Month: June 2019

Street-Savvy School Reform – by Paul Hill

Political scientist E. E. Schattschneider likened politics to a fight between two men in a street. If nobody intervenes, the stronger will win. But if the weaker fighter can get a bystander to join in on his side, the dynamic changes. As Schattschneider noted, the result depends less on the strength of the two fighters than on the behavior of the crowd. One bystander might ente...

Summative Ratings Are All Around Us. Why Are We Afraid of Them in K-12 Education? – by Chad Aldeman

The Department of Education solicited feedback on their draft regulations for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  The draft regulations would clarify that, under ESSA, states must issue “summative ratings” for each of their schools. Although there’s been push back against that requirement on a few fronts, I honestly don’t understand it. In my comment on the draft regulation...

How Did Chronic Absenteeism Become a Thing? – by Phyllis W. Jordan

If you look at the accountability systems states are developing to meet federal requirements, you’ll see a growing number are using chronic absenteeism as a metric. Education Week calls it “super popular.” It makes sense. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires states to have a non-academic measure, and absenteeism is an easy one to use. Every school collects attendance...

Answered Prayer? – by Joshua Dunn

School-choice supporters hoped that the U.S. Supreme Court would declare Blaine Amendments unconstitutional in the 2017 case Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer. But the court declined to do so, leaving advocates to pray for another test case to reach the court. A state-court decision out of Montana last year could well provide that test. Blaine Amendments—provisions in 38 state ...

Teachers Don’t Need to Go It Alone on Personalized Learning – by Betheny Gross

When we first visited schools in spring 2016 for this project–a multi-year, multi-method study of systemic efforts to support schools implementing personalized learning—teachers seemed to be taking on an unsustainably heavy lift as they transitioned to personalizing student learning (PL). Teachers were often rewriting units and lessons from scratch, with the added e...

What We’re Watching: A 60-Second Commentary on the Democratic Presidential Candidates and Education Policy – by Education Next

Rick Hess takes a quick look at the education agendas of Democratic presidential candidates in this video produced by AEI. Joe Biden’s education agenda is the most liberal in presidential history, Hess says, but compared to other Democratic candidates, it looks centrist — even modest.   — Education Next Source: EducationNext...

Writing Under the Influence – by Christy Wolfe

The federal Charter Schools Program has played a critical role in increasing the number of charter schools across the country. Authorized in 1994, the Charter Schools Program provides operators with short-term funding to cover school startup costs, because schools cannot access per-pupil funding until students enroll. As of 2019, a school can receive up to $1.5 million over a ...

How Socrates Invented Social and Emotional Learning – by Robert Pondiscio

More than most fields and professions, education has a remarkably poor grasp of its own history. One of the reasons we are so susceptible to fads is because so few of us recognize that the Shiny New Thing is so often a recycled idea and a Ted Talk. (True story: I once witnessed a top editor of Edutopia stunned to learn that project-based learning was a one-hundred-year-old ped...