Education Gadfly Weekly

Opinion + Analysis: 
Opinion
When it comes to state education agencies (SEAs), ed-reformers have fallen into a sorry rut. As states have emerged as primary drivers of much-needed changes in K–12 practice and policy, the SEA has become the default agent-of-change for a vast number of initiatives concocted by policymakers in...
Opinion
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...
Opinion
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...
Briefly Noted
InBloom , a nonprofit that warehoused and managed student data for many public-school districts, is tapping out after being beaten to a pulp by data-privacy hawks . The mission of the organization, seeded by the Gates Foundation and Carnegie Corporation , was to help streamline how educators...
Reviews: 
Special Report
How is Common Core implementation faring, four years after these challenging standards were unveiled and embraced? Education Week attempts to answer this with an investigative report covering the key challenges that states and districts face: politics, assessments, teacher preparation, spending,...
Working Paper
After a controversial change to a state law, what happens on the ground? This piece, from last month’s meeting of the Association for Education Finance and Policy, delves into one such case. In 2012, Ohio lawmakers approved the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES), which requires evaluations be...
Gadfly Studios: 
Podcast
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...

When it comes to state education agencies (SEAs), ed-reformers have fallen into a sorry rut.

As states have emerged as primary drivers of much-needed changes in K–12 practice and policy, the SEA has become the default agent-of-change for a vast number of initiatives concocted by policymakers in state capitals and Washington alike.

Want a new teacher-evaluation system and more rigorous certification standards? Want to crack down on school violence and bullying? Want better assessments of school performance and improved interventions for low-performers? Want to widen broadband access and encourage blended learning?

Hand it to the SEA....

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 low performing kids from low performing schools. So, it depends on what problem we are trying to solve. Are we just looking for more models for...

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 unprepared for high school—a group that makes up, as he says, as much as 80–90 percent of students. He also points out, correctly, that all that many districts offer these students is a chance to muddle through four years (or more) in a large, comprehensive high school, in hopes of earning a diploma that by no means signals readiness for college or a career. It is an indictment of our educational system that many do not...

InBloom, a nonprofit that warehoused and managed student data for many public-school districts, is tapping out after being beaten to a pulp by data-privacy hawks. The mission of the organization, seeded by the Gates Foundation and Carnegie Corporation, was to help streamline how educators accessed student records—but the idea of children’s information being transferred to a third-party vendor...

How is Common Core implementation faring, four years after these challenging standards were unveiled and embraced? Education Week attempts to answer this with an investigative report covering the key challenges that states and districts face: politics, assessments, teacher preparation, spending, curricula, accommodations, and tests for the severely disabled. Ed Week concludes that the next year will be critical for the success of the standards. The first three topics—political pushback, assessments, and teacher prep—seem especially vital. The growing resistance to the standards has been well publicized. Ed Week reports, however, that the battle lines are constantly changing and the ultimate effect this will have on implementation is necessarily unclear. Equally important is this year’s rollout of new assessments from the two consortia, PARCC and Smarter...

After a controversial change to a state law, what happens on the ground? This piece, from last month’s meeting of the Association for Education Finance and Policy, delves into one such case. In 2012, Ohio lawmakers approved the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES), which requires evaluations be based on student-academic-growth measures, formal observations, and classroom walkthroughs. This study examines whether local teacher-collective-bargaining agreements negotiated after OTES was adopted allow the evaluation results to be used in personnel decisions (the authors called this “bridging”)—or if they protect experienced or tenured teachers’ jobs regardless of their evaluation scores (“buffering”). The authors found that all of the fifteen contracts they studied are essentially bridging when it came to evaluation policies, meaning that the contracts match well with state law and...