Changing Public School Governance: Taking over the Camden, NJ Schools

Matthew DiCarlo:

Earlier this week, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced that the state will assume control over Camden City School District. Camden will be the fourth NJ district to undergo takeover, though this is the first time that the state will be removing control from an elected local school board, which will now serve in an advisory role (and have three additional members appointed by the Governor). Over the next few weeks, NJ officials will choose a new superintendent, and begin to revamp evaluations, curricula and other core policies.
Accompanying the announcement, the Governor’s office released a two-page “fact sheet,” much of which is devoted to justifying this move to the public.
Before discussing it, let’s be clear about something – it may indeed be the case that Camden schools are so critically low-performing and/or dysfunctional as to warrant drastic intervention. Moreover, it’s at least possible that state takeover is the appropriate type of intervention to help these schools improve (though the research on this latter score is, to be charitable, undeveloped).
That said, the “fact sheet” presents relatively little valid evidence regarding the academic performance of Camden schools. Given the sheer magnitude of any takeover decision, it is crucial for the state to demonstrate publicly that they have left no stone unturned by presenting a case that is as comprehensive and compelling as possible. However, the discrepancy between that high bar and NJ’s evidence, at least that pertaining to academic outcomes, is more than a little disconcerting.

From the Governor’s two page, fact sheet:

The problem is not a lack of funding, as Camden is receiving over $279.5 million in this year’s budget, an increase of $3.6
million from last year.
• During the 2011-12 school year, Camden spent $23,709 per student, compared to the statewide average of $18,045.
• Additionally, the teacher/student ratio during those years was 9.3 to 1, which was the lowest statewide of the largest
106 school districts in the state.

Madison’s Forward Institute Inaccurately Discredits School Choice Study

Christian D’Andrea:

A recent analysis by a Madison think tank is trying to poke holes in the six-year work of the School Choice Demonstration Project (SCDP). The true discovery here, however, is that this report from the Forward Institute seems to be more interested in discrediting the SCDP’s results than providing meaningful statistical analysis on the data or the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program itself. Even in that aspect, it falls short thanks to a limited view of the project’s six years of analysis in Wisconsin’s largest district.
According to the Forward Institute, the SCDP fails to provide compelling data that voucher schools are the underlying influence behind greater graduation and college attendance rates for students that leave MPS through the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program.
While the Forward Institute raises interesting points about the overall effect of familial influences on a child’s education and their overall success, the group fails to examine the full scope of research that the SCDP has produced in the realm of high school attainment in Milwaukee’s public and voucher schools.

Related: Though not perfect, I think $13,063 (MPS) and $7,126 (MPCP) are reasonably comparative per-pupil public support numbers for MPS and the MPCP..
Madison will spend about $15k per student during the 2012-2013 school year, yet continues to produce disastrous reading results.

It has been an exciting week here for those of us in Washington who are following the education scene.

John Dickert writes from Mount Vernon Farms, Virginia:

It has been an exciting week here for those of us in Washington who are following the education scene.
In one of the counties in Maryland adjacent to Washington, the county executive (in this case, an elected position) has taken over more control of the school system, after first trying to completely override the school board and the office of the school superintendent. Part of what drives this effort is that while that county’s academic scores are not high, its neighboring county to the west has the highest academic scores i the state of Maryland. The first linked article (released April 1st) will relate to that.
Then there was the test scoring scandal which broke in Atlanta. The next two articles (released April 4th) relate to that. The first was by Bill Gates. The second was printed next to it on the Op-ED pages of the Washington Post and relates to an educational incident in Wisconsin. I find that the ideas in the Bill Gates article will run into two roadblocks. The first is teat score envy, the concept that our district needs to keep up with the scores of those of our neighbors. The second is that in Education at the college (or university) level, success is measured by pushing the edge of the envelope in teaching methodology, in a field where success can not be measured until the suggestee is long graduated. When my children went through their pre-collegial schooling they were subjected to several new innovations in education, some of which worked and some of which were disasters. The creators of all these programs were rewarded before any of their programs were proven in the field.
The final attachment was released in our (Fairfax County VA) public library weekly newsletter. It is a recently developed program for aiding parents in assisting with their child’s homework. As it seems very involved, I can posit that only the most helicopterish of parents will be willing to use it.
As a window into my view of high school education when my oldest son entered high school back in 1996, Fairfax County Public Schools only required 3 years of social studies. Our high school offered a 4th year of the program, offered in the Sophomore year, the AP Modern European course. About 150 students would take the course each year offered in 5 periods by one teacher. It was highly sought after. In part due to this program our high school was one of the highest placing high schools on Jay Mathew’s early High School Challenge listings, back when it was only published by the Washington Post. At the time the school was offering only some 5 or 6 AP courses, 2 of which were electives. In the intervening years the AP Challenge Index has gone national, and the AP course offerings have grown geometrically, with the situation that for many courses the only effective college-prep version of a course is the AP course. Initially the AP program was promoted as a way to give high school students a means to have a taste of college. Many high school seniors now are driven to take 4 such courses. AND none of these courses in the social sciences or English, requires the creation of a researched paper. When my youngest child was in high school (she graduated in 2007) I served on a school education committee, and wrote locally about this issue. I never could convince anyone that high school was really about preparing our children for college, not directing them to take the maximum number of College like courses as possible.

Parents: A New Way To Help Your Kids with Their Homework

Library customers can now access a new resource to help with homework. To learn more about it, teachers and parents can sign up for a 30-minute demonstration on April 17. Online registration required: Wednesday, April 17 at 2 p.m.
This new online service by Literati includes a host of resources such as educational content for K-12 students and adults, informational videos and tutorials and interactive discovery tools. Literati Public has been specifically customized for Virginia libraries. Online tutoring help from certified teachers is offered through the “Homework Help” tab Monday through Thursday from
3 p.m. – 9 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. This service is offered to all students in Virginia (Grades 3-12) needing help in math, reading or writing. You can access this resource here. Select Fairfax County Public Library and Go; on the second screen enter your library card number.
There are multiple ways to access this new resource from the library website; here’s one:
Go to the library home page:;
Select Homework help under Library Services in the center column;
Select Find an Online Teacher to Help/Find Resources;
Then follow the steps above (select FCPL and Go/enter your card number).

