Yesterday, PISA released its newest report on the results of a "first-of-its-kind" assessment that sought to measure "creative problem-solving skills" of 15-year-olds. U.S. students scored above average, thought they fared worse than ten of the "44 countries and economies" (now there's an awkward phrase). Thankfully, the exercise hasn't occasioned the same spasm of hyperventilation that greeted the release of PISA's math, science, and reading results a few months back.


That peculiar disconnect between its presumed import and the lack of attention is the subject of a new report by my AEI colleague Mike McShane and me. In the report, titled Flying Under the Radar: Analyzing Common Core Media Coverage, we take a deeper look at how carefully the press covered this "once-in-a-generation" phenomenon.


School boards have long fascinated me. I'm always intrigued by anything that everyone denounces and yet which keeps on keeping on. Critiques of school boards are plentiful; there's no need to rehash them here. But, the thing is, outside of colorful accounts of urban school boards, our understanding of what school boards do and how much they matter is actually rather limited.


Field testing for the Common Core-aligned PARCC and Smarter Balanced is now underway, and dozens of states are preparing to make consequential decisions based on the results come next spring. I keep getting excited e-mails about all this. Me? I'm frustrated (and a little astonished) that, four years after the creation of the testing consortia, I still can't get meaningful answers to some practical questions about how all this is going to play out. When I bring these up, I mostly get accused of nitpicking. Am I? You be the judge. After all, we're now talking about results that will ...


On the right, the Common Core has been a source of bitter division for nearly two years. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have championed the adoption of these K-12 standards in reading and math, while tea-party critics have savagely denounced the whole thing as misguided and the educational equivalent of Obamacare.


You can hardly open a newspaper, visit an education website, or visit a school without being bombarded by excited claims about educational technology and a raft of intimidating jargon. Newspapers and school district announcements are full of terms like "MOOCs" (massive open online courses), "blended school models," "virtual classrooms," "adaptive assessments" and much more.


On Friday, Secretary Duncan gave an address at the National Board's inaugural "Teaching & Learning" conference in Washington. At the gathering, Duncan gave a speech on teacher leadership in which he unveiled a new "Teach to Lead" initiative.


President Obama and leading Republicans are all looking for ways to foster economic opportunity and tackle pressing social challenges, even as annual non-defense spending is on track to amount to the smallest share of the economy in a half century. While some of us rejoice and others wince at that trend, we can all agree that this means a smart Washington should be shifting funds away from programs that don't work and into ones that do.


I awoke with a start last night. Hovering above the floor, inches from the bed, was a figure. He wore a nice suit and avidly thumbed his iPhone, before glancing up at me.


Last week, the College Board excitedly unveiled its revamped SAT. I found myself unwowed, despite the adoring coverage. Now, I'm not particularly opposed to the changes, and I don't have any huge objections. But I am really puzzled that so much commentary seems to take the College Board's self-serving claims and promises at face value. Why my doubts? Here are five reasons.


The opinions expressed in Rick Hess Straight Up are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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