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The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) recently released 2013-14 data on school safety and discipline at public schools and the numbers seem to indicate positive changes. Kids are in school for a huge part of their young lives, and making sure their schools have a safe and hospitable climate is both a moral imperative and a first step in delivering a high-quality education.
A few weeks ago, NAEP released the 2014 national results of eighth-graders’ tests in Civics, Geography, and US History. In absolute terms, these test results are not encouraging. However if you dig a little deeper, and look at progress over time by student race and poverty, you’ll find some arguably good news. If you dig even deeper, to find the rapid and huge changes in the racial and poverty composition of US students, you may see the ground shifting.
Earlier this week, Jenn Hatfield, Elizabeth English, and I released a paper on charter school authorizing. In it, we made two pretty straightforward arguments. First, there are things that are appropriate for charter school authorizers (and the legislators that write charter school policy) to ask schools to demonstrate before they are allowed to accept students and public dollars and there are things that are inappropriate for them to request. Second, many authorizers (and legislators) have gone far beyond what is reasonable and appropriate. We coded the applications of 40 authorizers around the country to demonstrate this fact. […]
“Socioeconomically disadvantaged children and their families are easier to manipulate,” an education blogger and teacher from Philadelphia wrote. “Many urban poor are not in a position to access research on charter school performance, so they simply believe what they hear or are told.” One clear problem with the author’s argument is that it is condescending and wildly overstated, we shouldn’t lose sight of that. The vast majority of school operators have the best interests on children at heart. If they wanted to unscrupulously profit, there are many other industries with wider margins.
Last week, the Senate reauthorized the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program with a strongly bipartisan vote of 92 to eight, following a House vote this past March of 392 to seven supporting the program. Policymakers are on the right side of history. Voluntary home visiting programs, while not as well-known as Head Start or state pre-K, may be the single most promising approach to improving the lives of America’s most disadvantaged young children.
Recent research on the labor market returns to short-term educational credentials—particularly certificates and associate degrees in technical fields—suggests that such training can be as lucrative, or more so, than a four-year degree. For many working adults without a college degree, completing such a credential could be very beneficial. Yet many Americans appear to be unaware of these options or, worse, view them as a distant second-best in a culture obsessed with the traditional college education.
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In yesterday’s USA Today, noted education journalist Richard Whitmire penned a provocative piece entitled “Shut down bad charter schools.” In it, he tells the story of Benjamin Banneker Charter School in Kansas City that, as it just so happens, is not a “bad” school. By Whitmire’s own description, Banneker does about as well as the average public school in the city. But Whitmire is undeterred. He still thinks that the powers at be should shut Banneker down.
View related content: Education
The Student Success Act does a whole lot of good on the merits, but more fundamentally would restore the rule of law, state flexibility, and constitutional order. States would be able to chart their own courses, and the Secretary of Education would lose his power to dictate school policy from DC. These being the circumstances, we’d like to walk through a couple of the key issues that are up still up for debate.