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Articles - Reform Issues
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.”
CitizenshipFirst’s aim is to “become the country’s most creative driver of civic-education innovation. Through creative advocacy, in-school programs, research and reports, CitizenshipFirst 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.
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
- We are not competitive
internationally in terms of our schools and the skills of our
countries have shown that it is possible to improve. Indeed some of our
states have shown the same thing: Maryland, Delaware, Florida, and
- 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.
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.
- Improving our schools is not a
partisan issue but one that faces all of our citizens.
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.
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.
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.
diverse community of thought leaders in education policy, teaching,
technology, higher education, parenting and the education media write
about and analyze the important education issues of the day - and then
discuss them with you. To access Education Debate, please go here.
Deserves Tenure is a provocative article by Chester Finn. The
article's title clearly articulates his point of view.
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.
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.
schools for less money? Marcus Winters thinks this is possible by
giving individual schools more autonomy. He makes a good case for it here.
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.
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.
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.
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
an exceptional blog post that every math teacher should read, Matthew
Tabor writes about the type of question that every math teacher gets
sooner or later. “Am I ever going to use this?” Or, “Why do we have to
learn this?” Tabor answers these questions quite effectively. To read
his post, go here.
Task Force scholar Eric Hanushek discusses how best to deal with our
fiscal budgetary woes in education – in a nutshell, get rid of bad
teachers. The slightly larger classes that students would experience
would be with better teachers. To read more, go here.
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.
for teachers? Steven Sawchuk at Education Week sums it all up
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
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,
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.
- Union Issues
“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.
worst union in the country? Troy Senik writes that it is the California Teachers Association.
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/
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.
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.
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
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
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
Politics As Usual for Teachers Union: From
anti-Israel rallies to incoherence on school reform, the union places
politics above helping students. Oct. 8, 2006
Few Things All Educators Should Know About Teacher Unions --- But the
National Education Association Won't Tell Them by David
Kill Union Special Interests by Cindy Omlin and
Ed Ring has written a very hard-hitting article which explores the vast
amounts of money that the teachers' unions and other public employee
unions spend on politics in California. To
read it, go here.
Teachers' Pets -- Wall Street Journal
editorial explains where the NEA is spending your dues
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
AFT Annual Meetings Resemble Political Conventions by Ted. P. O'Neil
How Much Are Public School Teachers Paid?
by Jay P. Greene and Marcus A. Winters
Management 101 for Our Public Schools by Terry
Teachers, did you forget to
do your homework on 403(b) plans? by Lynn O'Shaughnessy
oversight could be turning the nation's free and reduced lunch program
into something of a racket. To read David Bass' troubling article, go
Books - Reform
Letters from John Dewey/Letters from Huck Finn: A Look at Math Education from the Inside Paperback by Barry Garelick
Push Has Come to
Shove by Steve Perry
Takeover - by Lance T. Izumi
Needs School Choice by
Jay P. Greene
Education by Thomas Sowell
Closing the Racial Gap in Learning by Abigail Thernstrom and
Not as Good as You
Think: Why the Middle Class Needs School Choice by Lance T.
Izumi, Vicki E. Murray and Rachel Chaney with Ruben Patterson and
Crazy Like a Fox
by Dr. Ben Chavis with Carey Blakely
What's Gone Wrong
In America's Classrooms - edited by Williamson Evers
A Choice for Our
Children by Alan Bonsteel and Carlos A. Bonilla
Learning As We Go;
Why School Choice is Worth the Wait by Paul T. Hill
Books - Union
Teachers Unions and America's Public Schools by Terry M. Moe
Teacher Contracts by Andrew Rotherham
Free Choice For
Workers -- A History of the Right To Work Movement by George
Power Grab - How
the National Education Association is Betraying Our Children
by G. Gregory Moo
Unions -- How They Sabotage Educational Reform and Why by
The Worm in the
Apple -- How the Teacher Unions Are Destroying American Education
by Peter Brimelow
The War Against
Hope - How Teachers' Unions Hurt Children, Hinder Teachers, and
Endanger Public Education by former U.S. Secretary of
Education, Dr. Rod Paige
Teacher Union Contract: A Citizen's Handbook by Myron
Books - Technology in
The Challenges Facing the Online Learning Revolution in California
- by Lance T. Izumi, Vicki E. Murray, Evelyn B. Stacey, Rachel S.
