America’s school choice moment has finally arrived, but the vast majority of students nationwide still attend traditional public schools—and will for the foreseeable future. Conservatives would be wise to support policies that give families choices within the public education system. Cross-district open enrollment does precisely that, and it has strong bipartisan support.
America’s school choice moment has finally arrived, but the vast majority of students nationwide (84 percent) still attend traditional public schools—and will for the foreseeable future. Conservatives would be wise to support policies that give families choices within the public education system. Cross-district open enrollment does precisely that, and it has strong bipartisan support.
Indeed, the opposite of open enrollment, residential assignment, is among public education’s most antiquated practices. Students’ public schools are determined based on where they live. School district attendance zones often reflect the legacy of the discriminatory and now-illegal boundaries imposed by housing redlining. The federal Home Owners’ Loan Corporation and the Federal Housing Administration reinforced racial segregation, codifying preexisting boundaries set by developers and homeowners associations decades ago.
For many, residential assignment is an insurmountable barrier to better educational opportunities. These government-imposed geographic lines fracture communities by inextricably linking housing and schooling. Families are pressured to sacrifice valuable goods, such as living near their family, friends, and churches, to guarantee they have access to quality public schools. Ironically, this means that many families sometimes sacrifice the invaluable voluntary associations Alexis de Tocqueville described as essential to the American experiment in favor of government-imposed ones.
Furthermore, residential assignment maintains public school districts’ monopoly over students by limiting parents’ ability to hold schools accountable. Unless they can afford to pay private school tuition—or move across town—families have no leverage to pressure their district schools to improve or be responsive to their desires. To tip the balance of power toward students and families, education dollars should follow students to any school, public or private, just as Milton Friedman envisioned.
In 1980, Friedman and his wife, Rose, explained that in a system with school choice, a public school’s enrollment “would be determined by the number of customers it attracted, not by politically defined geographical boundaries or by pupil assignment.” While open enrollment would not eliminate residential assignment, it would weaken the boundaries that arbitrarily sort students into schools, representing an essential step toward the education marketplace the Friedmans described.
It would also benefit students and school districts. First, studies consistently show that students tend to transfer to higher-performing school districts when given the opportunity. For example, a study of Wisconsin’s open enrollment program found a positive relationship between districts’ state test results and student-transfer inflow, with separate analyses showing similar findings in California, Colorado, Minnesota, and Texas.
Research also shows that students transfer schools for various reasons, indicating that open enrollment can help them access their best-fit education. Separate evaluations of California’s District of Choice program by the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) found that students participate in open enrollment to escape bullying and access curricula, instructional philosophies, and other programs that aren’t available in their home districts. In its latest analysis, LAO reported that participating students “gained access to an average of five to seven courses not offered by their home districts” across several course types, including Advanced Placement and career technical education.
Open enrollment can also have positive competitive effects, with the Reason Foundation’s Wisconsin study finding that districts that lose students also post modest signs of improvement in the two years following enrollment losses. California’s LAO evaluations provide evidence of students’ home districts taking steps to better engage their communities and pursuing reforms to reduce student attrition, such as addressing programmatic concerns and improving access to within-district school transfer options. These efforts appear to work. Many of these school districts saw reductions in the number of students transferring out and improved their test scores over time. This shows that public school competition can foster excellence, making open enrollment the tide that raises all boats.
Fostering robust open enrollment isn’t easy, however. It requires both strong policy and portable education funding. State policymakers must overhaul their student-transfer laws so that students are guaranteed tuition-free access to any public school across their state, with few exceptions—primarily, that a school is full or overcrowded and cannot accept more students. These revamped policies should establish clear expectations for school districts and ensure that timelines, school-level capacity, and other important information are easily accessible to parents and all stakeholders.
State education agencies should be required to collect and report key open enrollment data at the school district level, including the number of transfer applications received, reasons for rejecting transfer applications, and number of transfer students enrolled. Policymakers must also ensure that state and local education funding follows students to the schools of their choice. Otherwise, school districts might have financial incentives to block transfer students who live outside their boundaries. This problem is unique to each state, but Wisconsin serves as a good example of how one state successfully addressed it with a straightforward policy solution.
Editor’s note: This is a modified excerpt of the authors’ American Enterprise Institute policy brief “The Conservative Case for Public School Open Enrollment” (June 2023).
