Articles

Reform Issues

Harvard’s Paul E. Peterson maintains that reforming the education system from within is unlikely to succeed in the years ahead. “If school reform is to move forward, it will occur via new forms of competition—whether they be vouchers, charters, home schooling, digital learning, or the transformation of district schools into decentralized, autonomous units.” To read more, go here.

“America has too much standardized testing” has been repeated so many times that it’s believed to be a fact. But is it? To get another perspective, go here.

The teacher shortage. How bad is it? Does it even exist? AEI’s Nat Malkus looks at the data. To get his take, go here.

Is choosing choice about choosing families? Greg Forster thinks so, and he explains it here.

An educational model in which the student is the customer? Written by Thomas Bogle, a public school teacher from Arizona, the piece examines public education from a libertarian perspective. To read it, go here.

Hoover Institution senior fellow and economist Eric Hanushek recently wrote about the small class-size myth in the New York Daily News. To read it, go here.

Kara Kerwin, president of the Center for Education Reform, writes “Newly Elected Leaders Must Separate Fact from Fiction on Charter Schools.” To read this brief and informative op-ed, go here.

Benjamin Scafidi, an economist and senior fellow with the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, has an interesting idea. He proposes “An Employee Stock Ownership Plan—for America’s Public Schools.” To read about it, go here.

Thomas Kane, researcher at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, has written “Do Value-Added Estimates Identify Causal Effects of Teachers and Schools?” in which he concludes that there is now substantial evidence that value-added estimates capture important information. He does issue two caveats however. To read this balanced piece, go here.

Fordham Institute’s Mike Petrilli and Cato Institute’s Neal McCluskey discuss Common Core. While the two men differ greatly on the subject, they do agree on certain facts as laid out in this informative piece. To read it, go here.

From Kansas: “State Board of Ed approves regulations for hiring teachers with subject expertise but no education degree.” While teachers in California can circumvent the traditional ed school route to the classroom, Kansas is taking it to another level. To read the story, go here.

The entire December 2013 Education Matters, the newsletter of the American Association of Educators, concerns itself with Common Core. To read articles pro and con, go here.

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a collaborative effort among Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member countries, and regularly tests in reading, math and science. There has been much written about the 2013 results, which reveal that the U.S. is not faring well. In a Time Magazine article,StudentsFirst’s Michelle Rhee paints a gloomy picture – while over at Education Week, AEI’s Rick Hess writes “7 Reasons I Don't Care About the PISA Results.

Citizenship First’s aim is to “become the country’s most creative driver of civic-education innovation.  Through creative advocacy, in-school programs, research and reports, Citizenship First aims to remind educators, policymakers and all Americans that the founding purpose of education was to prepare our nation’s young people for self-government—and that restoring the civic mission of education must be an urgent national priority.” To learn more, go here.

Learning by rote memory has gotten a bad rap of late, but is there a place for it? New York teacher and writer David Bonagura certainly thinks there is. In “What's 12 x 11? Um, Let Me Google That,” he makes a strong case. To read this important article, go here.

George Leef, Director of Research of the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, has written a provocative piece which claims that American schools of education are “A Key Reason Why American Students Do Poorly.” To read  Dr. Leef’s piece in Forbes go here.

Common Core will affect just about every public school teacher in California. While there is no shortage of articles on the national standards – pro and con – we found this one to be especially poignant. Koret Task Force scholar Eric Hanushek views it as a distraction. To read what he wrote in US News & World Report, go here.

Are you a tough teacher? Do you call your kids “idiots” when they screw up? My guess that you don’t and that a vast majority would find this abusive. But writer Joannne Lipman has another take. In The Wall Street Journal, she makes a compelling case for the opposite in “Why Tough Teachers Get Good Results.” To continue reading this thoughtful and controversial piece, please go here.

In The Atlantic, Christina Hoff Sommers writes “The Bizarre, Misguided Campaign to Get Rid of Single-Sex Classrooms.” She takes the ACLU and like-minded groups to task for comparing single sex classrooms to racially segregated classes. To read the piece, go here.

