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.
It’s well established that some charter schools do far better than others at educating their students. This variability has profound implications for the children who attend those schools. Yet painful experience shows that rebooting or closing a low-performing school is a drawn-out and excruciating process.
Under the Every Student Succeeds Act, the federal School Improvement Grants program is gone, but the goal of school improvement remains. States must now use seven percent of their Title I allocation for these efforts, but are no longer constrained by a prescribed menu of intervention options.
Although it’s been almost seven years since many states took the important step of elevating their academic standards by adopting the Common Core, teachers and administrators across the country still bemoan the lack of reliable information about which instructional materials are high-quality and best aligned to the new standards.
A new teacher’s pension is supposed to be a perk. The truth is that for the majority of the nation’s new teachers, what they can anticipate in retirement benefits will be worth less than what they contributed to the system while they were in the classroom, even if they stay for decades.
Countless studies have demonstrated that teacher quality is the most important school-based determinant of student learning, and that removing ineffective teachers from the classroom could greatly benefit students.
Eleven weeks ago, in High Stakes for High Achievers: State Accountability in the Age of ESSA, the Fordham Institute reported that current K–8 accountability systems in most states give teachers scant reason to attend to the learning of high-achieving youngsters.
Over the past quarter-century, charter schools have gone from an upstart education experiment to a prominent, promising, and disruptive innovation in K–12 education. Indeed, few observers present at the creation of the first charter schools could have predicted how rapidly this movement would spread or how thoroughly it would come to dominate the education-reform agenda.
Tens of thousands of individuals across the United States volunteer their time, energy, and expertise as members of charter school boards. Yet as the charter sector has grown, we’ve learned remarkably little about these individuals who make key operational decisions about their schools and have legal and moral responsibilities for the education of children in their communities.
No Child Left Behind meant well, but it had a pernicious flaw: It created strong incentives for schools to focus all their energy on helping low-performing students get over a modest “proficiency” bar. Meanwhile, it ignored the educational needs of high achievers, who were likely to pass state reading and math tests regardless of what happened in the classroom.
This Fordham study, conducted by learning technology researcher June Ahn from NYU, dives into one of the most promising—and contentious—issues in education today: virtual schools. What type of students choose them? Which online courses do students take? Do virtual schools lead to improved outcomes for kids?
In Common Core Math in the K-8 Classroom: Results from a National Teacher Survey, Jennifer Bay Williams, Ann Duffett, and David Griffith take a close look at how educators are implementing the Common Core math standards in classrooms across the nation.
Fordham’s latest study, by the University of Connecticut's Shaun M. Dougherty, uses data from Arkansas to explore whether students benefit from CTE coursework—and, more specifically, from focused sequences of CTE courses aligned to certain industries.
In Education for Upward Mobility, editor Michael J. Petrilli and more than a dozen leading scholars and policy analysts seek answers to a fundamental question: How can we help children born into poverty transcend their disadvantages and enter the middle class as adults? And in particular, what role can our schools play?
Evaluating the Content and Quality of Next Generation Assessments examines previously unreleased items from three multi-state tests (ACT Aspire, PARCC, and Smarter Balanced) and one best-in-class state assessment, Massachusetts’ state exam (MCAS). The product of two years of work by the Thomas B.
More than twelve million American students exercise some form of school choice by going to a charter, magnet, or private school——instead of attending a traditional public school.
Whether you think the end game of the current “mixed economy” of district and charter schools should be an all-charter system (as in New Orleans) or a dual model (as in Washington D.C.), for the foreseeable future most cities are likely to continue with a blend of these two sectors. So we wanted to know: Can they peacefully co-exist? Can they do better than that?
In Failing Our Brightest Kids, Chester E. Finn, Jr. and Brandon L. Wright argue that for decades, the United States has focused too little on preparing students to achieve at high levels.