michigan Department of Education recently informed districts in Michigan that there is no policy for opting out of standardized testing, and that schools who miss percentage requirements will be held accountable. Parents in Michigan have the right to opt-out of tests, but there is no policy that holds schools harmless for large numbers of opt-outs.

Charter Schools, Special Education Students, And Test-Based Accountability
04/07/2015
Shanker Blog - Matthew DiCarlo

Matt DiCarlo discusses special education students, charter schools, and accountability. “Regardless of why it occurs, this gap does seem to exist in most places (and it may be even larger if one looks at students with the most severe disabilities), and some charter school supporters are calling on operators to address it. I have no idea if charter schools could be effective in serving this student population if they made more a more concerted effort to do so.”

Rac(e)ing to Class: Confronting Poverty and Race in Schools and Classrooms
04/07/2015
Harvard Education Press - H. Richard Milner, IV

Richard Milner has a new book out on poverty and race in schools. “Milner looks carefully at the circumstances of these students’ lives and describes how those circumstances profoundly affect their experiences within schools and classrooms. In a series of detailed chapters, Milner proposes effective practices—at district and school levels, and in individual classrooms—for school leaders and teachers who are committed to creating the best educational opportunities for these students.”

At Success Academy Charter Schools, High Scores and Polarizing Tactics
04/06/2015
New York Times - Kate Taylor

Kate Taylor details the practices at Success Academy in New York City, operated by controversial charter school leader Eva Moskowitz.

Recruiting Educators of Color In The Time of Race To The Top
04/06/2015
thejosevilson.com - Jose Vilson

Jose Vilson discusses recruitment and retention for educators of color. “Can schools, regardless of label, attract and retain people who want to work in the most difficult situations if our society continues to reflect that hardship on them?”

Why Can't Politicians Get Out of Schooling?
04/02/2015
Education Next - Fredrick Hess

Rick Hess, as a part of his Cage-Busting Teacher tour, reacts to a common refrain from teachers about "why policymakers don’t mind their own business and let educators run the schools." He continues, “I get the frustration. It’s understandable, especially when teachers are knocking themselves out and doing their best. There’s a sense that a bunch of talkers and dilettantes are giving marching orders to the people who actually do the work. These are fair and valid concerns.”

Resistance To Standardized Testing Not Going Away
04/01/2015
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant looks into the growing backlash over standardized testing, opt-outs, and test-driven education. "But all the money in the world won’t be able to wash away the dirty business of test-driven education, as more and more personal stories come forth revealing the damage being done to teachers, and in turn, to students and families."

Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel: State Sen. Alberta Darling's Recovery District Idea is Designed to Fail
03/30/2015
National Education Policy Center - Alex Molnar

Alex Molnar reviews a Wisconsin proposal to expand choice in Milwaukee schools.  Sen. Alberta Darling (Wisc.) has proposed a “recovery district” modeled after Tennessee, Louisiana, and Detroit. “A ‘Recovery District’ represents more of the same. It would further fragment Milwaukee's taxpayer-funded education system and open wide the door to more private for-profit and non-profit management organizations — many of which have proven much better at funneling taxpayer dollars to their managers and/or owners and investors than educating students.”

Nancie Atwell Gets It Exactly Right
03/28/2015
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan

Nancy Flanagan reacts to coverage of Nancie Atwell’s remarks about the future of teaching. “I deeply admire Atwell's courage. I agree that teaching is an amazing, rewarding profession--and what I love most about Atwell's response is that she recognizes that will still live in a hierarchal education world--and she spoke clearly about what she sees. She's keeping her torch.”

Skull Measurements, Achievement Data and the Destruction of the Public School System
03/27/2015
Educarenow - Bill Boyle
Bill Boyle discusses achievement data, bias, and re-framing our language around the “achievement gap” or other deficit thinking. “So let’s top talking about ‘achievement’ and let’s start talking about learning.  Let’s stop standardized testing and instead focus on contextual assessment and useful feedback. And let’s stop talking about the ‘achievement gap’ and start addressing the conditions of inequality that it reflects.”
Lessons And Directions From The CREDO Urban Charter School Study
03/26/2015
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matt Di Carlo dissected last week’s CREDO study on urban charter schools. He cautions that the discussion is nuanced and cannot be simply boiled down to talking points. “The fact that pooling together thousands of schools across two dozen states yields a modest-to-moderate positive relative impact for charters is obviously a noteworthy finding, one that should not be dismissed or downplayed, but the real policy value of these results is hidden beneath – how and whether these estimated effects vary by specific policies and practices, at the state-, district- and especially the school-level.”

$1 Million Global Teacher Prize Winner is Dead Wrong
03/26/2015
Real Clear Education - Dan Brown, Future Educators Association

Dan Brown reacts strongly to Nancie Atwell’s recent comments discouraging young people from considering a teaching career. Atwell recently was awarded the Global Teacher Prize, considered by many to be “the Nobel Price for teaching.”

New Student Growth Measure For Accountability in Michigan
03/25/2015
Michigan State University - Green & Write Education Policy Research Insights - Adrienne Hu
Adrienne Hu attempts to add clarity to new growth measures for Michigan. “The new measure – Student Growth Percentiles (SGPs) – will replace the mix of measures that the state has been using in its accountability system to measure individual students’ learning across different grade levels over one or more years.”
Grading Teachers by the Test
03/24/2015
New York Times - Edwardo Porter

The New York Times’ Edwardo Porter takes an in depth look at the debate surrounding high-stakes testing and teacher evaluations. “In this heated debate, however, it is important not to lose sight of Goodhart’s Law. Most of these studies measured the impact of test scores when tests carried little weight for teachers’ future careers. But what happens when tests determine whether a teacher gets a bonus or keeps his or her job?”

New Studies Find That, for Teachers, Experience Really Does Matter
03/24/2015
Education Week - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk reports on two recent studies demonstrating that teachers may get better with experience. “In fact, they suggest the average teacher's ability to boost student achievement increases for at least the first decade of his or her career—and likely longer.”

Cyber Schools Are Failing, So Why Are They Expanding?
03/19/2015
NEA Today Online - Tim Walker

Tim Walker shares the results of a recently released research brief by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC). “Full-time virtual schools – many of them organized as charters – continue to lag behind traditional public schools on graduation rates, Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), and state performance rankings.” The brief was funded in part by the Great Lakes Center.

Urban Charter Schools Outperform District Peers, CREDO Study Says
03/18/2015
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Arianna Prothero

Arianna Prothero reposts a press release from the Center for Research On Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford. The report stated: “Nationally, urban charter schools are significantly out-performing their district counterparts in both reading and math.” The work was funded by the Walton Foundation.

Arizona Stories from School: Where are the Teacher Voices?
03/17/2015
NEPC - Best of the Ed blogs - John Spencer

John Spencer discusses the lack of teachers “at the table” in policy discussions. “I once watched a panel discussion on teacher leadership that didn’t include a single current classroom teacher. I’ve seen panels on teacher retention that never once asked a teacher to articulate his or her experience with burnout.”

New York City's Fractured Relationship With Teachers Of Color
03/17/2015
The Jose Vilson - Jose Vilson

Jose Vilson shares his experience at the Teaching and Learning Conference. His blog focuses on the realities facing teachers of color. “For many of us who sought to affect change in our schools, we’re immediately snapped out of our naiveté, staring directly at the outdated curricula, the flimsy laptops, and the antiquated infrastructure and think ’It’s worse than I thought.’ Thus, we leave.”

Teacher Quality - Still Plenty Of Room For Debate
03/17/2015
Shanker Blog - Esther Quintero

Esther Quintero reacts to a New York Times “Room for Debate,” which focused on improving teacher quality. “The problem is that there are important aspects of teacher quality that continue to be ignored in policy discussions, despite compelling evidence suggesting that they matter in the quality equation. In other words, I wasn’t disappointed with what was said, but rather, what wasn’t.”

Connecticut Union Offers Proposal to End Common-Core Tests
03/12/2015
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk looks at a proposal from the Connecticut Education Association, which would do away with assessments administered by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and replace them with progress tests.

Leaders of Oakland, Dearborn and Washtenaw schools are finalists for [Michigan] state superintendent job
03/11/2015
MLive - Kyle Feldscher

Kyle Feldscher reports on the finalists to be the next Michigan superintendent of public instruction. Long-time education leader Mike Flanagan is set to retire July 1, 2015. The next leader faces a diminished capacity, as Gov. Rick Snyder has threatened to remove the Education Achievement Authority (EAA) and other education reform efforts from the jurisdiction of the department of education. Michigan elects their board of education, and the board then appoints the superintendent. The superintendent is the only cabinet position in Michigan that is not appointed by the governor.

A Breakout Role for Teachers
03/10/2015
Education Next - Fredrick Hess

Rick Hess shares excerpts from “The Cage-Busting Teacher,” a follow up book to his earlier “Cage-Busting Leadership.” He says, “In my new book, The Cage-Busting Teacher, I explore the reality that teachers inhabit a ‘cage’ of their own—but a very different one from that which ensnares school or system administrators. The teacher cage is all the routines, rules, and habits that exhaust teachers’ time and energy. Breaking free means being eager to champion excellence, identify important problems, offer concrete solutions, and bring those solutions to life.”

Do you have five minutes to understand whether TeachForAmerica is effective?
03/10/2015
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig digs into results from a recent Mathematica study of Teach For America (TFA). “Is TFA really in alignment with a vision for providing every student a high quality teacher? Or do they, Mathematica et al. just keep telling us that they are?”

Presidents, Congress, and the Public Schools: The Politics of Education Reform
03/09/2015
Harvard Education Press - Jack Jennings

Jack Jennings, founder and former CEO of the Center on Education Policy (CEP), has a new book out on federal efforts in education.

'Teach to the Test' Robbing Newcomer Students of Precious Language-Learning Time
03/09/2015
NEA Today - John Rosales

John Rosales discusses newcomer students, English language learners, and issues related to testing. “[H]urried students are being put through a regiment of word drills, grammar exercises and rote memorization designed to arm them with basic facts and test-taking skills. This approach of teaching to the test – repetition without full comprehension – is designed to help students score well on federally mandated multiple-choice tests.”

Frustrated with the pace of progress in education? Invest in better evidence
03/05/2015
Brookings - The Brown Center Chalkboard - Thomas J. Kane

Tom Kane makes the case more investment in education research, “we need more investments in evidence by state and local decision-makers.”

What Can Educators Learn From 'Bunkum' Research?
03/04/2015
Education Week - Inside School Research - Sarah Sparks

Sarah Sparks shares the Bunkum Awards for Shoddy Research, “recognizing the lowlights [sic] in education research” conducted by think tanks in 2014. The reviews used for the awards were funded in part by the Great Lakes Center.

It's Not Looking Good for ESEA Reauthorization
03/04/2015
Education Next - Rick Hess

Rick Hess covers the rocky reauthorization process for NCLB/ESEA. “The bottom line is that it’s looking increasingly like Secretary Duncan is going get to keep on enjoying his waivers through January 2017.”

Turning Conflict Into Trust Improves Schools And Student Learning
03/03/2015
Shanker Blog - Greg Anrig

Greg Anrig, vice president of policy and programs at The Century Foundation, discusses what makes successful schools work, five organizational features from work in Chicago, and labor-management collaborations.

There Is No 'How To' For Teacher Leadership
03/01/2015
thejosevilson.com - Jose Vilson

Jose Vilson looks at why it’s difficult to create a step-by-step guide for becoming a teacher leader.

Conceptions of Equity, Equal Opportunity and Adequacy
03/01/2015
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker dives into key questions regarding equal outcomes, equity, and opportunity in education. “The goal of school finance policy in particular is to provide the resources to offset pre-existing inequalities in the likelihood that one child has greater chance of achieving the desired outcome levels than any other.”

Building a Democratic School Community Around Issues and Values
02/26/2015
Education Week - Bridging Differences - Deborah Meier

The so-called charter school "movement" needs to be stopped precisely so that its better parts can survive and inform school communities, says Deborah Meier in an exchange on changing the prevailing mindset around the purpose of schools.

Is it Groundhog Day for school choice?
02/26/2015
Brookings - The Brown Center Chalkboard - Grover J. "Russ" Whitehurst and Ellie Klein

The Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings recently released the fourth iteration of the Education Choice and Competition Index (ECCI). This blog by Russ Whitehurst and Ellie Klein discusses reaction to Senator Lamar Alexander’s keynote address at the release.

School funding should help all poor kids, not just some
02/26/2015
Detroit Free Press Editorial Board

This Detroit Free Press Editorial discusses the revision of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which would take money intended to help poverty-dense districts like Detroit or Flint and send it to places where far fewer poor students live.

Dumb And Dumber In The Republican House Education Bill
02/25/2015
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant discusses HR5, the "Student Success Act," which offers the House GOP version of an ESEA rewrite.

New REL Report Demonstrates How Methodology Decisions Can Affect What Schools are Identified as Beating the Odds
02/25/2015
IES - RELMidwest - Yasuyo Abe, Phyllis Weinstock, Vincent Chan, Coby Meyers, R. Dean Gerdeman, W. Christopher Brandt

A number of states and school districts have identified schools that perform better than expected given the populations they serve in order to recognize these schools or to learn from their practices and policies. To identify schools that seem to "beat the odds," states and school districts have adopted various methodological approaches. In partnership with the Beating the Odds Research Alliance, Regional Education Laboratory Midwest used data from Michigan to examine how the selection of statistical methods and technical specifications leads to variation in lists of schools identified as beating the odds. The purpose of this study was to examine how a list of BTO schools might change depending on the methodological choices and selection of indicators used in the BTO identification process.

Why we need to smash up the concept of the achievement gap in tiny little pieces
02/17/2015
Hechinger Report - Andre Perry
Andre Perry lays out an agenda to alter the language of deficit as we discuss educational progress. “Scholars, this should be the last time you read or write anything with achievement gap in the title. Black men need more justice than comparisons and juxtapositions.”
Report Highlights Features of Districts' Differentiated-Pay Systems
02/17/2015
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk shares a press release from the Center for American Progress, which recently released a report on alternative teacher-compensation systems. The report offers a rundown of districts that have moved to new systems for compensation. Sawchuk dismisses the value of experience and education in designing teacher compensation systems.

Slowing Down to Learn: Mindful Pauses That Can Help Student Engagement
02/17/2015
KQED - MindShift - Patricia A. Jennings

The blog is a selection from the book “Mindfulness for Teachers: Simple Skills for Peace and Productivity in the Classroom,” by Patricia A. Jennings. This section is from the chapter entitled “Orchestrating Classroom Dynamics.”

Professional Capital as Accountability
02/16/2015
Education Policy Analysis Archives - Michael Fullan, Santiago Rincón-Gallardo, Andrew Hargreaves
Michael Fullan, Santiago Rincón-Gallardo, and Andrew Hargreaves look to build internal accountability and the professional capital of teachers and leaders rather than accountability based on “superficial structural solutions (e.g., professional standards of practice).”
More than 500 researchers sign NCLB letter to Congress: stop test-focused reforms
02/14/2015
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Valerie Strauss

Valerie Strauss shares information regarding a petition to Congress, which comes from university based researchers and calls for the end to test-focused school reforms. Update: the petition now includes more than 1000 names.

Teachers' Use of Assessment Data to Inform Instruction: Lessons From the Past and Prospects for the Future
02/13/2015
Teachers College Record - Amanda Datnow and Lea Hubbard

Amanda Datnow and Lea Hubbard look into the available research on teachers' use of data for instructional improvement. “The article reviews research on the types of assessment data teachers use to inform instruction, how teachers analyze data, and how their instruction is impacted.”

Behind the curtain in Montgomery County
02/13/2015
Washington Post - Opinion - Melinda Anderson and Frances Frost
Melinda Anderson and Frances Frost look into the realities behind the “curtain” of the Montgomery County Public Schools. “As Montgomery County Public Schools navigates its way through profound change, it needs stability and perseverance. That’s why the abrupt departure of Superintendent Joshua P. Starr is a major blow and a loss for the district’s 154,000 students and for parents and teachers.”
Doug Lemov Reveals His Secrets
02/13/2015
Education Next - Kathleen Porter-Magee

Kathleen Porter-Magee shares remarks delivered as an introduction to Doug Lemov, who spoke at a recent Fordham Institute panel. Lemov is author of the popular book, Teach Like a Champion, which places a heavy emphasis on behavior modification in teaching practices.

