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All of us do not have equal talent, but all of us should have an equal opportunity to develop our talent.quote

— John F. Kennedy

Blog

New Policy Paper: Teacher Education Reform 1.0

Education Reform Now has been among the leading public policy groups advocating for dramatic reform and improvement to teacher education.  We have been asked by media and others what change to teacher education policy should look like.  Our Director for Strategic Initiatives and a former senior advisor in President Obama's Department of Education, Michael Dannenberg, offers a sneak peek at why and how the administration's long-awaited teacher preparation regulation might "reward the good, improve the middle, and turnaround the bad."

NY Daily News Op-Ed: Elite colleges or private clubs?

Kudos to former Mayor Michael Bloomberg for a campaign he announced last week: His charitable foundation and others will fund more college counselors and outreach services to get thousands more talented, low-income students to attend, and graduate from, high-quality colleges.

That's urgently needed to live up to the American ideal of equal educational opportunity. Despite the fact one in five students with a top score on the ACT exam comes from a working-class or low-income family, you are 25 times more likely to bump into a rich kid than a poor one on the campuses of America's 173 most selective undergraduate institutions.

But outreach and financial aid are of limited use if top-flight colleges systematically pass over talented, low-income students. The dirty little secret about higher education is that, despite well-marketed outreach and generous financial aid programs, many wealthy colleges embrace policies that undermine low-income students' chances of ever being admitted, much less enrolled.

Until we confront those bad habits, we'll only attack the problem around the edges.

Perhaps the most nefarious ways elite colleges reproduce inequality...read more here

Baltimore Sun Op-Ed: College presidents' pay should be tied to academic success

On Friday, Maryland became the first state to set minimum academic performance standards for Division I coaches and athletic directors to qualify for salary bonuses. In an era when NCAA football and basketball are big business, Maryland is rewarding at least minimum academic grit alongside greater athletic glory. Every state should do the same.

But at a time when our country confronts a significant shortfall in college degrees, unacceptably low graduation rates for working-class students and students of color, and unprecedented levels of student debt, why not tie the pay of all college leaders to student success?

Click here to read more. 

Testing 4,5,6

As I mentioned yesterday, I do not think testing is guilty of every charge leveled against it, particularly the accusation that it narrows the scope and content of what is taught in classrooms. However, I do think we should look at ways to make testing more efficient and less burdensome. 

Read more....

Testing, 1, 2, 3

The first time I realized No Child Left Behind was controversial was when, a year out of college, I found myself at a Democratic fundraiser in a hip Denver loft. The keynote speaker was the late Ann Richards, and she was rallying the crowd with slogans like, "all No Child Left Behind does is make sure no child's behind is left." I had no idea what she was getting at.

Read more....

In search of a common denominator

As many parents who have moved from one state to another can tell you, there can be substantial differences in content and rigor of schools from one place to another. In 2010, Andrew Rotherham wrote, "states, school districts, and in some cases individual schools are allowed to set both their academic standards and the tests to determine whether students are reaching them." The American Institutes for Research conducted a study in 2009, which concluded, "What students are expected to know in one state may be up to four grade levels behind the expectations set in another state."

Read more....

Boston Voter Poll: Attitudes toward education reform, charter schools

Education Reform Now, in partnership with the Benenson Strategy Group, recently polled Boston voter attitudes toward education reform in the city, charter schools, public education, politicians' handling of education, and voter priorities. The poll can be downloaded here. (Crosstabs are here.)