An NBER Working Paper made waves this week because it found large negative effects. It is the first study to find large negative effects of vouchers on achievement. It's well done. I believe it. The question is, why?

In my prior post, I argued that the bill to re-authorize ESEA mostly reinforced the principles of NCLB 1.0 and their implications for practice. Here, I am going to focus on a much narrower issue that I have written a lot about in the past: value-added measures.

With a large majority of the U.S. House of Representatives voting for substantial changes in the re-authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), it seems the role of the federal government in the regulation of public schools will be significantly reduced. But does ESEA's proposed new name, the Every Student Succeeds Act, really spell the end of the substance of No Child Left Behind (NCLB)? And what does this mean for urban school reform?

Three weeks ago, I started a series on arguments for and against regulations on charter and voucher schools. Then, right on cue, came Eva Moskowitz and the Success Academy controversy and Senator Clinton's subsequent claim that "most charter schools, they don't take the hardest-to-teach kids, or, if they do, they don't keep them."

There seem to be significant disagreements within the reform family on the regulation question. Here, I'm going to argue that the effects of regulation probably differ for charter and vouchers.

In the school reform family, the holiday conversations this year seem likely to focus on the level of regulation in the various reform models. This has important implications for charter schools and vouchers as reform strategies.

One of the most common critiques of the New Orleans success story is that the state government is manipulating data to make the reforms look better than they are. As with most criticisms, this one is half right.

I have addressed the argument that today's discussions about portfolio reforms tend to present a false choice between traditional and reform/portfolio districts. Another reason it's partly a false choice is that the system isn't all that matters.

The point here is to show that it is a false choice between traditional and reform systems, but it's not quite as false as it might seem.

There is not much debate that the New Orleans school reforms improved student outcomes. The evidence on that point is strong. The question is how? After all, "the reforms" are really a multi-faceted package. The part of the reform that gets the least attention is the amount of money invested in New Orleans.


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