DO SCHOOLS MATTER?

In an increasingly knowledge-based world, getting a good education — in particular, earning a four-year college degree — has become more and more important (see median real earnings over time on page 5 of my presentation), yet only children in high-income families have responded by earning more college degrees — everyone else, especially the poor, have largely stagnated.

Rebutting Ravitch

In this essay, I critique the views of Diane Ravitch.

LIFO | Last In First Out

In this time of unprecedented, chronic budget crises at all levels of government, we are faced with the prospect of many years of teacher layoffs that will likely affect thousands of school districts across the country. This is bad news …

RACE TO THE TOP

Every true reformer should be celebrating Race to the Top (RTTT) and calling for its renewal/expansion. I am not being hyperbolic when I say that it drove more genuine reform in 12 months than in the previous 12 years combined …

The Need to Eliminate Seniority-Based Layoff Policies

With dozens of states and cities facing budget crises, layoffs of public sector employees have already begun — and are likely to continue. Teachers are part of these layoffs, which come at a time when our country is facing the twin challenges of an increasingly competitive world and, at home, widening wealth and income gaps. Thus, our K-12 educational system is more important than it’s ever been — and good teachers are at the heart of this system. Every day, 3.5 million public school teachers go to work, and most do their job well, setting high expectations and helping students learn…

Rebutting 7 Myths About Teach for America

Diane Ravitch is perhaps the best known critic of education reforms such as charter schools and the Obama Administration’s Race to the Top Program, which have been championed by people like Joel Klein and Michelle Rhee. In a recent article, Ravitch set her sights on Teach for America, repeating many common criticisms of this widely celebrated program, which just celebrated its 20th anniversary last weekend in Washington D.C. As one of people who helped Wendy Kopp start TFA in 1989, I feel compelled to…

Progress in NYC Schools Under Chancellor Joel Klein

Along with Michelle Rhee, former New York City Chancellor Joel Klein is the best known of a new wave of reformers tackling one of our nation’s most intractable problems: the overall mediocrity and, in some areas, outright failure of our public schools. Like Rhee, Klein moved aggressively to shake up the status quo and battled with those he viewed as defending it, so he too attracted many critics, most notably Diane Ravitch, but also New York City teacher Marc Epstein…