America's urban Catholic schools are in crisis. Over 1,300 of them have shut down since 1990, mostly in our cities. As a result, some 300,000 students have been displaced--double the number affected by Hurricanes Rita and Katrina. This report, which includes a comprehensive survey of the attitudes of U.S. Catholics and the broader public towards inner-city Catholic schools, examines this crisis and offers several suggestions for arresting and perhaps reversing this trend in the interests of better education.
Ohio can boast of praiseworthy gains over the past decade in making school funding more equitable across districts, but there is more work to be done. To mitigate the school-finance inequities that remain within districts and gear school funding toward the realities of student mobility, school choice and effective school-based management, this report recommends that Ohio embrace Weighted Student Funding (WSF), which allocates resources based on the needs of individual students and by sending dollars directly to schools rather than lodging most spending decisions at the district level.
Too Good to Last: The True Story of Reading First is an in-depth and alarming study of Reading First's betrayal. Under the leadership of White House domestic policy chief Margaret Spellings and with support from Congress, Reading First was to provide funding to primary-reading programs that were based on scientific research. Backlash and brouhaha followed. Aggrieved whole-language program proprietors complained bitterly that their wares couldn't be purchased with Reading First funds. Then the administration turned its back on Reading First, allowing the program to be gutted and starved of funding.
In the era of No Child Left Behind, principals are increasingly held accountable for student performance. But are teacher labor agreements giving them enough flexibility to manage effectively? The Leadership Limbo: Teacher Labor Agreements in America's Fifty Largest School Districts, answers this question and others.
For information on Fordham's unique role as a charter school sponsor in Ohio, there's no better source than The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation Sponsorship Accountability Report 2006-07. The report offers a comprehensive account of Fordham's sponsorship policies and practices-as well as individual profiles of all Fordham-sponsored schools. Included in the profiles are descriptions of each school's educational program, school philosophy, and overall academic performance.
This report examines whether the reputation the Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs have for academic excellence is truly deserved. Our expert reviewers looked at the four AP and IB courses most similar to the core content areas in American high schools--English, history, math, and science--and found that, in general, the courses do warrant praise. In a few cases, they deserve gold stars.
NCLB allows each state to define proficiency as it sees fit and design its own tests. This study compares state tests to benchmarks laid out by the Northwest Evaluation Association to evaluate proficiency cut scores for assessments in twenty-six states. The findings suggest that the tests states use to measure academic progress and student proficiency under NCLB are creating a false impression of success, especially in reading and especially in the early grades.
At first glance, the explosive growth of 'alternative' teacher certification--which is supposed to allow able individuals to teach in public schools without first passing through a college of education--appears to be one of the great success stories of modern education reform. But, as this report reveals, alternative certification programs have so far failed to provide a real alternative to traditional education schools. In fact, they represent a significant setback for education reform advocates.
Despite a decade of significant school reform efforts in Ohio, students in the state's largest cities still struggle mightily to meet basic academic standards and are nowhere close to achieving the goals set by the federal No Child Left Behind law, according to an analysis of the latest Ohio school report-card data.
America's true competitive edge over the long haul is not its technical prowess but its creativity, its imagination, its inventiveness. And those attributes are best inculcated not by skill-drill or 'STEM' but through liberal arts and sciences, liberally defined. Thus argues this new Fordham volume, edited by Chester E. Finn, Jr. and Diane Ravitch, which also explores what policymakers and educators at all levels can to do sustain liberal learning and sketches an unlovely future if we fail.