Foreword by Chester E. Finn, Jr. and Michael J. Petrilli In recent years, policymakers and reform advocates have viewed State Education Agencies (SEAs) as the lead organizations for implementing sweeping reforms and initiatives in K–12 education—everything from Race to the Top grants and federal...

State Education Agencies: The Smaller the Better?

In the era of Race to the Top, waivers, and waivers of waivers, the role of state education agencies (SEAs) has increased dramatically: taking on school turnarounds, teacher-evaluation systems, and now Common Core implementation. Many argue that SEAs need "more capacity" to do these new jobs...
Mike and Victoria, our resident British-American, take Shakespeare’s birthday as an opportunity to discuss the place humanities has in K–12 education. They also tackle inBloom’s demise and the NCAA’s smack down of online-learning giant K12. Dara considers what happens when landmark education...
By Arnold F. Shober and Michael T. Hartney Foreword by Dara Zeehandelaar and Amber M. Northern Are the nation’s 90,000-plus school board members critical players in enhancing student learning? Are they part of the problem? Are they harmless bystanders? Among the takeaways are the following: Board...
Michele Cahill, Leah Hamilton
The Carnegie Corporation’s Michele Cahill and Leah Hamilton, veterans of Joel Klein’s Department of Education in New York City, responded to a challenge posed by Petrilli with a thoughtful alternative view. In Mike’s post on Monday, he asks if our schools have “an answer” for students who are...
Blog: 

A tribute to the work of E. D. Hirsch, Jr.

Learn about E. D. Hirsch in this short video that follows his career, how he came to develop the Core Knowledge curriculum, and his thoughts on the future of the Common Core. Featured in the video are prominent education reformers such as David Coleman, Joel Klein, Chester E. Finn, Jr., Tom Birmingham, Randi Weingarten, Valarie Lewis, Sol Stern, Kati Haycock, and Dan Willingham.
The Philanthropy Roundtable recently released an exceptional publication produced by an exceptional author. Even though it’s meant to be straightforward guide for donors interested in charter schooling, were I teaching a course on K–12 policy and reform, it would be an assigned reading. Throughout...
Blog: 
Some music scholars believe that 50 years ago, the blues—the primordial indigenous American musical form—was on the brink of extinction. Its progenitors were fading away, mainstream America was uninterested, and the unsympathetic forces of musical evolution were marching on. But across the pond, in...
Blog: 
A National Survey of K-12 Parents
This groundbreaking study finds that nearly all parents seek schools with a solid core curriculum in reading and math, an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, and the development in students of good study habits, strong critical thinking skills, and excellent...
April 24, 2014 - 10:00 am to 11:30 am
In the era of Race to the Top, waivers, and waivers of waivers, the role of state education agencies (SEAs) has increased dramatically: taking on school turnarounds, teacher-evaluation systems, and now Common Core implementation. Many argue that SEAs need “more capacity” to do these new jobs...
We know from international data—PISA, TIMSS, and so on—that other countries produce more “high achievers” than we do (at least in relation to the size of their pupil populations ). And it’s no secret that in the U.S., academic achievement tends to correlate with socioeconomic status, hence...
Blog: 
This study weighed existing state education standards against the Common Core education standards. The findings? The Common Core standards were clearer and more rigorous than English language arts standards in 37 states and math standards in 39 states.
Of all the responses to my “you’re-not-college-material” essay , there’s one I find most compelling—and worrying. Namely, kids who aren’t “college material” aren’t “career- and technical-education material” either. Springpoint’s JoEllen Lynch says it well : It’s a myth that CTE meets the needs of...
Blog: 
Laura McGiffert Slover
More than one million students. Sixteen thousand schools. Nearly 10,000 test items. This spring is a critical milestone, as PARCC states make history by participating in field tests. More than the numbers, however, the successful field tests mark a huge shift in how we do testing in this country...
Blog: 
Roughly 30,000 kids in Ohio take advantage of a publicly funded voucher (or “scholarship”). But as students flee public schools for private ones, how does life change for the private schools that take voucher kids? Can private schools coexist with a publicly-funded voucher program? Can they adapt...
As opposition to the Common Core State Standards has gained momentum in parts of the land, it’s important to ask what happens if a state changes its mind and renounces those standards—which, as we’ve long said, states have every right to do. But then what? Does the state revive its old academic...
Blog: 
South Carolina has taken today’s testing drama to new heights. A few years back, the governor, chief, and state board chair all agreed to have the Palmetto State become a governing board member of the Smarter Balanced (SBAC) testing consortia. But as other states withdrew and new testing options...
Blog: 
In recent years, policymakers and reform advocates have viewed State Education Agencies (SEAs) as the lead organizations for implementing sweeping reforms and initiatives in K–12 education—everything from Race to the Top grants and federal waivers to teacher-evaluation systems and online schools...
Blog: 
The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act in 2002 was the apotheosis of the standards-assessments-accountability movement, which had been building for about two decades. Some loved it, believing this latest reauthorization of the LBJ-era Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) finally put the...
Blog: 
A very important education reform announcement occurred last week, but you probably missed it because of the surprising and unfortunate paucity of coverage . In hindsight, we may come to see this news as a turning point in our nation’s generations-long effort to ensure low-income inner-city kids...
Blog: 
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English language arts and mathematics represent a sea change in standards-based reform and their implementation is the movement’s next—and greatest—challenge. Yet, while most states have now set forth implementation plans, these tomes seldom address the crucial matter of cost. This report estimates the implementation cost for each of the forty-five states (and the District of Columbia) that have adopted the Common Core State Standards and shows that costs naturally depend on how states approach implementation.
I try to avoid reading Paul Krugman’s columns because they almost always make me angry, and anger is not something I particularly enjoy. Yet I couldn’t help myself this morning, and the experience proved my point. In discussing the decision of many red states to decline Medicaid expansion under...
Blog: 
Back in January, a Bloomberg News ranking of the world’s most innovative countries punctured the theory that low U.S. test scores are acceptable because U.S. students are happier and more creative than their overseas counterparts. Those (undeniably fuzzy) metrics don’t prove that high-ranking...
Blog: 
The opt-out-of-state-testing movement has notched more wins lately. “Thousands,” we read, are refusing to take the tests in New York alone. And tons more interest and attention are being devoted to this topic in states and communities far and wide. Tough questions urgently arise: Is it legal to opt...
Blog: 
Dallas Independent School District (DISD) superintendent Mike Miles has been on the job in Texas less than two years and he hasn't always had easy sledding there . But he hasn't hunkered down or blown with the gale-level political winds of a city that's had eleven superintendents in the past...
Blog: 
When it comes to SIG, my mind is obviously made up . So I’d forgive you for skipping anything I write about it; you have every reason to think I’m going to be bearish. That goes double for a post about a new federal study finding different but still discouraging SIG results. “ Another opportunity...
Blog: 
by Michael Hansen Foreword by Michael J. Petrilli and Amber M. Northern, Ph.D. Press Release In the overwhelming majority of American classrooms, pupils are divided roughly equally among teachers of the same grade in the same school. Parceling them out uniformly is viewed as fair to teachers—and...

SIGN UP for updates from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute