We propose a radical rethinking of the federal role in education. That role should much more limited and focused than it is currently, and it should be tailored to Uncle Sam’s capacity and expertise. More specifically, the federal government should do the following:
- Expect states to adopt rigorous standards and assessments and to maintain sophisticated data systems so that student achievement results and school-level finances are transparent to the public;
- Eliminate AYP and allow states much greater leeway in how they rate their schools;
- Allow states complete flexibility in deciding when and how to intervene in failing schools,determining the qualifications that teachers must meet, deciding whether to adopt teacherevaluation systems, etc.; and
- Whenever possible, and with the exception of the main Title I program, turn reform-oriented formula grant programs into competitive ones.
Mark Schneider / December 15, 2011
After more than ten years under NCLB, that law’s legacy continues to be fiercely contested. This analysis of NAEP scores—focusing on Texas and on the entire nation—by former NCES commissioner Mark Schneider finds that solid gains in math achievement coincided with the advent of "consequential accountability," first in the trailblazing Lone Star State and a few other pioneer states, then across the land with the implementation of NCLB. But Schneider warns that the recent plateau in Texas math scores may foreshadow a coming stagnation in the country’s performance. Has the testing-and-accountability movement as we know it run out of steam? How else might we rekindle our nation’s education progress?
Political leaders hope to act soon to renew and fix the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, also known as No Child Left Behind). In this important paper, Thomas B. Fordham Institute President Chester E. Finn, Jr. and Executive Vice President Michael J. Petrilli identify 10 big issues that must be resolved in order to get a bill across the finish line, and explore the major options under consideration for each one. Should states be required to adopt academic standards tied to college and career readiness? Should the new law provide greater flexibility to states and districts? These are just a few of the areas discussed. Finn and Petrilli also present their own bold yet "reform realist" solutions for ESEA. Read on to learn more.
In this study of the No Child Left Behind Act system and Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) rules for 28 states, we selected 36 real schools that vary by size, achievement, diversity, etc. and determined which ones would or would not make AYP when evaluated under each state's accountability rules. If a school that made AYP in Washington were relocated to Ohio, would it still make AYP?
May 29, 2012
Why not try strapping Title I dollars to the backs of needy kids and letting them take it to the schools of their choice?
May 25, 2012
Mike analyzes Governor Romney's education proposal on WSJ.com.
July 18, 2012
Come by Fordham’s D.C. office on July 26 for a conversation with Margaret Spellings and Lamar Alexander.
October 24, 2012
What the Common Core may mean for accountability
Common Core Watch
January 6, 2012
Why education needs to learn a few lessons from Apple about evolving and improving over time.
Thirty years ago, A Nation at Risk was released to a surprised country. Suddenly, Americans woke up to learn that SAT scores were plummeting and children were learning a lot less than before. This report became a turning point in modern U.S. education history and marked the beginning of a new focus on excellence, achievement, and results. Due in large part to this report, we now judge a school by whether its students are learning rather than how much money is going into it, what its programs look like, or its earnest intentions. Education reform today is serious about standards, quality, assessment, accountability and benchmarking—by school, district, state and nation. This is new since 1983 and it’s very important. Yet we still have many miles to traverse before we sleep. Our students still need to learn far more and our schools need to become far more effective. To recall the impact of A Nation at Risk these past three decades and to reflect on what lies ahead, watch this short retrospective developed by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and the American Enterprise Institute: A Nation at Risk: Thirty Years Later.
What a difference a decade makes. For all the debate around vouchers and student loans, perhaps the most striking element of Mitt Romney's education agenda is how much it differs from the approach of No Child Left Behind, the defining policy of the George W. Bush years. That does not mean, however, that other Republicans necessarily agree with it. The GOP stance on education, and particularly federal education policy, is clearly shifting. But in any clear direction? And for the better?"Margaret Spellings" "Lamar Alexander" Senator "United States Senate" "Secretary of Education" "Department of Education" DOE ESEA NCLB Tennessee