Will Congress Learn from No Child Left Behind's Core Flaws?
02/12/2015
National Education Policy Center - Kevin Welner & Bill Mathis, University of Colorado Boulder

Kevin Welner & Bill Mathis, National Education Policy Center, University of Colorado Boulder, have crafted a policy memo, which discusses the current policy debates regarding the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

Replace Michigan's prep test for aspiring teachers
02/12/2015
Bridge Magazine - Commentary - Robert Maxfield, Oakland University

Robert Maxfield, interim dean of education at Oakland University, reacts to a recent Bridge Magazine article on Michigan’s new Professional Readiness Exam (PRE).  Maxfield outlines his dream of a comprehensive assessment of teacher preparedness that ensures that candidates are highly qualified, and that they are supported throughout their careers.

What's the purpose of education in the 21st century?
02/12/2015
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Arthur Camins

Arthur Camins, director of the Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education at Stevens Institute of Technology, looks at the varying purposes of education. Recently, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker attempted to shift the focus of education in Wisconsin toward workforce development.

Teacher Evaluations: Uncle Sam, Exit Stage Left
02/11/2015
Education Next - Andy Smarick

Andy Smarick discusses the federal role in establishing teacher evaluation systems. “I think the work of teaching is so extraordinarily complex and teachers are so tightly woven into the fabric of school communities that any attempt by faraway federal officials to tinker with evaluation systems is a fool’s errand.”

Amidst all the challenges facing education today, teachers want you to know that they still #LoveTeaching
02/10/2015
Eclectablog - Gary Abud

Gary Abud, a former Michigan Teacher of the Year, shares information about an online campaign to engage teachers to share why they love teaching.  “You are invited to join teachers everywhere and take part in this weeklong blogging and social media campaign to share using the #LoveTeaching hashtag across all social channels.”

Pearson's philanthropy entwined with business interests
02/09/2015
Politico - Stephanie Simon

Stephanie Simon investigated how Pearson’s Charitable Foundation was intertwined with its business interests.

The Decade-Plus Teaching Career: How to Retain Effective Teachers Through Teacher Leadership
02/06/2015
Teach Plus - Colleen McCann and Sasha Zuflacht

A recent report from Teach Plus makes the case for teacher leadership as a vehicle to retain effective teachers, reduce the high attrition rate, and increase the influence of teachers in policy decisions.

Improving Accountability in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act
02/05/2015
Brookings - The Brown Center Chalkboard - Mark Dynarski

Mark Dynarski discusses the debate surrounding the reauthorization of ESEA, accountability under NCLB, and consequences regarding the future of testing and accountability.

Charters flood top and bottom of Academic State Champs rankings
02/05/2015
Bridge Magazine - Ben Freed, MLive

The Center for Michigan, and its online publication, Bridge Magazine, released a statewide ranking system for schools, which was based on a combination of high-stakes test scores and socioeconomic percentages in school districts across Michigan.

'Choice' Denying Opportunity?
02/04/2015
Learning First Alliance - Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director NSBA

Thomas Gentzel, executive director of the National School Boards Association, discusses National School Choice Week, community schools, vouchers, and charter schools. “It's time to debunk the myth of choice. It's time to reveal the profiteers who are funding the school choice movement to line their own pockets. It's time to look at real results, and see that student performance data does not support educational privatization. It's time to recognize that ‘real choice’ is in the public schools, not ‘out there.’”

The Cost of Stupid: Families for Excellent Schools Totally Bogus Analysis of NYC Schools
02/03/2015
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker debunks a recent report from Families for Excellent Schools of New York, which he finds to be “an impossibly stupid analysis.”

Report Analyzes Teach For America's Growing Pains
02/03/2015
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk shares a press release from Bellwether Education Partners, which released a paper on the growth of and challenges facing Teach For America. Teach For America funded the paper as part of a federally funded i3 grant.

The Persistent Misidentification Of 'Low Performing Schools'
02/03/2015
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matthew Di Carlo uses Colorado education data to look at the misidentification of “failing” or “low performing” schools.

Educational Expertise, Advocacy, and Media Influence
01/28/2015
Educational Policy Analysis Archives - Joel R. Malin & Christopher Lubienski

Joel R. Malin & Christopher Lubienski look at the efforts of “advocacy organizations to advance their preferred policies despite conflicting evidence of the effectiveness of these policies raise questions about factors that shape successful policy promotion.”

Group pushes for new Detroit schools commission
01/28/2015
Detroit Free Press - Ann Zaniewski

Ann Zaniewski looks at a plan hatched by Excellent Schools Detroit, which wants to create a commission that would oversee school openings and closings, transportation and enrollment in Detroit [for public and charter schools].

More Money, More Money, More Money? Have we really ever tried sustained, targeted school funding for America's neediest children?
01/27/2015
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker reacts to policymakers who argue that we "can’t throw more money" at schools and expect better results. Baker lays out a case that we need to change the discussion and look at targeted funding for America’s neediest children.  “We’ve never really tried. These districts and the children they serve have never – in the past 20 years been given a fair shot.”

The case against federal accountability mandates in education
01/26/2015
Thomas Fordham Institute - Flypaper Blog - Michael Petrilli

Mike Petrilli discusses Congressional overhaul of the No Child Left Behind act and the role of the federal government in education.

Debunking one myth about U.S. teachers
01/26/2015
Hechinger Report - Education by the Numbers - Jill Barshay

Jill Barshay attempts to debunk the myth that only the world’s top performing countries draw teachers from the best and brightest in their societies, while the U.S. selects from the bottom third. Recent research shows that the new wave of teachers is coming into the profession with higher scores on high-stakes standardized tests.

Why Detroit's new school leadership won't much matter
01/22/2015
Bridge Magazine - Chastity Pratt Dawsey
Chastity Pratt Dawsey discusses Detroit Public Schools’ new emergency manager and school improvement in the city.
Michigan State study: Charter school opponents make less effective arguments than supporters
01/22/2015
MLive.com - Kyle Feldscher

Kyle Feldscher reports on a recent study by Sarah Reckhow and Matt Grossman, Michigan State, who analyzed survey results related to school choice talking points. The findings indicate that charter school opponents [those who favor traditional public schools] have a harder time making arguments than supporters of charter schools [in favor of increased school choice].

Fixing Our Broken System Of Testing And Accountability: The Reauthorization Of ESEA
01/21/2015
Shanker Blog - Stephen Lazar

Stephen Lazar, NYC teacher, testified before the United States Senate HELP committee’s hearing on ESEA reauthorization.

Parents Confront Obstacles as School Choice Expands
01/21/2015
Education Week - Arianna Prothero

Arianna Prothero discusses the plight of parents in high-choice cities. “Research shows that an abundance of school choice doesn't guarantee access, and many parents in high-choice cities struggle to find adequate information, transportation, and, ultimately, the right school for their children.”

Two Bush Brothers With Two Takes On School Accountability
01/20/2015
Eduwonk.com - Andy Rotherham

Andy Rotherham shares two stories looking at how former president George W. Bush and his brother Jeb differ on education policy. Jeb Bush, former Florida governor, is considering a run for the White House in 2016.

Why Annual Statewide Testing Is Critical to Judging School Quality
01/20/2015
The Brown Center Chalkboard - Brookings - Matthew M. Chingos and Martin R. West

Matthew M. Chingos and Martin R. West discuss Congress moving to revise NCLB and make a claim that statewide testing is necessary.

Koch brothers/charter school nightmare: 'White kids get to go to a school with a Montessori approach while children of color get eye control'
01/17/2015
Salon - Jeff Bryant
Jeff Bryant profiles charter school conversion in Nashville; a proxy for dangerous right-wing education ideas.
The Subgroup Scam & Testing Everyone Every Year
01/16/2015
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker
Bruce Baker further discusses the misguided arguments for maintaining a system of annual standardize testing of all students.
The EAA: Past, present, and future
01/14/2015
Metro Times - Curt Guyette

Curt Guyette, Detroit Metro Times, reviews ongoing controversy, personnel changes, and a recent research brief about Detroit’s controversial Education Achievement Authority (EAA).

Cutting through the Stupid in the Debate over Annual Testing
01/14/2015
School Finance 101 - Bruce D. Baker

Bruce Baker offers his thoughts on annual testing. “Here’s my quick run-down on a) the purposes of testing in schools, b) how to implement testing to best address those purposes, c) the right and wrong uses of testing with respect to civil rights concerns, and d) the role of common standards in all of this.”

U.S. education policy: Federal overreach or reaching for the wrong things?
01/13/2015
The Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Arthur H. Camins

Arthur H. Camins explores the federal overreach in education, NCLB, ESEA reauthorization, and the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). “The proper role for the federal government is to be the guarantor of justice and equity.”

Redesigning Teacher Evaluation: Lessons from a Pilot Implementation
01/12/2015
Institute of Education Sciences (IES) - REL Northeast & Islands

REL Northeast and Islands conducted a study of the implementation of new teacher evaluation systems in New Hampshire’s School Improvement Grant (SIG) schools. Researchers identified several factors related to implementation: (1) capacity of administrators to conduct evaluations; (2) initial and on-going evaluator training; (3) the introduction and design of student learning objectives; and (4) the professional climate of schools, including the support of the new system by teachers and evaluators.

The Nonexistent Secret Sauce in Hiring Good Teachers
01/08/2015
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan

Nancy Flanagan quickly reviews Jose Vilson’s new book, “This is Not a Test,” and suggests readers pick up a copy. Among her assorted thoughts, she discusses questionable assumptions that people make when hiring teachers: “choosing the right teacher matters more than the teaching, teachers should come into the work with a pre-packaged set of well-developed competencies that will never change, a ‘good’ teacher will deliver improved quantitative data under all working conditions.”

The Case for Annual Testing
01/08/2015
Brookings Institution - Brown Center Chalkboard - Russ Whitehorse, Martin West, Matthew Chingos, and Mark Dynarski

Russ Whitehorse, Martin West, Matthew Chingos, and Mark Dynarski discuss things that need fixing under NCLB. They make the case for retaining the annual testing requirements under ESEA to produce information on growth in student achievement.

Study Questions Stock Teacher-Turnover Stat
01/08/2015
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk reports on a new document from the Center for American Progress (CAP) about the oft cited claim that 50% of teachers leave the profession within the first five years.

Technology in the Classroom: Don't Believe the Hype
01/08/2015
NEA Today - Tim Walker

Tim Walker shares the results of a recent policy brief by Noel Enyedy of UCLA. “Enyedy believes that technology in the classroom has a valuable role to play in American education, but its potential has, to a large extent, been squandered by empty promises, ill-defined goals and outdated strategies.” Note: The Great Lakes Center funded this brief, which was produced by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC).

NPR Ed: What Schools Could Use Instead of Standardized Tests
01/06/2015
National Education Policy Center - Best of the Edblogs - Anya Kamenetz, NPR

Anya Kamenetz, from NPR’s Ed team, discusses what’s missing in the debate over testing in the United States. She has a new book out, “The Test: Why Our Schools Are Obsessed with Standardized Testing - But You Don’t Have to Be.”

Trouble grading teachers with test scores
01/04/2015
The Washington Post - Jay Matthews

Jay Matthews looks at the New Year’s “hottest educational topic”: using test scores as a part of the teacher evaluation process.

Education 2015: The City's the Thing
12/30/2014
Center on Reinventing Public Education - Robin Lake

Robin Lake discusses 2014 in review and previews what the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) has in store for 2015. In 2014, CRPE published several reports on a citywide plan for Detroit and a parent survey of eight "high-choice" cities.

Who's watching tax dollars for state voucher program?
12/29/2014
Indianapolis Star - Stephanie Wang

Stephanie Wang reports on accountability issues in Indiana, where the state has implemented a statewide voucher program. Recently, private and parochial schools had to return nearly $4 million in public money overcharged for school choice. Unlike public schools, choice schools in Indiana are not audited by the State Board of Accounts.

Before Accepting the Portfolio Model, Shouldn't We Check to See if It Works?
12/28/2014
Educarenow Blog - Bill Boyle

Bill Boyle discusses Michigan governor Rick Snyder’s upcoming education announcement. Snyder is widely expected to propose a portfolio model for Michigan. Former Louisiana schools chief Paul Pastorek has advised Snyder recently. You can also read more by Boyle here: No More Surprises

A Legal Argument Against The Use of VAMs in Teacher Evaluation
12/21/2014
Teachers College Record - Mark Paige

Mark Page comments on the legal argument against the use of VAMs in teacher evaluation. “This paper argues for a complete reversal in policy course. To wit, state regulations that connect a teacher’s continued employment to VAMs should be overhauled to eliminate the connection between evaluation and student test scores. The reasoning is largely legal, rather than educational.”

Breaking the Cycle of Failed School Reforms
12/18/2014
Harvard Education Letter - Anthony Bryk, Louis Gomez, Alicia Grunow, Paul Lemahieu

This excerpt from the Harvard Education Letter looks at using Networked Improvement Communities to “learn fast and implement well.” NICs are: "intentionally designed social organizations, each with a distinct problem-solving focus."

The Limitations of Self-Report Measures of Non-cognitive Skills
12/18/2014
Brown Center Chalkboard - Brookings - Martin West

Martin West discusses the use of non-cognitive skills to contribute to the information gathered in schools. “As practice and policy race forward, however, research on non-cognitive skills remains in its infancy. There is little agreement on which skills are most important, their stability within the same individual in different contexts, and, perhaps most fundamentally, how they can be reliably measured.”

ESEA In 2015?
12/17/2014
Eduwonk.com - Andy Rotherham
Andy Rotherham discusses the possibility of ESEA reauthorization in 2015. With the GOP taking control of the Senate, Senator Lamar Alexander, a former secretary of education, will be the new education committee chairman.
The Disruptors
12/16/2014
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan

Nancy Flanagan reacts to recent commentary by Michael Petrilli in the New York Times: “The school-to-prison pipeline is a real, substantiated thing. Schools that cannot accept students who bring the challenging conditions of their lives with them into the classroom should not be allowed to take public money. Because public money should be spent on building a better society, not isolating the easy-to-educate. And—disruption is not a cancer. It is a symptom. It's up to us to figure out the disease.”

A link to Petrilli’s piece can be found here.

Do you favor charter schools? Why are we still asking?
12/15/2014
PDK International - Kappan Magazine - Erin Horvat and David E. Baugh

Erin Horvat, Temple University, and David Baugh, superintendent of the Bensalem (PA) Township School District, discuss changing the dialogue regarding schools. They push for a larger, more encompassing conversation about inequity: "Rather than discussing the merits of charter versus public schools, let’s ask if we favor good schools for all kids. Are we ready to talk about why it’s acceptable to provide a world-class public education to kids in well-funded suburban schools while city kids work to bootstrap into the American Dream in Third World conditions with far fewer resources than their suburban peers? Rather than discussing the merits of one organizational approach over another, a better conversation would untangle our tolerance for this inequality and generate solutions that level the playing field." This link requires a subscription.

The Road to Redemption: Ten Policy Recommendations for Ohio's Charter School Sector
12/15/2014
Fordham Institute - Chad Aldis and Aaron Churchill

Chad Aldis and Aaron Churchill, Bellwether Education Partners, published a report that offers ten policy recommendations for stronger charter policy in Ohio. The report comes a week after the CREDO report from Stanford University found weaknesses in Ohio’s charter school policies and accountability.

Michigan's Education Achievement Authority [EAA] and the Future of Public Education in Detroit: The Challenge of Aligning Policy Design and Policy Goals
12/15/2014
Michigan State University - Mary L. Mason and David Arsen

In this recent policy brief, MSU's Mary Mason and David Arsen take a closer look at Michigan’s Education Achievement Authority (EAA), portfolio districts, and public schools in Detroit.

Detroit schools coalition will hit books in a hurry
12/14/2014
Crain’s Detroit Business - Kirk Pinho

Kirk Pinho looks into the work of a recently convened group, the Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren, which is expected to advise Michigan governor Rick Snyder early in 2015.

Teachers' Needs Must Drive the Professional Learning Agenda
12/12/2014
Education Week - Learning Forward - PD Watch - Stephanie Hirsh

Stephanie Hirsh responds to a research report commissioned by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: Teachers Know Best: Teachers' Views on Professional Development.

Who's Really Failing Students?
12/11/2014
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant discusses testing mandates, NCLB, new standardized tests, and problems associated with test-based accountability.

Education Shouldn't be an Unfair Game!
12/11/2014
School Finance 101 - Bruce D. Baker

Bruce Baker dives into education finance, how money is spent in schools, and the decisions facing states regarding additional funding. Baker argues that school funding is an unfair game, much like major league baseball.

