On this week's podcast, special guest Yamuna Menon, vice president of advocacy and policy at 50CAN, joins Alyssa Schwenk and Brandon Wright to discuss the ins and outs of state education policy and how national organizations can more constructively influence it. During the Research Minute, Amber Northern examines how being among the older children in a grade affects cognitive development.

Amber’s Research Minute

Elizabeth Dhuey et al.,“School Starting Age and Cognitive Development,” National Bureau of Economic Research (August 2017).


Alyssa Schwenk is the director of external relations at the Fordham Institute, where she leads Fordham’s outreach and messaging to outside audiences, including the media, policymakers, others in the education-policy sphere, and the funding community. Alyssa started her education career at a Ward 5 D.C. charter school via Teach For America, where she learned that everything important in life can be learned in…

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Brandon Wright is the Editorial Director of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. He is the coauthor of two books: Failing our Brightest Kids: The Global Challenge of Educating High-Ability Students

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Amber Northern is senior vice president for research at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, where she supervises the Institute’s studies and research staff.  She has published in the areas of educational accountability, principal leadership, teacher quality, and academic standards, among others. Prior to joining Fordham, she served as senior study director at Westat. In that role, she provided evaluation services…

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