A useful new report from Public Agenda and the Kettering Foundation underscores the painful divide between parents and education reformers on the crucial topic of what to do about bad schools.
Schools play many roles in communities, and the prospect of closing one undermines most of those.
Photo by hundrednorth
In a nutshell, if the neighborhood school is crummy, parents want it fixed. So do community leaders. Ed reformers are far more apt to want to close it and give families alternatives such as charter schools.
As Andy Smarick has perceptively written, schools play multiple roles in communities, and the prospect of closing one undermines most of those. Hence, shuttering a school affects more than the convenience of keeping one’s own kids in a familiar (and generally close-at-hand) facility, maybe even with that nice Ms. Greensleeves who teaches fourth grade there. As Jean Johnson writes on behalf of Public Agenda, based on a recent series of focus groups (as well as much other research), “Most parents see local public schools as important community institutions and viscerally reject the idea that closing schools—even those that are persistently low-performing—is a good way to improve accountability in education.”
On the reform side, however, Johnson writes, “In many communities, school leaders are closing or drastically reorganizing low-performing
We’re honored and humbled by the news that the EWA named Flypaper the best blog in the “education organizations and experts” category of its annual awards. We always thought Flypaper readers had great taste; now it’s official.
Second prize went to FERPA Fact, a publication of the Student Press Law Center and Ray Salazar of The White Rhino: A Chicago Latino English Teacher. Education Sector’s The Quick and the Ed received a special citation.
In explaining their decision, the judges wrote,
The benefit of Mike Petrilli's blogs is that each unfolds clearly and intelligently to make its point about a range of ed issues he's familiar with -- and which he introduces to the reader in a fair manner. His tone is open and respectful -- not only of those he disagrees with, but of the reader, who may not be the same ed policy wonk he is.
Petrilli reminds me favorably of Malcolm Gladwell. The other contributors are well-versed in the topics they write about while still writing in a way that could engage a wider audience than educators.
Are you new to Flypaper? Read the seven posts that cinched the award below.
In this edition of the Ed Next Book Club podcast, Mike Petrilli sits down with Tony Wagner to discuss his new book, Creating Innovators.
Business leaders, pundits, and politicians all seem to agree: America needs to get much better at nurturing innovation if we are to rebuild our economy, expand opportunity, and win a secure future for our children. But what exactly is innovation? And more importantly, how can parents and educators develop it in our young people? What can we learn from young adults of the Millennial generation who themselves are highly successful innovators and entrepreneurs? And what does all of this imply for education policy?
To answer these questions and more, Tony Wagner, the author of The Global Achievement Gap, and the first innovation education fellow at the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard University, interviewed more than 150 people. The result is his acclaimed and commercially successful recent book, Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World. In today’s edition of the Education Next Book Club, we speak with Tony about his book, innovation, and how schools across the world can help to light the spark of innovation within their students.
To listen to this podcast, click here.
Additional installments of the Ed Next Book Club podcast can be heard here.
Everybody knows that excessive screen time is bad for kids; the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends zero TV-watching (or other media use) before the age of two. But once children are into the preschool years, even the AAP says that an hour of television is OK, as long as it’s “high-quality content.” And a brand-new study indicates that the right shows, like Arthur, can even “ease aggression in young children.”
But what counts as high-quality content? Here I’ve selected my favorite programs, with some help from my friends, and with inspiration from other lists (here, here, and here), based on four criteria. They must be:
1. Educational (with special points for building content knowledge in science, history, literature, art, or music, though teaching social or emotional skills is good, too)
2. Engaging and well done
3. Enjoyable for parents
4. Either currently on the air or available on Netflix Instant Streaming (or both)
I’ve broken my list into two categories: The best shows for two- and three-year-olds and the best shows for four- and five-year-olds.
Best Television Shows for Two- and Three-Year-Olds
About the Editor
Michael J. Petrilli
Executive Vice President
Mike Petrilli is one of the nation's foremost education analysts. As executive vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, he oversees the organization's research projects and publications and contributes to the Flypaper blog and weekly Education Gadfly newsletter.
Sign Up for updates from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute
- Core Knowledge Blog
- Daniel Willingham: Science and Education Blog
- Education Next Blog
- Getting Smart
- Gotham Schools
- Jay P. Greene
- Joanne Jacobs
- NACSA's Chartering Quality
- National Journal Education Blog
- NCTQ Pretty Darn Quick
- NCTQ Teacher Quality Bulletin
- Ohio Education Gadfly
- Politics K-12
- Quick and the Ed
- Rick Hess Straight Up
- The Corner
- The Hechinger Report
- Top Performers