Constitution For Effective School Governance
12/10/2014
Shanker Blog - Guest Post: Kenneth Frank

Kenneth Frank, professor in Measurement and Quantitative Methods at the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Special Education at Michigan State University, has proposed a set of guidelines in the form of a constitution, “which would allow schools as a whole to regulate competing demands in order to facilitate coordination and cooperation among teachers.”

Charter School Cherry-Picking From Admission to Expulsion
12/10/2014
New York Times - Room for Debate - Carol Burris

Carol Burris, principal at South Side High School in Rockville Centre, N.Y., participated in a recent NY Times Room for Debate, which discussed charter schools and suspension, expulsion of students: “When students are pushed out or leave their charter school, they enter the public schools discouraged and further behind.” Additional commentary from leading education reform leaders is also included.

CREDO issues another reality check for Ohio charters
12/09/2014
Thomas B. Fordham Institute - Ohio Gladfly Daily - Chad Aldis & Aaron Churchill

Chad Aldis and Aaron Churchill comment on a recently released report from the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO), which “found that Buckeye charters, taken as a whole, continue to produce mediocre results.”

Open letter to teacher unions professional organizations, and teacher education
12/09/2014
Radical Scholarship - Paul Thomas
Paul Thomas, Furman University, shares his reaction to several presentations he has given to teacher organizations. He focuses on reclaiming the agenda: “It is time that teaching reclaim its rightful place as a profession, setting the table for how teachers teach, how students learn. It is time leaders in teachers unions, professional organizations, and teacher education lead by leading.”
Smart money: What teachers make, how long it takes and what it buys them
12/05/2014
NCTQ - Nithya Joseph & Nancy Waymack

NCTQ recently shared Smart money: What teachers make, how long it takes and what it buys them, a report on teachers pay, factors that play a role in making decisions to become a teacher, and different approaches to compensation

Jeb Bush And Education
12/04/2014
Eduwonk.com - Andy Rotherham

Andy Rotherham discusses a recent article about former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and what his candidacy could mean for education.

Testing: Can We Find the Rational Middle?
12/04/2014
Homeroom - Official Blog of the U.S. Department of Education - Emily Davis

Emily Davis, Teaching Ambassador Fellow at the U.S. Department of Education, discusses testing in schools. A recorded interview with Arne Duncan is included in the blog.

Michigan charter school law gets failing grade
12/04/2014
Detroit Free Press - Lori Higgins

Lori Higgins covers a recent report by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA), which found Michigan's charter school laws to be flawed because of accountability issues. "Michigan received only three out of a possible 27 points when its state policies were measured against the organization's own best practices."

EON Awarded For 'Questioning The Charter School Hype'
12/04/2014
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

A 2014 article by Jeff Bryant, Education Opportunity Network, was recently awarded "one of the top 25 most censored or under reported news stories of 2014" by Project Censored. The original article, The truth about charter schools: Padded cells, corruption, lousy instruction and worse results, was originally published over at salon.com in January.

Moving Teacher Preparation into the Future
12/04/2014
Brookings - The Brown Center Chalkboard - Mark Dynarski

Mark Dynarski writes about teacher preparation: "The time has arrived for teacher preparation programs to use evidence and data. It is being pushed by government regulation, but that will take a while—the draft regulations call for full implementation by 2020. Programs can move more quickly if they want to, and let’s hope they do."

Principals' Group Latest to Criticize 'Value Added' for Teacher Evaluations
12/03/2014
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk reports on a statement from the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) on the use of 'value-added' systems for teacher evaluations.

How Parents Experience Public School Choice
12/03/2014
Center on Reinventing Public Education - Ashley Jochim, Michael DeArmond, Betheny Gross, & Robin Lake

A recent report from CRPE examines parents’ experiences with public school choice across eight “high-choice” cities: Baltimore, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.

The Perils of Edutourism
11/20/2014
Brookings - Brown Center on Education Policy Chalkboard - Tom Loveless

Tom Loveless discusses edutourism - traveling the world to look for educational solutions. He sees three "perils" in this endeavor: (1) selecting on the dependent variable; (2) small, non-random sampling; (3) and confirmation bias. "The critique above is not meant to discourage edutourism, but to identify its vulnerability to misuse."

Does Better Observation Make Better Teachers?
11/20/2014
Education Next - Matthew P. Steinberg and Lauren Sartain

Matthew P. Steinberg and Lauren Sartain look into the Excellence in Teaching Project (EITP), a teacher evaluation system in the Chicago Public Schools.

State education board [Michigan] urges Legislature to transform how schools are funded
11/20/2014
Bridge Magazine - Ron French

Ron French discusses recommendations, commissioned by the Michigan State Board of Education to reform public school finance.

Teaching Residency Programs: A Multisite Look at a New Model to Prepare Teachers for High-Need Schools
11/19/2014
Institute of Education Sciences - National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance - U.S. Department of Education

A recent report prepared by IES by Mathematica Policy Research looked at teacher residency programs that received funding from the U.S. Department of Education.

Site to Help Researchers and Practitioners Build Partnerships
11/18/2014
Education Week - Inside School Research - Sarah D. Sparks

Sarah Sparks shares information about a new website, developed to share information supported by research partnerships. "The site was developed in part to help those developing partnerships understand 'they don't have to reinvent the wheel,' said Vivian Tseng, the vice president for programs at the Grant Foundation. 'There's a lot of resources and tacit knowledge that are available, regardless of the type of partnership they are developing.'"

Educational Management Turned on Its Head: Exploring a Professional Ethic for Educational Leadership
11/14/2014
Teachers College Record - Marla Susman Israel

Marla Susman Israel reviews William C. Frick's new book: "Educational Management Turned on Its Head: Exploring a Professional Ethic for Educational Leadership."

Multiple Measures And Singular Conclusions In A Twin City
11/12/2014
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matthew Di Carlo attempts to cut through the headlines in response to the release of school-level teacher evaluation results in Minneapolis.

If This Keeps Happening, The Teaching Profession Is Doomed
11/12/2014
The JLV - José Luis Vilson

José Luis Vilson shares his reaction to an NPR piece, which shared his story along with 4 other teachers.

Can we Evaluate #Teachers Without Using High-Stakes #Testing?
11/12/2014
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Professor Julian Vasquez Heilig shares his feelings on teacher evaluations. "When creating teacher evaluation systems, the primary data should be from veteran teachers that provide a variety of expert perspectives."

Jeb Bush Speaks Out
11/12/2014
Education Next

The Education Next editors share a conversation with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and the legacy of the Florida A+ package.

'Last Week Tonight' skewers lottery-education connection
11/10/2014
Education Drive - John Oliver

"Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver takes a look at education money associated with state lotteries.

Teachers Deserve Voice in Job Rules
11/10/2014
Education Week - Reality Check - Walt Gardner

Walt Gardner reacts to the headline, "Teacher Unions Flunk Midterms," which appeared in the Wall Street Journal.

Personalized Learning may Boost Achievement, Charter Study Says
11/06/2014
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Michelle R. Davis
Michelle Davis shares results from a new report completed by the RAND Corporation, released by iNACOL at their 2014 symposium. "Though the study could not conclusively say that personalized learning caused the achievement increases, researchers did find that the students in schools using data to customize learning had measurable improvements in reading and math over similar students in similar charter schools not using personalized instructional approaches."
The Coalition For An Education Agenda Just Isn't There, Yet
11/06/2014
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant discusses the role that education played, or didn't, in the 2014 election. "Advocates for public schools won’t reliably win elections until that they embrace that coalition and successfully push the party that direction."

Mixed Results for Arizona's Charter Schools
11/06/2014
Brookings Institution - The Brown Center Chalkboard - Matthew Chingos & Martin West

Martin West and Matthew Chingos share recent results of their forthcoming paper, The Uneven Performance of Arizona’s Charter Schools, in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis.

The 'Public' Character of Public Schools
11/06/2014
Education Week - Bridging Differences - Leo Casey

Leo Casey, executive director of the Albert Shanker Institute, replies to Deborah Meier in this recent Bridging Differences blog. " So we need to build a coalition, as broad and as deep as possible, to defend public education  What exactly is this public education that we are defending? Who do we envision as the constituent parts of this coalition that could successfully defend it?"

Bite Me: One Scholar's Response to Time Magazine's Attack on Teachers
11/06/2014
Teachers College Record - Zoë Burkholder

Zoë Burkholder responds to Time magazine's recent rant on teachers. "Attacks that demonize teachers for ruining public education do more than just inflame political rhetoric, they also mask the real problems that plague American schools. Blaming teachers for the systemic failures of public education presents a modest and relatively inexpensive reform—if the problem is bad teachers, then the solution must be to identify and remove them."

Last Night's Implications for Education Reform
11/05/2014
Education Next - Michael J. Petrilli

Mike Petrilli, Fordham Institute, discusses implications for education reform after the 2014 election.

How quality PD can boost teacher retention, increase student growth
11/05/2014
SmartBlogs.com - Donald Fraynd

Donald Fraynd pens that increasing student growth is a very important, common goal that districts nationwide share. "What many schools don’t realize is that high-quality PD can actually lead to an increase in student achievement. High-quality, rigorous PD can and should be the driving force in meeting and exceeding their goals of increasing student growth by hiring and retaining more effective teachers."

Harvard Launches Fellowship Initiative to Prepare Seniors to Enter Teaching
11/05/2014
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk shares information from a new program at Harvard University to launch a fellowship program to prepare seniors to become K-12 teachers.

What Makes Good Teaching? A Short Film by Harvard Ed Students
11/03/2014
Harvard Graduate School of Education

Produced by three HGSE students, this short documentary, "Minds On Teaching," looks to understand what makes teaching good.

No, It's Not 'Nearly Impossible' to Fire Bad Teachers
10/30/2014
Education Week - Stranger in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan

Nancy Flanagan reacts to a recent TIME magazine cover article on, which she describes as "a hail-Mary attempt to keep a wheezing magazine relevant for a few more months." More importantly, she attempts to correct the common belief that bad teachers are too hard to fire.

Do Value-Added Estimates Identify Causal Effects of Teachers and Schools?
10/30/2014
Brookings - The Brown Center Chalkboard - Thomas J. Kane

Tom Kane discusses his reaction to the recent wave of new research in education. He looks into the evolving research around value-added and the need for more research in the area.

An incredibly revealing poll on teachers' views of Common Core
10/30/2014
VOX - Libby Nelson

Libby Nelson shares results from a new poll from Gallup on teachers' opinions regarding the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

Why teaching? Why now?
10/30/2014
Michigan State University - Green & Write Education Policy Research Insights - Daniel Quinn

Great Lakes Center executive director Daniel Quinn authors a guest post on Michigan State's Green & Write education policy blog. He focuses on becoming a teacher, teacher turnover, and teacher retention.

This Is What Happens When You Criticize Teach for America
10/29/2014
The Nation - George Joseph

George Joseph reveals how TFA's obsessive PR game covers up its lack of results in order to justify greater expansion.

Redefining the School District in Michigan
10/29/2014
Fordham Institute - Nelson Smith

Nelson Smith examines the progress of Michigan's Education Achievement Authority (EAA). The EAA in Detroit shares basic features with Louisiana's RSD (Reform School District) and Tennessee's ASD (Achievement School District).

Bad Teachers Everywhere, All The Time, Even You
10/28/2014
The José Vilson - José Vilson

José Vilson has an open and honest talk about bad teachers; a discussion that needs to be had, but one that requires nuance.

Why Do Americans Rate Their Local Public Schools So Favorably?
10/23/2014
Brookings - Brown Center on Education Policy - Martin R. West

Martin West uses data from the PDK/Gallup poll and the 2014 EdNext survey to discuss why American's rate their local public schools so favorably.

Will Education Save The Democrats?
10/23/2014
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant looks into new evidence that education is the top "turnout message" for the Democratic Party in the 2014 election.

Is Uncle Sam Ed Reform's Biggest Liability?
10/22/2014
Education Next - Andy Smarick

Andy Smarick discusses growing "apprehension" in some ed reform circles.

Nation's Wealthy Places Pour Private Money Into Public Schools, Study Finds
10/21/2014
New York Times - Motoko Rich

Motoko Rich discusses the growing clout for non-profits in support of local school funding. A new report highlights inequities in school funding, where some local communities are supplementing educational funding (which has been diminishing) with private money.

Linda Darling-Hammond Storified: Enough is Known for Action!
10/16/2014
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig
At an event hosted by the NEA Foundation, Linda Darling-Hammond discussed what is known about school reform for a group of teachers convened by the foundation. Julian Vasquez Heilig shares her comments through Storify. "She argued research, best practice, and leadership is converging perhaps as never before on a set of policy and practice levers to ensure that equity and excellence can be achieved systemically."
Why To Change The Way We Talk About Education
10/16/2014
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant discusses how we rethink the nation's education agenda. "With a new way to think about education, with the language of learning as growth, we can get beyond today’s failed remedies. Let’s talk it up."

Teaching in Paradise
10/15/2014
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan
Nancy Flanagan talks charter schools, traditional public schools, and union collaboration on her recent piece for Teacher in a Strange Land.
Evaluating the Recession's Impact on State School Finance Systems
10/15/2014
Education Policy Analysis Archives - Bruce D. Baker, Rutgers University

Bruce Baker looks into the Great Recession's effect on state school finance systems.

Can Students Learn Virtually? An Evaluation of the Florida Virtual School
10/13/2014
Brookings - TechTalk - Joshua Blieberg

Joshua Blieberg writes about new research on the Florida Virtual School (FLVS) from Matthew Chingos and Guido Schwerdt.

Let's Measure What No One Teaches: PISA, NCLB, and the Shrinking Aims of Education
10/10/2014
Teachers College Record - David Larabee

David Larabee examines two current and prominent systems of comparative measurement that are at far remove from individual classrooms: (1) the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA); and (2) the array of state-level systems of educational accountability in the U.S. that are assembled under the umbrella of the federal law No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

Redesigning Florida's School Report Cards
10/09/2014
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matthew Di Carlo reports on the Florida Formula and a recent "competition" from the Foundation for Excellence in Education (Jeb Bush) to redesign Florida's state school report cards.

Smartest kids: Ignoring outcry, Massachusetts leaders chose excellence
10/09/2014
Bridge Magazine - Chastity Pratt Dawsey

Chastity Pratt Dawsey looks at education reforms in Michigan and Massachusetts. Bridge Magazine has been profiling states that are making faster gains than Michigan.

Experts Discuss Public School Funding Inequities
10/08/2014
Harvard Crimson - Zara Zhang

Zara Zhang reports on the Askwith Forum at Harvard's Ed School. The forum included a panel with Bruce Baker, Rutgers University, David G. Sciarra, Education Law Center, and Andres Alanso former CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools. "American public schools rely on a funding system that is rife with inequalities, experts said during a panel at the Graduate School of Education on Thursday."

Teacher evaluations, Americans skeptical?
10/08/2014
MSU College of Education - Green & Write - Daniel Quinn
Daniel Quinn, executive director of the Great Lakes Center, has a guest post on Michigan State University's new ed policy blog, Green & Write. Using recent public opinion data, Daniel provides insights into teacher evaluation and high stakes testing.
Testing and Accountability: The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same
10/08/2014
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig shares his new report in the Urban Review, which was co-authored with Barbara L. Pazey, Heather A. Cole, and Meagan Sumbera. The authors investigated  how students of similar characteristics were experiencing NCLB-style policies in the same urban school in two different decades.

Faculty, alumni ask EMU board to end partnership with EAA
10/08/2014
MLive - Ann Arbor - Matt Durr

Matt Durr reports on a recent Eastern Michigan University (EMU) board meeting, where faculty, alumni asked the EMU board to end its partnership with the EAA (Detroit's controversial Education Achievement Authority).

Linked Learning
10/07/2014
Center for American Progress - Monica Almond and Tiffany Miller

Monica Almond and Tiffany Miller discuss Linked Learning, an approach to creatively prepare students for college and career. "A California-led initiative called Linked Learning offers a promising systemic approach to reform that is designed to address these challenges and has been touted as a suitable complement to implementing the Common Core State Standards."

Building Better Teachers: Advances in Teacher Preparation
10/07/2014
Learning First Alliance - Sharon Robinson

Sharon Robinson, president and CEO of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), discusses Elizabeth Green's new book (Building A Better Teacher) and highlights several promising practices at colleges around the country. "In programs around the country, teacher educators have been rolling up their shirtsleeves to redesign training and evaluation methods to boost novices’ effectiveness."

The Plot Against Public Education
10/06/2014
Politico - Bob Herbert

Politico shares a portion of Bob Herbert's new book, which discusses the role that millionaires and billionaires are playing in school reform. This is a must read for anyone interested in understanding the corporate reform movement in schools.