Parents and policymakers inured to years of depressing headlines about learning disruptions in the wake of the pandemic might be tempted to shrug at the latest federal test data on the achievement of thirteen-year-olds as more of the same. This would be a colossal mistake. The new figures contain three terrifying findings—about the magnitude of the achievement declines, the abysmal failure of ongoing recovery efforts, and the likely persistence of these impacts on future cohorts of students.
Consider each of these in turn.
The new test score data from National Assessment of Educational Progress are unusual in that they put the results in the context of five decades’ worth of student performance. And the numbers are truly dire: In reading, average scores have declined to levels last seen in the 1970s, erasing decades of progress won through political blood, sweat, tears—and billions in public investments.
But the scores among the most disadvantaged students are even more shocking. Those in the bottom quarter of achievement are less proficient in reading than similar-aged peers were in 1971, posting the lowest scores ever recorded. In math, the bottom 10 percent students are back to their all-time low. Although racial breakdowns are not available for earlier years, the gap between Black and White students has grown markedly over the past decade. Not only has average achievement posted a record decline, but the effects have been concentrated among the most-at-risk students.
The second piece of bad news is about the persistence of these learning losses despite several years of concerted effort. The latest NAEP scores are based on assessments administered between October and December 2022. That means the record-low achievement continued to be observed nearly two years after most schools reopened for in-person learning—after two years of much-heralded summer schools, intensive tutoring and other academic supports—and despite nearly $200 billion in emergency federal education spending. Just last year, the White House asserted that “states and school districts have the resources they need, and are required to address the impacts of the pandemic on students’ learning.” Clearly, the new data show that they have failed to do so.
While it is possible that achievement would’ve been even lower were it not for these efforts, it is also clear that what school districts have tried so far falls well short of what students need to get them back on track. With supplemental federal aid ending soon, and the recent debt ceiling deal taking additional funding off the table, the future looks even more distressing.
The NAEP data also shed new light on why learning losses are so difficult to reverse: record chronic absenteeism. A survey taken with the exam last fall showed that only 75 percent of thirteen-year-olds reported missing two or fewer days of school in the previous month, and the number of students absent for a week or more during that same period had doubled since the pandemic began.
Sharp drops in attendance were one of the earliest academic warning signs that emerged when schools reopened, but they were easily dismissed. Initially, many blamed Covid-related illnesses. During the 2021–22 academic year, some pointed to quarantine rules that kept students home for two weeks following close contact with ill classmates. Yet neither factor can explain why attendance problems remain.
It seems clear that widespread absenteeism has become a new normal, perhaps reflecting well-meaning efforts among educators and administrators to show empathy during the pandemic, an erosion of social norms about the importance of attendance or persistence of bad habits—such as late-night gaming and sleeping late—that many kids likely developed during months of prolonged closures or virtual instruction. The danger is that these norms continue not only among older students whose learning was disrupted, but also among younger kids who have begun kindergarten over the past two years in a world where absenteeism is tolerated and overlooked.
While proponents of mastery learning are surely right that time in the classroom does not guarantee learning, it seems obvious that students who do not attend school at all are probably not going to learn much.
In an ideal world, the latest NAEP data would serve as an overdue wakeup call for adults, whose own interests and priorities in education policy over the past two years seemed to have shifted from academic recovery to culture wars.
Consider the latest battles over LGBT-themed books in school libraries. Reasonable people can disagree about how to balance legitimate concerns surrounding age-appropriateness of reading materials with a desire to ensure that library offerings reflect students’ diverse experiences. But in a rational world, both sides would surely agree that these debates are of secondary importance to record-low literacy rates and the fact that nearly a third of thirteen-year-olds now report that they read for fun “never or hardly ever”—up sharply from a decade ago. Unless adults are willing to call a truce in their culture wars and focus on getting students to read anything and to read better, we are unlikely to make much progress in reversing the achievement declines.
The sad reality is that it is probably too late to help the oldest students. Recent high school graduates and those who will graduate over the next several years are almost certain to be the least prepared to enter the labor market or college in several generations. Public policy must be prepared to deal with the consequences of our society’s collective failure to undo the damage.
