April 2011 Archives

By guestblogger Alexandra Usher The opinions expressed below are solely those of the author, and not endorsed or supported by the Center on Education Policy. High stakes or no stakes, testing still has consequences Secretary Duncan has made it clear that he's in favor of standardized testing, value-added assessments, encouraging states and districts to build data systems, linking teacher pay to student test scores, and generally gathering a lot of data about students and using it for high stakes purposes. Recently, President Obama was criticized for appearing to counter that sentiment by suggesting that too much testing is bad for ...


By guestblogger Alexandra Usher There has been a lot of debate lately about the federal government's proper role in education, with some pundits and politicians casually throwing around the suggestion that "the feds get out of education", and others calling for the total elimination of the Department of Education. These are popular taglines because they appeal to our idealized notion that each community, knowing what's best for its kids and families, should support and control its own local school. But this completely ignores an important detail: the federal government has, since its inception, played a vital role in education. Before ...


I'm going on vacation for a few days. Alexandra Usher is going to be guest-blogging in my absence. Alexandra is a Research Assistant at the Center on Education Policy in Washington, D.C., where she has authored reports on the original federal land grants for education, adequate yearly progress, and will soon be co-authoring a review of voucher research. She began her career in education by spending a year as a Fulbright Teaching Assistant in Nuremberg, Germany and earned her B.A. in International Affairs from The George Washington University. She received an outstanding public school education in Chicago's northern ...


The deal struck between Congressional Republicans, Democrats, and the administration to avert a federal shut down included new funding to resurrect the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship (aka "vouchers") program. This, among other riders affecting D.C. government and residents, has touched off a new round of anger about Congressional impositions on D.C. Home Rule. I care deeply about D.C. Home Rule. The disenfranchisement of voters who live in our nation's capital, and Congress's frequent choice to stymie the will of D.C. voters and their elected representatives on issues from guns to gay marriage, should be a foul ...


Principal leadership is a hot topic in education these days. We spend a lot of time talking about teacher effectiveness, but successful schools also require excellent principals, who can (among other things) set a culture in the school for student success and provide strong adult leadership that both supports and drives effective teaching. (And I'll admit that, as the daughter of a now-retired high school principal, I've got a bit of a soft spot for principals :). In a new policy brief published by the Foundation for Child Development, I look specifically at the importance of principals for creating quality Prek-3rd ...


A new Brookings Institution report looks at where the public is getting information on education issues, how much they trust various information sources, what issues they'd like more news about, and how they'd like to receive more information. All interesting stuff--and part of a larger series of research on news coverage of education--although Eduflack raises some really good questions/critiques about some of the results here.* The study also put me in mind of an analysis I read last week about content farming--the growing number of web sites that churn out articles designed to maximize their hits on Google's algorithm ...


Today's Washington Post article on D.C.-area charter schools extending their pre-k offerings does a pretty good job of rounding up some of the key issues here, including the potential of charter operators to link quality pre-k with quality elementary school programs, and the opportunities created by D.C.'s per-pupil funding formula, which allows D.C. charters to get full per-pupil funding for preschoolers. I do wish that someone had thought to ask Sam Meisels if he'd ever visited a KIPP pre-k or talked to anyone involved in one before asking him to comment on it--his comments strongly ...


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