'Deeper Learning' improves student outcomes. But what is it?
10/06/2014
Hechinger Report - Alexandria Neason

Alexandria Neason reports on a recent report on the benefits of deeper learning, which was published by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) with support from the Hewlett Foundation.

The Challenges of Promoting Equal Access to Quality Teachers
10/02/2014
Brookings - Mark Dynarski

Mark Dynarski discusses the effectiveness of promoting equal access to quality teachers and policy limitations. "The evidence suggests that simply moving teachers around is not likely to do much to address this failure, if it can even be done, and that instead we should be thinking more about policies to enhance skills of teachers and leaders."

'Schools of Opportunity' - a new project to recognize schools that give all students a chance to succeed
10/02/2014
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Valerie Strauss

Valerie Strauss shares a new project, Schools of Opportunity, managed by Carol Burris and Kevin Welner. "The project will recognize public high schools that demonstrate an extraordinary commitment to equity and excellence by giving all students the opportunity to succeed."

MSU Launches Education Policy Blog
10/02/2014
Michigan State University - MSU Today - Nicole Geary, Rebecca Jacobsen, and Andy Henion

Scholars from the College of Education at Michigan State University have launched a new blog to share research-based insights on today's policy issues in K-12 and higher education.

Building And Sustaining Research-Practice Partnerships
10/01/2014
Shanker Blog - Bill Penuel

Bill Penuel shares work on research-practice partnerships. "One way to think of a research-practice partnership is that it’s the foundation for a new infrastructure for relating research and practice. It may be small and local, but it is rich in relationships and commitment to solving big problems of education."

When the Digital Divide Meets a Systems Approach
09/29/2014
Learning First Alliance - Tarsi Dunlap
Tarsi Dunlap discusses a new brief from Stanford's SCOPE and the Alliance for Excellent Education, Using Technology to Support At-Risk Students' Learning.
Ending Teacher Tenure Would Have Little Impact on its Own
09/29/2014
Education Next - Matthew Chingos

Matthew Chingos reacts to recent calls for tenure reform in K-12 schools. Chingos counters that any strategy designed to improve teacher quality should be match with programs to keep the best teachers in schools. "Tenure reform should balance the benefits of using this protection to attract and retain good teachers with the costs it imposes by making it more difficult to eliminate bad teachers."

Improvement by Design: The Promise of Better Schools
09/26/2014
Teachers College Record - Kara S. Finnigan

Kara Finnigan reviews Improvement by Design: The Promise of Better Schools. She describes Improvement by Design as a valuable contribution to the knowledge base "by showing that even comprehensive, research-based designs will falter without the right level of support."

What You Need To Know About Misleading Education Graphs, In Two Graphs
09/25/2014
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di CarloMatt Di Carlo looks at two misleading graphs, one from ASCD and the other from CATO. "Instead of promoting a discussion about finding better ways to spend money or the importance of tracking and understanding the factors that influence growth and productivity, these graphs seem intended to start a conversation by ending it, right at the outset, in a manner that typically is compelling only to those who already agree with the conclusions."
Teacher Retention Varies Across and Within Districts
09/25/2014
Education Next - Leslie Kan

Leslie Kan looks at teacher retention based on a recent report from the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ). The NCTQ report tracked teacher retention in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools (Florida).

Why Teachers' Unions & Due Process Matter
09/25/2014
Education Week - Bridging Differences - Leo CaseyLeo Casey, director of the Shanker Institute, shares his thoughts with Deborah Meier. "I share your passion, Deb, for schools that are strong democracies, where educators are empowered and make all of the important educational decisions."
Bill Clinton: Charter Schools Must Be Held To 'The Original Bargain'
09/24/2014
The Huffington Post - Joy ResmovitsFormer President Bill Clinton, in a speech, called out low performing charter schools and says they aren't living up to their promise.
Charter School Law & Authorizer Practices Need Upgrades & Strengthening to Address Rapid Growth & Expansion
09/17/2014
Annenberg Institute for School Reform

The Annenberg Institute for School Reform (AISR) at Brown University recommends updates and adjustments to states' charter legislation and charter authorizer standards to eliminate policies that result in student inequities.

Ed Next Book Club: Dana Goldstein on The Teacher Wars
09/17/2014
Education Next - Mike Petrilli

In this edition of the Education Next Book Club podcast, Mike Petrilli talks with Dana Goldstein about her best-selling book, The Teacher Wars.

Big-City School Reforms: Lessons from New York, Toronto, and London
09/17/2014
Teacher College Record - David M. Moss

David M. Moss reviews "Big-City School Reforms: Lessons from New York, Toronto, and London" by Michael Fullan and Alan Boyle.

Poll: Public Rejects Teacher Evaluations Based on Student Test Scores
09/16/2014
NEAToday - Tim Walker

Tim Walker shares recent results from the second release of results of the 46th Annual PDK/Gallup poll on the Public's Attitude Toward Public Schools.

'Fadeout' in Early Childhood: Does the hype match the research?
09/16/2014
National Institute for Early Education Research - Megan Carolan

Megan Carolan shares a report from the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) and the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), which addresses some frequent questions regarding the lasting impact of pre-K.

Standing Up for Public Education
09/15/2014
American Association of School Administrators - School Administrator - John M. Kuhn

John Kuhn, superintendent of Perrin-Whitt School District in Perrin, Texas, raises his voice to lead a push back against education reform in Texas.

Anatomy of Educational Inequality & Why School Funding Matters
09/13/2014
School Finance 101 - Bruce D. Baker

Bruce Baker discusses why education funding and finance reform matters. "It’s just that simple. Sufficient, stable state revenue systems are required for supporting equitable and adequate funding."

Fatal Attraction: America's Suicidal Quest for Educational Excellence
09/13/2014
Zhao Learning - Yong Zhao

Yong Zhao shares the introduction to his latest book, Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon: Why China has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World.

Commentary: We Need Teachers of Color
09/09/2014
Education Week - Jacob Murray & Jackie Jenkins-Scott

Jacob Murray and Jackie Jenkins-Scott discuss the need for and the challenges of increasing the number of talented teachers of color in Boston, and around the nation.

American Teachers Spend More Time In The Classroom Than World Peers, Says Report
09/09/2014
The Huffington Post - Rebecca Klein

Rebecca Klein reports on this year's education report from the Organsation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

High-stakes testing, lack of voice driving teachers out
09/09/2014
Michigan State University - MSUToday - Andy Henion

Andy Henion shares two recent reports by MSU education professor Alyssa Hadley Dunn. Dunn's work looks at the factors that lead to teachers leaving the profession.

Pedagogy First (A Note on Elizabeth Green's Building A Better Teacher)
09/09/2014
The José Vilson - José Luis Vilson

José Vilson reviews Building a Better Teacher, a recent book by Elizabeth Green.

Education and health have improved for US children, says annual report
09/04/2014
Christian Science Monitor - Progress Watch - Caroline Kelly
The Christian Science Monitor reports that child-wellness indicators like education and health came off better in the most recent Kid's Count Data Book report, which was released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. However, the number of children living in poverty rose between 2005 and 2012.
10 School Reform Phrases That Should Trigger Your BS Detector
09/04/2014
Education Next - Rick Hess

Rick Hess shares 10 phrases that "should cause listeners to ask the speaker to explain what he or she means, using words that actually mean something."

Why Teachers And Researchers Should Work Together For Improvement
09/04/2014
Shanker Blog - Bill Penuel
Bill Penuel, professor of educational psychology and director of the National Center for Research in Policy and Practice at the University of Colorado Boulder, discusses recent work in research-practice partnerships. 
Districts Weigh Pros and Cons of Year-Round Schools
09/04/2014
NEA Today - Luke Towler
Luke Towler shares reactions to the pros and cons of year-round schools.
On Honest and Civil Conversation (Simmer Down Now)
09/03/2014
TheJoseVilson.com - José Luis Vilson

Reacting to the news of a new group supported by education reformers, José Luis Vilson takes on civil discourse in education policy and reform discussions.

The Public View of Public Schools: Are the Nation's Policymakers Listening?
09/03/2014
Learning First Alliance - Thomas Gentzel

Thomas J. Gentzel, executive director for the National School Boards Association (NSBA), further discusses the results of the 46th Annual PDK/Gallup Poll.

Why Do Americans Love to Blame Teachers?
09/02/2014
The Atlantic - Noah Berlatsky
 
Noah Berlatsky discusses Dana Goldstein's recent book, "The Teacher Wars." Goldstein's book covers 200 years of education policy and reform.
Back to school 2014-15 - by the numbers
09/02/2014
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Valerie Strauss

Valerie Strauss shares recent statistics from the National Center for Education Statistics housed at the U.S. Department of Education.

Research And Policy On Paying Teachers For Advanced Degrees
09/02/2014
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matthew Di Carlo looks at research related to teachers' advanced degrees.

Poaching Students the Publishers Clearing House Way
09/01/2014
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan

Nancy Flanagan discusses a recent "mix up" by the Education Achievement Authority, a recovery school district in Michigan, to mislead parents into thinking students were reassigned to the reform district.

Cracking the Code of Effective Teaching
08/28/2014
Education Next - David Steiner

David Steiner reviews Elizabeth Green's new book, Building a Better Teacher.

Charter Schools Don't Need An Ad Campaign, They Need Regulation
08/28/2014
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant discusses accountability for charter schools, a public relations campaign from charter school advocates, and results from the latest PDK/Gallup survey.

A Quick Look At The ASA Statement On Value-Added
08/26/2014
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matthew Di Carlo discusses a statement by the American Statistical Association (ASA), which released a statement on the use of Value-Added for teacher evaluations (in April).

Is Arne Duncan's Teacher Evaluation Moratorium Unnecessary?
08/26/2014
Eduwonk.com - Chad Aldeman and Carolyn Chuong

Chad Aldeman and Carolyn Chuong react to a speech last week by Secretary Arne Duncan.

PDK/Gallup Poll: When Answers Mean More Questions
08/25/2014
Learning First Alliance - Parents for Public Schools - Anne Foster

Anne Foster, executive director of Parents for Public Schools (PPS), shares her thoughts on the 46th annual PDK/Gallup poll a survey on what the public thinks about schools.

Comparing PDK and Education Next Polls
08/21/2014
Education Next - Paul E. Peterson

Paul E. Peterson, who works on the EdNext Poll, used results from the EdNext Poll and contrasted his results with those of the 46th Annual PDK/Gallup Poll.

Is doing less harm enough for Education Secretary Duncan?
08/21/2014
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Barnett Berry

Barnett Berry looks into steps by the Education Department to offer flexibility on student test scores for teacher evaluations.

Poll: Parents Want an End to the Testing Obsession
08/20/2014
NEA Today Online - Richard Naithram

Richard Naithram shares recent results from the 46th Annual PDK/Gallup Survey.

Get Out of the Way, Uncle Sam?
08/20/2014
Learning First Alliance - Anne O'Brien

Anne O'Brien reacts to the first results from the 2014 PDK/Gallup Poll: The Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools.

No Teacher Is An Island: The Role Of Social Relations In Teacher Evaluation
08/19/2014
Shanker Blog - Alan Daly and Kara Finnigan

Alan Daly and Kara Finnigan, authors of Using Research Evidence in Education: From the Schoolhouse Door to Capitol Hill, discuss alternatives around teacher evaluation.

Education in Two Worlds: Year-Round-Schools? Is Anybody Really Interested in That Any More?
08/15/2014
NEPC - Best of the EdBlogs - Gene V. Glass

Gene V. Glass takes a look at the history of year-round-schooling and questions the motives behind a recent push.

Seven things teachers are sick of hearing from school reformers
08/14/2014
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Ian Altman

Ian Altman, a Georgia teacher, shares what he and his colleagues are "really sick" of hearing from reformers. "Teachers didn’t choose this fight. It has been imposed on us by a misguided and deeply conservative 'reform' movement. It’s time for reformers  to back off because I, and my colleagues, will do a better job if you just get out of the way."

The Age-Old Question. Teaching: Art or Science?
08/13/2014
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan

Nancy Flanagan reacts to a soon to be released book by Elizabeth Green on teaching.

Surveying the Common Core Battleground
08/13/2014
Education Next - Paul DiPerna

Paul DiPerna shares several results from the Friedman Foundation's recent Schooling in America Survey.

As New School Year Begins, Teachers Cope With Education Changes
08/13/2014
NPR - State Impact Indiana - Claire McInerny

Claire McInerny discusses the evolving landscape of Indiana education policies, which dropped the Common Core standards, created new standards, and seeks to evaluate teachers on a yet to be determined standardized test.

Differences In DC Teacher Evaluation Ratings By School Poverty
08/12/2014
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo
Matthew Di Carlo digs into data issued by the D.C. Auditor, which show teachers in the lowest-poverty schools received higher IMPACT scores than teachers in schools with higher poverty rates. Di Carlo finds it difficult to determine a clear distinction behind the causes.
Book Review: Teachers versus the Public: What Americans Think about Schools and How to Fix Them
08/08/2014
Teachers College Record - David Reid

David Reid reviews "Teachers versus the Public: What Americans Think about Schools and How to Fix Them," by Paul Peterson, Michael Henderson, and Martin West.

'Better Than Republicans,' Not Good Enough For Education
08/08/2014
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant takes a swing at the gulf between educators and politicians when it comes to policy. "When it comes to the education policy arena, 'the game' has played into a disaster for the nation’sschoolteachers, parents, and students."

Evaluating the Teacher Evaluators
08/07/2014
National Institute for Early Education Research - Preschool Matters - Michelle Horowitz

Michelle Horowitz shares findings from a recent report on qualifications for early childhood education evaluators. While most school administrators have certification in areas they evaluate, Horowitz discusses the need to have certified early childhood educators evaluating teachers in these classrooms.

In Teacher-Tenure Battles, a War for Public Opinion Can Obscure the Nuances
08/05/2014
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk
Stephen Sawchuk discusses several celebrity attacks on teachers, most notably Whoopi Goldberg and Campbell Brown. Brown has become a high-profile opponent of teachers and due process rights.
Soothsaying in Iowa, a state investing in students by elevating teachers
08/05/2014
Center for Teaching Quality - Barnett Berry

Barnett Berry brings attention to "Iowa's smart approach to education policy." Most specifically, he highlights Iowa's teacher leadership system, which raises the status of the profession.

Personalization Depends On The Person
08/04/2014
The JLV - Blog - Jose Vilson
Jose Vilson comments on so-called innovators and personalized learning. According to Vilson, "Personalization looks different across race, class and gender lines."
Rational and Evidenced-Based Responses to Standards Advocates and Critics
08/04/2014
Radical Scholarship - Paul Thomas

Paul Thomas calls attention to the education agendas of Democrats and Republicans, which are "essentially indistinguishable," leaving educators without a party. "We re left with being rational, with calling upon evidence in the wider public debates, and to be honest, those are significant uphill battles in the U.S. where the irrational and unmerited thrive."

Fact-checking Campbell Brown: What she said, what research really shows
08/03/2014
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Alyssa Hadley Dunn

Alyssa Hadley Dunn debunks claims made by former CNN correspondent Campbell Brown on The Colbert Report. "Whatever Ms. Brown’s intentions are, they lack an understanding of both the current landscape of teaching in high-needs schools and of educational research. It’s time to get some facts straight."

Chetty, et al. on the American Statistical Association's Recent Position Statement on Value-Added Models (VAMs): Five Points of Contention
08/01/2014
Teachers College Record - Margarita Pivovarova, Jennifer Broatch & Audrey Amrein-Beardsley

Margarita Pivovarova, Jennifer Broatch & Audrey Amrein-Beardsley respond to  five points of contention by Chetty, et al. regarding a statement from the American Statistical Association.

The Truth About The New Orleans School Reform Model
07/31/2014
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant shares an exchange with Zoey Reed, executive director of communications for the Recovery School District in New Orleans. Reed had responded to a recent piece posted by Bryant for Salon. Bryant's original piece was highly critical of the reforms enacted in New Orleans post-Katrina. For a review of the research, Dr. Barbara Ferguson has compiled a series of research papers over at Research on Reforms.

Race to the Top Wasn't
07/30/2014
Education Next - Rick Hess

Rick Hess reacts to the fifth anniversary of Race to the Top, the Obama administration's signature education initiative. "The result: the sugar high that Race to the Top used to fuel reform in 2009 is likely to be undone, and then some, by the legacy of half-baked, federal compulsion. What President Obama termed 'the most meaningful education reform in a generation' has proven, for my money, to be more a cautionary tale than a model." Also worth a read is Nancy Flanagan's piece: Race to the Top: A Five-Year Marathon Slog With No End in Sight.

