Can we believe education polls? Do different education polls yield different responses? We know from presidential election polls that most polls yield results that do not differ more than a few percentage points, but, then, the question posed is almost exactly the same: Who do you plan to vote for? Further, those polls are about a topic that has been given intense publicity for a prolonged period of time. How about education polls, which ask people their views about matters to which the media give much less attention?
“By 2019 about 50 percent of courses will be delivered online,” wrote Clayton M. Christensen and Michael B. Horn in a pathbreaking essay in 2008 (“How Do We Transform Our Schools?” features, Summer 2008).
School vouchers never had a better friend than Peter Flanigan. It was not Peter’s direct philanthropic contributions. Although he gave generously from the wealth accumulated as an investment banker, others—such as the late John Walton—drew upon deeper pockets to donate more to the common cause. Nor was Peter a theoretician who could expound the case for vouchers with Friedman-like brilliance.
In response to the article on the disparity in state proficiency standards that Peter Kaplan and I published earlier this week, one reader, Scott McLeod, referred (in a comment) to an article arguing that that “proficiency” as defined by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) does not really mean proficiency.
In my June 25 blog post, I reported that effective Florida teacher preparation programs received no better ratings by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) than ineffective ones.
The National Council on Teacher Quality, in conjunction with U. S. News and World Report, has issued an ambitious report evaluating the quality of teacher preparation programs in schools of education across the United States. But its critics argue that the report fails to show that its measure of program quality is correlated with the classroom effectiveness of a school’s graduates. If the information available to us for a few teacher preparation schools in Florida is at all representative, the critics may have a point.
If correct, a barn burner of a study has just been released by the once self-proclaimed Marxist, Martin Carnoy, and his good friend Richard Rothstein. If you take into account the extraordinary size of the proletariat in the United States, and the miniscule size of its bourgeois, U. S. students are doing almost as well in math and reading as students in other industrialized countries. Even the Koreans don’t do much better, they say.
Success Academy is a big-time success story, as Charles Sahm makes clear (“What Explains Success at Success Academy?” features, Summer 2015). But what are the general lessons to be learned from the many case studies of successful chartering? Does it take the exceptional leadership of Success Academies’ Eva Moskowitz? Are school uniforms and a “no excuses” ethos the decisive ingredients (KIPP schools)? Are longer school days and an extended school year critical? Is data-based instruction the solution (Achievement First)? How important is a demanding academic curriculum (BASIS schools)?
In an important new report, America Achieves tells us that middle-class students in the United States are trailing their peers abroad. U.S. students were significantly outperformed by peers in 24 countries in math, if one looks only at those who fall just above the median position on its index of social and educational “advantage.” Among those who fall just below the index median, U.S. students ranked 32nd.
Over the past two decades, gains of 1.6 percent of a standard deviation have been garnered annually by 4th- and 8th-grade students on the math, science, and reading tests administered by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), known as the nation’s report card. An upward trajectory of 1.6 standard deviations cumulates over 20 years to 32 percent of a standard deviation, well over a year’s worth of learning.
We know a good teacher can increase the lifetime income of a classroom by over $250,000,” the president told the country in his State of the Union speech. His comment was based on a pioneering study by Chetty, Friedman, and Rockoff, published in this issue (see “Great Teaching,” Research), which for the first time combines tax data that reveal earnings at age 28 with information on student learning when that
person was in elementary school.