But it is not too late to help younger students. The concerted, bipartisan response that followed the 1983 publication of A Nation at Risk, which put concerns about low student achievement on the national political agenda in a serious way for the first time, provides a template. That report ushered in two decades of reforms that focused on establishing high academic standards, greater accountability, and a focus on the lowest achievers. It is no coincidence that NAEP scores increased and achievement gaps narrowed during these years.
Efforts to help students recover from the pandemic have not matched the same level of urgency, focus or efficacy. The new federal data send a clear message that we must do better.
Editor’s note: This was first published by The 74.
Editor’s note: This is an edition of “Advance,” a newsletter from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute written by Brandon Wright, our Editorial Director, and published every other week. Its purpose is to monitor the progress of gifted education in America, including legal and legislative developments, policy and leadership changes, emerging research, grassroots efforts, and more. You can subscribe on the Fordham Institute website and the newsletter’s Substack.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Education released the latest batch of alarming national test results for America’s students—this time, long-term-trend data for thirteen-year-olds in reading and math. This builds on three other releases since 2022: long-term-trend data for nine-year-olds, scores for fourth and eighth graders, and civics and U.S. History results for eighth graders.
The nation is, at this point, well aware of the problem: Students everywhere suffered learning losses during the pandemic, especially those from marginalized backgrounds. As I’ve written multiple times, this is true for advanced learners, too—the subset of students who have reached, or have the potential to reach, the high end of the achievement spectrum—who are also the students on which this newsletter focuses. The latest batch of scores for thirteen-year-olds supports all of this.
Consider, for example, the results for math—where “proficiency in eighth grade is one of the most significant predictors of success in high school,” according to a Wall Street Journal report last year. Figure 1 shows 90th percentile marks by race and ethnicity.
Figure 1. NAEP long-term trend mathematics assessment, 90th percentile scores, by race and ethnicity, 2004–23
At least three takeaways are noteworthy. First, of course, are the huge gaps in performance between groups, with the 90th percentile scores for Black and Hispanic students being far below those for White and Asian or Pacific Islander (AAPI) students. Second, those gaps have grown since 2004, with the Black-AAPI difference going from 37 points to 52 points, for example, and the Black-White gap widening from 26 to 32 points. Third, top scores dropped significantly for all the groups after the pandemic, with those for AAPI, White, and Hispanic students falling back to where they were approximately fifteen years ago—and those for Black students plummeting well below where they were twenty years ago.
But again, none of this is new or surprising. It’s just tragic and worrisome. The challenge now is doing something about it—finding ways to reverse these losses and get students closer to where they would’ve been had Covid and related mitigation policies not decimated learning.
For advanced learners, an excellent place for districts, charter networks, and states to start is a report released this month by The National Working Group on Advanced Education—a collection of twenty researchers, practitioners, and advocates (including myself), who are diverse in terms of ideology, race, gender, and geography. We met four times over the past year, and the report is the product of that work. It comprises thirty-six recommendations for how K–12 leaders can build a continuum of advanced learning opportunities, customized to every student’s needs and abilities—especially for those from marginalized backgrounds.
Leaders would be wise to follow all thirty-six recommendations, but those that fall into two categories are particularly relevant in the context of pandemic learning loss: identification and equitable achievement grouping.
As we write in the report, schools shouldn’t think of identifying advanced learners as a “yes or no,” one-time event. The goal is to keep seeking—and finding—all students who could benefit from advanced learning, whatever the subject and whatever their grade level, all the way up to dual-enrollment in a university. This is especially true now that scores for high achievers are lower than they were before the pandemic. Schools should therefore adopt a bias toward inclusion.
Specifically, districts and charter networks should do the following (also from the report):
- Adopt universal screening to identify students with potential for high achievement. Such screening involves reviewing assessment data and/or grades for all students to identify those who might benefit from advanced learning opportunities. This has strong empirical support and leads to positive results in districts that have used it. It helps identify more students overall, and it’s especially beneficial for the students most often overlooked for advanced learning opportunities.
- Use data from universally available assessments. Multiple tests or data points are better than one because some students will shine on one assessment and not another. For example, tests that measure general ability and don’t require academic knowledge will help identify students who have the potential to perform at advanced levels of achievement but don’t yet have strong content knowledge. Nonverbal assessments can help identify students whose learning hasn’t caught up with their high potential due to language or cultural barriers.
