One of the guys leading the common-standards initiative sat down in front of a roomful of state board of education members in Philadelphia yesterday and said, "I'm not from the federal government." A wave of chuckles rippled through the room. But he was getting at something serious. The quip by Chris Minnich, who is overseeing the common-standards work for the Council of Chief State School Officers, was intended to ease some of the skepticism about the initiative being led by CCSSO and the National Governors Association. He was appearing with the NGA's David Wakelyn at the third in a series ...


Time for a bracing change of pace for those of you interested in high school issues. The National Center on Education and the Economy is proposing a very different way of doing high school curriculum and assessment, and it's outlined in The New York Times. The folks at NCEE have the idea that if students can pass a set of rigorous board examinations at the end of 10th grade, they should be able to move on to community college. If they aspire to a more selective institution, they can remain in high school and take college-prep classes. (This is an ...


Amid strong opposition, state education officials are apparently backing off a recent proposal to rewrite social studies standards.


Forty-eight states have signed on to support the development of common academic standards. But they may be supporting something that doesn't have much evidence of effectiveness in improving learning, according to a new paper from a think tank here in Washington. In a policy analysis released today, Neal McCluskey, the associate director of the Center for Educational Freedom at the Cato Institute, argues that the case for a set of standards shared by all states is empirically weak. In "Behind the Curtain: Assessing the Case for National Curriculum Standards," he argues that expanding educational choice is a more effective way ...


A task force concludes that the "national system of preparing physics teachers is "largely inefficient, mostly incoherent, and massively unprepared to deal with the current and future needs" of U.S. students.


A state senator from Utah is suggesting that his state save money by making the senior year of high school optional. Many states and districts have been searching for ways to save money during these lean financial times. One of the most frequently cited—though not widely embraced—suggestions is shortening the school calendar. But this is the first time I've heard of someone proposing to eliminate an entire year of school. Not that the senior year hasn't been the target of criticism for a long time. You can hardly spit without running into a high school senior who will...


A lot of people are talking about The New York Times story on how Texas revised its social studies standards. (You might remember that process got just a tad controversial recently.) Read what Eduwonk has to say about it (the blog provides lots of good links to other commentary as well). Former Gates Foundation education biggieTom Vander Ark shares thoughts (and a fun headline) as well over at VA/R Partners. A recent story in the Dallas Morning News reports on the board's decision. Check out our previous blog posts on Texas' revision here and here, and a story here. ...


Curriculum Matters co-author Erik Robelen will appear on the Kojo Nnamdi Show this coming Monday to discuss charter schools.


A new initiative called the Pi Society will award a first round of grants this spring for math fellowships worth $5,000 apiece.


Perhaps Harvard Business Review isn't high on your list of regular leisure reading. It isn't high on mine, either. But this is worth a look. It's an argument for the importance of feeling that you are making progress in your work. The authors studied "knowledge workers" of many stripes, and found that recognition, incentives, interpersonal support and clear goals are not as high on the motivation scale as that sense of making progress in your work. (Managers of these workers thought that recognition for good work would be the most important motivator, and making progress would be the least important. ...


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