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April 26, 2011

Social Norms Beat Market Norms

Curiously, the corporate reform movement likes to talk about data-driven decisions, but they ignore any data that doesn't support what they want to do. For example, when the Vanderbilt study of merit pay was published, the U.S. Department of Education immediately released nearly $500 million for—what else—more merit-pay programs, and promised that another $500 million would be forthcoming.

April 21, 2011

The Company We Keep, and Why It Matters

As students, we are in school at most a third of our waking hours every year. Given "how" we learn, how best can we bridge school and the other two-thirds "efficiently"?

April 12, 2011

Vouchers Make a Comeback, But Why?

That last argument is the one that really moves policymakers in these tough fiscal times. Imagine that: voucher schools may not educate kids better, but they can do the job at half the cost. That's powerful, and it reveals what matters most these days: not improving education, not encouraging creativity and innovation, but cutting costs.

April 07, 2011

People vs. Dollars

Lobbyist by lobbyist, the unions certainly couldn't match their opponents, even if we added in the many good citizen advocacy groups. But they had one advantage over the others: the relatively high loyalty of their members. Numbers of people vs. numbers of dollars.

April 05, 2011

The Texas Miracle Revisited

But what we now know is that there never was a Texas miracle. At best, it was wishful thinking. At worst, it was a lie.

March 31, 2011

The President's Radical Comments on Testing

In real time, the government is paying people to invent more bubble tests for the untested subjects (art, science, physical education), and we're giving these not just annually, but four, five, six, 10 times a year to see if teachers are keeping up the needed pace, not to mention to determine how some of those teacher will get paid!

March 29, 2011

Thoughts on the Failure of Merit Pay

Merit pay has been tried again and again since the 1920s. Sometimes scores go up, sometimes they don't, but the programs never seem to make much difference and eventually disappear.

March 08, 2011

Signs of Hope?

There really is a bipartisan consensus on education reform. It happens to be the Republican agenda of the past 30 years.

March 01, 2011

A Moment of National Insanity

I'm beginning to think we are living in a moment of national insanity. On the one hand, we hear pious exhortations about education reform, endlessly uttered by our leaders in high political office, corporate suites, foundations, and the media. President Obama says we have to "out-educate" the rest of the world to "win the future."

February 01, 2011

The President's Speech

The status quo today is not good. For 10 years we have pursued the heavy-handed mandates of No Child Left Behind, with meager results.

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