Liam Julian

Ben Bernanke and some around our office suggest that teaching more about finance in American public schools may have prevented our current economic crisis. (What crisis?) I'm unconvinced, and Free exchange, the Economist's blog, points out that others are, too.

Liam Julian

Looks like the fine citizens of Waterbury, Connecticut, are not yet flitting through Flypaper. Otherwise, I'm sure district leaders there would have thought thrice before doling out dollars to students who pass AP tests.

Paying students for tests: another day arrives, another place tries it. Forgetting for a moment the ethical considerations that are trampled and the unintended consequences that are ignored in these pay-for-grades schemes--if they really worked, wouldn't we know it by now?

Liam thinks that if paying students to pass AP tests worked, "wouldn't we know it by now?" Yes, we would, and we do, and it does.

Liam Julian

Mike shouldn't??assume that??paying kids for AP scores (as in Waterbury) is??always a??slam-dunk. In fact,??according to Education Week,??the author of the very study Mike??cited??"said the main spur for the score jumps at the schools in Texas' Advanced Placement Incentive Program, or APIP, didn't seem to be cash."

And when we're talking A-F grades,??to??assert??that paying kids??for better??ones will necessarily yield better ones is hasty. Lots of studies on this front??are inconclusive; others return results that contradict their predecessors.

Liam Julian

Don't miss Mike talking about the stressed state of American Catholic schools on today's??edition of NPR's All Things Considered.

It looks like Missouri will be the next state to adopt the big daddy of alternative certification programs, the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence.

Liam Julian

Would you or someone you know love to work in education policy? Are you confused about where to start? Then the??Fordham Fellows program might be for you! The deadline fast approaches....

"Finger scan replaces tickets in lunch line"

This in Idaho, no less, which is one of only five states not to use a unique statewide student identifier (like a social security number) in its data system--out of privacy concerns, one surmises.

Talk about bizarre piggybacking and ahistoricism.

Ronald Reagan didn't make many missteps, but one blunder that's widely acknowledged by just about everyone who follows education was the White House's bungled initial reception of A Nation at Risk in 1983. The "vision" that the President laid out on that occasion had just about nothing to do with what the Excellence Commission said or recommended. It was ships passing in the night.

After dawn broke, Reagan and his team (including Ed Meese) realized that the Commission's report had struck a nerve--even though it had absolutely nothing to do with school choice or with reducing the federal role in education. Whereupon the President began gallivanting around the land with Education Secretary Ted Bell--18 joint events in 11 weeks, it says on page 99 of my book.

But as he traveled he sang from the Commission's hymnal (higher standards, tougher courses, better teachers, etc.), not the one that our good friends at Heritage (and Senator DeMint) are trying posthumously to place in his hands.

From a column in today's Detroit News :

The teachers at Alain Locke Senior High School in south-central Los Angeles' troubled Watts neighborhood were fed up.

They were sick of their 50-percent-plus dropout rate. They were sick of gang violence. They were especially sick of their district bureaucrats' ever-changing education fads.

So they did the unthinkable: They made history by boldly turning over their public high school last fall to a charter school organization--and risking their own jobs.

And from an editorial, also in today's News :

Skeptics in California said it would never happen, but it did. Union teachers at Locke Senior High in Los Angeles have decided to give to charter nonprofit operator Green Dot the chance to make the disadvantaged school flourish again. Green Dot will take over the school by this summer.

Why is this L.A. high school the talk of the News 's opinion pages today? Because Motor City superintendent Connie Calloway plans to restructure five struggling schools in Locke's image.

Sounds like a pretty solid plan. Green Dot made its name as the first charter management organization to invite unions into its schools. But its labor contract is generally several-hundred pages shorter than a typical district contract. And in most other ways it embodies the kind of common-sense practices that produce well-managed schools. Again from the News editorial:

Green Dot teachers are unionized, but they have a much more flexible contract that makes teacher