The Week That Was – Oklahoma School Reform Comes Crashing Down

Six days into the week that may mark the end of test-driven school “reform” in Oklahoma, our state may foreshadow the way that corporate reform collapses nationally. As the parent/volunteer leader of Central Parent Legislative Action Committee, Meredith Exline  says, “the trend in Oklahoma is not isolated. ‘I really feel like any story I read […]

See Me After Class, Part II

In a first post on Roxanna Elden’s See Me After Class, I focused on her sage advice for lesson and unit planning. I argued that one reason why the contemporary school reform movement failed is that it ignored Elden’s wisdom on why implementing plans is “easier said than done.” This post contends that reformers also […]

Roxanna Elden’s Excellent See Me After Class

Rereading the second edition of Roxanna Elden’s See Me After Class is just as much fun as the first read. And it begins with one of the best and truest endorsements I have seen. Dave Berry says, “You know how you’ve always thought if you were a teacher you would go insane? Well, this very […]

Jeb Bush’s Fact-Challenged Visit to Oklahoma City’s KIPP Charter School

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush joined Republican Governor Mary Fallin at Oklahoma City’s KIPP Academy. They chanted the same old magical incantations and repeated the standard slander about teachers in schools serving every child who comes into their building. Given the way that Bush and Fallin are caught in the Common Core bind, it was […]

If Economists Studied Education Research, Would They Still Promote Value-Added Evaluations?

  Vergara versus California seeks to strike down the due process rights of that state’s teachers. The case is based on the opinions of the plaintiffs that legal protections for teachers damage the civil rights of poor children of color. The evidence for this extraordinary argument is largely based on the opinions of a few […]

Why Did Raj Chetty Allow His Research to Be Used Against Teachers in Vergara?

An expert witness for the plaintiffs in Vergara v California, Tom Kane, argued that effective teaching, and presumably ineffective teaching, in the Los Angeles schools can be measured. Vergara, of course, seeks to strike down teacher due process and it is about as overtly anti-teacher of an action as can be imagined.  In a previous […]

The Gates Foundation MET Research Does NOT Provide Evidence for the Anti-Teacher Vergara v California

Rick Hess, in “A Small Request for My Friends at Gates,” was kind enough to urge the Gates Foundation to consider three of my research proposals in order to better estimate the bias resulting from the inability of value-added added models to control for peer effects. I am pleased to say that Chief Research Officer […]

Another Blow to the Claim that Successful Charters Serve the “Same” Students

For years, charters have gotten away with the spin that they serve the “same students” as high-poverty charter schools. In almost every case, those brazen claims were transparently false, but they were repeated with such confidence that many seemed to believe them. Rarely was there an effort to explain the seemingly arcane issue of “backfill.” […]

More History Ignored by Common Core Advocates

A grandiose vision of school reform took off during the 1990s as the digital revolution seemed to be freeing society and the economy from the constraints of the industrial era. It was a time that inspired book titles such as Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History. It was even suggested that computer technology, through “just […]

The Middle School Mess and How Reform Made It Worse

The Washington Post’s Emma Brown recently explained something that has been lost on reformers in Washington D.C. and elsewhere. Teaching in high-poverty middle schools has always been challenging. But, the extreme proliferation of choice has created intense concentrations of children from generational poverty who have endured extreme trauma. Now that less than a quarter of […]

A Liberal and a Conservative Reach Remarkable Agreement on Edu-Philanthropy

Richard Kahlenberg moderated a discussion between Joanne Barkan and Rick Hess at the Shanker Institute.  As it turned out, no moderator was needed. By the end of the conversation, there was a remarkable consensus about the overreach of foundations.    Barkan kicked the discussion off with a historical analysis regarding the use and abuse of […]

Does the Gates Foundation’s Evidence Argue For or Against Vergara?

The corporate reform group Students Matter wants to strike down the duly-enacted laws of California that protect the rights of teachers. Their case, Vergara vs. California claims that laws protecting teachers damage poor children of color. Vergara is known as the “bad teacher” lawsuit. I have joked, however, that it should be known as the […]

Gates Scholar, Tom Kane, Wants Schools to Replicate His MET Experiment

I would have nothing but praise for the Gates Foundation Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) project if it only claimed to be doing theoretical research. Neither would I have a real complaint with the work of the MET’s director, Tom Kane, if he saw it as basic research, not policy research. Kane seems to be […]

Vergara V. California Would Turn Teachers into Second Class Citizens

David Cohen’s “Education Policy vs Litigation” at InterACT provides a balanced analysis of Vergara vs California, a corporate reform effort to kill five California laws because they supposedly violate the rights of poor children of color. Students Matter, a nonprofit founded by entrepreneur David Welch, sponsors Vergara.  It asks the Court to strike down teachers’ […]

The Policy Implications of Market-Driven Education Research in 2013

My previous posts regarding Matt DiCarlo’s commentary on 2013 research, “The Year in Research on Market-Based Education Reforms: 2013,” can be found here, here, and here. My entire tirade comes down to two arcane points. I would not bother with them if teachers, unions, and students were not being damaged by market-driven reforms. DiCarlo properly […]


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