• NCLB Waivers: The Ultimate Ego Trip
    The move by states to secure waivers to NCLB requirements is intended to provide more flexibility to their school districts so that – as the theory goes – states and communities can respond to mounting national pressure to deliver better education. If only it were that easy. The reality is that these chiefs – regardless of their interests, their power and their ideological leanings – cannot do any better than those in power before NCLB was enacted unless the incentives for change — and the consequences — are no longer voluntary.
  • Kline releases final bill to replace No Child Left Behind
    The Republican chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Thursday released the final two pieces of his reform agenda, designed to replace the widely criticized and decade-old No Child Left Behind federal education law.
  • U.S. Department of Ed Really is Breaking the Law
    Last May I put up a post suggesting that the U.S. Department of Education was breaking the law by backing Common Core national standards, assessments, and curriculum.  Today the Pioneer Institute released an analysis by two former top lawyers from the U.S. Department of Education agreeing that the Common Core effort has crossed the line and violated the Department’s statutory authorization. And people who continue to insist that this is all a voluntary process must also think that handing over ‎your wallet is voluntary when a robber says, “Your money or your life.” After all, you had a choice.
  • AFC Condemns Insulting Comments From NJ Teachers Union Leader
    The leader of New Jersey’s largest teachers union dismissed the plight of low-income families across the state who are in desperate need of high-quality educational choices, saying in a recent local television interview that “life’s not always fair” while arguing against giving expanded educational options to students trapped in failing schools.
  • Governor’s Class-Size Initiative in Limbo
    Standing before a roomful of Tennessee newspaper publishers and editors Thursday, Gov. Bill Haslam declared he still believes school officials need more legal latitude to adjust student-to-teacher ratios to suit their particular circumstances. But he acknowledged he’s facing an uphill fight to convince key political constituencies that in some cases a larger classroom size is not necessarily a surefire recipe for lowering student learning potential.
  • School Choice Lowers Crime
    New research by Harvard professor David J. Deming studied the crime rates of young adults who participated in a random lottery at the middle or high school level. The lotteries decided whether students were able to attend a school of their choice or whether they were forced to attend their assigned public school. Students who won the lottery committed significantly fewer crimes as young adults than those who lost it. So here is another in the long list of educational outcomes improved by market freedoms and incentives. Send this to a friend who is still on the fence about the merits of educational freedom.
  • Obama and Duncan Waive Goodbye to Systemic Reform
    The fact that the administration allowed nine states, including Indiana and Florida, to ditch racial, ethnic, and economic subgroup categories and replace them with a super-subgroup that commingles poor and minority students into one, Obama and Duncan simply declared that states and districts no longer have to concern themselves with either accounting for their academic achievement or for their economic success. While Indiana, in particular, declares that it will continue to monitor AYP, the reality is that it is essentially abandoned since, unless a lawsuit or congressional action forces the administration to abandon the waiver effort, the states receiving the waiver won’t have to give it much attention. Even worse, allowing the states to engage in this super-subgroup subterfuge — along with ditching AYP altogether — essentially makes it difficult or parents and others who need clear, accurate data for making decisions; for researchers in particular, the administration’s decision hinders their ability to learn how schools are serving children.
  • 2012 February School Reform News | Heartland Institute
    The February issue of School Reform News reports the cost of implementing the federal government’s Common Core curriculum standards could cost states $30 billion or more. Also in this issue:
    *An Ohio legislator has offered a bill to grant low- and middle-income students school vouchers.
    *Lawmakers in Florida and Pennsylvania are considering allowing a majority of a failing school’s parents to require quick, significant reforms.
    *More than 500 charter schools opened in 2011, bringing the number of students enrolled in charters to more than 2 million and waitlists to 400,000.
    *Less than 40 percent of U.S. students met basic proficiency standards on the 2011 Nation’s Report Card.
    *A “gotcha” newspaper series highlighting fraud in a Florida voucher program relied on internal accountability reports already resolved by press time.
    *Student achievement assessments on Ohio’s standardized tests are coming in much higher than those reported by the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
    *Education vouchers will become the norm for public education by 2040, predicts Herbert Walberg.

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