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 ...


Given the politics here, yesterday's Statement of Administration Policy opposing House Speaker John Boehner's proposed D.C. voucher legislation is news. But vouchers are an issue where it's easy for folks to get carried away, and the actual substance doesn't justify some of the rhetoric here. My colleague Andrew Rotherham's latest TIME column debunking 5 common myths about vouchers is a good corrective. I'd add a 6th, though, which is the exaggerated significance given to the D.C. Voucher program in education debates. Look, given the polarized climate in Washington, the politics of education policy, and the players involved, this ...


A new report from the Center for Reinventing Public Education looks at what Washington State is getting for its nearly $100 million annual investment in National Board Certified Teachers. Washington State teachers currently earn a $5,000 annual bonus--which has led to tripling the number of NBCTs in the state in the past 4 years--as well as an additional $5,000 for NBCTs who work in identified low-income "challenging" schools. CRPE finds that these bonuses have not be effective in incenting NBCTs to move to high-poverty schools, or to stay in challenging assignments. Washington Governor Christine Gregoire has proposed suspending ...


Several people have e-mailed me this recent Slate article by developmental scientist Alison Gopnik, which Slate, in its Slate-y wisdom, has chosen to run with the subhead, "New research shows that teaching kids more and more, at ever-younger ages, may backfire." Does this mean, folks are asking, that all this pre-k stuff you keep talking about could actually be hurting kids? Not exactly. Gopnik's research, presented in the article, is interesting stuff: Basically, she compared how children engage and problem solve with a novel toy when teachers directly demonstrate its workings to them, as opposed to encouraging them to explore ...


As states and the federal government tighten their fiscal belts, we're seeing increasing attention to the intergenerational distribution of public spending and cuts--and concern that policymakers are protecting benefits for the elderly at the expense of substantial cuts in investments in education and other children's programs that impact our nation's future. Analysis of federal expenditures indicates that less than 10% of the federal budget is spent on programs that benefit children--in contrast to the more than 1/3 of the federal budget that goes to fund health care and income support for the elderly. And since Social Security and Medicare ...


An important new report from the Early Childhood Data Collaborative is the first to provide a comprehensive overview of the state of state data systems for early childhood care and education. There is some good news here: States are actually collecting a lot of data on early childhood education programs and participating children. And a majority of states are linking data from state pre-k and early childhood special education programs with their K-12 data system. But there are also critical data gaps, particularly around the early childhood workforce and child outcomes in early childhood programs. And states are doing a ...


Looks like Interim D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson can go ahead and remove that "interim" from her title. Which will surprise absolutely no one who's been paying attention to how things have been unfolding in D.C. of late. Probably time for Rick Hess to dial back the caffeine. For those keeping score at home, let's note some of the things D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray has done since taking office in January: Appointed Kaya Henderson first as interim chancellor and now upgraded that to chancellor. Appointed Hosanna Mahaley Johnson as state superintendent of education. Appointed De'Shawn Wright as ...


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