Erik Hanushek et al have written Endangering Prosperity: A Global View of the American School. In an interview, Hanushek delivers 5 important points:

    1. We are not competitive internationally in terms of our schools and the skills of our population.
    2. Other countries have shown that it is possible to improve. Indeed some of our states have shown the same thing: Maryland, Delaware, Florida, and Massachusetts,
    3. If we can improve, the potential economic gains are huge. If we do not improve, we will be seriously hurt in the future – and the era of the “American Century” could come to an end.
    4. A number of people – particularly those currently working in the schools – resist the fundamental changes that are needed, but we must find a way to improve our schools.
    5. Improving our schools is not a partisan issue but one that faces all of our citizens.


Education Matters,
a publication of the Association of American Educators, has a very interesting cover story in its March 2013 issue. “International Case Study: Real Lessons from Finland” by Fordham Institute scholar Kathleen Porter-Magee examines how Finland developed a world-class education system. But can we replicate Finland, using their methods as a roadmap? To learn more, go to here.

Early childhood education continues to be a hot topic, with various pundits and politicians claiming that money spent on pre-school will reap benefits far exceeding the costs of such an endeavor. However, there is another side to this story, as Reason Foundation’s Lisa Snell and Shikha Dalmia write in the Wall Street Journal. To read their op-ed, go here.

Jay Greene has written an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that will get mixed reactions from teachers. To read “The Imaginary Teacher Shortage,” go here.

Nobody Deserves Tenure is a provocative article by Chester Finn. The article's title clearly articulates his point of view.

Common Core Standards or National Standards - courtesy of the President Obama's Race to the Top program - are coming. The idea to further nationalize education has drawn fire from most education reformers, but states are still signing on to it in the hope of receiving more federal dollars. Here are 3 articles - against, for and middling.

Andrew Coulson has written an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that is quite controversial. “America Has Too Many Teachers” goes against the grain, to put it mildly. To read this provocative piece, go here.

Better schools for less money? Marcus Winters thinks this is possible by giving individual schools more autonomy. He makes a good case for it here.

The Open Enrollment Act lets parents whose children attend the lowest-performing 1,000 schools in California opt out and send their kids to a higher-performing, non-charter public school anywhere in the state.

Janine Caffrey, whose writing we have featured before, is now the new Perth Amboy, NJ schools superintendent. Recently, she wrote a guest op-ed for the Star Ledger in which she makes a passionate plea for eliminating teacher tenure laws. To read her piece, go here.

Education researcher Marcus Winters claims that a teacher compensation system “based on additional academic credit and experience makes sense only if those factors are actually related to classroom effectiveness. They aren't.” This article explains that the way most teachers are paid is wrong.

Salman Khan has stepped to the forefront of what is called “blended learning” – a mixture of online and teacher driven instruction. For more information, go here. To watch a video of Khan go here

To read about a promising new pay for performance plan in Colorado, go here and from CA teacher Michele Kerr - a very interesting idea on the same subject in a Washington Post op-ed

A Wall Street Journal op-ed by former teacher and principal, Timothy Knowles, explains that to make teaching a true profession, we must eliminate tenure.

Amongst those who favor some kind of pay-for-performance, there are many different ideas about how to implement such a program. Here, education researcher Dan Goldhaber weighs in, concluding that entire schools, not individual teachers should be rewarded.

Tenure for teachers? Steven Sawchuk at Education Week sums it all up well here.

John Paul Gatto, former New York City and NY State Teacher of the Year and has some very interesting ideas about what education should look like and it is nothing like what exists today.

Janine Walker Caffrey currently works with the Board of Education in New York City and recently wrote an excellent blog piece - Stop the Blame! in which she says that real reform will begin only when all the various factions - teachers, media, schools, etc. stop blaming each other for the problem and step back and rationally analyze what needs to be done.

Teacher Choice, by Alveda King

Teaching Boys and Girls Separately by Elizabeth Weil

Common Core Standards or National Standards - courtesy of the President Obama's Race to the Top program - are coming. The idea to further nationalize education has drawn fire from most education reformers, but states are still signing on to it in the hope of receiving more federal dollars. Here are 3 articles - against, for and middling.

