December 2012 Archives

Andrew Cohen's National Journal piece calling for a "Parent Lobby" to combat gun violence has been bouncing around the internets for the past few days. Call me skeptical. It's not that I discount the potential political force of the nation's more than 50 million parents, but that I really doubt this group agrees on any sort of common agenda. To be clear: Virtually all parents love their children and want them to be safe, healthy, happy, and prepared to lead productive adult lives (and the fact that it's somehow acceptable to question this in ed reform policy debates fills me ...


The Foundation for Child Development just released their annual Child Well-Being Index, which culls a variety of indicators of children's well-being across multiple domains of economic, health, education, behavior, and social/emotional/religious well-being to try to track how our nation's kids have fared over time. It's not a perfect measure and plenty of folks can quibble over specific indicators, but FCD and professor Kenneth Land, who developed the Index, deserve credit for trying to look at children's well-being holistically, rather than at the disjointed measures we typically see in policy debates. The results here are better than one might ...


I've been avoiding commenting on the events in Connecticut last week because it feels like incredible hubris to think I have any words or thoughts adequate to this tragedy. But in the face of the tragic deaths of 20 children and 6 adults, I keep coming back to the words of another child who died in the face of even greater evil: "I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too. I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I ...


Forbes just published a list of 30 young education leaders under 30. Good group, but if've you've been paying attention here, you've already heard about several of the folks on this list, including the awesome Jennifer Medbery, Alexis Morin, and Catharine Bellinger. Kudos to Forbes on putting together an interesting list that cuts across a variety of facets of the education space, including K-12 and higher ed, technology, advocacy, and politics....


The Washington Post's Dylan Matthews lists "10 Ways to Reduce Inequality Without Raising Tax Rates," and guess what--early childhood education is one of them! Dylan cites the abundant and growing evidence that high-quality early childhood education can boost cognitive and social skills for youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds, help mitigate for disparities in early learning experiences at home and the effects of childhood trauma, and improve long-term economic and life indicators for low-income and otherwise at-risk kids. All critical benefits that can help break the cycle of poverty and reduce inequality over the long run. But it's also worth noting that ...


Regular reader of this blog will be shocked (shocked!) to hear that all five states that applied for Early Learning Challenge RTT Round 2 grants received them. The five lucky winners are Colorado, Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon, and Wisconsin. For all my quibbles with the process here, these states are doing some very worthy and promising work to improve early learning outcomes for their neediest kids, and deserve congratulation on their awards. Background here....


Great new report from ACT (a Bellwether client) and the National Center for Educational Achievement looks at longitudinal data from ACT and Arkansas State Assessments to try to assess the likelihood that a child who is not on track for college and career readiness in 4th or 8th grade will get back on track four years later. The results are sobering: Among students who were "far off track" in reading in 8th grade, only 10 percent achieved college and career ready standards four years later. In math and science, the percentage was even lower. And over 40 percent of African ...


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