Thesis Hatement: Getting a literature Ph.D. will turn you into an emotional trainwreck, not a professor.

Rebecca Schuman:

Who wouldn’t want a job where you only have to work five hours a week, you get summers off, your whole job is reading and talking about books, and you can never be fired? Such is the enviable life of the tenured college literature professor, and all you have to do to get it is earn a Ph.D. So perhaps you, literature lover, are considering pursuing this path.
Well, what if I told you that by “five hours” I mean “80 hours,” and by “summers off” I mean “two months of unpaid research sequestration and curriculum planning”? What if you’ll never have time to read books, and when you talk about them, you’ll mostly be using made-up words like “deterritorialization” and “Othering”–because, as Ron Rosenbaum pointed out recently, the “dusty seminar rooms” of academia have the chief aim of theorizing every great book to death? And I can’t even tell you what kind of ass you have to kiss these days to get tenure–largely because, like most professors, I’m not on the tenure track, so I don’t know.
Don’t do it. Just don’t. I deeply regret going to graduate school, but not, Ron Rosenbaum, because my doctorate ruined books and made me obnoxious. (Granted, maybe it did: My dissertation involved subjecting the work of Franz Kafka to first-order logic.) No, I now realize graduate school was a terrible idea because the full-time, tenure-track literature professorship is extinct. After four years of trying, I’ve finally gotten it through my thick head that I will not get a job–and if you go to graduate school, neither will you.
You might think your circumstances will be different. So did I. There’s a little fable from Kafka, appropriately called “A Little Fable,” that speaks to why this was very stupid:

A Greek shipwreck holds the remains of an intricate bronze machine that turns out to be the world’s first computer.

WGBH Nova, via a kind Richard Askey email:

In 1900, a storm blew a boatload of sponge divers off course and forced them to take shelter by the tiny Mediterranean island of Antikythera. Diving the next day, they discovered a 2,000 year-old Greek shipwreck. Among the ship’s cargo they hauled up was an unimpressive green lump of corroded bronze. Rusted remnants of gear wheels could be seen on its surface, suggesting some kind of intricate mechanism. The first X-ray studies confirmed that idea, but how it worked and what it was for puzzled scientists for decades. Recently, hi-tech imaging has revealed the extraordinary truth: this unique clockwork machine was the world’s first computer. An array of 30 intricate bronze gear wheels, originally housed in a shoebox-size wooden case, was designed to predict the dates of lunar and solar eclipses, track the Moon’s subtle motions through the sky, and calculate the dates of significant events such as the Olympic Games.

Another Proposed Madison School District Charter Policy

Dylan Pauly, Legal Counsel Steve Hartley, Chief of Staff, Madison School District via a kind reader’s email (700K PDF):

– removes the ability of an individual board member to initiate a charter proposal – must be initiated by the board instead (superintendent can also initiate)
– $6,500 per pupil funding formula, with reductions in district funding after the 3rd or 4th year (unclear) of between 10-20% based on private fundraising.

Madison will spend about $15k/student during the 2012-2013 school year.
Related: Many notes and links on the rejected (by a majority of the Madison School Board) Madison Preparatory Academy IB Charter School.
Madison Mayor Paul Soglin: “We are not interested in the development of new charter schools”. More, here.

Tech-savvy kids prefer taking SAT with pencil, paper

Mary Beth Marklein:

Only one in 10 students surveyed would choose to take the crucial admissions test online vs. using the traditional No. 2 pencil and fill-in-the-ovals sheet.
Even in this digital age, college-bound teens say they would prefer taking the SAT the old-fashioned way — with paper and pencil.
Asked if they would like to take the standardized college entrance exam on a computer, just one in 10 students said yes, according to a survey by Kaplan Test Prep.
Many parents didn’t see that one coming. In a companion survey, nearly two out of three parents thought their kids would rather take the SAT online.
Daniel Clayton,18, a senior at Uniondale (N.Y.) High School on Long Island, N.Y., says he completes multiple-choice school assignments on an online system for his school but that doesn’t mean he would welcome an online SAT.

Teachers want reforms that put students ahead of unions

Gary Beckner:

For years, the quest to understand and leverage effective teaching has been at the center of the public discussion over how to improve America’s education system.
For the country’s hard-working educators, great teaching and common-sense reform aren’t simply policies or ideas backed by bureaucrats or legislators. Teachers are living the realities of the classroom every day. In order to promote positive change in our system, we must listen to the educators on the front lines.
For too long, individual teacher voices have fallen on deaf ears in favor of the self-preserving agenda of the teachers unions, which are focused primarily on maintaining a system of forced dues and political power. The public is beginning to recognize that the union does not have the best interest of students — or even teachers — in mind.

Common Core education standards sweeping Wisconsin schools

Alan Borsuk:

Vouchers, charters, public school spending, treatment of teachers – isn’t there something we’re not fighting about when it comes to education?
Why, yes, and last week’s quiet end to a boring race for state superintendent of public instruction underscores one of the biggest examples of that: The Common Core learning standards initiative.
The Common Core is the biggest thing in Wisconsin education that you hardly ever hear about, unless you’re employed in the school world. Then you hear about it all the time. For a lot of schools, teachers and students, it’s bringing clear, significant and, let us hope, ultimately productive changes in what goes on daily.
Take a tour of a school or talk to school leaders about what they’re up to anywhere in the state and two out of every three sentences you hear include the phrase “Common Core.” At least it feels that way.
In many classrooms, each student now has explicit goals to work on daily (“Use place value understanding to round whole numbers to the nearest 10 or 100,” for example, from the third-grade math standards) and will gladly tell you what standard they’re focused on at the time you ask (I’ve asked). Or perhaps show you the standard and their work on it on their iPad. If this hasn’t come to your child’s school yet, look for something like this soon.
The Common Core movement has swept across the nation in the last five years. It arose largely from among governors, state education chiefs, corporate leaders and education advocates who believed the nation as a whole was not aiming high enough in education and that the wide variation from state to state in defining good achievement and what it takes to get a high school diploma was a problem.