If diagnostic or interim assessments are used universally in the early grades (K–2), districts and networks should use them as initial screeners, but at the latest they should start with third-grade statewide reading and math assessments (officials should be sure to age adjust the results so as not to miss students with late birthdays).
- Use assessment data to identify additional students for advanced education services in every grade, instead of relying on a single age-based screening point that would overlook late bloomers and/or exacerbate racial or socioeconomic disparities.
- Use local (i.e., school-based) norms, especially when students are young. This means identifying and serving high-potential students in every school (for example, students whose achievement levels are in the top 10 percent in each school). As students move into high school, it may be appropriate to reference state or national norms when admitting students to advanced programs so that students are better prepared to compete in higher education and beyond. Thankfully, research shows that providing access to advanced education in elementary school can help to close equity gaps and broaden participation in advanced coursework in later grades.
Once students are identified, one the best and most popular ways to develop their potential is through flexible achievement grouping in the same or separate classrooms. Numerous high-quality studies have also found that this is a net positive for advanced students and isn’t detrimental to their peers. One study that looked at a century of research, for example, found that three models boosted outcomes: within-class grouping, cross-grade subject grouping, and special grouping for the gifted. Moreover, there seemed to be little downside for medium- and low-achieving students, and often upside.
Specifically, as we note in the report, districts and charter networks should do the following:
- Frequently and equitably evaluate all students with the purpose of moving them into appropriate achievement groups. This is not “one-and-done” tracking. Putting students in buckets that never change is ineffective, inequitable, and counter to what we know about development. Rather, schools should use data from multiple measures—such as test scores and class performance—to continually assess and move students, regularly regrouping them with multiple entry points (“on-ramps”). District and school leaders should be prepared to provide teachers with support where necessary to achieve this.
- Ensure that teachers alter the complexity and pace of the curriculum, as well as methods of teaching, when using achievement groups. Grouping is only as equitable and effective as the differentiated and culturally responsive instruction that is aligned to the needs of a given group.
- Err on the side of inclusion, so that as many students can benefit as possible. The question should be whether a student has a need or would benefit from a particular service. When this isn’t clear, schools should err on the side of giving students access to a more advanced group with intentional support. All of this avoids the problem of artificial and arbitrary scarcity.
The current state of American education is bad, and advanced learners are no exception. Policymakers and school leaders will be tempted to ignore losses at the high end, but they’d be doing so at the country’s peril. We need advanced learners, particularly students from racially underrepresented or low-income backgrounds, to be highly educated to ensure the nation’s long-term competitiveness, security, and innovation. Making these programs accessible also strengthens our society and democracy. These students and their learning therefore need to be part of the recovery effort. The recommendations listed here—and in the aforementioned report—are an effective guide.
QUOTE OF NOTE
“A math academy for young Black boys this summer aims to not only help the young men prepare for advanced math classes but close the widening achievement gap between the races in local schools. M-Cubed, which stands for ‘Math, Men, and Mission,’ is dedicated to help middle school students from Charlottesville and Albemarle County achieve higher math class placements once they reach high school.”
“Gifted and On the Move: The Impact of Losing the Gifted Label for Military Connected Students,” by Robyn Hilt, Journal for the Education of the Gifted, OnlineFirst, June 2, 2023
“Society is becoming increasingly mobile, which impacts all facets of the educational experience, including gifted education. Military students attend several different schools in their educational careers, and inconsistent criteria and identification practices among states and school districts result in a fluid gifted label for many of these students. While some aspects of school mobility are highlighted in existing research, limited attention has been paid to school mobility within gifted education. This research works to address this gap by exploring the impact of losing the gifted label on children of military members, whose relocations frequently require mobility across state and district boundaries, utilizing a unique framework, Foucault’s technologies of self. Research findings explore student perspectives on the impact of their own effort or hard work on their ability to retain the gifted label and serve as a launching point from which to explore the issue of school mobility in gifted education.”