The Politics of Teacher Evaluation Formulas
07/29/2014
Education Next - Chad Aldeman

Chad Aldeman of Bellwether Education Partners reacts to a series of changes to teacher evaluation systems. Aldeman attempts to use data from the 2013 MET project, which prescribed weighting student growth between 33 and 50 percent of a teacher's evaluation score. Reviews of the MET project data have been critical of such recommendations.

An open letter to my son's second grade teacher
07/29/2014
Education Rethink - John Spencer

John Spencer puts his own touch on a viral post from a parent to a kindergarten teacher. Spencer's letter is very teacher focused and encouraging. "This letter is mostly just a heads-up ahead of time to say, 'Thanks for what you do everyday.' It's pretty amazing."

Don't Trust Charters More than a Sweaty Used Car Salesman (A Citizen Research Template)
07/27/2014
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig creates a citizen research template to empower communities to study and evaluate charter schools. "Gather the quantitative data and also qualitative data by talking to parents of students, teachers and administrators who are currently located at the school AND who have left the school to get a full picture of a charter school’s context."

Value-added Modeling (VAM) is pseudoscience, but profitable pseudosciences persist
07/26/2014
Schools Matter - Robert Skeels

Robert Skeels discusses VAM assertions and reacts to a statement by the American Statistical Association on the use of VAM. He tracks down a profitable stream of income for one statistical company banking on VAM.

The Myth of Teacher Tenure
07/23/2014
Teachers College Record - Diana D'Amico

Diana D'Amico highlights historical responses to teacher tenure laws. "Using history as a lens, this commentary explores the origination of tenure policies and the debates that surrounded them. This commentary argues that embedded in the tenure debates is a much larger problem that should concern us all."

From Caps to Closures: Six Growing Charter School Policy Trends
07/22/2014
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Arianna Prothero
Arianna Prothero shares six policy trends in school choice, based on a report from the Education Commission of the States. "As part of the project, the Education Commission of the States created an online database on how policies line up or vary from state to state."
UARK Study Shamelessly (& Knowingly) Uses Bogus Measures to Make Charter Productivity Claims
07/22/2014
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker
Bruce Baker discusses a recent "report" by the University of Arkansas Department of Education Reform, which compares the relative productivity and efficiency of charter schools. Baker reviewed a previous report from theWalmart group for the Think Twice think tank review project, produced by the National Education Policy Center with funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.
Accountability Shouldn't Stifle Teacher Creativity and Best Practices
07/21/2014
Learning First Alliance - Amber Jimenez
Amber Jimenez, ELL teacher in Colville, WA, shares her thoughts on teacher creativity and accountability.
9 Habits of Highly Effective Teachers: A Practical Guide to Personal Development
07/21/2014
Teachers College Record - Lynnette Mawhinney
Lynnette Mawhinney reviews 9 Habits of Highly Effective Teachers: A Practical Guide to Personal Development by Jacqui Turnbull. "9 Habits of Highly Effective Teachers: A Practical Guide to Personal Development (2nd Edition)is a welcome and timely reminder that professional development and ongoing reflecting on teaching practice is just as, if not more, important than the plethora of scripted professional development courses offered to teachers. This book, suited for novice and veteran teachers, grounds the professional back into the importance of reflective work on teaching practice."
Don't blame teacher tenure for students' poor performance
07/21/2014
Indianapolis Star - IndyStar.com - Op-ed - John R. Staver
In this op-ed from the Indianapolis Star, John R. Staver digs into research evidence and corporate reform. His letter investigates the headline, "Abolishing teacher tenure would boost student performance."
The 'Test and Punish' Trap
07/21/2014
Eduwonk.com - Sara Mead
Sara Mead discusses the concepts "support and improve" & "test and punish," two concepts in the education reform debate. Mead, and her employer, Bellwether Education Partners, continue to advocate for "objective" measures to improve schools, teachers, and teaching quality.
On the Path to Equity: Improving the Effectiveness of Beginning Teachers
07/17/2014
Alliance for Excellent Education - Mariana Haynes

The Alliance for Excellent Education released a report last week on the high cost of teacher turnover. The report makes several policy recommendations to increase retention and build a sustainable quality teaching force.

The (Il)logic of Teacher Evaluation
07/16/2014
Education Week - Top Performers - Marc Tucker

Marc Tucker, president of the National Center on Education and the Economy, shares his recent commentary on teacher evaluation. "Let's get real, for a change.  Teacher evaluation is not going to get us a supply of great teachers.  And an oversupply of great teachers is the only thing that is going to fill our schools with great teachers.  The logic of test-based teacher evaluation is deeply faulty, a strategic dead end."

Waking Up To Our Broken Education Policies
07/16/2014
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant shares his thoughts on what he calls the "education spring" - a rising voice of educators in opposition to the policies of the education "reform" movement.

How Music Education Powers the STEAM Movement
07/16/2014
NEA Today Online - Richard Naithram

Richard Naithram shares information on an event sponsored by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), which discussed music education policy. "The day after the briefing, more than 150 music education leaders and supporters visited Capitol Hill for NAfME Hill Day 2014 and shared with elected officials the urgent need to ensure the continued preservation of school-based music programs across America."

The Splintering School Reform Movement
07/15/2014
Education Next - Mike Petrilli

Mike Petrilli discusses the splintering education reform movement. "One of the great misconceptions in education is that the reform movement is monolithic. There have always been competing camps, often defined on ideological grounds. Conservatives and libertarians tend to stress school choice, for example; liberals are much more comfortable with an intrusive federal role."

Five Strategies for Surviving a Hard Year of Teaching
07/15/2014
Education Rethink - John Spencer

John Spencer offers five suggestions to "survive" a hard year of teaching.

Eliminating Teacher Tenure Versus Improving Teacher Hiring: Why Improving Teacher Hiring Is a Better Bet
07/15/2014
Harvard Education Publishing - Dale S. Rose
Dale Rose shares his thoughts on teacher tenure, teacher turnover, and the importance of hiring strong teachers. Rose recently authored, Hire Better Teachers Now: Using the Science of Selection to Find the Best Teachers for Your School, which digs into the notion that better teachers get better outcomes for students and so improving teacher quality is ONE [emphasis added] critical way to improve schools.
Christie reduces impact of student test scores in teacher evaluations
07/14/2014
NorthJersey.com - Hannan Adely

Hannan Adely reports on the Cristie administration's rollback of new standardized tests as a measure for teacher evaluations.

The Language Of Teacher Effectiveness
07/14/2014
NEPC - Best of the EdBlogs - Matthew Di Carlo

Matthew Di Carlo of the Shanker Institute discusses the conflation of terms associated with teacher effectiveness and teacher performance. "Regardless of one’s views on value-added and its policy deployment, however, there is a point at which our failure to define terms can go too far, and perhaps cause confusion."

What does the Research Say about the Effects of Increased Learning Time on Student Outcomes?
07/09/2014
Institute of Education Sciences - REL Appalachia - Yael Kidron & Jim Lindsay

REL Appalachia conducted a systematic review of the research evidence on the effects of increased learning time. After screening more than 7,000 studies, REL Appalachia identified 30 that met the most rigorous standards for research. A review of those 30 studies found that increased learning time does not always produce positive results. However, some forms of instruction tailored to the needs of specific types of students were found to improve their circumstances.

Democratic Party's Divide On Education Policy Gets Worse
07/09/2014
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant addresses the growing gap between factions of the Democratic Party on education policy. "The frustrations teachers feel from these policies – while they grapple with the budget cuts imposed by conservative state governments – have been building for some time. And now they’re boiling over. Should Democrats care?"

Classroom Craft Before Classroom Keys: Changing Paradigms with Teacher Preparation
07/09/2014
Learning First Alliance - Future Educators Association - Dan Brown

Dan Brown, executive director of the Future Educators Association, discusses edTPA and the changing scope of teacher preparation.

Breaking Down 'The Chartered Course'
07/09/2014
Education Next - Paul DiPerna

Paul DiPerna, research director for the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, discusses ways in which private school leaders can use the road map provided by the charter sector to expand school choice and vouchers. "We must think creatively about how best to expand the supply of schooling options, both private and charter." This blog covers a new report (also funded by the Friedman Foundation), "The Chartered Course: Can Private School Choice Proponents Learn from the Charter School Sector?" by Andy Smarick.

How to Read Education Data Without Jumping to Conclusions
07/08/2014
The Atlantic - Jessica Lahey and Tim Lahey

Jessica Lahey and Tim Lahey provide four questions to answer when looking at educational data. "With research findings widely available on websites and Twitter feeds, it's easier than ever to oversimplify the results—and risk bringing half-formed ideas into America's classrooms."

The Importance Of Relationships In Educational Reform
07/07/2014
Shanker Blog - Kara S. Finnigan & Alan J. Daly

Kara Finnigan and Alan Daly share a segment of their recent book - Using Research Evidence in Education: From the Schoolhouse Door to Capitol Hill, which explores the use and diffusion of different types of evidence across levels of the educational system.

Worth A Read will return next week
07/03/2014
Great Lakes Center - Worth A Read - Daniel Quinn
The Great Lakes Center wants to wish our readers a happy and productive 4th of July holiday. Worth A Read, a weekly selection of thought-provoking research and commentary focused on education reform, will return next week. Until then, we invite you to visit us on the web, follow us on Twitter, or 'Like' us on Facebook.
When Statistical Significance Hides More Than it Reveals
07/02/2014
Teachers College Record - Jeanne M. Powers & Gene V. Glass

Jeanne Powers and Gene Glass argue that focusing on statistical significance is potentially misleading. "Summaries generated from research studies should provide an accounting of findings that allows practitioners to assess their practical importance. When these and similar reports are hard to understand and misleading, they run the risk of eroding practitioners’ trust in research and increasing rather than bridging the gulf between research and practice."

Getting Teacher Evaluation Right: What Really Matters for Effectiveness and Improvement
07/02/2014
Teachers College Record - Morgan Polikoff and Shauna Campbell

Morgan Polikoff and Shauna Campbell review Linda Darling-Hammond's recent book "Getting Teacher Evaluation Right: What Really Matters for Effectiveness and Improvement."

Implementing Common Core: Curriculum Part 2
06/26/2014
Brookings - Brown Center Chalkboard - Tom Loveless

Tom Loveless continues his analysis of the curriculum's role in implementing CCSS. He discusses key curricular decisions that will be encountered as CCSS makes its way through the school system, and potential controversies that the process may provoke. You can also read Part 1 here. Loveless concluded in May: "The CCSS implementation process will involve several decision points, with each one leaving the CCSS vulnerable to bad decisions by officials, who have scant evidence on which to act, and to the efforts of political opponents." 

Is Money spent on Public #Education Equitable?
06/25/2014
Cloaking Inequity - Rebecca Wolf

Rebecca Wolf shares excerpts of her recent doctoral study on spending patterns in public education. "So what’s the bottom line? Teachers and students are non-randomly sorted within schools, and this sorting may result in schools spending inequitable amounts of money to educate various students, in addition to other inequities in teacher experience, class sizes, high-achieving peers, and academically rigorous curricula."

Will Anyone Stop Charter School Corruption?
06/25/2014
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant covers charter school corruption in Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Florida. "Certainly, faced with such a growing calamity, it’s not being 'negative' or 'oppositional' or a 'status quodefender' to stand in the pathway and yell, 'Stop!'"

Survey: Teachers Worldwide Seek More Opportunities for Collaboration
06/25/2014
Education Week - Inside School Research - Sarah D. Sparks

Sarah Sparks shares results of OECD's 2013 Teaching and Learning International Survey. "Secondary school teachers from the United States to Singapore value collaboration with their peers, but the vast majority are still largely isolated in their classrooms, according to a new report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development."

A Policy Playbook for Personalized Learning: Ideas for State and Local Policymakers
06/24/2014
Bellwether Education Partners - Sara Mead & Carolyn Chuong

Sara Mead and Carolyn Chuong from Bellwether Education Partners released a "playbook" for policymakers seeking to implement personalized learning opportunities.

What Kindergartners Might Teach Us About Test-Based Accountability
06/24/2014
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matthew Di Carlo discusses educational testing for kindergartners. "My personal opinion about whether this is a good idea depends on several factors, such as how good the tests will be and, most importantly, how the results will be used (and I cannot say that I am optimistic about the latter)."

Detroit Education Achievement Authority veers out of control
06/24/2014
Metro Times - Curt Guyette

Curt Guyette covers the controversy surrounding Detroit's EAA, a controversial state takeover district that continues to raise concerns, even after the departure of its embattled "chancellor."

Michigan Charter Schools Perform Low at High Cost, Newspaper Investigation Finds
06/23/2014
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Arianna Prothero

Arianna Prothero shares excerpts from an ongoing Detroit Free Press investigation into corruption in Michigan's charter schools. You can read the week long report on the Detroit Free Press website:http://www.freep.com/charters - "A yearlong Free Press investigation of Michigan’s charter schools found wasteful spending, conflicts of interest, poor performing schools and a failure to close the worst of the worst."

Why Meetings Matter
06/23/2014
Harvard Education Letter - Kathryn Parker Boudett and Elizabeth City

Kathryn Parker Boudett and Elizabeth City share an excerpt from their book "Meeting Wise: Making the Most of Collaborative Time for Educators." Regarding meetings, they summarize: "A good meeting, like a good classroom experience, has a clear purpose, a thoughtful strategy for achieving it, and a group working together to achieve that purpose."

F is for frustrated - disorganization at Detroit EAA schools leaves students scrambling to graduate
06/19/2014
Bridge Magazine - Chastity Pratt Dawsey

Chastity Pratt Dawsey shares several problems associated with Michigan's Education Achievement Authority (EAA). This article focuses on paperwork issues facing students are seeking transcripts for higher education. "The state-run reform district has run into problems almost from the moment it was created in 2011, including low state test scores, high teacher turnover, declining enrollment and controversies over discipline, transparency and profligate travel spending by administrators and teachers."

The Becoming Radical: Guest Post by Peter Smagorinsky: Response to the New NCTQ Teacher Prep Review
06/18/2014
NEPC - Best of the Ed Blogs - Peter Smagorinsky

Peter Smagorinsky, University of Georgia, critiques a new report from NCTQ, which claims to evaluate teacher prep programs. "The NCTQ appears to have little understanding of the relation between an engaging curriculum and student engagement."

The Good Teacher-Bad Teacher Debate
06/18/2014
Education Week - Reality Check - Walt Gardner

Walt Gardner chimes in on the Vegara verdict and implications for policy. "Before reformers extol the Vergara verdict, I wish they would spend a few weeks in a public school classroom.  I think the experience would help them to understand just how difficult it is to evaluate teachers fairly."

There Is No War on Teachers
06/18/2014
Education Next - Eric A. Hanushek

Eric Hanushek claims that there is no war on teachers and that student achievement should be the central policy issue. Regarding a war on teachers, Hanushek says: "But there is no such war. These laws protect just a very small minority of teachers who are harming children and who should not be in the classroom."

Shaky Methods, Shaky Motives: A Recap of My Critique of the NCTQ's Review of Teacher Preparation Programs
06/17/2014
A "Fuller" Look at Education Issues - Ed Fuller

Ed Fuller shares a portion of his recent study published in the Journal of Teacher Education NCTQ's teacher preparation program ratings. He also provides a free link to the article (available for one month). "If NCTQ wants to truly help improve student outcomes by improving teacher preparation, they should stop using incredible weak methods, unsubstantiated standards, and unethical evaluation strategies toshame programs and start working with programs to build a stronger research base and information system that can be used by programs to improve practice."

Public or Private School? It Shouldn't Matter
06/11/2014
Brookings - The Brown Center Chalkboard - Mark Dynarski

Mark Dynarski shares his thoughts on a recent book released by Christopher and Sarah Lubienski, The Public School Advantage: Why Public Schools Outperform Private Schools.

Dogs, Ponies and Teacher Evaluation
06/11/2014
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan

Nancy Flanagan discusses teacher evaluations and the appearance of "dog and pony shows." She argues that we should not take the human element out of teacher evaluation.

What Makes a Leader?
06/11/2014
Learning First Alliance - Helen Janc Malone

Helen Janc Malone, director of Institutional Advancement for the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL), discusses 10 lessons for educational leadership.

A silver lining in the Vergara decision?
06/11/2014
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Kevin Welner

Kevin Welner, director of the National Education Policy Center, highlights the legal issues involved in the controversial Vergara decision in California.