Teachers Cheating on Tests: Not a Big Deal

Jonathan Chait:

The Atlanta public-school system turns out to have engaged in widespread cheating, whereby teachers were pressured into altering their students’ test scores to create the illusion of massive gains. The test-cheating problem has become a favorite talking point for opponents of education reform. Eugene Robinson concludes that the whole idea of using tests to evaluate teachers or schools has been disproved: “It is time to acknowledge that the fashionable theory of school reform — requiring that pay and job security for teachers, principals and administrators depend on their students’ standardized test scores — is at best a well-intentioned mistake, and at worst nothing but a racket.”
This is a common reaction, but a highly perverse one. The factual premise — that connecting teacher and principal incentives to student achievement leads to more cheating — is probably true. Is this a reason to get rid of incentives? No, it isn’t.
Incentivizing any field increases the impetus to cheat. Suppose journalism worked the way teaching traditionally had. You get hired at a newspaper, and your advancement and pay are dictated almost entirely by your years on the job, with almost no chance of either becoming a star or of getting fired for incompetence. Then imagine journalists changed that and instituted the current system, where you can get really successful if your bosses like you or be fired if they don’t. You could look around and see scandal after scandal — phone hacking! Jayson Blair! NBC’s exploding truck! Janet Cooke! Stephen Glass! — that could plausibly be attributed to this frightening new world in which journalists had an incentive to cheat in order to get ahead.
It holds true of any field. If Major League Baseball instituted tenure, and maybe used tee-ball rules where you can’t keep score and everybody gets a chance to hit, it could stamp out steroid use. Students have been cheating on tests forever — massive, systematic cheating, you could say. Why? Because they have an incentive to do well. Give teachers and administrators an incentive for their students to do well, and more of them will cheat.

Adopting hybrid models of instruction in large introductory courses have the potential to significantly reduce instructor compensation costs in the long run

William G. Bowen, Matthew M. Chingos, Kelly A. Lack & Thomas I. Nygren:

Online learning is quickly gaining in importance in U.S. higher education, but little rigorous evidence exists as to its effect on student learning outcomes. In “Interactive Learning Online at Public Universities: Evidence from Randomized Trials,” we measure the effect on learning outcomes of a prototypical interactive learning online (ILO) statistics course by randomly assigning students on six public university campuses to take the course in a hybrid format (with machine-guided instruction accompanied by one hour of face-to-face instruction each week) or a traditional format (as it is usually offered by their campus, typically with 3-4 hours of face-to-face instruction each week).
We find that learning outcomes are essentially the same–that students in the hybrid format “pay no price” for this mode of instruction in terms of pass rates, final exam scores, and performance on a standardized assessment of statistical literacy. These zero-difference coefficients are precisely estimated. We also conduct speculative cost simulations and find that adopting hybrid models of instruction in large introductory courses have the potential to significantly reduce instructor compensation costs in the long run.

Why I Don’t Advise Startups to Hire M.B.A.s

Vivek Wadhwa:

I have no doubt that my M.B.A. from New York University’s Stern School of Business was one of the best investments I ever made. It helped me climb the corporate ladder and become an entrepreneur. As a tech executive, I would readily pay a premium to hire B-school graduates. I also used to advise tech startups to strengthen their management teams by recruiting professional managers from M.B.A. programs.
I no longer advise startups to hire M.B.A.s and I discourage students who want to become entrepreneurs from doing an M.B.A.
That’s because I have seen a growing mismatch between the skills that business schools teach and what fast-paced startups require. And corporate management isn’t the best path to entrepreneurship anymore–the best way is to work for a startup.
Most business schools are geared toward churning out investment bankers and management consultants. That is who they put on the pedestal. In his new book, “Turnaround: Third World Lessons for First World Growth,” the dean of my alma mater, Peter Blair Henry, goes as far as to prescribe that countries measure their success “through the lens of their stock exchanges.” This is the same lens that business schools use to measure the success of their students.


Re-thinking Madison School Board Elections

The Capital Times:

Now that the Madison School Board election is over, the board should take a serious look at reforming how elections are organized. The system of electing members on a districtwide basis from numbered seats worked reasonably well until this year. But the challenges that arose in the District 5 race after one of two primary winners quit the contest identified vulnerabilities in the process.
T.J. Mertz and Sarah Manski won a primary that also included Ananda Mirilli. Manski then quit, leaving Mertz in a noncompetitive “contest.” We urged Mirilli to mount a write-in campaign and she seriously considered doing so. But she and her supporters determined that mounting a citywide run would be expensive and difficult. That was a credible conclusion. And it raises a question: Might there be a way to avoid such circumstances?
For instance, what if School Board members were elected from districts? With a smaller pool of voters in relatively tight-knit neighborhoods, it would be easier for all candidates, not just write-in contenders, to mount grass-roots campaigns. That could reduce the cost of campaigns and get candidates back on the doorsteps.
Another fix might be to have all candidates run in one citywide race, rather than for numbered seats. If six candidates were contending for three seats, one candidate could exit the contest and the competition would remain.
Some communities have employed instant runoff voting, in which voters rank candidates in order of preference rather than simply selecting a single candidate. Votes cast for the weakest candidates are transferred to stronger contenders, creating the purest reflection of voter preferences.

Much more on the 2013 Madison School Board elections, here.

Schools push a curriculum of propaganda

George Will:

The real vocation of some people entrusted with delivering primary and secondary education is to validate this proposition: The three R’s — formerly reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic — now are racism, reproduction and recycling. Especially racism. Consider Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction. It evidently considers “instruction” synonymous with “propaganda,” which in the patois of progressivism is called “consciousness-raising.”
Wisconsin’s DPI, in collaboration with the Orwellian-named federal program VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America; the “volunteers” are paid), urged white students to wear white wristbands “as a reminder about your privilege, and as a personal commitment to explain why you wear the wristband.” A flyer that was on the DPI Web site and distributed at a DPI-VISTA training class urged whites to “put a note on your mirror or computer screen as a reminder to think about privilege,” to “make a daily list of the ways privilege played out” and to conduct an “internal dialogue” asking questions such as “How do I make myself comfortable with privilege?” and “What am I doing today to undo my privilege?”


