There is a chasm between research and practice.
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The very good news is that there is reason to believe that the report’s results might change behavior in meaningful and lasting ways.
The problem is that this is far from guaranteed. The Foundation itself will need to take the lead in translating this research into activity, and that will be its toughest role to date.
We should begin by acknowledging that the gap between policy and practice is huge. Mandating something and having it actually happen as envisioned are two entirely different things. We can see that in the struggles to implement high-minded, well-intentioned initiatives like NCLB choice and Common Core.
But there’s an even bigger chasm between research and practice. Very little makes it from one side to the other.
There are countless examples of powerful K–12 research findings that never get the traction deserved; consider Hanushek’s work on funding or Hoxby’s on choice. But the nearest cognate to MET is Chubb and Moe’s outstanding Politics, Markets, and America’s Schools. With the possible exception of the Coleman Report, it’s all but impossible to find a study of K–12 schooling with
After the ouster of Indiana State Superintendent Tony Bennett (who, subsequently, was snapped up by Florida), Indiana’s Republicans have pushed a bill withdraw the state from the Common Core standards.
Today, Indiana’s Senate Education Committee heard arguments on whether to keep, eliminate, or change the state’s commitment to the Common Core. Michael J. Petrilli, Fordham’s executive vice president, testified at the hearing to urge Indiana’s lawmakers to “stay the course” with the common standards.
Testimony to the Education and Career Development Committee of the Indiana State Senate
Michael J. Petrilli
Chairman Kruse, Ranking Member Rogers, members of the committee: It’s an honor to be with you today. I mean that sincerely. No state in the country has accomplished more on the education reform front than Indiana has over the past two years. On issue after issue—from school vouchers, to teacher evaluations, to collective bargaining reform, to school finance reform—Indiana is leading the way. As you may know, in 2011 my think tank named Indiana the “Education Reform Idol” for its accomplishments. You won in a landslide. You should be very proud of what this legislative body has gotten done.
My name is Mike Petrilli; I’m the executive vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a right-of-center education policy think tank in Washington, DC that also does on the ground work in the great state of Ohio. We promote education reforms of all
This article about the remarkable success of New Orleans charters helps support the case I made in The Urban School System of the Future: Smart chartering is the right systemic approach for drastically improving student achievement over time. This article is particularly exciting because it uses ACT scores as the measure of achievement (a rigorous indicator of readiness for post-secondary work) and because high school improvement continues to be one of the most stubborn challenges in urban K–12 reform.
I’m no reflexive advocate for ed tech generally or blended learning specifically, but the NJEA, New Jersey’s largest teacher union, is doing itself a disservice by suing to stop charters from making use of online learning. The early results elsewhere suggest that blended learning has promise, and the state is moving into this field slowly, which is prudent. Moreover, given that the charter at the heart of this controversy is in low-performing Newark, where new approaches are desperately needed, the NJEA (which, to its credit, supported the state’s tenure reform legislation) is handing its opponents talking-point fodder.
Sunday’s major article on D.C. charter expulsions is worth the read. It raises too many important issues for me to do them all justice in a quick blurb, but, in no particular order, here’s my list of takeaways and responses:
The NYT turns in a piece about TFA, recruiting, and today’s underwhelming job market. This quote from a recent recruit will certainly stir the passions: “It wasn’t until I was desperate that I said ‘I’ll check this out.’” My Bellwether colleague Andy Eduwonk weighs in thoughtfully here. The bigger question, I think, is this: Given the great need for drastic change in our urban school systems, are TFA and the other ed-reform human-capital providers sustaining or disrupting the establishment?
I argue in the Urban School System of the Future that we need to replace big-city districts because they will never produce the results we need. This tragic piece about the mess in Detroit gives another reason for replacement: Many of these districts (possibly including Philadelphia) are on the brink of dissolution due to financial and other pressures. We need to have a Plan B should these systems break down; better yet, we should carefully choreograph their exit so we get ahead of these impending crashes.
MOOCs are all the rage now in higher education (check out this WJS piece). They seem to have countless benefits. The problem is that the technology has gotten far ahead of policy and practice. These upsides and downsides are coming to K–12. Get up to speed with this great column by Checker Finn.
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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