The Every Student Succeeds Act—the federal education law that required all states to define what success looks like for 100,000 public schools and 50 million public school students nationwide–will go into full effect this year. But you’d never know that from asking everyday parents and educators about the accountability law. No one is talking about it. No one is paying attention to what… Read more →
Tracy loves to ask questions and write stories. She roots for the underdog, wants our nation to reimagine schools and the teaching profession, and seethes about how much school inequity she sees. She spent most of her career as a journalist covering schools and crime. She and her husband raised two daughters in a diverse suburb of Chicago. She currently runs an education foundation in her community and formerly served as managing editor of Education Post. After leaving journalism she explored her wonkier side communicating school research at the University of Chicago and the Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education. She is Californian by birth and a Chicagoan in spirit. She loves the outdoors and all animals, especially her spoiled "dingo" dog.
It’s time to listen to what Millennials are telling us about education priorities
If you want a peek at where our educational priorities might land in about 10 years, take a look at this poll. Here are a few hot-button findings that jump out from “Education in America: The Views of Millennials:” Millennials support school choice, both charters and vouchers, especially if the vouchers help low-income families afford private school. Millennials think there… Read more →
How can I be pro-public school, pro-school-choice, anti-voucher–and still find reasons to cheer the new IL plan?
Now that the state’s school funding plan is the law, the big question is whether the Chicago Teachers Union will challenge it. While the law paves the way for financial stability for Chicago Public Schools, the union signaled a fight around the tax credit scholarship program, a provision added at the 11th hour to garner conservative support. To be honest,… Read more →
When teachers shill for high-tech companies: Icky, but is it unethical?
I’m all about teachers embracing new technology in their classrooms and sharing their best practices with colleagues. But there’s something unsettling when a teacher gushes about all the high-tech product placements she “embeds” in her “brand.” Now Kayla Delzer, a third-grade teacher in a rural North Dakota district, can gush about her latest score in brand enhancements: This front-page story… Read more →
Why I’m celebrating Illinois’ school funding fix–and ignoring the voucher kerfuffle
I’m going to take a moment to celebrate my state’s historic school funding plan–and ignore the brewing debate over a private school tax credit that opponents want to call a backdoor voucher program but isn’t a voucher program at all. Today, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is expected to sign legislation that will close spending inequities, reduce the reliance on property… Read more →
Should schools focus on tenacity or test scores?
It’s a new school year, and teachers will be talking a lot about how to nurture the kind of skills that lead to academic success. I’m not talking about reading and math skills–but rather the behavioral traits and mindsets that are getting a lot of attention in educational circles. The University of Chicago Consortium on School Research just released a… Read more →
Illinois’ accountability plan doesn’t work for our kids–and thankfully, the feds told them so
It’s comforting to learn that the feds (i.e. The U.S. Department of Education run by Secretary Betsy DeVos) has some serious concerns about Illinois accountability plans. When I first saw Illinois’ plan, I concluded that it fell far short of its goals around equity and transparency, and wrote about those failings here and here. Illinois was among the first states… Read more →
Why are parents overconfident about academics and stressed out about kids’ happiness?
We’ve known this for a while, but here’s another survey to add fuel to the fire: Parents tend to inflate their kids’ academic progress and deflate their kids’ emotional resilience. In a nutshell, they don’t worry enough about the fact that schools are increasingly unable to prepare students with the skills they need to succeed in college and the workplace–and… Read more →
DC Schools show the value of staying the course on a controversial teacher evaluation system
Today brought some good news about teacher evaluation, an important education improvement that is largely out of favor with school districts and sidelined by the federal government. A new research report sponsored by Education Next suggests that a once-controversial plan to re-imagine the way teachers are reviewed and compensated in Washington D.C. is accomplishing its ultimate goal: To improve student… Read more →
A deep dive into a well-heeled suburban CO district, where $1 billion buys a lot of mediocrity
There are not a lot of folks in the educational advocacy space who have taken on the sacred cow of the suburban school system. Some of it is because there bigger issues to resolve around urban schools, and part of it is because so many parents in well-resourced suburban schools have a vested interested in promoting and protecting the status… Read more →