Reading Elizabeth Weil's recent New Republic piece on social-emotional learning was a bit of an emotional roller-coaster for me: On the one hand, it's kind of exciting when a wonky elite policy magazine decides to devote cover space to a fairly complex child development and instructional topic like how educators support children's social-emotional development. On the other hand, Weil's piece is a good example of why it's probably a good thing this doesn't happen more often--a lot of stuff ends up wrong. There is a part of me that really wants to embrace Weil's article. Spending time in early childhood ...


You are a bad person if you judge other people based on where they send their children school. Not bad like murderer bad--but bad like US-magazine-calling-pregnant-starlets-"fat"-bad. So, pretty bad. I am an education policy wonk: My analytic skills and knowledge of education policy enable me to make informed judgments about the relative merits of, say, different approaches to designing quality metrics for pre-k programs. That does not entitles me to judge other people's choices about how they raise their children, provided those choices are not illegal, abusive, or neglectful. And education debates would be better off if we ...


Want to hear some really smart people talk about the latest research on improving quality in early childhood programs? Want to learn about the findings of new research on QRIS, effective PD strategies for early childhood educators, and coaching? Check out these videos from the recent NCRECE Quality Improvement Leadership Symposia....


In recent years, most states have moved to adopt Quality Rating and Improvement Systems as a market-based approach to improving children's early learning. QRIS typically assign early care and education providers a rating of between one and five "stars" based on the extent to which providers meet certain quality features defined in the QRIS, such as teacher credentials, class and group size ratios, and managerial or administrative features; publish these ratings to help inform parent choices; and in some cases offer financial incentives or rewards to programs with higher star ratings. QRIS systems are based on two key premises: First, ...


There are a lot of misperceptions flying around about the District of Columbia Public Charter School Board's Early Childhood Performance Management Framework. As a member of the board who supports the framework, I'd like to try to clear up some of those misperceptions and explain why I support the framework. It's clear to me that a lot of the confusion here stems from a misunderstanding of what charter schools are and of DCPCSB's role as a charter authorizer. Charter schools are independently operated public schools that receive increased autonomy and flexibility in exchange for accountability for the results they produce--this ...


The 2013 Education Next survey of American public opinion on education, released today, finds that 60% of respondents expressed support for publicly funded pre-k for low-income and middle class children. This finding is particularly salient given its source, which is not connected with any preschool advocacy groups, and has typically been regarded as taking a more conservative line on education policy questions. The PDK/Gallup Poll, also released today, did not ask respondents about their views on pre-k. Among the policies about which Ed Next surveyed the public, publicly funded preschool appears to be the second most popular, trailing the ...


Phil Longman's article in the current Washington Monthly about the problems with our current approach to medical education should be must-reading for anyone calling for replication of the medical model in teacher preparation. To be clear--this is not an argument against expanding and improving residencies and other clinical components of teacher preparation, or against increasing the scientific rigor of teacher training. But advocates for more clinically oriented models should learn from the shortcomings of the current system in medicine and avoid replicating them as they expanding clinically based approaches to education. I'm particularly struck by Longman's criticisms of the way ...


While at the gym this morning, I enjoyed watching this Morning Joe segment featuring NYC Mayoral Candidate Christine Quinn. But Jon Meacham's question for Quinn about her education agenda nearly caused me to fall off the treadmill in annoyance. Meacham says, "We have a big national moment here with the introduction of Common Core Standards that are going to test students on what they know, it's a newish approach..." Um, really? Last I checked, we've been testing students annually in grades 3-8 and once in high school since the passage of NCLB in 2001. Not to mention that Common Core ...


Guest blog post by Cory Koedel Teacher pensions account for a significant percentage of teacher compensation but are often ignored in conversations about improving teacher quality. In a recent study, my colleagues and I examine how the incentives for teachers to remain in teaching or leave the profession created by teacher pensions impact workforce quality. We find no evidence to suggest that the pension incentive structure raises teacher quality. Public school teachers, like most public-sector workers in the United States, are nearly universally enrolled in defined-benefit (DB) pension plans, in which the employer promises a set monthly payment in retirement ...


Simile, analogy, and metaphor can be powerful analytic and writing tools, which is one reason pundits and policy wonks love 'em. But a recent post and tweet by Mike Petrilli on school closures illustrate the risks when policy wonks get too cute with the similes: Is shuttering schools akin to stop & frisk? http://t.co/lepXDfq27T cc @QualityCharters @GregRichmond @Parker_Baxter @saramead @rickhess99— Michael Petrilli (@MichaelPetrilli) July 23, 2013 I don't necessarily agree with the broader point Petrilli is trying to make here about paternalism, but even if one does, the wheels quickly come off the moment you scratch below...


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