From SIG to surveys, a little skepticism is in order

  • Arne Duncan was only missing a "Mission Accomplished" banner on Monday when he announced that the Administration’s School Improvement Grants program is succeeding. CEP's latest reports find that state officials tend to agree (expect a full review in two weeks) and Duncan's data are certainly encouraging, but it is far too early (and potentially costly) to suspend skepticism of a $3 billion program that still shares many traits with a "black hole."
  • The nation's graduation rate edged upwards by 3.5 percentage points from 2001 to 2009 according to a new report released by the Alliance for Excellent Education, America’s Promise Alliance, Civic Enterprises, and the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins. An encouraging statistic—assuming that the recent boom in credit recovery programs doesn’t mean that many of those diplomas aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on.
  • A new survey of teachers brings both good and bad tidings for the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Bad news first: More than 1 in 5 teachers have never even heard of the standards. The good news? Only 22 percent report feeling "very prepared" to teach to them. Bear with us: That’s a positive because it means teachers know they have more to learn before their Common Core-aligned lessons are ready for prime time—and might be getting the message that these standards represent a real step up from what they’ve been using to date.
  • The Gadfly will be on Spring Break next week, fanning his wings on a beach in Barbados. We’ll be back on April 5…if not before.

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