Education takes off: Rocketships and high flyers abound

Aggressive marketing campaigns have led to an uptick in Catholic-school enrollment in some cities, a trend Gadfly hopes accelerates; many urban parochial schools have plenty to brag about and their merits stack up well against many of the district (and charter) schools they compete with for students.

A Wall Street Journal essay took teacher unions to task over the weekend for effectively protecting sexual predators through the byzantine procedures required to fire educators guilty of abusing students. Reformers need to be careful not to wield this argument recklessly—but the unions must recognize that the issue at hand is not worker rights: It’s doing the right thing for the students that teachers serve.

At last weekend's AFT convention, Joe Biden declared that teachers are under "full-blown attack" by Republicans. By attack, Mr. Vice President, you mean advocating for compensation that rewards teachers for high performance? Creating school models that empower educators and cut down on bureaucracy that keeps education dollars from reaching classrooms? If so, then here's hoping the GOP goes after principals next.

Giving high-performing blended-learning schools like Rocketship high-profile coverage, as the Washington Post did on Sunday, is more than deserved: With luck, it will help the public overcome its wariness about this promising model.

Florida Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson announced his resignation on Tuesday. We wish this estimable gentleman the very best in his next endeavor. As for Florida, it needs a steady hand at the reform tiller on multiple fronts, someone able to work with a strong board, excellent advocacy organizations, crotchety interest groups, headstrong legislators, and a somewhat-flaky governor. The more we think about it,  Florida could do a lot worse than to woo back either of Robinson’s two immediate predecessors, Eric J. Smith or John L. Winn, both of whom presided ably over some of the most important and effective ed reforms in the land.

Fordham’s own Checker Finn and co-author Jessica Hockett dive into the world of selective public high schools in an Education Next article that weighs the ups and downs of this model for educating America’s highest-flying students. The article previews a major book that Princeton University Press is publishing in a few weeks. (Want to know more? Read on…)

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