• More States Reconsidering National Standards Overhaul
    State policymakers are right to have concerns about the Common Core national standards. If adopted, states will be surrendering control of their education decision-making authority to national organizations and distant bureaucrats in Washington.
  • Education must move center stage in the presidential election
    Does any parent or CEO in America think education is 1 percent of the agenda in an age of global competition? Americans must demand from candidates concrete ideas on how to prepare our children to thrive in a global age. A serious debate would compel all seeking the White House to explain how they would do three big things:
  • Education Reform Is a Vote for the Economy
    But there’s another “E” missing from the equation that actually feeds — or starves — even the best economy. It’s called Education, and its reform is the imperative for a nation that continues to lag in achievement and finances. In every state and community, education reform is the battle cry for those most afflicted by the nation’s 2,000 failing high schools, and for the approximately 70 percent of kids who are not learning at either national or international benchmarks.
  • Video: Advancing and Reforming America’s Education System
    NBC’s Andrea Mitchell shares details from her conversation with Rahm Emanuel, Michael Bloomberg and Antonio Villaraigosa who joined Education Secretary Arne Duncan for a conversation on the state of America’s classrooms.
  • Bills give teachers right to use force dealing with unruly students » The Commercial Appeal
    State lawmakers are considering giving teachers and other school personnel more authority — including reasonable force — with less fear of liability for students who are posing a safety threat to themselves or others. The bill won unanimous approval in the state Senate and is set for review in the House Education Committee on Tuesday. It requires local school boards to adopt policies authorizing teachers and others to temporarily relocate a student with “reasonable or justifiable force,” if required, or for the students to remain in place until law enforcement or school resource officers arrive.
  • More on Milwaukee School Choice Research Results
    For more on how DPI under-stated the rate of disabilities in the Milwaukee choice program by between 400% and 900%, check out the new article Wolf, Fleming, and Witte just published in Education Next.  It’s not only an excellent piece of research detective work on how DPI arrived at such an erroneous claim, but it is also a useful warning to anyone who thinks that government issued claims provide the authoritative answer on research questions.  Government agencies, like DPI, can lie and distort as much or more than any special interest group.  They just do it with your tax dollars and in your name.
  • Report: Common Core Poses Legal Questions
    A new report written by former U.S. Education Department officials questions the legality of federal support for the Common Core State Standards Initiative, a set of education standards which critics say will lead to a national curriculum and tests. The report, “The Road to a National Curriculum,” concludes that the Obama administration “has simply paid others to do that which it is forbidden to do.” “The concern is that the assessments developed by the two Race to the Top-funded consortia will end up illegally directing the course of elementary and secondary curriculum across the nation,” said report coauthor Kent Talbert.
  • (Un)settling the score: Is there value in releasing teachers’ ratings?
    Starting this summer, Tennessee parents will be able to see at a glance where teachers rank on a scale of 1 to 5, a rating mostly based on learning gains their classes made and spot-checks recorded by principals. Anyone else who wants to know how a particular teacher performed can find out too, an issue that has split parent and educator advocacy groups in other states. They debate whether the benefits of public access outweigh the potential stress to teachers and distraction from learning.
  • Obama’s inconsistency on school choice
    This recognition of the family’s rights on such a personal and potentially life changing decision as contraception oddly does not carry over to education, which in the 21st century is more life changing than ever. Education once was third behind a good work ethic and a strong back for many middle class jobs. Today, education is a must for a middle-class standard of living.
  • Dyersburg City School Board to meet Monday
    The Dyersburg School Board will hold its regular monthly meeting on Monday, March 5 at 5:30 p.m. at the Central School Office next to the Professional Development Center. Items on the agenda include: * Bids for DHS renovation * Policy updates on personnel policies * Student-teacher disagreement over extracurricular activities
  • Allysia Finley: Can Teachers Unions Be Reformed?
    Democratic activist Steve Barr thinks he’s found a solution for improving schools without jettisoning collective bargaining: Reformed unionism. Is this an oxymoron or the real deal? “You can’t go into and change an 80-to-90 percent unionized industry without unionized labor,” Mr. Barr explains. Toyota and Honda might beg to differ, but Mr. Barr is determined to prove that unions can be forces for good in education. Union leaders love saying they’ve embraced reform even while doing everything in their power to thwart it. Take Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, who worked with Mr. Barr to found a Green Dot school in New York City but opposed non-unionized charters at every turn. In 2010, Ms. Weingarten sought to oust reformist Washington, D.C., schools chief Michelle Rhee for successfully weakening tenure protections, only to brag last year that “our union in the last two years had fundamentally reformed tenure so that it is really due process, so that it can’t be used as a shield to incompetence.” “A lot of reformers who are Democrats or moderates,” says Stanford political scientist Terry Moe, “want to believe that we can have unions and have reforms that are in the best interest of children. What they’re ignoring is that unions are in the business of protecting jobs.” They also may be ignoring a main reason for Green Dot’s success. “Green Dot schools are basically free to do as they please. Their union is nothing like local unions affiliated with NEA or AFT,” says Mr. Moe. “These unions are not in a position to act in a way that established unions do.” And that’s the scary part: “Give these unions another 10 or 15 years, and then what? Unions want to organize the charter sector, so they’re willing to accept these contracts for now,” says Mr. Moe. For now. A Steve Barr may want to “occupy” the unions, but it’s just as likely that unions want to co-opt reformist rhetoric and “occupy” the charter sector. Teachers unions didn’t become such a formidable political force by being stupid. They’re losing public opinion and market share to charters, but no real evidence suggests that they want to start privileging the interest of students over those of teachers.
  • A Soft Surrender to Low Expectations
    Unfortunately, the Virginia tax credit program is a mockery of education reform. If we will accept this, we will accept anything. It will not do what we expect or need in terms of expanding choice and freedom, and the hope that it will be appreciably improved in the next five years is slim at best. I will lay out my basic list of criticisms, which include some of the program’s inadequacies along with its grave debilitations:

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