Do we need a charter movement in the suburbs? Education activist Derrell Bradford recently argued that yes, we do–but mostly because it broadens the base of clout-heavy supporters and makes it more palatable for self-interested politicians to “do the right thing” on school choice. I would agree, but for a very different reason posited by Mr. Bradford: We need competition… Read more →
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 →
Back to school time is approaching, and with that comes all the “to-do’s” and “suggestions for parents” that make huge assumptions about parents, about kids, and most importantly, about the causes, symptoms, treatments, and solutions for children who are “misbehaving.” The biggest mistaken assumption is that if a child is misbehaving, especially if that child is black or brown, that… Read more →
A recent story in the Daily Herald painted a grim picture of a Chicago suburban district struggling mightily with some big city problems: high poverty and low graduation rates, high absenteeism and low teacher morale, high mobility and low test scores. The suburban newspaper is highlighting a problem that is getting little attention in the education debates: suburban districts that don’t… Read more →
In a recent piece in The 74 Bill Bennett suggests that the opt-out movement in New York is driven solely by teacher union leaders and allies who have spent millions of dollars on robocalls, emails, forums, and other tactics. Their motivation to increase test refusals this year is engineered to undermine “tough, high-quality standardized exams” that “will hold their members accountable… Read more →
Commentary, Courier News, 4/15/16
Are the public schools serving New Jersey’s middle-class students performing well? Lots of parents think so. They believe that student performance problems are limited to low-income areas in the inner city — in places like Newark or Camden. But many suburban public schools serving middle-class New Jersey students are not performing as well as parents think, according to a new study from the Pacific Research Institute.
Despite these troubling proficiency rates on a respected national exam, many middle-class New Jersey parents believe that their local public schools are doing fine. Part of the reason is that New Jersey’s own state exams have, until recently, been easy to pass. The PRI study found that there were very few predominantly middle-class public schools where half or more of the students in at least one grade level failed to achieve math or English proficiency on the less-than-rigorous 2014 state exams.
There’s no heartbreak worse than seeing your child struggle. And when they struggle to make a successful college transition, it can impact the rest of their life. In my son’s case, the public K-12 schools and the college of his dreams got paid, but he got a pink slip. Like all parents, I wanted my kids to achieve success in… Read more →