Chaney, and Ian D. Randolph
Learning: Technology, Politics, and the Future of American Education
by Terry M. Moe and John E. Chubb
The Trouble With
Textbooks: Distorting History and Religion by Gary Tobin and
-- Jan. 2014 - The National Council on Teacher Quality has a new study which examines “the extent to which America's traditional teacher preparation programs offer future teachers research-based strategies to help them better manage their classroom from the start of their teaching career.
-- August 2013 -
Ending Summer Vacation is Long Overdue – Here’s How to Pay for It
-- May 2013 -We
that is not typically available at one's fingertips. If you find
anything that you think is erroneous, please let us know.
-- Apr. 2013 - Researcher Greg Forster recently released his
latest study on school choice. A few of the key findings:
empirical studies have examined academic outcomes for school choice
participants using random assignment, the “gold standard” of social
science. Of these, 11 find that choice improves student outcomes—six
that all students benefit and five that some benefit and some are not
affected. One study finds no visible impact. No empirical study has
found a negative impact.
empirical studies (including all methods) have examined school choice’s
impact on academic outcomes in public schools. Of these, 22 find that
choice improves public schools and one finds no visible impact. No
empirical study has found that choice harms public schools.
empirical studies have examined school choice’s fiscal impact on
taxpayers. All six find that school choice saves money for taxpayers.
No empirical study has found a negative fiscal impact.
To read more, go here.
-- Jan. 2013 - Every year, NCTQ puts out a yearbook,
a 52-volume, 9,000-page compendium examining the state of the states on
their policies to promote teacher quality.
-- Oct. 2012
- From the Fordham Institute, in conjunction with Education Reform Now
(an arm of DFER), we now have a state-by-state comparison of teacher
union power. There are several surprises here. For example, the Alabama
(right-to-work state) teachers union is considered more powerful than
the union in non-right-to-work Massachusetts. To watch a brief video
about the study and to read the study itself, go here.
-- Oct. 2012
- On the subject of spending, the Friedman Foundation has come out with
a staggering study which claims that, “America’s K-12 public education
system has experienced tremendous historical growth in employment,
according to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for
Education Statistics. Between fiscal year (FY) 1950 and FY 2009, the
number of K-12 public school students in the United States increased by
96 percent while the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) school
employees grew 386 percent. Public schools grew staffing at a rate four
times faster than the increase in students over that time period. Of
those personnel, teachers’ numbers increased 252 percent while
administrators and other staff experienced growth of 702 percent, more
than seven times the increase in students. To read more and download
the study, go here.
-- Sept. 2012 - The always interesting Education Next
yearly survey is out. One of the things that makes their polling
different from others is that they will ask a question like, “Do you
think that teachers are paid enough?” Then they will tell those being
polled what teachers make and then repeat the question. Needless to
say, the second response is frequently different than the first one.
To access the survey’s results, go here.
-- July 2012
- According to a report released by the Education Action Group, the
teachers’ contract in Los Angeles is costing the city, which is on the
verge of bankruptcy, unnecessary millions that it can ill afford to
spend at this time. “Sucking the Life Out of America’s Public Schools”
gives us the gory details. To read the report, go here.
-- May 2012 - Professor Jay Greene claims that “Charter Benefits Are Proven by the Best Evidence”
and that “opponents of charter schools have no equally rigorous
evidence on their side.
-- Mar. 2012
- A report by the non-partisan Legislative Analyst Office tackles the
teacher layoff process in California. March Reduction In Force notices,
seniority, bureaucratic bloat, etc. are all dealt with in a fair and
unbiased way. To read the report, go here.
-- Feb. 2012
- Students enrolled in the Milwaukee voucher program are more likely to
graduate from high school and go to college than their public school
counterparts, boast significantly improved reading scores, represent a
more diverse cross-section of the city, and are improving the results
of traditional public school students. To read more about this study, go here.
-- Nov. 2011
- In North Carolina, the results of a study were released which show
that giving public school students a choice as to which public school
they can go to dramatically lowers the crime rate. Interestingly, the
choices in this study are limited to traditional public schools – no
charters schools or vouchers are involved. To read more, go here.
