Month: September 2018

Reformers Need to Focus on What Happens Inside the Classroom – by Robert Pondiscio

My biggest takeaway from five years of teaching fifth grade in a South Bronx public school was this: much of what I had been taught about why my students struggled with reading comprehension and literacy was simply incorrect, and almost certainly doomed to fail. There was no conspiracy at work. No impersonal forces lined up to keep the majority of my students—all of them black ...

The Patriots and the ‘Unpopular Stuff’ of Excellence – by Frederick Hess

It says something (though I’m not sure what) that we’re just days from the Super Bowl, and yet that overhyped colossus is barely on the radar screen—swamped by fights over executive orders, the Supreme Court, Cabinet appointees, Trump’s tweets, and all the rest. At such times it can be helpful—it may even be important—for us Beltway types to seek a bit of perspective by looking...

In the News: Teachers Keep Teens Learning on Cyber Snow Days – by Education Next

In some school districts, a snow day does not mean kids stop learning. In US News, Alexandra Pannoni describes how some schools are providing non-traditional instruction using technology when weather closes schools. The assignments keep teens on track and also prevent the schools from having to make up the missed school days at the end of the school year. A study by Josh Goodma...

The Case for Adding a Second 2nd Grade to High-Poverty Elementary Schools – by Michael J. Petrilli

Veteran education analyst Marc Tucker wrote something the other day that stopped me cold. Describing some of the highest performing education systems in the world, he said, “Students do not routinely arrive at middle school from elementary school two or even three years behind. It simply does not happen.” If we could replicate this in America, it would change secondary educati...

Straight Up Conversation: Chiefs for Change COO Julia Rafal-Baer – by Frederick Hess

Julia Rafal-Baer is the COO of Chiefs for Change, a national network that includes 31 state chiefs and district superintendents from across 17 states. Previously, Julia served as assistant commissioner at the New York State Education Department. She holds a Ph.D. in comparative education policy from the University of Cambridge, where she was a Marshall Scholar. I recently had t...

How I Became a D.tech Dragon – by Megna Gaddam

I was a sophomore in high school when my dad told me about an up-and-coming public charter school called Design Tech High in Burlingame, California, about 30 miles north of my hometown in Silicon Valley. From the age of five I had attended my small-town public schools. I was comfortable there, but the only approach to learning I’d ever known was pretty dull: read the textbook, ...

How School Suspensions Affect Student Achievement – by Phyllis W. Jordan

The Philadelphia School District’s decision in 2012 to end suspensions for minor infractions provided fertile ground for the research team of Matthew Steinberg at the University of Pennsylvania and Johanna Lacoe at Mathematica Policy Research. Their findings have proved a Rorschach test, with both sides of the fraught debate on school discipline drawing conclusions from their ...