• Growing Opposition to National Education Standards
    The authority to create and set standards belongs to states and school districts, not the federal government. To improve education, state and local leaders should strengthen state standards and tests, provide information to parents on school performance, and empower parents to act on this information by providing more school choice options. Rather than a centralization of education through national standards, Izumi asserts that school systems must decentralize by giving ”power back to the parents….to give their child the type of education…that best suits that child’s needs.”
  • Lawmakers Push Third-Grade Retention Policies
    Republican and Democratic lawmakers in multiple states have introduced legislation that would mandate holding back third-grade students who cannot pass state literacy tests. In Iowa, New Mexico, Tennessee, and Colorado, legislatures are debating multiple versions of bills that would stop social promotion for third-graders as a last resort.
  • UFT Loses Appeal, Teachers Ratings to Be Published
    The United Federation of Teachers (UFT) has lost their appeal to prevent New York City from releasing performance reports for thousands of teachers.
  • In Finland, Students Win When Teachers Compete
    The benefits of such a competitive process for prospective teachers are obvious. Teacher preparation programs can concentrate on instruction, curriculum, and education research because admitted students deeply understand the content of the subjects they will teach. Because of their academic qualifications and pedagogical training, teachers can be granted a great deal of autonomy in the classroom to address the National Curriculum Framework for Basic Education, a document that lays out a set of general academic objectives but leaves curriculum development and textbook selection for grades 1 to 9 to schools. Because of teachers’ academic and pedagogical qualifications, no external or national tests are needed in grades 1-9.  Because of teachers’ academic and pedagogical qualifications, the teaching profession is held in high respect, and there is an extremely low attrition rate.  Only 10 to 15 percent of teachers leave during the course of a career, according to Sahlberg. According to Sahlberg, an increase in intellectual demands has made elementary teaching in Finland more, not less, attractive.
  • Study: Common Standards Will Not Affect Student Achievement
    Will the Common Core State Standards improve student achievement? Not according to a new study out today. The crux of the argument in the Brookings Institution report is that there is not much of a connection between standards—even rigorous ones—and student achievement. If there was a connection, we would have seen signs of improvement from states’ own individual standards—all states have had standards since 2003—but NAEP scores don’t bear that out, author Tom Loveless argues.

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