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In
kicking off Education Trust’s annual conference, Kati Haycock said that we
can’t let “bad parenting” be an excuse for poor educational results. She’s absolutely
right, of course. It’s not like our schools are running on all cylinders
(especially schools serving poor kids), and if only parents were doing their
jobs, too, achievement would soar. Sure, we’ve got several examples of school
models that are making a tremendous
difference

in educational outcomes for kids, regardless of what’s happening at home.

That
said, it strikes me as highly unlikely that we’re ever going to significantly
narrow the achievement gap between rich and poor unless we narrow the “good
parenting gap” between rich and poor families, too. (And yes, I know I’m going
to catch a lot of grief for saying that.)

We're never going to significantly
narrow the achievement gap between rich and poor unless we narrow the
'good parenting gap' between rich and poor families, too.

 
   
 

Let’s
admit it: The Broader/Bolder types are right when they say that a lot of what influences student achievement
happens outside of schools and before kids ever set foot in a Kindergarten
...

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  • To avoid a court
    injunction, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel has
    pulled back the reins
    in his plan to lengthen the school day in the
    Windy City. The thirteen schools that
    have already agreed
    (thanks to a monetary incentive) to up their
    school day by ninety minutes will keep their current bargain. But no other
    schools will be able to join that group. Just one more example of politics
    taking precedence over children.
  • Courtesy of the Center
    on Education Reform’s new district survey
    , we learn that half of
    districts eligible for school-improvement grants find it “inappropriate”
    to ask a district to turn around a failing school in three years. Of course
    this begs the question: What is an appropriate amount of time? Five years?
    Ten? Closing
    these schools may yet be the better option
    .
  • As the Common Core train races toward full
    implementation there are two potentials that might derail it: political
    backlash and cost. Kudos to California for thinking through the latter. According
    to a new analysis
    , CCSS implementation could run the Golden State $800 million.
    A hefty price tag, but remember: Divided among the 6 million-plus students in
    CA, and that figure represents around 1 percent of CA’s education spending.
  • Charter-school enrollment
    in D.C. leaped
    9 percentage points over the past year
    —nudging District charters up to
    41 percent market share. If
  • ...
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I glimpsed a quote from Kati Haycock yesterday, kicking off the Education Trust annual conference, saying that we can't let "bad parenting" be an excuse for poor educational results. She's absolutely right, of course. It's not like our schools are running on all cylinders (especially schools serving poor kids), and if only parents were doing their jobs too, achievement would soar. And we've got several examples of school models that are making a tremendous difference in educational outcomes for kids, regardless of what's happening at home. [quote]

That said, it strikes me as highly unlikely that we're ever going to significantly narrow the achievement gap between rich and poor unless we narrow the "good parenting gap" between rich and poor families, too. (And yes, I know I'm going to catch a lot of grief for saying that.)

Let's admit it: The Broader/Bolder types are right when they say that a LOT of what influences student achievement happens outside of schools, and before kids ever set foot in Kindergarten. Where they are wrong, I believe, is in thinking that turbo-charged government programs can compensate for the real challenge: what's happening (or not) inside the home.

Conservatives used to talk about this, but for whatever reason they've been awfully silent lately. Perhaps that's starting to change. A new book by Minnesota think tanker Mitch Pearlstein addresses the issue head on. And today, in the Washington Post, compassionate conservative Michael Gerson argues that issues like divorce and...

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Ohio Education Gadfly Biweekly

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Amber Winkler, Fordham's VP for Research, recently traveled China as a Senior Fellow with the Global Education Policy Fellowship Program (GEPFP). She'll be passing along her observations on education in the People's Republic with periodic ?Postcards from China.?

I've now had the opportunity to sit and peek in several schools and classrooms in Beijing, Shanghai, and Xi'an. I knew upfront that the Chinese were only going to show us what they wanted us to see--and that's proven true. In all three cities, we visited some of the best public and private schools they had to offer. Naturally, our study group is left wondering what education looks like for rural children outside the city borders and for "migrant" youngsters within city limits.? We'll keep wondering.