“Development of an Online, Culturally Responsive, Accelerated Language Arts Curriculum for Middle School Students,” by Jennifer H. Robins, Laila Y. Sanguras, and Ashley Y. Carpenter, Gifted Child Today, Volume 46, Issue 3, June 2023
“In this article, we focus on two components of the Online Curriculum Consortium for Accelerating Middle School (OCCAMS) project: the curriculum frameworks and the curriculum development process. The frameworks include the Integrated Curriculum Model (advanced content, unit themes, and process/product), culturally responsive curriculum, and talent development. In our discussion of the curriculum frameworks, we share how two accelerated, online courses centered on themes that motivate and engage diverse learners: identity, heroism, conviction, and sacrifice. In addition, we highlight how the exploration of these themes through texts written by diverse authors and featuring diverse characters allows students to go on an even deeper journey into self-discovery. The second focus of this article is on the curriculum development process. We illustrate the iterative nature of the development of the curriculum, including descriptions of the site visits and use of teacher and student feedback in each stage of revisions.”
“Educational Technology: Barrier or Bridge to Equitable Access to Advanced Learning Opportunities?” by Sarah Bright and Eric Calvert Gifted Child Today, Volume 46, Issue 3, June 2023
“Using a critical technology theoretical framework that examines the impact of technology on people at the individual, educational, and global levels and addresses questions around appropriate use, accessibility, and impact, [Project OCCAMS] outcomes are explored through an interpretive focus on equity, including impacts on student achievement as well as students’ subjective experiences in the program. Potential implications for broader efforts in the field of gifted education to reduce disproportionality in gifted identification and close opportunity and excellence gaps beyond gifted identification reforms are also explored.”
WRITING WORTH READING
“[Lamar Institute of Technology, Beaumont, Texas,] expanding its presence through dual credit partnerships,” Beaumont Enterprise, Olivia Malick, June 25, 2023
“Progressive backlash? A coalition pressing for more selectivity in schools notches key wins in NYC education council elections,” New York Daily News, Cayla Bamberger, June 24, 2023
“Summer math academy aimed at preparing Black students, closing achievement gap,” The Daily Progress, Faith Redd, June 21, 2023
“Darien [Connecticut] DEI report finds literacy disparities and lack of diversity in gifted program, special education,” The Darien Times, Mollie Hersh, June 20, 2023
“College-level exam results among Long Island high schoolers show improvement,” Newsday, John Hildebrand, June 19, 2023
“What do gifted children need? Future Scientists Center offers answers,” The Jerusalem Press, June 19, 2023
“19-year-old UC Davis grad one of youngest people in the world to earn Ph.D.” KCRA, Hilda Flores, June 19, 2023
“World science scholars hosts science festival for gifted students from 6 continents,” World Science Scholars, June 15, 2023
“12-year-old graduated from college with a 4.0 GPA—here’s why her parents are sending her to high school,” CNBC, Rebecca Picciotto, June 15, 2023
“14-year-old Pleasanton whiz graduates Santa Clara University, gets job at SpaceX,” KTVU, June 12, 2023
One purpose of charter schools is to serve as laboratories of innovation for public education—a deliberate effort to do things differently than the long-entrenched traditional district model. That includes serving students who are at high risk of dropping out of school—or indeed have already done so—by educating them in separate schools or programs designed to address their needs. A new issue brief from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools provides a detailed overview of this approach, which the authors call “alternative education campuses” (AECs).
Different states use their own terms—such as transfer school, second chance, dropout prevention and recovery, or options school—to denote a building or program intended to serve students who have had difficulty progressing to completion in a typical education environment. Among other constituents, AECs are commonly employed to serve students who are pregnant or parenting, with criminal records, who are overage and lacking credits, and who have experienced chronic homelessness. AEC placements are meant to help students overcome these roadblocks while also helping them move forward to achieve their academic goals. Often in AECs, the goals themselves vary based on individuals’ experiences and current needs.
The issue brief focuses on stand-alone AECs in the thirty-four states (and the District of Columbia) that had charter school laws on the books during the 2021–22 school year. It does not include district, charter, or state-run programs held within larger, non-AEC, general education schools. In the 2021–22 school year, 2,756 AEC campuses operated in these states, and 555 (20 percent) were charter schools. As of fall 2021, a total of 336,393 students were enrolled in these AECs, with 141,669 (42 percent) of them in charter AECs. As charter schools serve just 7.2 percent of all public school students nationally, the high percentage of charter AEC schools and students is striking.
Looking specifically at charter AEC students, 95 percent were in high school grades, though students as young as fourth grade were included in the analysis. Approximately half of the students were female, 74 percent were students of color—including 47 percent who identified as Hispanic—68 percent were from low-income households, 16 percent were students with disabilities, and 10 percent were English Learners.