High-quality Preschool Benefits Both Poor and Rich Kids

Julia Haskins:

Preschool is an exciting, exploratory time for little ones, characterized by what feels like all fun and play. Children aren’t aware of the educational and interpersonal skills they’re developing while finger painting and singing nursery rhymes, but the effects are apparent in the long run. Children who attend pre-K are more prepared for kindergarten than their peers who do not, having already begun their emotional and intellectual growth.
This period of schooling is as enjoyable as it is pivotal in a child’s life, and policy makers are working to expand this opportunity to all children. With the help of researchers at Harvard University, the Boston Public Schools (BPS) system is at the forefront of this education revolution in its attempt to widen quality pre-kindergarten access. By using a research-backed course of study and coaching for individual teachers, the BPS pre-K program has had a significant impact on about 2,000 students of various ethnic and economic backgrounds.


What is Technical Intelligence (TQ)? And, why is it part of our mission at VividCortex?

Kyle Redinger:

What is technical intelligence? Technical intelligence involves the accurate appraisal and expression of the ability to interact with machines in a way that enhances living. But how do we get there, why is it important for our world, and what is the relation to our company?
A Brief on IQ
Undoubtedly, we have a world that is familiar with the idea of IQ. In it’s raw form, IQ stands for intelligence quotient, and is based upon a test invented by famous psychologist William Stern. Stern, and many subsequent psychologists, refined this test in the hopes that it would become the standard to measure someone’s intelligence. They also hoped that IQ could predict things like personal, financial, and professional success.
IQ is unique from other forms of testing because it is considered ‘innate’ i.e. a high genetically driven IQ predisposes us to be more successful. The problem with this sort of thinking is doesn’t reflect the reality of our world, mainly, that there are many other drivers besides pure intelligence that enhance our ability to achieve things. IQ, not surprisingly, isn’t a very good predictor of success in school or life. For instance:

What if Africa were to become the hub for global science?

Julian Siddle:

At first sight, it seems unlikely – a continent most associated with war and famine producing globally significant scientific research.
However, in many ways, the groundwork is there – knowledge, ingenuity, willingness to learn and adapt, coupled with the rapid expansion of digital technology. All of this is really allowing Africa to play a major part in global scientific collaborations.
Holding development back, higher education remains poor.
Many non-governmental organisations (NGOs), churches and development agencies push basic literacy – it is a huge international industry.
But there is nothing at the higher end, very little money for tertiary education. It is quite hard to study in Africa, and encouraging talented students to leave is an industry in itself, with a large variety of academic bursaries available for study in the US and Europe.

New Madison superintendent plans community meetings: “Pledging To Be All-Inclusive On Plans For District”

Jen Cheatham, who started Monday as Madison’s new schools superintendent, said she was planning to visit each of the district’s schools by the end of May.
The visits will include community meetings at each of the district’s high schools, allowing parents and community members to share what’s working and what needs to improve in the district, Cheatham said.
“It’s important to me to learn about what’s working and what isn’t working,” Cheatham said. “Often, new superintendents make changes to things that are actually beneficial to the district — unknowingly.”
Cheatham said she would start working soon with the school board on a list of priorities, which would include bridging the district’s minority achievement gap. The board will have at least two new members after Tuesday’s spring election, with Maya Cole and Beth Moss retiring.
The superintendent warned that state funding cuts, which district administrators have estimated will cost Madison schools about $8 million next year, may force the district to raise property taxes. She called Gov. Scott Walker’s school voucher proposal “a real threat to the quality of education we can provide.”

Related: Up, Down & Transparency: Madison Schools Received $11.8M more in State Tax Dollars last year (2012), Local District Forecasts a Possible Reduction of $8.7M this Year.
One would hope that the new Superintendent’s job 1 is addressing the District’s long term disastrous reading results.

Information on FAST (Formative Assessment System for Teachers)

Please see the following information from Kathryn Bush, School Psychology Consultant at DPI.
Many of you have asked for more information about the “Formative Assessment System for Teachers,” with an eye toward possible use in your school districts.
Dr. Ted Christ has arranged a “virtual” meeting next week regarding “Formative Assessment System for Teachers” (FAST)
What: Overview of FAST system
Who: Anyone who has the URL for the meeting can enter the “virtual” room. There is no limit to the number of attendees.
When: April 11th from 12:30 – 2:30 PM CST
Where: Wisconsin Adobe Connect Pro meeting at URL: Please use the URL to access the meeting.
Why: To gain information about a low cost computer adaptive screener (benchmarking system) for reading and math, with an associated CBM-Reading for progress monitoring. Although FAST is being used around the country, it is a relative unknown in Wisconsin.
$$$: There is no cost for this presentation.
For more information about FAST: FAST is a suite of efficient assessment tools designed in collaboration with teachers for screening, progress monitoring, and program evaluation as part of a Response to Intervention (RtI) model of service delivery. It is distributed by researchers from the University of Minnesota at low cost to schools around the country. For more information, go to (Use Firefox or Safari, not internet explorer)
Sign in: Password:

Wisconsin’s Literacy (un)Conference; April 15 & 16th

Wisconsin Reading Coalition, via a kind email:

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction invites you to attend our upcoming Literacy (un)Conference. Aimed toward literacy leaders, especially principals and reading specialists serving grades K-3, this online professional learning opportunity includes pre-recorded sessions and live chats.
Sessions about standards-based instruction and assessment will be posted Monday, April 15, 2013. A live chat about this content will be held April 15 at 7:00 p.m.
Sessions about planning for professional learning and collaboration will be posted Tuesday, April 16, 2013. A live chat about this content will be held April 25 at 7:00 p.m.
Watch this space for further details including links to the conference site and live chat events. More details can be found here.

Remodeling America’s Schools, with Some Interesting Charts. Madison Continues to be a “status quo bubble”

The Economist:

“THIS BUSINESS”, SAYS John Demby, the principal (headmaster) of Sussex Tech, a high school in Delaware, “has changed dramatically in a very short period.” This year, like all principals in the state, he is evaluating teachers under a new system for the first time. The state is also adopting a new curriculum for English and maths, the “common core”. That will require changes to the state’s regular computerised tests for students, themselves only three years old. On top of all that, Sussex Tech is launching a scheme to allow students to start accumulating college credits while still in high school. And it is overhauling the vocational training it offers in order to serve local businesses better and to provide students with more useful qualifications.
It is not just Sussex Tech; all Delaware’s schools are undergoing a similar upheaval, thanks to a series of reforms championed by Jack Markell, Delaware’s governor. He has made education reform a centrepiece of his tenure because he sees it as critical to the state’s competitiveness. (It is the states that regulate education in America, although the federal government often tries to bribe them to adopt its pet policies.)

