With all the attention Finland has been getting in recent years, you might wonder why we can't just replicate what the Finns are doing and - PRESTO! - fix all the woes of the U.S. education system.
In 2010, the President set a goal for the U.S. to become the global leader in postsecondary degree attainment by the year 2020. Yet, more than 7,000 students, many of whom are not proficient in reading and math, are leaving or being pushed out of U.S. schools each day. This study shows that the U.S. cannot achieve the President’s 2020 goal if our schools continue to hemorrhage large segments of our nation’s youth. Accordingly, this document is designed to serve as a blueprint for implementing a comprehensive package of policy reforms that seek to increase the quantity of students who succeed at every stage of the educational pipeline and the quality of the education they receive. Different from most calls for reform, it considers the educational pipeline in its entirety—from early childhood through postsecondary attainment—and offers evidence‐informed strategies to boost access, quantity and quality at every stage.
This report from the National Institute for Early Education Research analyzes national and state statistics and trends on the availabilty of quality Pre-K programs across the country. The report includes detailed state profiles that measure not just access access to early education opportunities but also whether available Pre-K programs meet a set of 10 benchmarks for quality.
The good news: More students than ever are enrolled in Pre-K programs in the U.S. The bad news: The rising number of Pre-K students coupled with state education budget cuts across the country has drastically reduced per-child spending on Pre-K programs.
If policymakers want to play a bit of poker, they should save their gambling for the card table and keep it out of education reform. In a Huffington Post column, Schott Foundation President and CEO John Jackson calls the weak hand of the policymakers who are pushing for more privatization in our nation's public schools.
How is it that education policymakers can profess to respect teachers while at the same time ignoring national teacher opinion polls and instead supporting policies like merit pay based on test scores, competitive grants, and the expansion of online learning and charter schools?
Over the past couple of weeks, we've posted about different examples of successful community organizing from across the country and they're worth highlighting again all in one blog post as proof of the power of grassroots organizing.
"Evaluating Teacher Evaluations," published in Phi Delta Kappan is a great tool for understanding value-added rating models and how they fail to account for the vast number of factors that influence a student's test scores from one year to the next. Since value-added models can't control for factors like class size, home and community challenges, summer learning loss (which disproportionately affects low-income students), then there is no way they can provide an accurate picture of how effective a teacher is in raising student test scores.
New York City recently joined the Los Angles Unified School District in making value-added teacher ratings open to the public despite significant evidence that value-added scores are riddled with errors and inconsistencies.The scores were subsequently published in major newspapers in each city, mislabling teachers publicly and proving that there needs to be more that goes into determining the "value" of a teacher than "value-added" scores.
Montgomery County School District has gotten a lot of attention for its successful efforts to improve graduation rates and narrow the achievement gap. But Montgomery is also a model for collaboration between teacher unions and administrators, and it provides a strong argument against corporate-style reform efforts that antagonize and seek to dismantle unions.