Op-Ed: Making it easier to fire teachers won't get you better ones
06/10/2014
LA Times - Jack Schneider

Jack Schneider, assistant professor at Holy Cross College, explains the downside of making it easier to 'fire' teachers. "Instead of imagining a world in which teachers are easier to fire, we should work to imagine one in which firing is rarely necessary. Because you don't put an effective teacher in every classroom by holding a sword over their heads. You do it by putting tools in their hands."

The Problem Isn't Just Common Core, but the Entire Reform Agenda
06/09/2014
Education Week - Living in Dialogue - Paul Thomas

Paul Thomas highlights why the dominant reform agenda in education today is failing. Moving beyond the standards, Thomas addresses the evidence base, which shows how achievement and equity are being left beyond by standards-based reform.

The day Michigan killed public schools (and then created the system we have today)
06/09/2014
Michigan Public Radio - State of Opportunity - Dustin Dwyer

Dustin Dwyer highlights the decisions that have been made regarding Michigan's funding of public education. Proposal A, passed 20 years ago, has had a dramatic impact on the current state of public education in Michigan.

A Moral Panic Over Real Accountability?
06/06/2014
Shanker Blog - Leo Casey

Leo Casey, executive director of the Shanker Institute, discusses a recent essay by Stanford's Linda Darling-Hammond and AFT's Randi Weingarten, which provoked a strong reaction from several 'status quo' reform organizations. "While the defenders of the accountability status quo may not appreciate it, an honest conversation has begun about what accountability in American education is, should be and should do. I am not alone in believing that this is all for the good."

Save the date: Partnership for Music Ed. Policy Development to host a Music Education Policy Summit on June 14th
06/06/2014
Eclectablog - Chris Savage

The Partnership for Music Education Policy Development will host a Music Education Policy Summit from 9:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m. (Saturday, June 14, 2014) on the campus of Michigan State University at the Cook Recital Hall in the MSU Music Building. "The purpose of the Summit is to examine the most pressing needs regarding music education policy in the state of Michigan."

The education question we should be asking
06/05/2014
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Alfie Kohn

Alfie Kohn attempts to answer the question of what is worth learning. Kohn is responding to a recent essay by Daniel Willingham that looks at the teachers' ability to increase students' self-control.

Facing the Union Challenge
06/05/2014
Education Next - Terry Moe
Report: Time to End Harmful, Exclusionary School Discipline Policies
06/03/2014
NEA Today Online - Mary Ellen Flannery

Mary Ellen Flannery shares a recent report produced by the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center. "The data shows [sic] clearly that change is needed: Black, Hispanic, and American Indian students are suspended at sometimes double the rate of their White peers; 20 percent of students with disabilities were suspended in a single school year, compared to 10 percent of students without disabilities; and LGBT students are three times more likely to be harshly disciplined than their heterosexual peers, according to the report."

In Memoriam: Teachers College's Maxine Greene from Inside the Academy
06/03/2014
Teachers College Record - Noelle Paufler & Audrey Amrein-Beardsley

Noelle Paufler & Audrey Amrein-Beardsley profile Dr. Maxine Greene, distinguished philosopher and professor emerita at Teachers College. Greene recently passed away at the age of 96. "Dr. Greene will be remembered as an exemplary scholar, inspirational educator, and visionary in educational research and practice."

'Network routers': a new proposal to put education research into practice
06/03/2014
Washington Post - Answer Sheet - Jack Scheider

Jack Schneider proposes a path to help bridge the gap between education research and practice.

On Teacher Effect vs. Other Stuff in New Jersey's Growth Percentiles
06/02/2014
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker estimates a series of models to evaluate variation in New Jersey's school median growth percentile measures (SGP).

In Kentucky, Moving Beyond Dependence On Tests
06/01/2014
NPR Ed - Anya Kamenetz

Anya Kamenetz discusses a school district in Kentucky, which is moving toward performance assessment while deemphasizing standardized testing.

The Condition of Education 2014
05/29/2014
National Center for Education Statistics

The National Center for Education Statistics released The Condition of Education 2014. The 42 indicators presented in The Condition of Education 2014 provide a progress report on education in America and include findings on the demographics of American schools, U.S. resources for schooling, and outcomes associated with education.

'Urban' Schools and Other Euphemisms
05/29/2014
Education Week - Bridging Differences - Deborah Meier

Deborah Meier squares off with blogger and educator Mike Klonsky in this post about 'urban' schools. Her blog discusses the evolution of the term 'urban' school and addresses the challenges still relevant today.

Raising the Bar for Early Education
05/28/2014
National Institute for Early Education Research - Jim Squires

Jim Squires calls for an examination of early childhood education as a profession. "Until the field of early education and care comes to agreement on criteria for its 'profession' and commits to meeting exemplary standards differentiating it from a 'job' or “occupation,” we are destined to be viewed by the public as a lesser profession and reap commensurate benefits. It’s time for us to raise the bar."

Education Accountability We Can Believe In
05/28/2014
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant calls for an end to the federal government's rolling out more new and unproven outcome-based accountability systems - including new teacher evaluation systems tied to student test scores.

Is Personalized Learning Meeting Its Productivity Promise? Early Lessons from Pioneering Schools
05/28/2014
Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) - Larry Miller, Bethany Gross, & Robin Lake

This report from CRPE provides a fiscal analysis of eight new charter schools that implemented personalized learning (defined as blending computer-based and teacher-led instruction) this year finds that early difficulty in forecasting enrollment and revenue can undermine implementation of the model.

Excellence in Urban Schooling - Traditional DCPS Schools Shine
05/27/2014
Learning First Alliance - Cheryl S. Williams

Cheryl Williams shares her reaction to a day-long tour of three traditional public schools in the District of Columbia (DCPS). "These are the examples of public education that need to be widely shared and celebrated as we work collaboratively to support educators and the communities they serve."

Teacher Dismissals Under New Evaluation Systems
05/27/2014
Education Next - Grover J. "Russ" Whitehurst and Katharine Lindquist

Russ Whitehurst and Katharine Lindquist discuss bias in classroom observation systems that derives from some teachers being assigned much more able students than other teachers.

Teacher Education Leaders Speak Out: Kevin Kumashiro on Teacher Preparation, edTPA and Reform
05/25/2014
Education Week - Living in Dialogue - Anthony Cody

Anthony Cody shares an interview with Kevin Kumashiro, Dean of the University of San Francisco's School of Education. The blog concludes, "What do you think? Is it time for schools of education to become more active in the debate over education reform?"

Teachers are the real reformers
05/25/2014
New York Daily News - Michael Mulgrew

Michael Mulgrew, UFT president, says teachers can make things right for kids now that Bloomberg is out of the way. "Teachers, administrators and parents working together have a chance now to make New York City’s public schools the best large urban system in the nation. But we’ll only get there with real cooperation and innovation, not with stale and discredited ideas."

Segregation in Michigan schools prevails despite some progress
05/22/2014
The Detroit News - Jesse Holland and Kim Hefling

Jesse Holland and Kim Hefling share recent research from the Civil Rights Project at UCLA. "Among states with the largest percentage of black students in majority minority schools, Michigan made a slight drop from No. 3 (51.5 percent) in 1980 to No. 4 (at 50.4 percent) in the 2011-12 survey."

How Do Teachers Learn to Teach?
05/21/2014
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan

In her recent EdWeek blog, Nancy Flanagan asks some really interesting questions about teaching and learning: "How do teachers really learn to teach--to teach well, cooking on all disciplinary burners, deftly handling mini-crises of apathy and frustration, creating--on the fly--engaging new ways to absorb and apply important content and skills?"

Report: School Schedules Crowding Out Valuable Teaching Time
05/21/2014
NEA Today - Brenda Alvarez

Brenda Alvarez discusses a new report from the National Center on Time and Learning, which detailed six practices that allow educators to strengthen their instruction; all involve crating time for teaches to learn.

Does Culture Eat Strategy for Lunch?
05/20/2014
Learning First Alliance - Stephanie Hirsh, Executive Director, Learning Forward

Stephanie Hirsh discusses the role that organizational culture plays in implementing school change initiatives. "What does a continuous improvement culture look like?"

Array of Factors Drives Students From School
05/20/2014
Education Week - Arianna Prothero

Arianna Prothero shares the results of a large-scale study by America's Promise Alliance, which focused on the experiences of students who drop out of school.

National Study Finds Overwhelming Support Among Teachers and the Public for Greater Teacher Roles in School, the Classroom and Beyond
05/20/2014
Teacher-Powered

A whopping 91 percent of Americans believe teachers should have greater influence over decisions that affect student learning, with 81 percent of Americans indicating they trust teachers to make "schools run better," according to a first-of-its-kind national opinion study.

Student Assessment Merry-Go-Round
05/20/2014
Citizens Research Council of Michigan - Craig Thiel

This blog from the Citizens Research Council of Michigan discusses the current testing debate in Michigan, where the legislature is debating CCSS (specifically whether to move forward with Smarter Balanced assessments) or continue the MEAP (Michigan's current assessment program).

The Absurdity of Teacher Evaluation Systems
05/19/2014
The Art of Teaching Science - Jack Hassard

Jack Hassard discusses several items, including a recent column by Maureen Downey, NCTQ, and teacher evaluations. "The system of teacher evaluation that is prevalent in most states is absurd."

An Open Letter to Teach for America
05/19/2014
Huffington Post - Mercedes Schneider

Mercedes Schneider discusses her new book on education reforms and provides a comparison with Wendy Kopp, founder of Teach For America. Schneider has a new book out: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who's Who in the Implosion of American Public Education.

California School Board Rejects Rocketship Charter School
05/15/2014
Economics Policy Institute - Working Economics - Gordon Lafer

Gordon Lafer writes about a California school district, which rejected a charter school to be managed by Rocketship. Lafer recently released a report that was critical of Rocketship. "There are good and bad schools of every type, including charter schools. But all schools must be held accountable. Education policy must not be based on the assumption that there are different definitions of quality education for poor and privileged students, and should not promote a model for poor children that wealthier parents reject as substandard for their own families."

Instead of getting ready for the tech revolution, schools are scaling back
05/14/2014
Hechinger Report - Sarah Garland

Sarah Garland investigates the digital divide in many schools across America, where students cannot access the Internet with current technology resources.

Evaluating Teachers with Classroom Observations: Lessons Learned in Four Districts
05/13/2014
Brown Center for Education Reform at Bookings - Grover J. "Russ" Whitehurst, Matthew M. Chingos and Katharine M. Lindquist

A new report from Brookings examines new teacher evaluation systems in four urban school districts. The report calls for improvements in how classroom observations are measured. It also states that outside observers are more valid than observations conducted by school administrators. And finally, the report cautions against the inclusion of school value-added components of teachers' evaluation scores.

2013 State Preschool Yearbook Finds Need for Renewed Investment
05/13/2014
National Institute for Early Education Research - Steven Barnett

NIEER released its 2013 State Preschool Yearbook - this year’s report found states still struggling to recover from the economic downturn that did so much damage to preschool programs in the previous year. Steven Barnett noted, "Our nation has emerged from the recession, but preschool-age children are being left to suffer its effects. A year ago, our data showed a half-billion-dollar cut in funding for state pre-K and stalled enrollment. For 2012-2013, we find that enrollment is down and funding per child, while up slightly, remains stalled at near-historic lows."

Teaching and Leading While Black (On My Visit To The White House)
05/13/2014
Jose Vilson

Jose Vilson, author of This is Not a Test, responds to a blog by Nancy Flanagan on teacher leadership. Moreover, Vilson shares his recent trip to the White House, where he asked some probing questions of Arne Duncan and Dr. Jill Biden. "Even though he has about five inches on me, it felt good to meet Secretary Duncan eye-to-eye, not in deference, but as equal in importance. That’s the type of respect we ought to fight for." Nancy Flanagan's piece, Ten Years After: Is Genuine Teacher Leadership Dead in the Water?, is another must read - LINK.

Good teaching, poor test scores: Doubt cast on grading teachers by student performance
05/12/2014
Washington Post - Lyndsey Layton

Lindsey Layton shares a new report, the first large-scale analysis of new systems that evaluate teachers based partly on student test scores, two researchers found little or no correlation between quality teaching and the appraisals teachers received. The report was produced by Morgan Polikoff (USC) and Andrew Porter (UPenn). Polikoff said policymakers should rethink how they use VAM models. "We need to slow down or ease off completely for the stakes for teachers, at least in the first few years, so we can get a sense of what do these things measure, what does it mean," Polikoff said. "We’re moving these systems forward way ahead of the science in terms of the quality of the measures."

One Piece of the Whole: Teacher Evaluation as Part of a Comprehensive System for Teaching and Learning
05/11/2014
American Educator - Linda Darling-Hammond

Stanford's Linda Darling-Hammond calls for a comprehensive, coherent system of teacher development and evaluation, which exist in high-quality education systems. Work needs to support ongoing professional learning opportunities that are part of a career continuum that encourages teachers to gain and share expertise.

Supporting New Teachers: What Do We Know About Effective State Induction Policies?
05/11/2014
Center on Great Teachers & Leaders - Amy Potemski and Lauren Matlach

This report from the Center on Great Teachers & Leaders at AIR investigates the importance of state induction policies for new teachers. "A systematic approach to induction ensures that new teachers have the resources and supports they need to be effective in the classroom."

Forget traditional schools vs. charters; quality must grace all schools
05/08/2014
Bridge Magazine - Tom Watkins

Tom Watkins, former Michigan state superintendent of schools, discusses the "false debate" in Lansing [Michigan] among traditional public schools, charter and other educational options. He calls for moving beyond the rhetoric and pushing for the discussion to move to what's best for kids, regardless of the type of school organization. "False ideological debates never educated a single child. Quality teachers and quality schools – both traditional and charters – do."

Effective PD Mirrors Effective Teaching
05/08/2014
ASCD Express - Sara Gammack

Sara Gammack discusses effective professional development aimed at improving student learning and teacher instruction. "We must let go of a one-size-fits-all model and move toward differentiated, personalized professional development. That is professional learning reimagined."

New Book: From the Ivory Tower to the Schoolhouse
05/07/2014
Harvard Education Publishing - Jack Schneider

Education historian Jack Schneider seeks to answer this familiar and vexing question -- "Why do so many promising ideas generated by education research fail to penetrate the world of classroom practice? -- by turning it on its head." 

The Education Iron Triangle
05/07/2014
Education Next - Paul E. Peterson, Michael B. Henderson, and Martin West

This Education Next piece is an excerpt from "Teachers Versus the Public: What Americans Think about Schools and How to Fix Them," a new book by Paul E. Peterson, Michael Henderson and Martin R. West for Brookings Institution Press.

Charter Schools Fail: New Reports Call Their 'Magic' Into Question
05/07/2014
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant discusses federal legislation aimed at expanding charter schools. "Despite these urgent and well-founded calls for a change in direction on charter schools, public officials still seem intent on pursuing bad policy."

ESEA Waivers and Teacher-Evaluation Plans
05/07/2014
Center for American Progress - Kaitlin Pennington

The Center for American Progress released a report that uses detailed case studies to look at four states: Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, and Ohio and studies development of teacher evaluation systems. This report identifies key takeaways—or best practices—for state departments of education and school districts to consider as they head into full implementation of their teacher-evaluation systems.

#TeachingIs
05/01/2014
Center for Teaching Quality

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week (May 5-9), CTQ [Center for Teaching Quality] is launching #TeachingIs, a social media effort to challenge stereotypes and recognize teaching as the complex work it is. Set the record straight.

Study to measure cost of education unlikely in election year
05/01/2014
Bridge Magazine - Chastity Pratt Dawsey

Chastity Pratt Dawsey discusses HB 5269, which called for an adequacy study to determine the cost per pupil to provide an education that would enable a student to meet state standards in Michigan.

A 'Divergent' Path: Tips on Becoming a Teacher Leader
05/01/2014
Education Week - CTQ Collaboratory - Cheryl A. Redfield

Cheryl Redfield uses Divergent (a book by Veronica Roth) as a backdrop for explaining the paths to teacher leadership. She profiles five "divergent" qualities that teacher leaders possess: (1) selflessness; (2) intelligence; (3) courage; (4) honesty and peace; (5) and a threat to the status quo.

The Pursuit Of The Magic Education Metric
04/30/2014
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant discusses the Obama administration's obsession with standardized test scores.

Catholic Schools Benefit From Converting to Charter Schools, Study Finds
04/30/2014
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Gina Cairney

Gina Cairney shares a recent report from the Friedman Foundation, an organization which strongly supports school choice preferences, which found that student enrollment in former Catholic schools increased when they became charter schools.

