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 […]

A Divided Public: 2012 PDK Poll on Public Education

Uncertainty and disagreement characterized a large portion of the general public’s attitudes toward education issues, according to the recent 2012 Phi Delta Kappan’s annual Gallup poll. Among the major highlights, the public is divided about whether: Teachers should be evaluated based on student standardized test scores (52% favor; 47% opposed) Parents should receive vouchers to […]

Edu-Philanthropists’ Dangerous Zero-Sum Game

I don’t think education philanthropies like the Gates Foundation are conspiring to “buy schools,” as some critics think. Nor am I against school choice. For that matter, I don’t care for bloated teachers unions, either. But, as an education researcher, I am wary of their increasing interest in K-12 education over the past ten years. Frederick […]

The Most Valid and Reliable Teacher Assessment (Hint: It’s Not VA)

What’s the point of performance-based teacher evaluations? A few years ago, one of my former graduate professors casually suggested, “Let the children grade the teachers. It’s just as reliable as any out there now if not more.” Intellectually, it made no sense: students, especially young ones, can’t possibly know what makes an effective teacher. Their […]

The Long-term Impact of Early Childhood Education on Student Outcomes

Does going to a high-quality early education program help young disadvantaged children do significantly better at the age of 28? That is the question Reynolds, Temple, Ou, Arteaga, & White sought to answer in their comprehensive 2011 study of the Child Parent Center (CPC), an early childhood-based intervention program in the heart of Chicago’s high […]

New York’s Teacher Evaluation System

New York State education officials and the local teachers’ union reached a deal on a new teacher evaluation system on Thursday February 16, just before Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s deadline for imposing his own measures for teacher quality. Essentially, 40 percent of teachers’ evaluations will be measured by students’ performance on standardized test scores, half of […]

Richard Rothstein: How To Fix Our Schools

Richard Rothstein, research associate at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), has written a lucid article on How to Fix Our Schools, which I have reprinted in its entirety below. Essentially, he asserts that education reform is more complicated than the accountability reformers would have you believe, and he happens to be right on point. Enjoy. […]

Thomas Friedman: How About Better Parents?

The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has finally asked the question that I, along with other critics of the current teacher accountability reform movement, have been covering in this blog since its inception: How about better parents? His column, printed below in its entirety, will hopefully be the tipping point in shaping a more […]

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 […]