Lydia DePilis reports that the revised D.C. Comprehensive Plan, to which the D.C. Council passed numerous announcements last week, includes new language specifying that charter schools should have a "right of first refusal" for use of surplus public school facilities. Like charter schools in many cities with excess public school facilities, charter schools in D.C. have struggled to gain access to former public school buildings--even though making these facilities available to charters seems like common sense. Whether the revised language will make a difference in practice remains to be seen, however--a number of jurisdictions, including D.C., ...


Lots of ink for this new America's Promise report finding increased high school graduation rates from 2002 to 2008, as well as a decrease in the number of high schools with very high drop-out rates. Good news, ok, but still no cause for celebration: As my colleague Andy Rotherham notes, our nation's high school graduation rates are still disgracefully poor--particularly for black and Hispanic men--and the political and policy dynamics frustratingly resistant to changes to improve them. Moreover, it's important to keep in mind that high school and college enrollment rates tend to be counter-cyclical: Drop-outs decline and enrollment goes ...


A new MDRC study finds that classroom management training and classroom-based consultations can improve preschool teachers' ability to deal with children's problem behaviors and improve emotional support climate in their classrooms. Interesting podcast from the New America Foundation's Early Ed Initiative talks to the creators of FirstSchool, a North Carolina-based effort to rethink children's earliest years of schooling. Solid case study of how Montgomery County, Maryland, expanded early childhood programs and implemented early elementary reforms in an effort to reduce achievement gaps for low-income students. The Partnership for America's Economic Success is looking for a Business Partnerships Manager....


I didn't get a chance last week to comment on NAEP 12th grade reading and math scores, which are up since 2005 but still down since 1992. A couple of points worth noting, though: The increase in 12th grade NAEP scores from 2005 to 2009 reflects the reversal of a pretty steady downward trend in NAEP scores since 1992. It's become standard in education circles to dismiss the significant gains in 4th grade NAEP scores over the past decade by noting that those gains have not translated into 12th grade NAEP score gains—but that analysis ignores the fact that...


Then come to an information session for prospective applicants tonight (Wednesday, November 10) at the District of Columbia Public Charter School Board's offices. And check out the 2011 Application Guidelines here. (disclosure: I serve on the District of Columbia Public Charter School Board.)...


My colleague the Eduwonk has taken to referring to Fordham's Mike Petrilli as "Chicken Little," and I think that there's more than a bit of that in Petrilli's recent post worrying that reform-y types are transforming themselves into the compliance police. That said, I do think Petrilli hits on some valid points regarding the quasi-religious fervor with which some reform-y types seem to have seized on specific prescriptions around teacher evaluation. At times lately, the way some reformers talk about teacher evaluation has started to remind me of the way some universal pre-k advocates talk about mandatory bachelor's degrees for ...


Kevin Carey is really, really good at explaining things, which is why I highly recommend his recent blog post unpacking the flaws in the thinking behind tuition tax credit programs, such as the Arizona program on whose constitutionality the Supreme Court heard arguments last week. For reasons I've never quite understood, media, education, and political types sometimes talk and think about tuition tax credits as a kind of "vouchers lite"--a type of support for school choice that centrist and center-left-y types can embrace without going all the way to the big bad V word. But in reality, tuition tax ...


New America's Steve Burd has a very informative post on the potential for Pell grant funding levels to create an early test of incoming conservatives' resolve to cut spending. While much of the post-election edu-discussion (including more insightful commentary from two Andrews—Kelly and Rotherham) has focused on K-12 and implications for ESEA/NCLB reauth, in the near term, the biggest impacts are likely to be around student aid and higher ed, because the nature of the policies and politics means there's just a more constant stream of action around higher ed issues than K-12, and because of the money...


Good post-election edu-commentary from Eduwonk and Eduflack. Ezra Klein and Matthew Yglesias both note that the unexpectedly large number of Democratic House losses last night can be explained in part by the fact that the youngest voters--who are more likely to vote for Democrats--voted at much lower rates this year than in 2008. Does any one remember that the 111th Congress and Obama administration's legislation accomplishments included passage of major student financial aid reforms that should be of particular interest and value to exactly that age group?...


Matt Yglesias flags an interesting poll showing that Americans dramatically overestimate the percentage of American households with incomes greater than $250,000 a year. Matt draws this out into a broader conclusion that Americans tend to underestimate how well off they are economically relative to their fellow citizens. But I think the converse is equally likely and important: Thanks to high levels of residential segregation by income and what Matt elsewhere calls "the near-total disenfranchisement of genuinely poor people in American politics and American political media" (although the absence of poor people is hardly unique to the political media), poor ...


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