National standards? Two views - Chester Finn and Jay Greene.

Last hired, first fired? A balanced view from Heather Wolpert-Gawron

George Leef claims that much could be improved by overhauling our schools of education. To read Dr. Leef's article, go here.

 Janus Related Lawsuits

The Buckeye Institute has filed two separate lawsuits calling for an immediate end to the laws that force public-sector employees to accept their union’s representation. Both cases question the constitutionality of compelled “exclusive representation” and have been filed. Now that teachers and other employees don’t have to belong to the union, why should they have to be represented by the union? The right of a union to be an “exclusive representative” – which they have always insisted on – may be coming to an end. The cases which have been filed in Ohio and Minnesota “call upon the courts to recognize public employees’ First Amendment right to free association and to end the forced exclusive representation.”

To read more, go here.

Union Issues

Courtesy of Mike Antonucci, we can see just how the National Education Association plans to help local union activists defeat efforts by school districts to privatize support services. To see NEA’s anti-privatization combat manual, go here.

A new study by researchers Michael Lovenheim and Alexander Willen reveals that the collective bargaining process for teachers leads to lower future earnings, occupational skill levels and hours worked for the students involved. To learn more, go here.

Mike Antonucci has written a piece for Education Next about the possible ramifications of the Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association case which he states could “fundamentally alter the education labor landscape.” The in-depth article should be able to answer many of your questions about the case which will be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016. To read it, go here.

Teachers unions face moment of truth” by Politico’s Stephanie Simon claims that “teachers unions are facing tumultuous times. Long among the wealthiest and most powerful interest groups in American politics, the unions are grappling with financial, legal and public-relations challenges as they fight to retain their clout and build alliances with a public increasingly skeptical of big labor.” To read more, go here.

The worst union in the country? Troy Senik writes that it is the California Teachers Association.

There is an excellent back and forth between Jay Greene and Richard Kahlenberg in the Winter 2012 issue of Education Next. “Unions and the Public Interest - Is collective bargaining for teachers good for students?” To read it, go to - http://educationnext.org/unions-and-the-public-interest/

In The National Education Association and State Affiliates: A $1.5 Billion Annual Enterprise, Mike Antonucci lists the NEA and state affiliate revenues for 2008-2009.

In The Long Reach of the Teachers Unions, Mike Antonucci tells us of the amazing political reach of the teachers' unions and their massive war chests. If you are unaware of how politically powerful the NEA really is, or if you know someone else in this category, this is the article to read and disseminate.

For those who want to have a fundamental understanding of teacher contracts -- how they are structured, how do different contracts compare, etc., Andrew Rotherham of Eduwonk fame has written the very valuable Understanding Teacher Contracts.

Dr. Leila Beckwith, Professor Emeritus at the University of California at Los Angeles , goes into depth about the heavy-handedness of the California Faculty Association. CFA is one of the largest academic unions in the U.S. , representing 23,000 faculty, counselors, librarians, and coaches on the 23 Cal State University campuses. To read this eye-opening article, go here,

Andrew Coulson has written an exceptional article in which he contends that the unions effects on collective bargaining are trivial. He claims that their key success has been their effective lobbying to maintain the educational status quo. To read this provocative article, go here.

A Few Things All Educators Should Know About Teacher Unions --- But the National Education Association Won't Tell Them by David Denholm

Kill Union Special Interests by Cindy Omlin and Mark Mix

The NEA Pyramid - The View Changes as You Rise to the Top of the Nation's Largest Union -- a Special Report of the Educational Intelligence Agency

Union's Advice Is Failing Teachers by Kathy Kristof

NEA, AFT Annual Meetings Resemble Political Conventions by Ted. P. O'Neil

Other Articles

How Much Are Public School Teachers Paid?  by Jay P. Greene and Marcus A. Winters

Management 101 for Our Public Schools by Terry M. Moe

Teachers, did you forget to do your homework on 403(b) plans? by Lynn O'Shaughnessy

Poor government oversight could be turning the nation's free and reduced lunch program into something of a racket. To read David Bass' troubling article, go here.

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