Still, I have a feeling that what I witnessed in these top-tier classrooms, specifically in terms of student and teacher behaviors, is rather typical of China as a whole.? These private and public institutions--a mixture of elementary, middle, and high school grades--shared some common characteristics, most of which Western educators have heard before about Chinese education. I'll expound on two.

First, Chinese teaching is dominated by direct instruction. Mostly kids sit in rows and the teacher talks--but she does so enthusiastically and often times with humor. So at no time was I bored. (In fact, we're told that teachers see part of their job as a "show" and relish the stage.) Teachers ask LOTS of questions to the class...

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Ohio Education Gadfly Biweekly

Opinion + Analysis: 
Reviews: 
Gadfly Studios: 

Amber Winkler, Fordham's VP for Research, recently traveled China as a Senior Fellow with the Global Education Policy Fellowship Program (GEPFP). She'll be passing along her observations on education in the People's Republic with periodic ?Postcards from China."

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="187" caption="Photo by Jason Meredith"]Wedding Cake[/caption]

Education governance is a topic of keen interest at Fordham mostly because we think the manner in which our educational institutions are organized, overseen, and managed is an overlapping colossal mess. We call it our ?marble cake? of governance. So one of the topics that I set out to research on this trip was what education "federalism" looks like in communist China. In other words, what educational powers and/or decision making does the State reserve for itself and what powers are held by provinces, local governments, and schools? Our American study-group leaders told us prior to our departure that when the Chinese can't or won't answer your questions, they will simply respond, "It's complicated." That's the answer my governance questions elicited for the most part.

But let me share what I managed to cobble together from fragments of conversations and other limited research. China has 22 provinces (excluding Taiwan), each of which is governed by a provincial government. The national government (Chinese Communist Party) oversees compulsory education, which requires that children receive a minimum of nine years of schooling (up to grade 9). The...

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Amber Winkler, Fordham's VP for Research, is currently traveling China as a Senior Fellow with the Global Education Policy Fellowship Program ( GEPFP). She'll be passing along her observations on education in the People's Republic with periodic ?Postcards from China,? but today she's sharing some of the more scenic (and entertaining) shots from her trip.

[caption id="attachment_19998" align="aligncenter" width="285" caption="Tienanmen Square"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_20000" align="aligncenter" width="292" caption="It's not so forbidden after all"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_20009" align="aligncenter" width="296" caption="Amber says China exaggerates their ratings"][/caption]

-Amber Winkler...

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Amber Winkler, Fordham's VP for Research, is currently traveling China as a Senior Fellow with the Global Education Policy Fellowship Program (GEPFP). She'll be passing along her observations on education in the People's Republic with periodic ?Postcards from China.?

A few days in bustling, smoggy Beijing and one thing is clear: The Chinese appear to have woken up to the needs of all of their students, not just their best and brightest.

We met with officials yesterday from the Beijing Institute of Educational Sciences. Funded by the Chinese government, the Institute operates 16 research institutes across the country; each institute has a focus such as basic education, vocational education, curriculum development, etc.

A quick sampling of the Ministry's goals, as revealed in their "Chinese Outline 2010-2020"--and articulated by our MOE-affiliated presenters-- shows the country's dual focus on both the have and the have-not's:

Basis education (Preschool-secondary)

*Improve the chances of students with disabilities and ethnic minorities; and

*Address the gap between rural and urban schools

Higher education:

*Develop multiple world class universities;

*Ensure equitable development among the regions particularly in central and western China;

*Strengthen vocational education in higher ed institutes; and

*Continue development of long distance learning opportunities in higher ed.

Given China's competitive exam-based culture and the limited number of slots available in its 2,000 universities,* only the brightest students (some would say most test savvy) have traditionally been rewarded--along with those whose parents have...

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Recommending sweeping changes in federal special ed policy, this new volume of 14 papers scrutinizes the education now being received by 6 million U.S. children with disabilities. Jointly published with the Progressive Policy Institute, the report will help shape discussion of the next reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). It identifies the problems that now beset this important program, analyzes their causes, and suggests solutions. All who care about the education of children with special needs will want to read it for themselves.

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