Try these 4 ideas to transform teaching profession and modernize our public schools

If you Google the terms “teacher shortage” and “teacher turnover,” your hits will light up rather forebodingly. Obviously local conditions affect individual districts in a variety of ways, so not all schools or regions are suffering to the same degree. However, there does seem to be a fairly broad-based national problem of recruitment and retention of K-12 teachers that is… Read more →

Foreign exchange students say U.S. high schools value sports over academics

Two-thirds of foreign-exchange students say U.S. high schools are “much easier” than schools in their home countries, writes Tom Loveless in the new Brown Center report on education. Nearly two-thirds of foreign exchange students surveyed (64.1%) view American teens as valuing success at sports “much more” than teens in their home countries. Homework and studying dominate foreign exchange students’ free… Read more →

Illinois’ school accountability plan fails on pillar promises of equity and transparency

Illinois released the latest draft of its public school accountability plan last week­– 164 pages of policy that is supposed to reassure the public and parents that our state will “ensure a focus on equity and excellence for all students.” I’m not reassured. Yes, there are things to like in this plan. It rightly shifts the accountability focus on student… Read more →

Time to focus on principals, the linchpin of school improvement

Back in the day, when I was an education reporter and trying to figure out where to find the school stories that would illuminate something revealing or surprising, I was given a great piece of advice by a veteran principal: “Study their budgets and look at how they spending their discretionary dollars. It will tell you a lot about what… Read more →

Time for suburban schools to shift to a new definition of ‘demanding families’

There’s a myth that persists in education for both parents and teachers: That heading to suburban schools somehow insulates you from hardship, instability and academic failure. So, not only are suburban schools now dealing with higher rates of poverty, cultural barriers and family disconnection, their staffs and school communities are not well equipped to handle this shift. According to a recent… Read more →

Think school choice isn’t an issue in your community? Think again

The school choice war has gone hot, writes Neal McCluskey on the Cato @ Liberty blog. New America’s Kevin Carey lamented “dismal voucher results” in the New York Times, which followed with an editorial calling choice an academic “failure.” However, “the vast majority of random-assignment studies of private school voucher programs — the “gold-standard” research method that even controls for… Read more →

Analyzing high school performance state by state? Like comparing bananas to bowling balls

I know we’re all supposed to be on the “local control” bandwagon when it comes to setting school accountability standards, but a recent report made it crystal clear why this is going to be a hot mess. Achieve–an independent education nonprofit focused on high standards and raising graduation standards–set out to measure how well students are doing nationwide when it… Read more →

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