Mayoral Governance and Student Achievement: How Mayor-Led Districts Are Improving School and Student Performance

Kenneth K. Wong and Francis X. Shen:

Using mayoral governance–in which a city’s mayor replaces an elected school board with a board that he or she appoints–as a strategy to raise urban school performance began about two decades ago, when then-Mayor of Boston Raymond Flynn (D) gained control over the city’s school district. Boston was soon followed by Chicago, where Mayor Richard M. Daley (D) appointed both the chief executive officer and the entire school board of the school system. Over the past 20 years, mayoral governance of schools has been featured prominently in nearly 20 urban school systems across the country. (see Table 1 in the PDF)
Mayoral control and accountability is one of very few major education reforms that aim at governance coherence in our highly fragmented urban school systems. A primary feature of mayoral governance is that it holds the office of the mayor accountable for school performance. As an institutional redesign, mayoral governance integrates school-district accountability and the electoral process at the systemwide level. The so-called education mayor is ultimately held accountable for the school system’s performance on an academic, fiscal, operational, and managerial level. While school board members are elected by fewer than 10 percent of the eligible voters, mayoral races are often decided by more than half of the electorate. Under mayoral control, public education gets on the citywide agenda.
Governance constitutes a structural barrier to academic and management improvement in too many large urban districts, where turf battles and political squabbles involving school leaders and an array of stakeholders have for too long taken energy and focus away from the core mission of education. Many urban districts are exceedingly ungovernable, with fragmented centers of power tending to look after the interests of their own specific constituencies. Consequently, the independently elected school board has limited leverage to advance collective priorities, and the school superintendent lacks the institutional capacity to manage the policy constraints established in state regulations and the union contract. Therefore, mayoral accountability aims to address the governing challenges in urban districts by making a single office responsible for the performance the city’s public schools. Citywide priorities such as reducing the achievement gap receive more focused attention.

New Test for Computers: Grading Essays at College Level

John Markoff:

Imagine taking a college exam, and, instead of handing in a blue book and getting a grade from a professor a few weeks later, clicking the “send” button when you are done and receiving a grade back instantly, your essay scored by a software program.
And then, instead of being done with that exam, imagine that the system would immediately let you rewrite the test to try to improve your grade.
EdX, the nonprofit enterprise founded by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to offer courses on the Internet, has just introduced such a system and will make its automated software available free on the Web to any institution that wants to use it. The software uses artificial intelligence to grade student essays and short written answers, freeing professors for other tasks.
The new service will bring the educational consortium into a growing conflict over the role of automation in education. Although automated grading systems for multiple-choice and true-false tests are now widespread, the use of artificial intelligence technology to grade essay answers has not yet received widespread endorsement by educators and has many critics.
Anant Agarwal, an electrical engineer who is president of EdX, predicted that the instant-grading software would be a useful pedagogical tool, enabling students to take tests and write essays over and over and improve the quality of their answers. He said the technology would offer distinct advantages over the traditional classroom system, where students often wait days or weeks for grades.

Related: Robo Essay Grading.

‘Paying for the Party’

Allie Grasgreen:

If you are a low-income prospective college student hoping a degree will help you move up in the world, you probably should not attend a moderately selective four-year research institution. The cards are stacked against you.
That’s the sobering bottom line of Paying for the Party: How College Maintains Inequality (Harvard University Press), a new book based on five years of interview research by Elizabeth A. Armstrong, an associate professor of sociology and organizational studies at the University of Michigan, and Laura T. Hamilton, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of California at Merced.
It’s not entirely the colleges’ fault, Hamilton says. Declining state and federal support and rising tuition have made it critical to recruit students who can pay more (and who continue to donate after they leave). But the out-of-state and affluent students attending these colleges are not in it for the academics – those students are going to the Harvards, Michigans and Berkeleys of the world.
The students who end up at Midwestern University – a pseudonym for the flagship institution where Armstrong and Hamilton follow a group of women through their college careers, from the dorm floor to a year post-graduation – are socially minded. Thus, to lure and keep those students, institutions have come to structure their academic and social frameworks in a way that accommodates that population.

Wisconsin Teacher Preparation Policy Grade: “D”

National Council on Teacher Quality

Elementary and Special Education Teacher Preparation in Reading Instruction
New legislation now requires as a condition of initial licensure that all elementary and special education teachers pass an examination identical to the Foundations of Reading test administered as part of the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure. The passing score on the examination will be set at a level no lower than the level recommended by the developer of the test, based on the state’s standards.
2011 Wisconsin Act 166, Section 21, 118.19(14)(a)
Teacher Preparation Program Accountability
Each teacher preparation program must submit a list of program completers who have been recommended for licensure. Also, a system will be developed to publicly report measures of performance for each prep program. Beginning in the 2013-2014 school year, each program must display a passage rate on the first attempt of recent graduates on licensure exams.
2011 Wisconsin Act 166, Section 14, 25.79, Section 17, 115.28(7g)
Wisconsin Response to Policy Update
States were asked to review NCTQ’s identified updates and also to comment on policy changes related to teacher preparation that have occurred in the last year, pending changes or teacher preparation in the state more generally. States were also asked to review NCTQ’s analysis of teacher preparation authority (See Figure 20).
Wisconsin noted that middle childhood–early adolescence elementary teachers are required to earn a subject area minor. Wisconsin also included links and citations pertaining to content test requirements for adding to secondary certifications.
The state asserted that its alternate route programs require the same basic skills tests and passing scores for admission that are required for institutions of higher education (IHEs). The state added that alternate route programs are required to use the same content tests and passing scores as IHEs and that content tests are taken as an
admissions requirement.
Wisconsin referred to its handbook and approval guidelines for alternate route programs and noted that the state has added a new pathway, “License based on Equivalency.” The state noted that its new website, Pathways to Wisconsin Licensure, along with updated materials, will be posted in mid-August 2012 at
In addition, Wisconsin was helpful in providing NCTQ with further information about state authority for teacher preparation and licensing

Purdue’s Outsider

Kevin Kiley:

A conservative Republican governor walks into a university president’s office.
It sounds like the start of a bad joke (or, in certain parts of the country these days, an academic’s nightmare), but it’s a daily occurrence here, where Mitch Daniels recently assumed leadership of Purdue University after a high-profile eight-year run as Indiana’s governor.
Daniels might seem an odd choice for Purdue, a public land-grant university with an emphasis on science and engineering. The institution has historically been led by accomplished researchers and academic administrators, and most of Daniels’s predecessors held advanced academic degrees in science, medicine, math or engineering.
Daniels, who attended Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs as an undergraduate and received a law degree from Georgetown University, is not a scientist or engineer, nor does he have significant academic experience. His C.V. includes no peer-reviewed papers, no courses taught and no previous academic administrative experience. His career spans a range of government and private-sector administrative jobs, and his fame in the political world comes predominantly from the budget-cutting, small-government attitude with which he approached these various positions.