It’s difficult to tell how well charter AECs serve these students, as accountability measures run the gamut from traditional high school test scores and graduation rates to less conventional GED and career certification completion. Different states, different school types, different student compositions, and different ages result in a maze of measures that are difficult to directly compare. But the analysts did an admirable job untangling them.
To wit: They were only able to gather consistent cohort graduation data for AECs in ten states which reported four-, five-, and six-year rates. This ends up being a small subset of the total for both charter and district AECs, but the data indicate that students who remain enrolled in AECs for a longer time are more likely to graduate (though charter AECs slightly lag their district counterparts for each cohort). Similarly, in states where data were available and direct comparisons could accurately be made, the average state test score proficiency rates among charter AECs for the 2020–21 school year were 24 percent for English language arts and 14 percent for math. These (very low) rates are slightly better than those of district AECs.
AECs often have very different goals for the students they serve, however, including credentialing, job training, and catching up with high school course credits previously missed. Improving state test scores, analysts suggest, is often a less-pressing concern for AEC leaders and students. While the issue brief does not recommend eliminating such traditional measures from AEC accountability structures, it does call for a wider and more diverse set of metrics, including measures based on the goals of any given AEC. That is, if students earning high-demand industry credentials is a central part of the AEC mission, then which credentials and how many their students earn should be as important—or maybe even more important—than test scores or high school diploma attainment.
In the end, the recommendations are a mix of the flexibility described above and some across-the-board standardization in terms of both identification of AECs and defining accountability structures. The authors point to the work of the National Charter Schools Institute’s Advancing Great Authorizing and Modeling Excellence (A-GAME) initiative, in which the Fordham Foundation participates. A-GAME focuses specifically on charter authorizers, and its AEC-related recommendations include having a clear and standardized definition of which schools are identified as AECs, as well as making sure that authorizers partner with AECs to develop evaluation goals. At the same time, those evaluation goals should include as many non-traditional measures and assessments as are possible and relevant (including universals like school climate and student engagement), focus on both growth and achievement when using with traditional test score data, and include school site reviews as a way to observe school quality.
The brief describes a unique prescription for the most specialized of schools, and one its authors feel that charters are far more adept to fill than districts.
SOURCE: Issue Brief, “Going the Extra Mile: An overview of charter school alternative education campuses,” National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (June 2023).
On this week’s Education Gadfly Show podcast, Alia Wong of USA Today joins Mike and David to discuss what’s causing chronic absenteeism and ways to fix it. Then, on the Research Minute, Amber discusses a California study that investigates the extent to which a small group of teachers exacerbates racial gaps in school discipline.
- “Showing up to school was hard amid COVID. Why aren’t kids (or teachers) returning to class?” — Alia Wong
- “When students feel unsafe, absenteeism grows” —Amber M. Northern, Ph.D. and Christian Eggers
- “Imperfect Attendance: Toward a fairer measure of student absenteeism” —Jing Liu
- “3 years since the pandemic wrecked attendance, kids still aren't showing up to school” —NPR
- The study that Amber reviewed on the Research Minute: Jing Liu, Emily K. Penner and Wenjing Gao, Troublemakers? The Role of Frequent Teacher Referrers in Expanding Racial Disciplinary Disproportionalities, American Educational Research Association (June 2023)
Have ideas for improving our podcast? Send them to Jeanette Luna at [email protected].
- “Instead of objectively evaluating what actually works, educators fell in love with the utopian idea that children would naturally learn to read if only teachers made reading fun. In reality, most children need explicit phonics instruction.” —Eva Moskowitz
- In response to job market demands, Texas is seeing growth in technical college and career programs, apprenticeships, and workforce training for students with disabilities. —Texas Tribune
- On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case about a North Carolina charter school’s dress code. In doing so, SCOTUS also declined the opportunity to declare charter schools public—or not. —The 74
- A new report offers practical recommendations to support the hard work of implementing K-12 Education Savings Accounts. —The 74
- In Spain, former Secretary of State for Education Montse Gomendio faced policy challenges that resonate with ours in the United States. —Education Week
- An American writer reflects on his daughters’ enrollment in a Chinese school. — The New Yorker