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.
The Acceleration Imperative: A Plan to Address Elementary Students’ Unfinished Learning in the Wake of Covid-19
In school districts and charter school networks nationwide, instructional leaders are developing plans to address the enormous challenges faced by their students, families, teachers, and staff over the past year. To help kick-start their planning process, we are proud to present The Acceleration Imperative, an open-source, evidence-based document created with input from dozens of current and former chief academic officers, scholars, and others with deep expertise and experience in high-performing, high-poverty elementary schools.
High-dosage tutoring is receiving a lot of buzz as a promising tool to address learning loss in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. But unlike vaccines, successful tutoring programs are challenging to scale with fidelity. In this paper, long-time educators Michael Goldstein and Bowen Paulle explain how leaders can smartly scale promising tutoring programs that can boost student outcomes.
Opponents of charters contend that they drain district coffers, while proponents argue that it is charters that are denied essential funding. Yet too often, the claims made by both sides of this debate have been based on assumptions rather than hard evidence.
Bridging the Covid Divide: How States Can Measure Student Achievement Growth in the Absence of 2020 Test ScoresIshtiaque Fazlul, Cory Koedel, Eric Parsons, Cheng Qian
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit the U.S. last spring, schools nationwide shut their doors and states cancelled annual standardized tests. Now federal and state policymakers are debating whether to cancel testing again in 2021. One factor they should consider is whether a two-year gap in testing will make it impossible to measure student-level achievement growth during this historic period.
Study after study has found that new teachers tend to be less effective than educators with more experience. But despite having more junior staff, charter networks (referred to as CMOs) often outperform their district peers. So what’s their secret? To find out, this study explores how teacher effectiveness varies and evolves across traditional and charter public schools, as well as within the sector’s CMOs and standalone schools.
Social Studies Instruction and Reading Comprehension: Evidence from the Early Childhood Longitudinal StudyAdam Tyner, Sarah Kabourek
Even as phonics battles rage in the realm of primary reading and with two-thirds of American fourth and eighth graders failing to read proficiently, another tussle has been with us for ages regarding how best to develop the vital elements of reading ability that go beyond decoding skills and phonemic awareness.
Last spring, the Covid-19 pandemic upended routines for over 56 million students and challenged more than 3.7 million teachers in over 130,000 schools nationwide to continue educating kids in an online format. This transition to “virtual learning” was understandably trying for all educators, schools, and districts, but some managed to do far better than others.
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.
Yes, what you make depends on what you know and what credentials you carry. But it also depends on where you live. That's what we find in our new report by John V. Winters. The first-of-its-kind analysis compares mean earnings for full-time workers with different levels of education in all 50 states and D.C., over 100 metro areas, and rural America. Read it to learn more.
One indicator of teachers’ expectations is their approach to grading—specifically, whether they subject students to more or less rigorous grading practices. Unfortunately, “grade inflation” is pervasive in U.S. high schools, as evidenced by rising GPAs even as SAT scores and other measures of academic performance have held stable or fallen. The result is that a “good” grade is no longer a clear marker of knowledge and skills. This report examines to what extent teachers’ grading standards affect student success.
Nearly all teachers today report using the Internet to obtain instructional materials, and many of them do so quite often. And while several organizations now offer impartial reviews of full curriculum products, very little is known about the content and quality of supplemental instructional materials.
Plenty of studies have compared the progress of students in charter schools versus traditional public schools. And more than a dozen have examined the “competitive effects” of charters on neighboring district schools.
Beginning in the late 1990s, many states took it upon themselves to institute end-of-course exams (EOCs) at the high school level, tests specifically designed to assess students’ mastery of the content that various subject-matter courses covered. But was this testing policy good for students? Find out in our new report.
The debate over school discipline reform is one of the most polarized in all of education. Advocates for reform believe that suspensions are racially biased and put students in a “school-to-prison pipeline.” Opponents worry that softer discipline approaches will make classrooms unruly, impeding efforts to help all students learn and narrow achievement gaps.
There’s mounting evidence that, for children of color especially, having one or more teachers of the same race over the course of students’ educational careers seems to make a positive difference. But to what extent, if any, do the benefits of having a same-race teacher vary by type of school? Existing “race-match” studies fail to distinguish among the traditional district and charter school sectors. This study fills that gap and finds that the effects of having a same-race teacher appear stronger in charter schools than in the traditional district sector—and stronger still for nonwhite students.
The recent reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act—the principal federal education program supporting career and technical education (CTE)—expressly aims to “align workforce skills with labor market needs.” Our latest report examines whether students in high school CTE programs are more likely to take courses in high-demand and/or high-wage industries, both nationally and locally.
In recent years, we have reached a homeostasis in education policy, characterized by clearer and fairer but lighter-touch accountability systems and the incremental growth of school choice options for families—but little appetite for big and bold new initiatives.
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.
Although the vast majority of American parents believe their child is performing at or above grade level, in reality two-thirds of U.S. teenagers are ill-prepared for college when they leave high school.
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.
Regardless of where you stand on the debate currently raging over school discipline, one thing seems certain: Self-discipline is far better than the externally imposed kind.
2016–17 was one of the slowest-growth years for charter schools in recent memory. Nobody knows exactly why, but one hypothesis is saturation: With charters having achieved market share of over 20 percent in more than three dozen cities, perhaps school supply is starting to meet parental demand, making new charters less necessary and harder to launch.
Schools have long failed to cultivate the innate talents of many of their young people, particularly high-ability girls and boys from disadvantaged and minority backgrounds. This failure harms the economy, widens income gaps, arrests upward mobility, and exacerbates civic decay and political division.
One important question about school discipline is whether it helps or harms those being disciplined. But a second, equally important question is whether a push to reduce the number of suspensions is harmful to the rule-abiding majority.
The Every Student Succeeds Act grants states more authority over their accountability systems than did No Child Left Behind, but have they seized the opportunity to develop school ratings that are clearer and fairer than those in the past?
Research confirms what common sense dictates: Students learn less when their teachers aren’t there. According to multiple studies, a ten-day increase in teacher absence results in at least ten fewer days of learning for students.
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) grants states more authority over their school accountability systems than did No Child Left Behind (NCLB)—meaning that states now have a greater opportunity to design improved school ratings. Rating the Ratings: Analyzing the First 17 ESSA Accountability Plans examines whether states are making the most of the moment.
Among high school students who consider dropping out, half cite lack of engagement with the school as a primary reason, and 42 percent report that they don’t see value in the schoolwork they are asked to do.