Jeb Bush pushed hard for putting the interests of children first.
Photo by Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/MCT/Getty Images
I don’t know whether his hat is edging into the 2016 presidential election ring, but I do know that Jeb Bush gave a heck of an education keynote on Tuesday morning at the national summit convened in Washington by his Florida-based Foundation for Excellence in Education.
At this annual bipartisan-but-predominantly-Republican soiree aimed at state legislators and other key ed-policy decision makers—this year’s was by far the largest and grandest of the five they’ve held so far—Bush pushed hard for putting the interests of children first and did so in language plainly intended to appeal across party lines. A later session, which I had the pleasure of “moderating,” brought much the same message from John Podesta of the Center for American Progress. Though nobody expects Podesta to vote Bush for president (or anything else), in practice they agree on about 90 percent of the ed-reform policy agenda and maybe 70 percent of the strategy for attaining and sustaining it.
Bush opened by citing Charles Murray’s new book and lamenting the loss of upward
I had an op-ed run this morning in the New York Daily News about the strengths of the new union contract in Newark and what to do when the district is still unable to generate improved results. The Economist has interesting thoughts on the contract here.
Evidently, Dr. Ravitch and I agree about something. Along those lines, you might want to spend a little time on this New Yorker magazine article about Dr. Ravitch’s career development and her current views and activities.
Indiana’s high court looks at the constitutionality of the state’s new scholarship program (I spill a good bit of ink on the history of this subject in Chapter 8 of my book). IN was serious about accountability, inclusive of private schools, under State Superintendent Tony Bennett. I hope that the court will take that into account…and that Bennett’s successor is similarly inclined.
Great example from Washington, D.C. of how a charter sector can methodically replace an urban district. Under-enrolled and low-performing district schools are closed and new charters open and expand. I once read a comprehensive playbook for this…
When I get a call from a reporter on a Friday, it typically means that a government agency is trying to dump bad news. When I get a call from a reporter on the Friday before Thanksgiving week, I know that a government agency is trying to dump really bad news.
The feds spent several BILLION dollars and got terribly disappointing results—but, tragically, the results are predictable to anyone familiar with the history of “turnarounds.”
And so it is with the U.S. Department of Education’s quiet release of results from the first year of the massive School Improvement Grant (SIG) program. (See Alyson Klein’s Ed Week coverage.)
The headline is simple: The feds spent several BILLION dollars and got terribly disappointing results—but, tragically, the results are predictable to anyone familiar with the history of “turnarounds.”
Almost three years ago, in an article for Education Next called “The Turnaround Fallacy”, I detailed how and why previous turnaround efforts failed so consistently and predicted that future efforts would amount to the same. Chapter 4 of my new book, The Urban School System of the Future, extends that argument with even more evidence.
It’s not just me. Tom Loveless’s 2009 Brown Center Report showed the dramatic failure of turnaround efforts over 20 years, and David Stuit’s remarkable and devastating 2010 study powerfully reinforced these findings.
Now the Department, doing its job, is trying to paint the new data as a good-news
Late last week, the US Department of Education announced the 20 winners of the latest “Investing in Innovation” competition.
On its website, the Department has a number of documents worth checking out if you’d like to learn a little more about the competition itself and those awarded funds. Here are the things that jumped out at me.
- I had never heard of most of the winners. Of late, the ed-reform community has become enamored of a number of flashy tech organizations that focus particularly on hybrid learning and the transition to Common Core. Most of these winners are outside of that cool-kids lunch table. Lesson to reformers: We should start grazing around the rest of the cafeteria.
- Almost three times the amount of money was given to “validation” awards (up to $15m) than to “development” awards (up to $3m); no money was given to the largest “scale up” categories (up to $25m).
- Grants were pretty well spread among the five absolute-priority areas, such as “Teachers and Principals,” “STEM,” and “Parent and Family.” However, only one award was given in the area of “Standards and Assessments” (to Jobs for the Future for work in the Rio Grande Valley and Denver, CO). This is a huge surprise, given the number of organizations that talk wide-eyed about the intersection of technology and Common Core. I would’ve expected a bunch of winners in the area of formative/interim assessments, lesson plans, online courses, etc.
- After lots of
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.
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