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Education reforms, an unstoppable phenomenon of the elementary and secondary education world, invariably come with strengths and weaknesses. Too often, those strengths are undermined and weaknesses accentuated by cracks in the teaching link of the chain that pulls successful learning.
I saw that link snap too often in my experience as a secondary math teacher and department chair in CaliContinue Reading »
A recent Gallup poll asked parents if they were satisfied with the education their children were receiving. Seventy-five percent were “completely or somewhat satisfied.” That’s up eight percentage points from the 15-year low hit in 2013, which is reason to cheer.
But as someone who has specialized in school improvement work for nearly 20 years, I see a more fundamental and more complex Continue Reading »
As public debate over the use of Common Core standards in U.S. schools gathers steam, parents and policymakers need to know more about current proficiency standards for reading, mathematics, and science – and brace for some surprises.
These standards, used by states to measure student progress, vary widely – with the gap between states with the highest and lowest standards amounting to Continue Reading »
With Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s announcement of the Excellent Educators for All initiative earlier this month, putting excellent principals at the helm of high-need schools remains critical. Because turning around the nation’s chronically low-performing schools continues to perplex teachers, school and district leaders, and policymakers, let’s consider the experiences and lessons learnedContinue Reading »
This is the second of two blog posts about two new studies from AIR researchers and collaborators on the use of classroom observations for teacher evaluation.
Most press coverage about new teacher evaluation systems focuses on student growth (or value-added) measures based on student test scores. But even in districts that use such measures, a teacher’s performance appraisal still depenContinue Reading »
This is the first of two blog posts about two new studies from AIR researchers and collaborators on the use of classroom observations for teacher evaluation.
Anyone who has spent time looking in on a classroom knows how much a visitor can learn about the teacher and the class. It provides an opportunity to see the teacher in action, and appreciate the skills needed to work with his or heContinue Reading »
This year, for the first time in the U.S., high school graduation rates may top 80 percent—good news, right? But another change in 2014 could pose employment and mobility obstacles for the other 20 percent.
Starting in January, the General Education Development test (or GED) that diploma-less adults take to show that they have high-school level skills got a lot harder. Doing well on the Continue Reading »
Last month Dale Russakoff wrote a fascinating article in The New Yorker about school reform in Newark, New Jersey. It is a saga of what can happen when educational reformers, with the best of intentions and ample resources, attempt to implement school reform without fully understanding the meaning of community, the strength of neighborhood loyalty, and how attached struggling families are to tContinue Reading »
Nearly a century ago, John Dewey reflected on the nature of change in his book Human Nature and Conduct:
We may desire abolition of war, industrial justice, and greater opportunity for all. But no amount of preaching good will or the golden rule or cultivation of sentiments of love and equity will accomplish the results. There must be change in objective arrangements and institutions.Continue Reading »
On May 7, 2014, the U.S. Department of Education released the results of the most recent assessment of the reading and math skills of America’s high school seniors. Depressing reading.
The bottom line is that America’s high school seniors are not doing at all well. This distressingly low level of performance has not changed in the last four years (and probably for far longer than thatContinue Reading »