The Absurd Lies of College Admissions

Megan McArdle:

All right, children: it’s time for Aunty Megan to bore you with how things were In Her Day. Way back in 1989, when I was applying to college, there was a certain amount of creativity applied to college applications. The particular school I attended was structured to make you look good on college applications: athletics were practically mandatory, extracurriculars were strongly encouraged. The essay seemed to require an epiphany, whether or not you’d actually had one, so we did our best to emulate personal insight.
But the things that we achieved were basically within reach of a normal human being who was going about the business of growing up: playing a sport, perhaps badly; taking classes; occasionally volunteering as a candy striper. Most of us took the SAT without the benefit of test prep services, and the “test prep” we got in class consisted of–learning vocabulary and algebra. People like me, who were painfully unathletic and had hashed some early high school classes still had a shot at an Ivy League School

University of New Hampshire tuition: It’s about costs, not subsidies

The Union Leader:

It is crazy and unsupportable. But who is this “we” he is talking about?
Huddleston, like other university officials, ties the price of his product to state subsidies, but not to the underlying cost of his product. That cost is the real issue and always have been. If UNH administrators wanted to reduce the price, they would slash the cost. Instead, they would rather pressure legislators to hike the subsidies. That, not lowering tuition, is what this PR campaign is all about.

Pace of college tuition hikes outpacing incomes

Walter Jones:

It’s not just parents complaining about the cost of college, as state and national policymakers search for ways to balance it against the need for more graduates to fill future jobs.
At a lecture to board members of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta last week, Glenn Reynolds, a University of Tennessee professor and author of “The Higher Education Bubble,” reminded them of Stein’s principle of economics, which says, “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.”
Since the price of tuition grows faster than personal income, a college education is rapidly becoming unaffordable for average families without relying on their retirement savings, an inheritance or loans to foot those bills.

Madison Assistant Superintendent a finalist for the Burnsville Superintendent Position

Blare Kennedy:

Joe Gothard, assistant superintendent of the Madison Metropolitan School District in Wisconsin: According to School Exec Connect, Gothard is the second in command at a ” highly successful district.” He has a master’s degree and a six-year superintendent-principal’s license. Previous to becoming an assistant superintendent, Gothard was a principal at both the high school and middle school level.
“He took on one of the toughest high schools in the city and turned it around, basically,” said Dr. Kenneth Dragseth, of School Exec Connect. “I got an e-mail from a parent who said he turned their kid’s life around.”
Dragseth said that all sources described Gothard as a “rising star,” who is actively involved in his community and “extremely well-liked” by everyone he came across. Dragseth added that Gothard is “very familiar” with the issues that arise in a diverse district like Burnsville’s.

Via a Matthew DeFour Tweet.

Madison Urban League’s 2013-2014 Strategic Plan

1.7MB PDF via a kind Kaleem Caire email:

Between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2012, the Urban League of Greater Madison stood on the firm shoulders of its founders – Leslie Fishel, Jr., Sydney Forbes, Isobel Clark and Frank Morrison – and demonstrated exceptional courage and foresight by launching a well-orchestrated campaign to raise the community’s consciousness about an embarrassing and unconscionable racial achievement gap that is leaving hundreds of Black, Latino and Asian children behind each year. We also informed the community about the acceleration of middle class families moving their children out of Madison’s public schools, either through relocation or utilizing the state’s inter-district public school choice program. Between 1989 and 2012, the student population in Madison schools grew from 24% non-white to 55% non-white. We also began an aggressive campaign to enlist the support of businesses, education institutions, community partners and resource providers to expand workforce development and career training opportunities for unemployed and underemployed adults in Dane County, and address diversity and inclusion opportunities among them.
The public should consider our 2013-14 Strategic Plan to be Phase II of the League’s efforts to provide courageous and transformational leadership to ensure thousands more children, adults and families succeed in our schools, colleges, workplaces, neighborhoods and communities. In 2020, the Urban League of Greater Madison would like local citizens and the national media to report that Madison, Wisconsin has indeed become “Best [place] in the Midwest for Everyone to Live, Learn and Work”. Early returns on the investment made thus far indicate that our vision can become a reality.
This Strategic Plan covers a 24-month period, from January 1, 2013 through December 31, 2014. We believe shorter time-windows enable us to keep the organization focused on achieving a reasonable number of high impact goals, and with the appropriate sense of urgency necessary to produce the results it seeks and the community needs. As our nation has demonstrated extraordinary courage and overcome extraordinary challenges in years past, we will do so again.

The Urban League’s Board of Directors is interesting in its breadth. Mo Andrews, architect of WEAC’s rise is an interesting member.

The Madison Teachers, Inc. Budget Process

Madison Teachers, Inc. Solidarity Newsletter (PDF):

Each year about this time MTI begins the process of developing its budgets for the ensuing fiscal year, in this case July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014. MTI has two (2) budgets, one for MTI (the Union) and one for the MTI Building Corporation, the owner of MTI’s headquarters building.
MTI’s budget is the operating budget under which the Union provides services to the members of its five (5) bargaining units; i.e. the Teacher/professional unit (MTI); the Educational Assistants bargaining unit (EA-MTI); the Clerical/Technical bargaining unit (SEE-MTI); the Substitute Teacher bargaining unit (USO-MTI); and the Security Assistants bargaining unit (SSA-MTI).
This year’s proposed budgets are based on last year’s dues levels; i.e. no dues increase. This is the second straight year the Union has not proposed a dues increase.

Was race a big issue in too-close-to-call Madison School Board election?

