Each year, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute conducts an analysis of student achievement in Ohio's Big 8 urban districts and charter schools. 2010-2011's analysis looks at performance, growth (as measured by value-added), growth over time, comparisons between students in district schools, charters (and charters by type and authorizer type), e-schools, and more.
In this "Ed Short" from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, Amanda Olberg and Michael Podgursky examine how public charter schools handle pensions for their teachers. Some states give these schools the freedom to opt out of the traditional teacher-pension system; when given that option, how many charter schools take it? Olberg and Podgursky examine data from six charter-heavy states and find that charter participation rates in traditional pension systems vary greatly from state to state. When charter schools do not participate in state systems, they most often provide their teachers with defined-contribution plans (401(k) or 403(b)). But some opt-out charters offer no alternative retirement plans at all for their teachers. Read on to learn more.
In this Fordham Institute paper, analysts examine public data and find that the proportion of students with disabilities peaked in 2004-05 and has been declining since. At the state level, Rhode Island, New York, and Massachusetts have the highest rates of disability identification, while Texas, Idaho, and Colorado have the lowest. Read on to learn more.
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.
The latest results of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) garnered all the usual headlines about America's lackluster performance and the rise of competitor nations. And to be sure, the findings that America's 15-year-olds perform in the middle of the pack in both reading and math are disconcerting for a nation that considers itself an international leader, priding itself on its home-grown innovation, intellect, and opportunity. But that's not the entire story. Read on to learn more.
Statewide survey of Ohio school district superintendents (and other education leaders) on the most critical issues facing K-12 education in the Buckeye State, including budgets, school effectiveness, and troublesome laws.
Reviewers evaluated state standards for U.S. history in grades K-12. What they found is discouraging: Twenty-eight states—a majority—deserve D or F grades for their academic standards in this key subject. The average grade across all states is a dismal D. Among the few bright spots, South Carolina earns a straight A for its standards and six other jurisdictions—Alabama, California, Indiana, Massachusetts, New York and the District of Columbia—garner A-minuses. (The National Assessment's "framework" for U.S. history also fares well.) Read on to learn how your state scored.
This policy brief lists fifteen concrete ways that states can "stretch the school dollar" in these difficult financial times. It is written by Marguerite Roza, senior data and economics advisor at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Michael J. Petrilli, executive vice president at the Fordham Institute.
This study from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute finds that low-performing public schools—both charter and traditional district schools—are stubbornly resistant to significant change. After identifying more than 2,000 low-performing charter and district schools across ten states, analyst David Stuit tracked them from 2003-04 through 2008-09 to determine how many were turned around, shut down, or remained low-performing. Results were generally dismal. Seventy-two percent of the original low-performing charters remained in operation—and remained low-performing-five years later. So did 80 percent of district schools. Read on to learn more.