Forget the D.C. pipedreams; from Utah to Maine, states showed their smarts this week

  • President
    Obama's education budget proposal would boost
    federal spending
    , double down on Race to the Top, and create the
    RESPECT Project (seriously), a new $5
    billion competitive grant program
    aimed at spurring states to reform
    teacher policies. The new competition has some appealing goals—tenure
    reform, pay-for-performance—but in the current budget crunch it’s
    politically DOA. Does all this posturing hint that the President gearing
    up to run
    on education
    ?
  • A Chicago charter
    network is taking heat for collecting almost $400 grand over the last
    couple years by fining
    students for behavioral infractions
    . To which we say: So what?
    Everyone in the school is there voluntarily, it’s got a great reputation
    for a strong culture, it’s under-funded by the state and city, and its
    academic results are stellar. Go find some other problem to solve. 
  • Lawmakers
    in several states are seriously considering holding back third-graders who can't pass state tests.
    More than a decade after Florida
    demonstrated the positive impact of such a policy, it’s about time.
  • Brookings
    Institution’s Brown
    Center released its annual
    report on American education
    this morning; it was chockfull of
    provocative findings, including challenging
    the likely efficacy of the Common Core
    . If its author, Tom Loveless,
    wants to argue that standards alone won’t lead to increased student
    achievement, we’ll join right along with him. (Duh!) But as we’ll explain
    in more detail next week, rigorous standards are an essential building
    block for a comprehensive system of reform.
    • Utah’s
      legislature is considering a bill
      that would tie secondary education
      funding to the student, not the school. This is exactly the kind of forward-thinking
      school finance
      structure needed to meet 21st-century student needs.
      Dilly-dallying with pilot programs would be a disappointment; here’s hoping the
      Beehive State goes big and creates a national
      model for school finance reform.

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