What Can We Learn From the “One-Percent”?

Instead of deriding the one percent as being out of touch with the rest of us, maybe we can learn something from them–like how to improve our children’s educational success. Dr. Sean Reardon, a Stanford professor of education and sociology, believes that high-income parents are enriching their children’s educational opportunities, from the day they are […]

A Socially-Conscious Orientation in Education

No matter our ideology, education will always be closely linked with a nation’s economy. We saw a ramping up of science and math education during the Sputnik era in the 1950s-1960s, another call for rigorous standards when fears emerged about international competition from Japan (and Germany) in the 1980s. Of course, the past decade has […]

Applying the Right Business Mentality to Education

Why is it that the business people who are increasingly influencing education policy do not follow the doctrines that have made them successful in their industry? Chief among them is how executives and managers allocate limited time and resources on the things that generate the biggest returns, not on the least profitable ones. This metaphor […]

Broadening the Mind Part II: Basing Decisions on the Bell Curve

Rationally speaking, people should make decisions based on sound, scientific evidence, especially when it comes to policy. The No Child Left Behind Act was one example of such “evidence-based education,” which was supposed to integrate professional wisdom with solid empirical evidence in making decisions about how to deliver instruction. Though its focus on accountability is […]

Broadening the Mind Part I: Know Your Target Audience

As a former advertising executive, I learned an important lesson: Know your target audience. It means that you need to get into the minds of whoever you are selling to. For example, advertisers ask questions like: Why do people want to buy an iPhone instead of a Blackberry? Why should one use an online bank […]

Finally Getting School Reform Right

The National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE) has presented a new paper that appears to understand what is needed to improve American education, titled Standing on the Shoulder of Giants: An American Agenda for Education Reform. Notably, its recommendations are free of solutions that characterize much of current debates such as charter schools, […]

The DOE Needs a Mission Statement

What is the mission statement for American education? America’s middling scores on the 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) has spotlighted the conflicted state of American education. Is it in need of improvement and/or reform? Are these scores a reflection of our high poverty rate, as pointed by Diane Ravitch and countless others, or […]

Tunnel Vision Reform

Education researcher Esther Quintero lucidly dissected the inherently illogical foundations of current reform efforts in the Shanker Blog, entitled The Un-American Foundations of Our Education Debate. Her perspective mirrored my own about the misplaced emphasis on teacher accountability without a concurrent one on student and family accountability (see my article, Conservatives: What Happened to Personal Responsibility?). […]

Conservatives: What Happened to Personal Responsibility?

A recent article in the Los Angeles Times highlighted the woeful state of children’s health and fitness: about 1 in 3 California students passed the physical fitness test in 2010. Specifically, 28.7% of students in grade five, 34.6% in grade seven, and 38.5% in grade nine were rated as “fit,” or to use accountability parlance, […]

Asians on Education: What Poverty?

All this talk in education about poverty being the major reason for poor academic achievement and performance got me thinking: Is it really just poverty? No doubt it plays an important role. Researchers Hart & Risley’s well-cited longitudinal study in the early 1990s found that children in welfare families were exposed to substantially less language at […]