May 2012 Archives

The words "OMB" and "exciting" rarely go in the same sentence, much less "OMB" and "OMG!" Yet on May 18, Jeffrey Zients, Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), sent out a memo that could change history. In guidance to executive departments and agencies, the memo asks the entire Executive Branch to use every available means to promote the use of rigorous evidence in decision-making, program administration, and planning. Some of the specific strategies urged by OMB were as follows: • Low-cost evaluations, using routinely collected data. For example, when grants are made to schools to use particular ...


Once upon a time, there was a red-headed fourth grader named Ned. Ned was bored in school, and he didn't get good grades. His mom was mad at him, his teacher pleaded with him, and Ned wanted to please them, but he just couldn't get interested enough in school to put in enough effort to really succeed. I'll come back to red-headed Ned in a moment, but stop for a moment and ask yourself: Aren't you interested in Ned? Isn't focusing on a particular student, even if he's fictional, a lot more interesting than my usual blogs that begin with ...


People of all political persuasions all over the world have reason to mourn Senator Richard Lugar's loss to a Tea-Party candidate in the recent Indiana Republican primary. Senator Lugar is the ranking minority member on the Foreign Relations Committee, where he has long put principle and practicality above partisanship. Yet his defeat matters in education, too. Even though Senator Lugar has never served on an education committee, he has always been interested in education. Before he was elected to the Senate, he was Mayor of Indianapolis and before that, Chairman of the Indianapolis School Board. But beyond this history, I ...


On a recent trip to London, I visited Cayley Primary School, a high-poverty elementary school that has been using our Success for All* whole-school reform approach for several years. The principal, Lissa Samuel, has been at this same school for many years before and after it adopted Success for All. She is proud of the achievement gains, which include a jump from 30% to 80% of students passing sixth-grade reading assessments. During our conversation, though, she talked more about how disciplinary problems, fights, and stealing had completely disappeared. Success for All has very good approaches to classroom management and social-emotional ...


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