We Can't Just Raise Expectations
04/30/2014
Shanker Blog - Esther Quintero

Esther Quintero asks: What exactly is a culture of high expectations and how is it created? "In this post I explain why I think the idea of 'raising expectations' — when used carelessly and as a slogan — is meaningless. Expectations are not test-scores."

Teaching: The Next Generation
04/30/2014
Third Way - Tamara Hiler and Lanae Erickson Hatalsky

This report takes a close look at "outdated policies" that deter talented Millennials from entering the teaching profession and offers prescriptions for "modernizing the career" to attract them.

Bruno: What If Teacher Evaluation Isn't Actually Broken After All?
04/28/2014
This Week in Education - Paul Bruno

Paul Bruno discusses teacher evaluations in Indiana, where a vast majority of teachers continue to be rated "effective."

Superheroes and Transformers: Rethinking TFA's leadership models
04/24/2014
Kappan Magazine - Tina Trujillo and Janelle Scott

Tina Trujillo and Janelle Scott write about the disconnect in school policies preferred by TFAers and investments that would address broader social and educational inequalities. TFAers tend to believe that achievement gaps can be handled with mostly managerial solutions or alterations to teacher expectations. According to Trujillo and Scott: "Public education needs leaders who embrace broader goals for children and who advocate for less popular but sustained investments in schools and communities."

Do Poor Kids Deserve Lower-Quality Education Than Rich Kids? Evaluating School Privatization Proposals in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
04/24/2014
Economic Policy Institute - Gordon Lafer

Gordon Lafer investigates school choice policies in Wisconsin and a series of bills aimed at closing low performing schools, replacing them with privately run charter schools. Lafer profiles Rocketship's chain of schools - "a low-budget operation that relies on young and inexperienced teachers rather than veteran and expensive faculty."

Parental Advice To Education Policy Makers
04/23/2014
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant shares links and commentary on parental involvement in schools. This blog focuses on reaction to a series of articles on the negative impact of parental involvement in schools. Bryant counters that parents need to be more involved and empowered: "Instead of empowering parents to feel they are part of their children’s education and engaging them in school governance, we are making parents feel that their input doesn’t matter and their children’s education destinies are no longer in their control…We know there is a better way forward."

Status Quo on State Bans on Affirmative Action
04/23/2014
Inside Higher Ed - Scott Jaschik

Scott Jaschik discusses a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, which Tuesday upheld the constitutionality of Michigan Prop. 2 - barring public colleges and universities in Michigan from considering race in admissions.

Group to Develop Model Ethics Standards for Educators
04/23/2014
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk shares news that the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) will draft a model code of ethics for educators.

Gridlocked on change, state [Mich].may bring back reviled MEAP next fall
04/23/2014
Bridge Magazine - Ron French

Ron French updates readers on the debate in Michigan over testing, evaluation, and Common Core. Michigan is supposed to use Smarter Balanced assessments starting in spring 2015, however there is a push in the state legislature to require schools to administer the MEAP test - Michigan's outdated education test, which is not aligned to the new standards and invalid for use on evaluations.

Will The SAT Overhaul Help Achieve Equity?
04/22/2014
Shanker Blog - Burnie Bond

Burnie Bond looks at the changes made by the College Board to overhaul the SAT test. "Will the new SAT – or, for that matter, the new Common Core State Standards, which David Coleman also had a large hand in crafting – lead us toward this vision of educational opportunity? That is yet to be seen, but I would have much more confidence in the outcome if each state department of education had begun with a focus on teaching to the new standards, rather than just testing them."

Prepping Teacher Prep for Teacher Leadership
04/22/2014
Center for Teaching Quality - Brad Clark and Mike Paul

Mike Paul and Brad Clark comment on the need for teacher leadership training embedded in teacher preparation. "As teacher leaders pioneer the new roles and responsibilities that serve to reshape and elevate our profession, we must turn our attention toward teacher prep programs."

Quit Bashing Theory
04/21/2014
Education Rethink - John Spencer

John Spencer calls on practitioners to stop "bashing" theory. In his blog, Spencer identifies the disconnect between theory and practice. "If we want to be seen as professionals and respected for our collective intellectual capacity, we need to quit bashing theory. In fact, we should know theory inside and out and perhaps even contributing to the research that is out there. We are already the contextual experts. Why aren't we also the theoretical experts on pedagogy?"

Teachers are losing their jobs, but Teach for America's expanding. What's wrong with that?
04/21/2014
The Hechinger Report - Alexandra Hootnick

Alexandra Hootnick discusses Teach For America and the dilemma facing TFA when it displaces teachers instead of filling a need in a high-need area - something that doesn't fit well with the mission of the program.

On the Same Track: How Schools Can Join the Twenty-First-Century Struggle Against Resegregation
04/18/2014
Teachers College Record - Nicholas D. Hartlep

Nicholas Hartlep reviews a new book by Carol Burris, principal of South Side High School in Rockville Centre School District in New York. Her book, "On the Same Track: How Schools Can Join the Twenty-first Century Struggle Against Resegregation," looks into de-tracking and "intellectual prejudice." Regarding "On the Same Track," Hartlep says the book: "is a rallying cry for desegregationist scholars, schoolteachers, and practicing school administrators. In my estimation, this book is consequential in relation to what is currently being practiced as well as to what is proposed for the future."

At Shanker: Are Americans (and Texans) as Stupid as the Media Tells Us We Are?
04/17/2014
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig was a participant in a "Reclaiming the Promise of Public Education" conversation at the Albert Shanker Institute. His blog post includes video conversations with Leo Casey (Shanker Institute), Tom Loveless (Brookings Institution), Richard Rothstein (EPI), and Heilig (University of Texas).

The Mind Shift in Teacher Evaluation: Where We Stand - and Where We Need to Go
04/15/2014
AFT - The American Educator - Angela Minnici

Angela Minnici shares common missteps to avoid in planning and implementing teacher evaluations.

Speaking Out: Changing the Poverty to Prison Paradigm
04/15/2014
Principal - Melissa Nixon

Melissa Nixon discusses the poverty to prison paradigm and the role that schools and school leaders play in the system. "Making courageous decisions and believing that all children can learn are the tasks for today’s forward-thinking leaders who see a future defined by equal opportunities for all."

D.C. are you listening?: A New Local, Community-Based Approach for Accountability
04/14/2014
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig discusses the idea of "Community-based Accountability" - this new form of accountability would allow for a district to drive a locally based approach that focuses on the process of education for its one-year, five-year, and ten-year goals.

Delaware's Teacher Preparation is Setting a Higher Bar
04/14/2014
Homeroom Blog - The official blog of the U.S. department of education

This blog from the U.S. department of education shares information on Delaware Senate Bill 51, which raises the bar for teacher preparation programs.

Katherine Bassett on 'Banning Hope'
04/11/2014
Education Week - Straight Up - Katherine Bassett

Rick Hess shares a piece by Katherine Bassett, CEO of the National Network of State Teachers of the Year. Regarding a new leadership initiative outlined by Arne Duncan, Basset says: "We do not hope this will happen - we intend that it shall. We will hold Secretary Duncan and his team accountable for making teacher leadership a reality, rather than an idea. We will act and we will expect that action will result in real roles for teacher leaders. We will work zealously to make this happen - but we will not hope."

A Flexner Report on Teacher Preparation
04/10/2014
Education Next - Thomas J. Kane

Tom Kane urges for an in-depth study of the teaching profession, similar to the Flexner report, which studied medical education in the United States and Canada (1910).

Good Teaching Really Matters! Who Knew?
04/09/2014
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan

Nancy Flanagan discusses the ongoing debate about acceptable pedagogy in college classes. "How do we define good pedagogy? Does it cross developmental levels? Can you be too old (or too intellectually stiff) to learn from play? How does good teaching differ from entertainment? And how do we get more of it?"

The Civil Rights Act at 50: Racial divides persist on how much progress has been made
04/09/2014
Pew Research Center - Bruce Drake

Bruce Drake responds to a survey conducted last year by the Pew Research Center. The report found that 45% of all Americans said that the U.S. had made substantial progress toward racial equality. A larger share of blacks than other racial and ethnic groups said that black in their communities were still treated less fairly than whites.

Almost 70% of teachers are not engaged. Here's why that matters so much
04/09/2014
Hechinger Report - Digital/Edu - Anya Kamenetz

Anya Kamenetz covers the Gallup report on the State of the American Schools. "Gallup’s study found that principal talent had a powerful impact on teacher engagement, which in turn affects student engagement.  They recommend that principals adopt a more collaborative management style and help new teachers acclimate by putting them together to form partnerships with more experienced teachers."

WMU Researchers Examine Online Education
04/08/2014
WMUK 102.1 - Gordon Evans

Two Western Michigan University researchers contributed to a recent report on the growth of virtual schools. Gary Miron, a Professor of Evaluation, Measurement and Research and Brian Horvitz, Professor of Education Technology in the Education Leadership Program, at Western Michigan University, contributed to the report released in March. 

New York City: The Mississippi Of The Twenty-First Century?
04/07/2014
Shanker Blog - Leo Casey

Leo Casey, executive director of the Shanker Institute, reacts to a new report on New York's extreme school segregation issued by the Civil Rights Project at UCLA.

Chicago charters do no better than traditional public schools, new study finds
04/07/2014
The Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Valeri Strauss

Valerie Strauss shares results from a Chicago Sun-Times and Medill Data Project that looked at charter schools in Chicago.

Recommended Reading - Using Research Evidence in Education: From the Schoolhouse Door to Capitol Hill
04/07/2014
Editors - Kara S. Finnigan and Alan J. Daly

This book includes a set of rigorous and accessible studies on the topic of "research evidence" from a variety of levels and educational vantage points. It also provides the reader with thoughtful commentaries from leading thinkers in the field.

We're Not No. 1! We're Not No. 1!
04/03/2014
Daily Kos - TeacherKen

Ken Bernstein (@teacherken) deconstructs an op-ed by Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times. 

Time For A 'Fair Shot' Agenda For Education
04/02/2014
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant outlines a populist agenda for education. "If Democrats can envision what a 'fair shot' at economic success looks like for every American worker, what’s keeping them from seeing what a fair shot would look like for education?" The plan calls for: (1) high quality early learning for all; (2) fair and sufficient school funding; (3) personalized plans; (4) recruitment of well-prepared, well-resourced, and highly qualified teachers and school leaders; and (5) replacing discriminatory discipline practices (among others).

This Is Not a Test (This Is a Review of Jose Vilson's New Book)
04/02/2014
Hack Education - Audrey Watters

Audrey Watters reviews José Vilson's new book. "In This Is Not A Test, José Vilson writes a personal narrative that counters folks like [David] Coleman’s concept of education, literacy and language, their valuation of people’s voice and experience. This Is Not a Test is a refusal to be silent. It’s a refusal to capitulate or conform."

The EAA: How a policy package created Michigan's statewide district
04/02/2014
Educationdrive.com - Allie Gross

Allie Gross looks at Michigan's Education Achievement Authority (EAA).  "While the EAA is a unique situation, it is also a cautionary tale to the rest of the nation, and specifically brings to question what education reform really means." Wayne State professor Tom Pedroni has provided an analysis of the performance of this statewide failing district.

Using the Arts to Turn Schools Around
04/01/2014
Harvard Education Letter - Suzanne Bouffard

Suzanne Bouffard writes in the Harvard Education Letter that evidence builds in favor of integrating arts for positive outcomes. "A new national initiative is betting that a full embrace of the arts can be an effective core turnaround strategy for schools with low achievement."

Collaboration of Professional Community Required to Address Shameful Issue of Hard-to-Staff Schools
04/01/2014
Learning First Alliance - American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education - Sharon P. Robinson

Sharon Robinson asks if there is a better way to staff high-need schools. She calls for increased support for novice teachers. "If we could reduce the churn of novice teachers, even by 30%, how might that positively impact student achievement—and reallocate the financial savings for learning needs?"

Is School Reform Needed or Not?
04/01/2014
Education Week - Bridging Differences - Robert Pondiscio

Robert Pondiscio summarizes his recent letter exchange with Deborah Meier with a question that Grant Wiggins asked of Diane Ravitch - Is reform need or not? "What I found most compelling about his open letter was his observation that quality, 'unlike poverty ... is in our control as educators.' Too much commentary on teaching and learning elides this simple fact." Read Meier's response: We Need Changes Beyond School, Too.

US students rank better internationally on new problem solving test than they do on conventional math and reading exams
04/01/2014
The Hechinger Report - Education by the Numbers - Jill Barshay

Jill Barshay shares recent numbers on a new problem solving math test. "On a new creative problem-solving test taken by students in 44 countries and regions, U.S. 15-year-olds scored above the international average and rank at number 18 in the world. That’s much better than the below-average performance of U.S. students on the PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) reading and math tests conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)."

Focus on the Opportunities Ed Tech Brings, Not the Hype
03/31/2014
Education Next - Frederick Hess

Rick Hess unbundles current commentary on education technology: "Doing better requires that we approach technology in a different way…The trick to is to stop focusing on the technology and to instead focus on the learning…The bottom line is that getting ed tech right isn't about bandwidth, devices or cool graphics, but solving problems for students and educators."

The one reform education in Michigan needs (and it has NOTHING to do with money)
03/27/2014
Eclectablog - Gary Abud, Jr.

2014 Michigan teacher of the year Gary Abud, Jr. discusses his views on education reform and trust for teachers. "Education doesn’t need fancy reforms and policies, it needs your trust."

What the new OCR early childhood data do and do not tell us
03/26/2014
Preschool Matters - NIEER - Steve Barnett

Last week, the Office of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education released a report on early childhood education. The report included information on access to programs and suspension of preschool children that received significant media attention. In this blog, NIEER Director Steve Barnett discusses the limitations of these data and urges consideration and caution in their application.

Who should decide who is college material and who isn't?
03/26/2014
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Kevin Welner & Carol Burris

Kevin Welner and Carol Burris discuss school tracking, career and technical education (CTE), and California's Linked Learning model. "College, of course, isn’t for everybody, but who should decide — and how and when — which students should go and shouldn’t?"

What Professional Development Should Be
03/25/2014
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan

Nancy Flanagan shares her recent experience at a "fabulous" conference hosted by the Ann Arbor Open School on progressive education.  "What made this conference experience what professional development should be?"

13 miles to Marshall: Tough times lead very different high schools to merge
03/25/2014
Bridge Magazine - Ron French

Ron French, in a four-part series, writes about the merger of two Michigan high schools. Because of school choice, Albion High School was forced to shut its doors and consolidate with neighboring Marshall High School. Albion public schools now operate K-8.

Social media gives professional development a long tail
03/25/2014
SmartBlog on Education - Kristen Swanson

Kristen Swanson writes about the advancing power of social media to transform learning for adult learners. Social media, such as Facebook and Twitter chats, "have sprung up like wildfire among educators the last few years."

Teaching as a Second Act, or Maybe Even a Third
03/24/2014
New York Times - Motoko Rich

Motoko Rich writes about second career teachers in her latest piece in the New York Times.

Special report: Taxpayers fund creationism in the classroom
03/24/2014
Politico Pro - Stephanie Simon

Stephanie Simon writes about taxpayer bankrolled tuition for private schools.

2014 Brown Center Report on American Education: How Well Are American Students Learning?
03/18/2014
Brown Center at Brookings - Tom Loveless
The Brown Center compiled a recent report on three topics that warrant attention in American education. Part 1 summarizes who is tested in Shanghai-China; Part 2 focuses on homework in schools; and Part 3 is on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).
50 myths and lies about public schools
03/18/2014
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Valerie Strauss
Valerie Strauss writes about a new book written by David Berliner and Gene Glass.
The Defunding of Public Education and the Creation of a Permanent Underclass
03/18/2014
Huffington Post - Julia Meszaros
Julia Meszaros, a doctoral candidate at Florida International University, penned a recent piece on the defunding of public education. "As an academic, we are often told to be critical but are rarely encouraged to offer solutions. However, in this case I would like to propose a solution. My solution is to work to convince our local congressmen to repeal the No Child Left Behind Act, as well as Race to the Top, and work with teachers to write a new educational bill that does not measure success based entirely upon test scores."
A Primer for Engaging Teach For America Supporters
03/16/2014
Cloaking Inequity - Chad Sommer
"Have you ever found yourself trapped in the insufferable position of having to tolerate a Teach For America true believer relentlessly bombarding you with justifications for Teach For America’s placement atop the corporate org chart of educational excellence?" This Cloaking Inequity blog offers some suggested replies for eight of Teach For America's most tried arguments.
High suspension, expulsion rates driven by ineffective school policies, not 'bad kids'
03/13/2014
Indiana University - Russell Skiba
Russell Skiba, director of the Equity Project at CEEP (Center for Evaluation & Education Policy) at Indiana University, heads a group that identifies promising initiatives to address discipline gaps by race, gender, disability, and sexual orientation. The collaborative effort compiled and analyzed a large body of research on suspensions and expulsions.
The Failure of Test-Based Accountability
03/12/2014
Daily Kos - Teacherken - Kenneth Bernstein

Ken Bernstein reacts to a blog by Marc Tucker, CEO of the National Center on Education and the Economy. "I urge you to read both all of this blog entry by Tucker, as well as the previous one to which he points. They are powerful."

