More than 1.7 million American children attend what we've dubbed "private public schools"—public schools that serve virtually no poor students. In some metropolitan areas, as many as one in six public-school students—and one in four white youngsters—attends such schools, of which the U.S. has about 2,800.
The typical U.S. charter school lacks the autonomy it needs to succeed, once state, authorizer, and other impositions are considered. For some schools—in some states, with some authorizers—the picture is brighter but for many it's bleak. State-specific grades for charter autonomy range from A to F.
This national survey of education school professors finds that, even as the U.S. grows more practical and demanding when it comes to K-12 education, most of the professoriate simply isn't there. They see themselves more as philosophers and agents of social change, not as master craftsmen sharing tradecraft. They also resist some promising reforms such as tying teacher pay to student test scores. Still, education professors are reform-minded in some areas, including tougher policies for awarding tenure to teachers and financial incentives for those who teach in tough neighborhoods. Read on to find out more.
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.
The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation is pleased to share our 2009-10 Sponsorship Accountability Report. The report, Renewal and Optimism: Five Years as an Ohio Charter Authorizer, contains a year in review for Ohio's charter school program, detailed information on the Fordham Foundation's work as a charter school sponsor, and data on the performance of our sponsored schools during that year.
Fordham has been both an advocate of choice and an authorizer of charter schools serving some of Ohio's neediest students. This book describes and analyzes our efforts, successes and failures, and what we think it means for others committed to school reform.
When it comes to public-sector pensions, writes lead author Mike Lafferty in this report, "A major public-policy (and public-finance) problem has been defined and measured, debated and deliberated, but not yet solved. Except where it has been." As recounted in "Halting a Runaway Train: Reforming Teacher Pensions for the 21st Century," these exceptions turn out to be revealing—and encouraging. As leaders around the country struggle to overhaul America's controversial and precarious public-sector pensions, this study draws on examples from diverse fields to provide a primer on successful pension reform. Download to find valuable lessons for policymakers, workers, and taxpayers looking for timely solutions to a dire problem.
Representatives from twenty states are hard at work developing Next Generation Science Standards—and using as their starting point the National Research Council's recently released Framework for K-12 Science Education. This review of that framework, by Paul R. Gross, applauds its content but warns that it could wind up sending standards writers off track. This appraisal find much to praise in the Framework but also raises important concerns about a document that may significantly shape K-12 science education in the U.S. for years to come. Download to learn more.
"Do High Flyers Maintain Their Altitude? Performance Trends of Top Students," is the first study to examine the performance of America's highest-achieving children over time at the individual-student level. Produced in partnership with the Northwest Evaluation Association, it finds that many high-achieving students struggle to maintain their elite performance over the years and often fail to improve their reading ability at the same rate as their average and below-average classmates. The study raises troubling questions: Is our obsession with closing achievement gaps and "leaving no child behind" coming at the expense of our "talented tenth" and America's future international competitiveness? Read on to learn more.
Any number of organizations are offering advice about what to teach schoolchildren about the events of September 11, 2001, yet (unlike that day's murderous pilots) most sorely miss the mark. Fordham's publication, "Teaching about 9/11 in 2011: What Our Children Need to Know," highlights the danger of slighting history and patriotism in the rush to teach children about tolerance and multiculturalism. It combines ten short essays by distinguished educators, scholars, and public officials from our 2003 report, "Terrorists, Despots, and Democracy: What Our Children Need to Know," essays that feel more timely than ever, and includes a new introduction by Chester E. Finn, Jr. reflecting on how the lessons of these essays apply today.