Quality Counts: Uncertain Forecast???Education Adjusts to a New Economic Reality
2011 marks the quenceanera of Quality Counts—and the report has stepped into the limelight with typical stir. Much ado has already—and rightfully—been made about one of the report’s metrics: the Chance-for-Success Index, which ranks states’ education prowess based on inane indicators like the wealth and education levels of their adult populations. The inclusion of this index tends to inflate the overall grades of—you guessed it—wealthier states. So it should come as no surprise that Maryland takes gold, and Massachusetts and New Jersey tie for silver in the annual ranking. Still, there’s plenty of worthwhile material in the report to peruse. First, the web module made available for this edition allows users to adjust the weighting of different variables (for instance, you can go ahead and eliminate the dubious Chance-for-Success Index, if you’d like). Second, the report dissects education-spending and -finance policies, examining states’ responses to the recession. On the positive end, eleven states have loosened class-size requirements; on the negative, ten states have shortened the school day or year. The report notes that, in order to truly dig out from financial instability, states will need to be more creative than they’ve been to date. They’ll also need to think bigger and start tackling some big-ticket items like teacher-compensation structures and tenure laws. This all sounds very familiar to what we’ve been saying.
Editorial Projects in Education Research Center, “Quality Counts 2011: Uncertain Forecast—Education Adjusts to a New Economic Reality,” (Washington, D.C.: Editorial Projects in Education Research Center and Education Week, January 2011).
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