Pat Schnieder:

The election night parties ran late Tuesday night at The Fountain bar downtown and Badger Bowl on the south side as supporters of Madison School Board candidates Dean Loumos and Wayne Strong waited for the results in what turned out to be a very tight race.
There was a good-sized, lively crowd at each of the parties making plenty of noise, but one thing I couldn’t help but notice is that the Fountain crowd was predominately white, like Loumos, and the Badger Bowl crowd was predominately African-American, like Strong.
The significance of that is up for debate, but this much is clear: Race was very much an issue in this School Board election. And candidates of every stripe identified the embarrassing race-based achievement gap as the most pressing issue facing the district.
The results of the Seat 3 match-up between Loumos and Strong won’t be known until next week. Loumos held a 279-vote margin with all wards reporting early Wednesday, but Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell told the Wisconsin State Journal that there were potentially hundreds of absentee ballots yet to be counted.

Much more on the 2013 Madison School Board election, here.

Madison progressive political machine hands Scott Walker another school victory

David Blaska:

Congratulations to Madison’s white power elite, especially to Democrats, organized labor, John Matthews and his teachers union. You very well may have elected a teachers union-first (“Collectively we decide …”), children second school board. You also just handed Scott Walker a powerful case for expanding private school vouchers.
What are you afraid of? That more parents might not choose the taxpayer-coerced public school monopoly? What do you expect, when you leave them no (ahem) … choice.
I would like to hold out hope that absentee ballots will make the difference, but 279 votes is probably too many for Wayne Strong to overcome to defeat Dean Loumos, who holds an 18,286 to 18,007 lead. If there are 1,333 absentee ballots that need to be counted, as the city clerk’s website advertises, Strong would have to beat Loumos 806 to 527 in those uncounted votes.
(BTW: Is this the new normal? As absentee voting becomes more popular, winners won’t be declared for a week after the election?)

Much more on the 2013 Madison School Board election, here.

Rapprochement in the Wisconsin Superintendent Election?

Amy Barrilleaux:

For state superintendent Tony Evers, reelection was the easy part. He handily beat his opponent, staunch conservative Rep. Don Pridemore (R-Town of Erin), with over 60% of the vote Tuesday.
“Voters spoke loudly and clearly, affirming their commitment to Wisconsin’s strong public schools and calling for a much-needed reinvestment to support the over 870,000 public school kids in our state,” says Evers in a statement.
But despite the big win, Evers faces an even bigger battle in the Legislature, where lawmakers are considering Gov. Scott Walker’s latest budget. It’s unclear whether the Republican majority is united behind Walker’s plan to increase funding for the state’s voucher schools by $73 million — something Evers campaigned against, insisting there is no evidence that voucher programs are working.
“The academic data just does not justify expansion,” he told the Joint Finance Committee (PDF) during a hearing in March.
It also remains to be seen whether lawmakers will give more money to traditional public schools, which were hit with a historic $800 million cut in Walker’s previous budget. Despite pleas from Evers, almost none of that money has been restored by Walker this time around.

State Rep. Don Pridemore says he doesn’t understand why fellow Republican Gov. Scott Walker didn’t endorse him in his race for state superintendent.
Pridemore lost to incumbent Tony Evers in Tuesday’s election.
Evers signed the petition to recall Walker, but the governor still refused to endorse anyone in the race.
Pridemore says after his loss that he is disappointed Walker didn’t help him with his campaign. Pridemore says people should question why Walker “didn’t support someone who would be a much friendlier person in this job.”

Pridemore’s statements, the muted campaign against incumbent Evers and a reasonably quiet state supreme court race make this observer wonder what sort of a deal might have been cut….


College rejection clickbait: It was irresponsible for the WSJ to let a teen create a search history she could end up regretting

Kira Goldenberg:

So this piece has been making the rounds since Monday. It’s on op-ed in the Wall Street Journal by high school senior Suzy Lee Weiss waxing bitter about being rejected from college. She blamed her rejections (she doesn’t say how many, or whether she was accepted someplace) on the fact that she is a straight, white person with normal abilities and habits. It’s the most-read piece on the WSJ’s site and has been shared more than 10,500 times, according to the site Who Shared my Link.

El Paso Schools to release forensic audit; Interim chief Vernon Butler: ‘personnel issues will not be debated’

Paula Monarez Diaz and David Burge

The controversial El Paso Independent School District forensic audit, which is expected to detail which educators may have been a part of a districtwide test-cheating scheme, will be released Monday.
The $800,000 audit by Weaver and Tidwell LLP, will be posted on the district’s website by Monday afternoon, interim Superintendent Vernon Butler said.
The audit is being released as a response to outcries from some parents and students, as well as County Judge Veronica Escobar, who criticized the removal of four high school principals and other school administrators because of the audit.
Escobar, in a letter to Butler, asked that the audit be made public. And students rallying Friday on behalf of a principal asked the school district to let the principals know what they did wrong and why they were being removed.

Related: Removal of El Paso School District principals opposed.

A.D.H.D. Seen in 11% of U.S. Children as Diagnoses Rise

Alan Schwarz and Sarah Cohen
Nearly one in five high school age boys in the United States and 11 percent of school-age children over all have received a medical diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to new data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
These rates reflect a marked rise over the last decade and could fuel growing concern among many doctors that the A.D.H.D. diagnosis and its medication are overused in American children.
The figures showed that an estimated 6.4 million children ages 4 through 17 had received an A.D.H.D. diagnosis at some point in their lives, a 16 percent increase since 2007 and a 41 percent rise in the past decade. About two-thirds of those with a current diagnosis receive prescriptions for stimulants like Ritalin or Adderall, which can drastically improve the lives of those with A.D.H.D. but can also lead to addiction, anxiety and occasionally psychosis.
“Those are astronomical numbers. I’m floored,” said Dr. William Graf, a pediatric neurologist in New Haven and a professor at the Yale School of Medicine. He added, “Mild symptoms are being diagnosed so readily, which goes well beyond the disorder and beyond the zone of ambiguity to pure enhancement of children who are otherwise healthy.”

Read more here.
A thoughtful (and personal) commentary here.

