(11.15.07) “Truth in Advertising” and State Graduation Rates
It’s common knowledge that many states aren’t straight shooters when it comes to reporting high school graduation rates. All too often, grade inflation rules the day, making a mockery of federal accountability provisions and masking our dropout problem. U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings has had it with state obfuscation, and is upping the ante with threats of a new federal mandate.
(11.08.07) Ballots, Budget-Busting Bonds, and a Bitter Defeat
Election Day may be over, but pundits will likely mull the import of voter sentiment for weeks to come. True, this year’s election was less consequential than some. But voters made weighty decisions nonetheless, casting ballots with potentially far-reaching implications for K-12 education.
(11.01.07) “Dropout Factories”
and Assembly-Line Education
Are American high schools laboratories of learning or “dropout factories”? New data out this week from the Associated Press indicate a disturbing 12 percent of high schools nationwide deserve the “factory” moniker. These schools are prolific producers, but not in a good way, churning out dropouts almost as fast as graduates.
(10.25.07) Mental Health Screening…Coming to a School Near You
There’s no disputing the fact that many children today are troubled. Rising youth suicide rates and outbreaks of school-based violence have policymakers and parents on high alert. Acknowledging our juvenile mental health problem is easy indeed; reaching consensus on how and where to diagnose children’s emotional maladies is another matter entirely.
(10.18.07) A Choice for Utah Voters
This November 6th, all eyes will be trained on the Beehive state. Utah voters will head to the polls to express their views on Referendum 1, a statewide, universal education voucher program. If it succeeds, the program would be the first of its kind in the nation.
(10.15.07) Taking the “High” Out of High School
Have American high schools become “marijuana marts” and “pill palaces”? Joseph Califano, chairman of Columbia University’s Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) thinks so.
(10.05.07) Bonds or Back to Basics?
What’s the best way to cope with overcrowded classrooms and aging school buildings? For many school systems in North Carolina, constructing bright and shiny new schools – funded by school bonds – is the remedy of choice for our statewide facilities crisis.
(9.27.07) Deconstructing NAEP
Recent data place American students on an upward academic trajectory. Results from Tuesday’s release of the 2007 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the “Nation’s Report Card,” reveal reading and math gains for both elementary and middle school students.
(9.20.07) National Demographic:
Mapping Out Race, Class, and American Education
Is demographic diversity the educational elixir for ailing schools? Many educators seem to think so, provoking contentious debates in school districts nationwide. At issue are school assignment policies promoting “diversity” – complicated formulas for determining the ideal racial and economic composition of schools. Having achieved such sublime heterogeneity, schools are thus poised for widespread academic greatness, or so the thinking goes.
(9.13.07) A Compensation Plan with Merit
In the business world, top performers are routinely rewarded with handsome financial bonuses and generous raises. The flip side is true as well: missing the mark entirely just might mean getting the boot. Such a reality-based compensation system of cause and effect keeps employees on their toes.