Publications

Publications
This paper aims to promote a clearer understanding of the graduation-rate debate by distilling the policy developments and controversy surrounding the measurement of these rate. Why are there so many different ways to calculate graduation rates? How do these different rates account for the multiple pathways to graduation? What are the data sources used in the various dropout-rate calculations, and what are their pros and cons?
The media is awash with stories about Ohio's brain drain: in 2007, the Buckeye State saw 6,981 more residents between the ages of 25 and 34 leave the state than migrate into it. What's worse, the more education these young people have, the more likely they are to leave. The Thomas B. Fordham Institute seeks to shed light on this important problem--and explore solutions--with this study by the Farkas Duffet Research Group.
Over the past five years, the number of students taking at least one Advanced Placement exam rose by more than half. This news is celebrated but is there a downside? To find out, Fordham commissioned the Farkas Duffett Research Group to survey AP teachers in the US. The AP program remains popular with its teachers. But there are signs that the move toward "open door" access to AP is starting to cause concern.
In public education today, individual schools are accountable under the federal No Child Left Behind Act as well as myriad state and local policy regimens for their students achievement and other vital outcomes. Increasingly, school leaders find their own job tenure and compensation tied to those outcomes as well. But do they possess the authority they need to lead their schools to heightened performance? Numerous surveys (conducted by Public Agenda, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, and others) suggest that many school leaders feel they do not. Thus an important public policy question arises: what factors help or hinder school leaders in exercising their authority and in which areas?
This report has a simple aim: to present results from international assessments so readers can judge for themselves how American students stack up globally. It shows how the U.S. has performed internationally in education in recent years, and it provides a glimpse of how education looks in several top-performing nations.
The standards of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Excellence (NCATE) are of critical import for America's future teaching corps and will wield disproportionate influence for decades to come. Over the past fifteen years, 25 states have outsourced the approval of teacher preparation programs to NCATE by adopting or adapting its standards as their own; the other 25 have various 'partnerships' with the organization. Which makes it all the more disturbing that central to these standards is the call for teachers to possess certain 'dispositions' such as particular attitudes toward 'social justice.' As Professor William Damon of Stanford University explains in Fordham's latest Fwd: Arresting Insights in Education, NCATE's framing of the 'dispositions' issue has given education schools 'unbounded power over what candidates may think and do.' This is leading to (understandable) charges of ideological arm-twisting and Orwellian mind-control.
In 2002, when its voters approved a ballot measure calling for universal pre-Kindergarten by 2005-06, Florida joined a handful of states in which all children are eligible for free, publicly funded education in the year prior to Kindergarten. The passage of the referendum was cause for great optimism among those aware of the power of high-quality pre-K programs to prepare children, particularly low-income children, to meet the challenges of K-12 education. But as with any public policy initiative, the devil is in the details. In designing the half-day Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten program (VPK), the Florida legislature faced competing demands. How did they balance the trade-offs? Amy Wilkins of the Education Trust lays it out in Fordham's latest Fwd: Arresting Insights in Education.
This brochure contains profiles of the winners of the second annual Thomas B. Fordham Foundation Prizes for Excellence in Education. The 2004 prize for Valor is awarded to Howard Fuller, and the 2004 prize for Distinguished Scholarship is awarded to Eric Hanushek.
A good, well-organized social studies curriculum seeks to teach students the key events, issues, and people in America's past, how our government works, our rights and responsibilities as citizens, and how our predecessors fought to defend democracy. How can parents tell whether their children are getting such a curriculum in school?one that is rich in historical content and provides a solid base for future learning? The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation suggests asking teachers and principals these six questions on back to school night.
The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation's first-ever Five-Year Report reviews our major education reform activities, products and expenditures, both in the national reform arena and in Dayton, from 1997 through 2001 and sums up the work of the Foundation from its rebirth in the mid-1990s until today. In the report, we endeavor to show what we think we've accomplished, where our efforts have fallen short, and what we've learned.

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