-- Nov. 2011 - A couple of researchers
at the Heritage Foundation suggest that teachers are paid too
much. To read the report, go here. The authors of the study
summarized their findings in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.
-- Oct. 2011
- Jay Greene and Josh McGee have developed a database which enables
anyone to learn how their school district shapes up next to not only
others in their state and country, but to other countries also. To
learn more and explore The Global Report Card, go here (http://globalreportcard.org/)
-- Aug. 2011 - A new study from the
National Center for Education Information deals with reform,
union issues, etc.
-- July 2011 - According to NCTQ, the
new IMPACT teacher evaluation system in Washington D.C. is working out
quite well. For more info, go
-- May 2011 - Four day work week for schools? May be worth a
try. For more, go here
-- Apr. 2011
- A Harvard Study Shows that Lecture-Style Presentations Lead to Higher Student
-- Jan. 2011
- In a time when student testing has gotten a very bad name, a new
study has emerged which shows that testing actually helps students
learn. The study claims that testing and a reading theory
developed in 1946 remain great learning tools. To read more, go here and here.
-- Dec. 2010
- Seniority is examined in a study by the Center for Education Data and
Research at the University of Washington. Dan Goldhaber, lead author of
the study and the center's director "projected that student achievement
after seniority-based layoffs would drop by an estimated 2.5 to 3.5
months of learning per student, when compared to laying off the least
effective teachers." Goldhaber then added, "If your bottom line is
student achievement, then this is not the best system," To read more, go here. To access the study, go here.
Dec. 2010 - Performance pay is examined in depth in a new
report by the National Council on Teacher Quality. Restructuring Teacher Pay To Reward Excellence can be found here.
-- Nov. 2010 -
"Percentage of U.S. Students Achieving at Advanced Levels in Math
Trails Most Industrialized Nations.” This in-depth study,
sponsored by Education Next, is very troubling. It asserts that "New
analysis finds U.S. ranked 31st out of 56 countries in the percentage
of students performing at a high level of accomplishment, trailing
Korea, Canada, the Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Poland and
Lithuania, among others." For more information, the press release and a
link to the study can be found here.
-- Feb. 2010
- The National Council on Teacher Quality has published a report
about seniority and layoffs called Teacher
Layoffs: Rethinking "Last-Hired, First-Fired" Policies.
-- Jan. 2010
- 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.
-- Nov. 2009
- In a recent study, researcher Michael Lovenheim found that
"...unionization had no discernible effects on average teacher pay or
per-student district expenditures in Iowa , Minnesota or Indiana from
1972 to 1991." To read more about this study, cited in the Nov. 30,
2009 NCTQ Bulletin, please go here.
-- Oct. 2009
- The Destruction of a
Profession is a must read for anyone who has an interest in public
education. This blog post references a new study, Teaching for a
Living: How Teachers See the Profession Today , which claims that 40%
of public school teachers are "disheartened." To read the full report,
please go here.
-- Oct. 2009
- In a RAND Corporation
study , conducted in New York City , we learn that ending social
promotion is indeed beneficial for students. The various self-esteem
counterarguments are debunked.
-- Sept. 2009
- Caroline Hoxby's important study "How New York City's Charter Schools
Affect Achievement" can be accessed here. At the same time, she released a
paper on the CREDO study. "A recent study of charter schools' effect on
student achievement has been published by CREDO (2009). It contains a
statistical mistake that causes a biased estimate of how charter
schools affect achievement. This paper explains that mistake." To read
the memo, go here.
-- May 2009
- If you are seeking an alternative to teaching in a public school,
private school may suit you. Research says you may find greater
satisfaction there. Please read this study from the Friedman Foundation.
-- Jan. 2009
- Harvard researcher Thomas Kane authored a "groundbreaking study that
suggests charter school students in Boston outperform their peers at
other public schools in Boston. Results for pilot schools were less
clear; some analyses showed positive results at the elementary and high
school level, while results for middle school students were less
encouraging. The study uses an innovative research design based on
school lotteries that allowed for a direct comparison of charter and
pilot school students with their peers." To learn more, go here.
Laurie Rogers’ Betrayed
Ed is Watching
Education Debate at Online Schools
Educational Intelligence Agency
The Education Wonks
Sand on Union Watch
The Quick and the Ed
Rick Hess Straight Up
Right On The LeftCoast – Views of a Conservative
This Week in Education