This took Teach For America 24 years to figure out?
03/11/2014
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Valerie Strauss

Valerie Strauss shares her thoughts on Teach For America's decision to expand training to nearly 2,000 college juniors - moving beyond the 5 weeks in traditional TFA training programs.

SIG And The High Price Of Cheap Evidence
03/11/2014
Shanker Blog - Matt Di Carlo

Matt Di Carlo breaks down recent data on School Improvement (SIG) programs. "These data — consisting solely of changes in proficiency rates — were widely reported as an indication of 'disappointing' or 'mixed' results. Some even went as far as proclaiming the program a complete failure."

What really matters? Equitable & Adequate Funding!
03/11/2014
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker shares his recent work regarding school finance in preparation for a presentation. "On balance, it is safe to say that a significant and growing body of rigorous empirical literature validates that state school finance reforms can have substantive, positive effects on student outcomes, including reductions in outcome disparities or increases in overall outcome levels."

Can Professional Environments in Schools Promote Teacher Development? Explaining Heterogeneity in Returns to Teaching Experience
03/07/2014
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis - Matthew Kraft and John Papay

A recent analyses shows that teachers working in more supportive professional environments improve their effectiveness more over time than teachers working in less supportive contexts. "On average, teachers working in schools at the 75th percentile of professional environment ratings improved 38% more than teachers in schools at the 25th percentile after 10 years."

How education reform drives gentrification
03/07/2014
Aljazeera America - Arun Gupta

Arun Gupta discusses contract negotiations in Portland, OR and the demands of school reformers and business alliances. "The success of Portland teachers in fighting off misguided educational policies could help counter the swelling inequality that is pulverizing the city’s neighborhoods."

Why Do State and Local School Agencies Underinvest in Evidence?
03/05/2014
Brookings - The Brown Center Chalkboard - Thomas Kane

Harvard professor Thomas Kane advocates for more local investment in research to inform decision making. "Locally derived evidence will be more influential in local policy debates.  Moreover, the impact of any intervention will depend on local conditions."

The Curriculum Wars Live On: Two Contemporary Flash Points
03/05/2014
Education Next - Tom Loveless

Tom Loveless discusses how two contemporary issues are shaping the future of education: (1) technology; and (2) Common Core.

Performance Assessment Re-Emerging in Schools
03/04/2014
Education Week - Ross Brenneman

Ross Brenneman discusses a movement toward performance assessment and away from traditional forms of assessment in schools; performance tasks that involve problem-solving to communicate comprehension. (This article requires paid access).

New Orleans goes all in on charter schools. Is it showing the way?
03/01/2014
The Christian Science Monitor - Stacy Teicher Khadaroo

Nine in 10 students attend charter schools in New Orleans, which sought to transform failing public schools after hurricane Katrina. No other US city has gone so far down the charter path.

Why preschool critics are wrong
02/28/2014
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Steven Barnett

Steven Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers, takes on critics of early education. He takes former Grover Whitehurst, Brookings Institution, to task for recent claims that the evidence does not support benefits from preschool.

Five Reasons EdCamps work
02/28/2014
Education Rethink - John Spencer

John Spencer shares his thoughts on the recent trend in teacher learning: EdCamps - self-selected professional development.

TFA answers my FOIA-like request
02/28/2014
Teach For Us - Gary Rubinstein

Gary Rubinstein shares attrition rates and research related to Teach For America and finds their data to be skewed.

Wait, What? Educators Highly Satisfied With Classroom Autonomy, Morale
02/26/2014
NEA Today Online - Tim Walker

Tim Walker shares reaction to a recent report from the Center for American Progress (CAP) regarding educator job satisfaction and autonomy.

Will better evaluations and more training help Michigan's teachers improve?
02/26/2014
Michigan Public Radio - State of Opportunity - Dustin Dwyer

Dustin Dwyer discusses teacher evaluations in Michigan. Two bills are currently before the Michigan legislature, the bills call for a revamping of teacher and principal evaluations.

Common Core in the Districts: An Early Look at Early Implementers
02/26/2014
Thomas B. Fordham Institute - Katie Cristol and Brian Ramsey

A new study from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute explores Common Core implementation in four school systems.

A Better Option Than TFA
02/26/2014
Center for Teacher Quality - Jon Eckert
Jon Eckert posts a follow up to a guest post from Megan Thornton and Derrick Rohl, two pre-service teachers at Wheaton College, who chose a Master of Arts in Teaching over Teach For America (TFA). They list five reasons for choosing the MAT route. "Will we grow a great deal as first-year teachers? Will we spend a significant amount of time preparing for eventual entry into our own classrooms? Sure, but we wouldn’t have it any other way."
Primary Sources - Third Edition
02/25/2014
Scholastic.com - Scholastic

The third edition of Primary Sources, a survey of over 20,000 public school teachers, investigates views about teaching in an era of change.

Critical pedagogy: schools must equip students to challenge the status quo
02/25/2014
The Guardian - Tait Coles

Tait Coles says teachers should embrace radical pedagogy and provoke students to demand equality for themselves and others. "Education has the power to change social inequality by nurturing a generation with an educated mistrust of everything that has been indoctrinated before. This educational stance is one that we must all strive for as the moral purpose of education."

Navigating Policy and Trying out New Ways of Teaching: Teachers and Children Becoming Experts
02/25/2014
The New Educator - Lisa Kuh & Christy Nelson

How can teachers engage in new ways of teaching that demonstrate student achievement beyond required standardized testing? This article by teachers for teachers shares one team's experience engaging in documentation with children via ongoing projects. Teachers shifted how they viewed assessment, used assessment tools and negotiated the curriculum and standards to which they must adhere in their district. (This article requires paid access).

From a Managerial Imperative to a Learning Imperative: Experiences of Urban, Public School Principals
02/24/2014
Educational Administration Quarterly - Aimee LaPointe Terosky

This article examines the experiences of urban, public school principals noted for their instructional leadership and highlights a leadership approach grounded in a learning imperative.

Having it both ways: How charter schools try to obtain funding of public schools and the autonomy of private schools
02/24/2014
Emory Law Journal - Preston C. Green III, Bruce D. Baker, Joseph O. Oluwole

This Article discusses how charter schools have used their hybrid characteristics to obtain the benefits of public funding while circumventing state and federal rights and protections for employees and students that apply to traditional public schools. 

Florida Releases 'Value Added' Data on Teachers
02/24/2014
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Florida has become the latest state, after New York and Ohio, to release "value added" data on its teachers to news outlets, after losing an open-records battle in the courts to the Florida Times-Union.

To Whom does Teach For America Give Power and Influence?
02/20/2014
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

A new peer-reviewed article, Mapping the Terrain: Teach For America, Charter School Reform, and Corporate Sponsorship (Kretchmar, Sondel, & Ferrare, 2014) in the Journal of Education Policy reveals the relationships between Teach For America (TFA) and federal charter school “reform” to interrogate how policy decisions are shaped by networks of elite individuals, organizations, and private corporations.

To save the Common Core, don't fear the moratorium
02/20/2014
Fordham Institute - Flypaper - Morgan Polikoff

Morgan Polikoff discusses a "brewing backlash" by the teachers' unions as a threat to the Common Core. "Given all of these concerns, in the forced choice between teacher evaluation and high-quality, common standards, common standards should win. Policymakers shouldn't be afraid of the high-stakes moratorium for teacher-accountability purposes. In fact, they should embrace it. Delaying questionable teacher-evaluation policies for a couple years won't cause massive disruption."

The Waive of the Future? School Accountability in the Waiver Era
02/20/2014
American Educational Research Association - Educational Researcher - Morgan Polikoff, Andrew McEachin, Stephani Wrabel, and Matthew Duque

The authors describe and critique the approved waiver accountability plans from No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). Findings reveal a "mixed bag - some states have made large improvements and others have not."

States Struggle to Hash Out Funding Formulas for Virtual Charter Schools
02/19/2014
Education Week - Charters and Choice - Katie Ash

Katie Ash discusses a new report on virtual schools published by the Education Commission on the States.

The Kalamazoo Promise Scholarship
02/18/2014
Education Next - Timothy J. Bartik and Marta Lachowska

Timothy J. Bartik and Marta Lachowska at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research share the results of their study of the Kalamazoo Promise. The Kalamazoo Promise provides college scholarships to graduates of Kalamazoo Public Schools (KPS).

Qualitative research as policy knowledge: framing policy problems and transforming education from the ground up
02/15/2014
Education Policy Analysis Archives - Michael Dumas and Gary L. Anderson

The authors suggest that notions of research’s relevance to policy and practice may be too narrow a way of thinking about how qualitative scholarship might enter policy discourse.

Kane Unable
02/13/2014
Teach For Us - Gary Rubinstein

Gary Rubinstein reacts to Harvard professor Tom Kane's testimony in a California case regarding teacher tenure process and LIFO layoff procedures. Kane's work relies heavily on value-added calculations that have limitations, are imprecise, and are heavily disputed.

Which winning ideas could the U.S. steal from Singapore?
02/13/2014
Hechinger Education - Sarah Butrymowicz

Sarah Butrymowicz shares her recent experiences in Singapore and discusses lessons for the United States. "Not everything Singapore does would apply to our much larger, decentralized education system and not everything they do should be emulated. But there are some inspirations we could draw from the country, such as trying to get more high-performing students into the classroom as teachers or being more explicit in the character qualities we want students to develop – without obsessing over how to measure them."

Tale of Two Schools
02/12/2014
Learning First Alliance - Phi Delta Kappa International - Joan Richardson

Joan Richardson, editor-in-chief, Kappan magazine (PDK International), explains her perspective on the charter school debate. "In spite of the benefit to individual students, I still wonder whether charter schools are ultimately good for the country."

Political posturing, multimillion dollar contracts and the future of student testing in Michigan
02/12/2014
State of Opportunity - Michigan Public Radio - Dustin Dwyer

Dustin Dwyer discusses the debate over Michigan's next generation standardized tests. The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has called for adoption of the Smarter Balanced Assessment, while other interest groups are pushing for alternatives, such as Aspire from the ACT.

Supporting Principals in Implementing Teacher Evaluation Systems
02/12/2014
National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) - National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP)

The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) and the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) released recommendations to assist principals with new teacher evaluation systems. "Principals face many challenges in the teacher evaluation process, including insufficient training, unclear rubrics, poor feedback mechanisms and inadequate time to complete them."

Matching Up Teacher Value-Added Between Different Tests
02/11/2014
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matt Di Carlo discusses a recent report from the U.S. department of education, which compared value-added (VAM) estimates using two different tests in Indiana.

What does the future of learning look like?
02/11/2014
Learning First Alliance - ISTE - Kecia Ray

Kecia Ray, President of the International Society for Technology Education (ISTE), shares her thoughts on a new report by Michael Fullan and Maria Langworthy. Fullan and Langworthy published "A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning." This report reflects on the impact technology has had on the way we learn.

Rightsize this! When simple, ignorant solutions & simulations just don't cut it
02/07/2014
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker reviews a recent Fordham Institute report by AIR's Michael Hansen. "Rightsizing the Classroom" suggests that "great" teachers could be given larger classes, reducing students exposed to "bad" teachers.

Teaching and Learning from Within: A Core Reflection Approach to Quality and Inspiration in Education
02/07/2014
TC Record - Douglas Larkin

Douglas Larkin reviews a recent book by Fred A. J. Korthagen, Younghee M. Kim, & William L. Greene (eds.). Larkin has this to say about the usefulness of this work, "What will make this volume valuable to teacher educators is its focus on helping individuals resolve inner problems in order to solve external ones. Perhaps even more significantly, this book pushes back against the notion of quick fixes in teacher education by reinforcing the idea that improving one’s teaching is a complex, personal, and intrinsically time-intensive process."

Speaking up: Extra reading on education reform
02/05/2014
The Capital Times - madison.com - Pat Schneider

Tim Slekar, dean of education at Edgewood College, shares his thoughts on education reform. Slekar points to evidence supporting his opinions on education issues.

Ravitch unloads on school 'deform'
02/05/2014
The Washington Post - Lindsey Layton

Diane Ravitch was in Washington on Tuesday and spent some time with AFT president Randi Weingarten on Capitol Hill. "The two spent some time on Capitol Hill Tuesday, meeting with lawmakers,including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)"

Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card
02/05/2014
Education Law Center - www.schoolfundingfairness.org

Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card is co-authored by Bruce Baker of the Rutgers Graduate School of Education; David Sciarra, Executive Director of Education Law Center (ELC); and Danielle Farrie, ELC Research Director.

Opportunity To Churn: Teacher Assignments Within New York City Schools
02/05/2014
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matt Di Carlo shares his thoughts on a recent working paper by Allison Atteberry, Susanna Loeb and James Wyckoff, which was presented at the CALDER conference.

How The Debate Over Charter Schools Makes Us Dumber
02/05/2014
Talking Points Memo (TPM) - Opinion - Conor P. Williams
Conor P. Williams, senior researcher in New America's Early Education Initiative, attempts to redirect the conversation about charter schools. Citing the research of "pure charter triumphalism" and "denialism," he urges for a reframing of the argument - "productive conversations beat unproductive ones any day of the week."
Which Student Growth Method Should Policymakers Use to Evaluate Schools?
02/04/2014
Education Next - Mark Ehlert, Cory Koedel, Eric Parsons, and Michael Podgursky

Authors Mark Ehlert, Cory Koedel, Eric Parsons, and Michael Podgursky examine three evaluation approaches that represent the range of options available to policymakers. This study examines three competing approaches to measuring growth in student achievement. The report "Choosing the Right Growth Measure," identifies and advances a two-step value-added technique.

Teacher autonomy and teaching quality: Putting more think into the think tank
02/04/2014
Center for Teaching Quality - Barnett Berry

Barnett Berry responds to a recent report of the Center for American Progress (CAP), which questions "long-standing evidence" about teacher job satisfaction and autonomy. "Let’s not allow one thinktank’s shallow analysis of data to distract us from the problems at hand - issues well-documented by researchers over time and that can be confirmed by frank conversation with nearly any teacher you know."

De Blasio says he won't allow co-locations for charter schools
02/04/2014
New York Post - Aaron Short and Yoav Gonen

This NYPost article discusses recent actions by NYC mayor Bill De Blasio regarding capital improvement funding for charter schools and co-location agreements, which allow for charters and public schools to operate at the same location.

Superintendent on school reform: 'It is not working'
02/03/2014
The Washington Post - Valerie Strauss

Madison Schools (CT) Superintendent Tom Scarice shares his thoughts with Connecticut legislators and Gov. Daniel Malloy on recent efforts to "pause" accountability measures. He calls on the state to "revisit" the substance of recent reforms and the rigidity of recent teacher evaluation guidelines.

Obama's approach to education in the 2014 State of the Union
01/29/2014
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig reflects on the 2014 State of the Union. This piece was cross-posted by The Conversation UK, an independent news commentary website produced by "academics and journalists in collaboration, sourcing news, commentary and the latest research from the academic community."

PISA: A Clarion Bell for American Education?
01/29/2014
Learning First Alliance - AACTE Committee on Global Diversity
The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) Committee on Global Diversity calls the new PISA results a clarion bell for the teaching profession: "They provide us valuable information on where American learners stand in comparison to other nations in academic performance and in the ability to think critically, and they add to the evidence base in educational research. Of two possible visions for American education—the current one with unequal distribution of educational resources, or one with more balanced and equitable opportunities for all learners—for a stronger America (and world), we support the latter vision."
An Urgent Need for Short-Cycle Clinical Trials in Education
01/29/2014
Brookings - The Brown Center Chalkboard - Thomas J. Kane

Tom Kane offers some ideas about rapid cycle feedbacks as a way to foster research and development in education. "We are not lacking innovation in U.S. education.  We lack the ability to learn from our innovations."

What Could Be Wrong With 'School Choice'?
01/28/2014
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant discusses parental choice and the run up to School Ch