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The State of State Standards Post-Common Core

Eight years ago, we compared states’ English language arts (ELA) and mathematics standards to what were then the newly-minted Common Core State Standards. That report found that the Common Core was clearer and more rigorous than the ELA standards in thirty-seven states and stronger than the math standards in thirty-nine states.

While many states have, to varying degrees, revised their standards since 2010, the questions that should concern policymakers and the public haven’t changed: Are states’ ELA and math standards of sufficient quality and rigor to drive effective instruction? And if not, how might they be improved?

David Griffith, Victoria McDougald, Solomon Friedberg, Diane Barone, Juliana Belding, Andrew Chen, Linda Dixon 8.22.2018
NationalReport
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The Costs of Online Learning

The latest installment of Fordham's Creating Sound Policy for Digital Learning series investigates one of the more controversial aspects of digital learning: How much does it cost? In this paper, the Parthenon Group uses interviews with more than fifty vendors and online-schooling experts to estimate today's average per-pupil cost for a variety of schooling models, traditional and online, and presents a nuanced analysis of the important variance in cost between different school designs.

1.9.2012
NationalReport
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Quality Control in K-12 Digital Learning: Three (Imperfect) Approaches

Will the move toward virtual and “blended learning” schools in American education repeat the mistakes of the charter-school movement, or will it learn from them? The Thomas B. Fordham Institute, with the support of the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation, has commissioned five deep-thought papers that, together, address the thorniest policy issues surrounding digital learning. The goal is to boost the prospects for successful online learning (both substantively and politically) over the long run. In this first of six papers on digital learning commissioned by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, Frederick M. Hess explores the challenges of quality control.

Frederick M. Hess 1.9.2012
NationalReport
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Teachers in the Age of Digital Instruction

Will the move toward virtual and “blended learning” schools in American education repeat the mistakes of the charter-school movement, or will it learn from them? The Thomas B. Fordham Institute, with the support of the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation, has commissioned five deep-thought papers that, together, address the thorniest policy issues surrounding digital learning. The goal is to boost the prospects for successful online learning (both substantively and politically) over the long run.

1.9.2012
NationalReport
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The Accountability Plateau

After more than ten years under NCLB, that law’s legacy continues to be fiercely contested. This analysis of NAEP scores—focusing on Texas and on the entire nation—by former NCES commissioner Mark Schneider finds that solid gains in math achievement coincided with the advent of "consequential accountability," first in the trailblazing Lone Star State and a few other pioneer states, then across the land with the implementation of NCLB. But Schneider warns that the recent plateau in Texas math scores may foreshadow a coming stagnation in the country’s performance. Has the testing-and-accountability movement as we know it run out of steam? How else might we rekindle our nation’s education progress?

Mark Schneider 12.28.2011
NationalReport
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Rethinking Education Governance for the Twenty-First Century

School reforms abound today, yet even the boldest and most imaginative among them have produced—at best—marginal gains in student achievement. What America needs in the twenty-first century is a far more profound version of education reform. Instead of shoveling yet more policies, programs, and practices into our current system, we must deepen our understanding of the obstacles to reform that are posed by existing structures, governance arrangements, and power relationships. Yet few education reformers—or public officials—have been willing to delve into this touchy territory.

12.9.2011
NationalReport
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Better Choices: Charter Incubation as a Strategy for Improving the Charter School Sector

In this policy brief, Public Impact??s Joe Ableidinger and Julie Kowal examine the merits of the incubation model, outline specific strategies for supporting it, and profile organizations around the U.S. putting it into practice. The authors explain that through the strategic recruitment, selection, and training of talented leaders???and support of them as they launch or expand new charter schools???incubators offer charter school advocates an important tool in guaranteeing quality school choice.

Terry Ryan 12.8.2011
NationalReport
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Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: Fordham's 2010-11 Sponsorship Accountability Report

The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation is pleased to share its latest annual Sponsorship Accountability Report, Two Steps Forward, One Step Back. The sixth of its kind, the report reflects on Ohio??s charter school policy environment and the performance of Fordham sponsored charter schools ??? in terms of absolute achievement, growth, and adherence to goals set forth in our authorizing contract ??? as well as developments in state law over the year. Despite some tough battles during the state budget as it relates to holding authorizers (and operators) accountable, overall Fordham and its schools had an encouraging year, with Fordham sponsored-charters making achievement gains and positioning themselves to do even better in the future.

Terry Ryan 11.22.2011
NationalReport
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School Finance in the Digital-Learning Era

Will the move toward virtual and “blended learning” schools in American education repeat the mistakes of the charter-school movement, or will it learn from them? The Thomas B. Fordham Institute, with the support of the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation, has commissioned five deep-thought papers that, together, address the thorniest policy issues surrounding digital learning. The goal is to boost the prospects for successful online learning (both substantively and politically) over the long run.

Paul T. Hill 11.16.2011
NationalReport
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Now What? Imperatives and Options for Common Core Implementation and Governance

This Fordham Institute publication—co-authored by President Chester E. Finn Jr. and VP Michael J. Petrilli—pushes folks to think about what comes next in the journey to common education standards and tests. Most states have adopted the Common Core English language arts and math standards, and most are also working on common assessments. But...now what? The standards won't implement themselves, but unless they are adopted in the classroom, nothing much will change. What implementation tasks are most urgent? What should be done across state lines? What should be left to individual states, districts, and private markets? Perhaps most perplexing, who will govern and own these standards and tests ten or twenty years from now?

Chester E. Finn, Jr., Michael J. Petrilli 10.21.2011
NationalReport
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Cracks in the Ivory Tower? The Views of Education Professors Circa 2010

This national survey of education school professors finds that, even as the U.S. grows more practical and demanding when it comes to K-12 education, most of the professoriate simply isn't there. They see themselves more as philosophers and agents of social change, not as master craftsmen sharing tradecraft. They also resist some promising reforms such as tying teacher pay to student test scores. Still, education professors are reform-minded in some areas, including tougher policies for awarding tenure to teachers and financial incentives for those who teach in tough neighborhoods. Read on to find out more.

Steve Farkas, Ann Duffett 10.21.2011
NationalReport