Is America a racist country? Or the greatest nation on earth? Or both or neither or some of each?
The Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s review of state standards for U.S. history and civics comes at a critical moment in American civic life. As a nation, we are failing to maintain a high functioning democratic society on multiple fronts.
Is America a racist country? Or the greatest nation on earth? Such a divisive question leaves little room for the complexity, richness, and nuance of our country’s past and present. But it’s the sort of question that often seems to get asked in today’s polarized environment. Small wonder, then, that the tattered condition of civics and U.S. history education constitutes a national crisis.
Ever since their creation and adoption over a decade ago, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have been hotly debated and intensely villainized. The backlash to the CCSS initially took many advocates and supporters by surprise, as state education standards have existed in the U.S.
When policymakers contend that their standards deserve to be replicated, especially when those policymakers lead big, highly regarded states like Florida, we at Fordham think their claims merit a closer look. So we gathered a team of expert reviewers to review the state's new standards, and published a new report based on their results. The verdict: Other states should indeed look for models to emulate, but they won’t find them in Florida.
A decade ago, states across the nation adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in an effort to raise the academic bar for their students. This has provoked countless political battles since then—including an especially intense one in Florida.
This major essay comprises one of the concluding chapters of our new book, "How to Educate an American: The Conservative Vision for Tomorrow's Schools." Levin brilliantly—and soberingly—explains what conservatives have forfeited in the quest for bipartisan education reform. He contends that future efforts by conservatives to revitalize American education must emphasize “the formation of students as human beings and citizens,” including “habituation in virtue, inculcation in tradition, [and] veneration of the high and noble.”
On this week’s podcast, Seth Gershenson, associate professor at American University, joins Mike Petrilli and David Griffith to discuss the Fordham study he authored this month, Great Expectations: The Impact of Rigorous Grading Practices on Student Achievement.
On this week’s podcast, Marty West, a Harvard professor of education, joins Mike Petrilli and David Griffith to talk about last week’s NAEP results and their relationship to the Great Recession. On the Research Minute, Amber Northern examines how graduation requirements affect arrest rates.
Learning in the Fast Lane: The Past, Present, and Future of Advanced Placement (Princeton, 2019), the new book by Chester Finn and Andrew Scanlan, tells the story of the Advanced Placement (AP) program, widely regarded as the gold standard for academic rigor in American high schools.
This year’s NAEP results are bleak. But they were foreseeable, with the Great Recession's effects still impeding progress. Demography need not be destiny though: A few jurisdictions bucked the overall trends and showed improvement. D.C. deserves much of the praise, given its ability to demonstrate sustained and significant progress over time, and its decade-plus commitment to fundamental reform. As does Mississippi, which has been on an upward trajectory for the last decade, especially in reading. Despite the dismal results, there’s hope if we can follow the lead of these notable locales.
On this week’s podcast, Megan Kuhfeld, a research scientist at NWEA, joins Mike Petrilli to discuss her recent, sobering findings about the reading and math skills of children entering kindergarten. On the Research Minute, Adam Tyner examines how “stereotype threat” affects the results of cognitive ability tests.
Editor’s note: This is a submission to Fordham’s 2019 Wonkathon, in which we ask participants to answer the question: “What’s the best way to help students who are several grade levels behind?” This entry does so via answers to hypothe
Programs that allow high school students the opportunity to earn college credit while still in high school are growing fast. In addition to familiar options like Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate, dual enrollment, concurrent enrollment, and early college high school—otherwise known as college in high school programs–are increasingly popular models in states.
Much of the initial response to Robert’s new book, "How The Other Half Learns," has focused on the winnowing effects of Success Academy’s enrollment process, which ensures that the children of only the most committed parents enroll and persist. But that’s just the start of the story. You have to look at what parent buy-in actually buys: a school culture that drives student achievement, and which can only be achieved when parents are active participants, not unwilling conscripts.
What if you were told that elementary schools in the United States are teaching children to be poor readers?
Very little previous research has looked at end-of-course exams. Our new study on their relationship to student outcomes helps remedy that. We learned much that’s worth knowing and sharing. Probably most important: EOCs, properly deployed, have positive academic benefits and do so without causing kids to drop out or graduation rates to falter.
The “left behind” kids made incredible progress from the late 1990s until the Great Recession. Here are key lessons for ed reform.Michael J. Petrilli
Editor’s note: This is the final post in a series looking at whether and how the nation’s schools have improved over the past quarter-century or so (see the others here,
A dozen long years ago, when people were just beginning to take serious stock of what good and not-so-good was emerging from 2002’s enactment of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), we at Fordham, in league with the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), issued a 200-plus page analysis of the “proficiency” standards that states had by then been required to set and test for.
A new study from Georgetown University reaffirmed an uncomfortable but familiar finding: Socioeconomic status has a significant effect on students’ long-term outcomes, regardless of their academic performance in kindergarten or the quality of the schools they attend in K–12.
This report provides a rich longitudinal look at state policies related to end-of-course exams over the past twenty years and the effects of administering EOCs in different subjects on high school graduation rates and college entrance exam scores.
The kids who had been “left behind” are doing much better today than 25 years ago. But what about everyone else?Michael J. Petrilli
The past quarter-century has included dramatic progress of America’s lowest-performing students, many of whom are also low-income and children of color. But how’s the vast middle class doing? It’s a mixed bag: They still don’t read very well, but their math skills have improved a bit and they are graduating from college in higher and higher numbers.
Credit recovery, or the practice of enabling high school students to retrieve credits from courses that they either failed or failed to complete, is at the crossroads of two big trends in education: the desire to move toward “competency based” education and a push to dramatically boost graduation rates.
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.
Since 2010, when most states adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), the Thomas B. Fordham Institute has been committed to monitoring their implementation.