Articles - Reform Issues
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:
- We are not competitive internationally in terms of our schools and the skills of our population.
- 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,
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
A 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.
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
In 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.
Koret 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.
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
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.
teachers? Steven Sawchuk at Education Week sums it all up well here.
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.
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.
Articles - Union Issues
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.
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,
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.
As Usual for Teachers Union: From anti-Israel rallies to incoherence on
school reform, the union places politics above helping students. Oct. 8, 2006
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
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 Kathy Kristof
NEA, AFT Annual Meetings Resemble Political Conventions by Ted. P. O'Neil
Articles - Other
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
oversight could be turning the nation's free and reduced lunch
program into something of a racket. To read David Bass' troubling
Books - Reform
Push Has Come to Shove by Steve Perry
Obamas Education Takeover - by Lance T. Izumi
Why America Needs School Choice by Jay P. Greene
Inside American Education by Thomas Sowell
No Excuses: Closing the Racial Gap in Learning by Abigail Thernstrom and Stephan Thernstrom
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 Rosemarie Fusano
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
Special Interest: Teachers Unions and America's Public Schools by Terry M. Moe
Understanding Teacher Contracts by Andrew Rotherham
Free Choice For Workers -- A History of the Right To Work Movement by George C. Leef
Power Grab - How the National Education Association is Betraying Our Children by G. Gregory Moo
The Teacher's Unions -- How They Sabotage Educational Reform and Why by Myron Lieberman
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
Understanding The Teacher Union Contract: A Citizen's Handbook by Myron Lieberman
Books - Technology in Education
Short Circuited: 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
Liberating Learning: Technology, Politics, and the Future of American Education by Terry M. Moe and John E. Chubb
Books - Textbooks
The Trouble With Textbooks: Distorting History and Religion by Gary Tobin and Dennis Ybarra
-- August 2013 - Ending Summer Vacation is Long Overdue – Here’s How to Pay for It
-- May 2013 -We have compiled some data 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:
- Twelve 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.
- Twenty-three 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.
- Six 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 here.
-- 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 Achievement.
-- 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
-- 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
Core Knowledge Blog
Ed is Watching
Education Debate at Online Schools
Educational Intelligence Agency
The Education Wonks
Larry Sand on Union Watch
The Quick and the Ed
Rick Hess Straight Up
Right On The LeftCoast – Views of a Conservative Teacher
School Reform News
This Week in Education