2013 Madison School Board Election Updates

Pat Schneider:

The results of the Seat 3 match-up between Loumos and Strong won’t be known until next week. Loumos held a 279-vote margin with all wards reporting early Wednesday, but Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell told the Wisconsin State Journal that there were potentially hundreds of absentee ballots yet to be counted.
The shocking withdrawal just after the Seat 5 primary of Sarah Manski, the candidate of the local progressive establishment, pushed third place finisher, Latina Ananda Mirilli, off the ballot and set up a disturbing tension between the local progressive community and communities of color. Kaleem Caire, CEO of the Urban League of Greater Madison and architect of the controversial Madison Preparatory Academy, used the occasion to resurrect some of the divisive stands around the proposed charter school for African-American students that was rejected in 2011 by the School Board.
Loumos, in addition to backing from unions like Madison Teachers Inc, AFSCME and South Federation of Labor AFL-CIO, also boasted an array of the progressive endorsements that usually win races in Madison: Progressive Dane, Four Lakes Green Party, Fair Wisconsin PAC.
But he insisted Tuesday that that tension between progressives and communities of color wasn’t a factor in his race, in part because he doesn’t have the profile for it.
Loumos has worked for decades with people struggling at the edges of society, many of them black and Latino. Currently executive director of a nonprofit agency that provides housing for homeless people, he used to teach in Madison School District programs for kids who were faltering.

Matthew DeFour

But the race between Dean Loumos, executive director of Housing Initiatives Inc., and retired Madison Police lieutenant Wayne Strong remained too close to call.
Loumos held a 279-vote margin with all wards reporting, but Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell said there were potentially hundreds of absentee ballots yet to be counted. Those won’t all be counted by the canvassing board until next Tuesday, due to a recent change in state law, McDonell said.
Strong said he would wait to make a decision about whether to seek a recount. Loumos said he respected Strong’s position and he didn’t declare victory.

Much more on the 2013 Madison School Board election, here.

College Startups: The ‘New Master’s Degree’

Francesco di Meglia:

As a student at University of Indiana’s Kelley School of Business, Derek Pacqué lost his coat at a bar, got angry, and came up with a business plan. He borrowed and saved $500 to purchase racks and hangers to start a coat check business at local hangouts.
CoatChex does not require patrons to keep tickets, which often get lost. Instead, someone at a kiosk photographs clients’ faces and coats with an iPad or smartphone and then uses their phone number and photos for secure pick-up. A paltry original investment eventually had Pacqué negotiating with–and turning down–a $200,000 offer from entrepreneur Mark Cuban on ABC’s Shark Tank for a 33 percent stake in the business. In the last two months, CoatChex earned $100,000.
“You go to school to get a job or an education,” says Pacqué, who graduated in 2011. “I went to college because I wanted to create my own career, to create something of value.”
Pacqué is among a new breed of undergraduate business students. Professors and classmates say they hunger to be their own bosses. More undergraduate business students than ever before are launching startups right after graduation–or sometimes while still at school, say administrators. A query to the top 20 undergraduate business schools asking for contacts with promising startups launched by students, or by very recent graduates, resulted in at least 100 responses.

Camden School Choice Advocates and Detractors “as a board member, I’m lied to all the time”

Laura Waters:

At last night’s NJ Spotlight Roundtable entitled “Camden Schools and the Future of Urban Education in New Jersey, Camden School Board Member Sean Brown (a last-minute replacement for Asst. Superintendent Patricia Kenny) related this story to a large and boisterous audience at the Camden-Rutgers Campus Center.
In August 2011, Mr. Brown paid an unannounced visit to the Camden Public Schools’ Central Office, about two weeks before school started. In a back room he discovered “at least a hundred boxes of smart boards.” Smart boards are interactive white boards, popular in classrooms, that retail for about $5,000. Disturbed by the sight, he took a picture and texted it to then-Superintendent Bessie LeFra Young and his fellow school board members.
The response? He was reprimanded for paying the unexpected visit and told that Security and Maintenance shouldn’t have let him in.
The following week he repeated his visit. With school due to start in one week, the smart boards were still in their original boxes. As an aside, he remarked, “At last night’s NJ Spotlight Roundtable entitled “Camden Schools and the Future of Urban Education in New Jersey, Camden School Board Member Sean Brown (a last-minute replacement for Asst. Superintendent Patricia Kenny) related this story to a large and boisterous audience at the Camden-Rutgers Campus Center.
In August 2011, Mr. Brown paid an unannounced visit to the Camden Public Schools’ Central Office, about two weeks before school started. In a back room he discovered “at least a hundred boxes of smart boards.” Smart boards are interactive white boards, popular in classrooms, that retail for about $5,000. Disturbed by the sight, he took a picture and texted it to then-Superintendent Bessie LeFra Young and his fellow school board members.
The response? He was reprimanded for paying the unexpected visit and told that Security and Maintenance shouldn’t have let him in.
The following week he repeated his visit. With school due to start in one week, the smart boards were still in their original boxes. As an aside, he remarked, “as a board member, I’m lied to all the time.”

Charter school experiment a success; The arrival of charter schools in any city usually starts a fight.

USA Today Editorial:

Critics — whether district superintendents or teachers’ unions or school boards or a traveling band of academic doubters — snipe at the newcomers, arguing that they’re siphoning students and money from traditional public schools.
But as evidence from the 20-year-old charter experiment mounts, the snipers are in need of a new argument. There’s little doubt left that top-performing charters have introduced new educational models that have already achieved startling results in even the most difficult circumstances.
That doesn’t mean all charters are automatically good. They’re not. But it’s indisputable that the good ones — most prominently, KIPP — are onto something. The non-profit company, which now has 125 schools, operates on a model that demands much more of students, parents and teachers than the typical school does. School days are longer, sometimes including Saturday classes. Homework burdens are higher, typically two hours a night. Grading is tougher. Expectations are high, as is the quality of teachers and principals, and so are the results.
KIPP’s eighth-grade graduates go to college at twice the national rate for low-income students, according to its own tracking. After three years, scores on math tests rise as if students had four years of schooling, according to an independent study.

Related: Madison Mayor Paul Soglin: “We are not interested in the development of new charter schools”
A majority of the Madison School Board rejected the proposed Madison Preparatory IB charter school.
Minneapolis teacher’s union approved to authorize charter schools

Investments in Education May Be Misdirected

Eduardo Porter:

James Heckman is one of the nation’s top economists studying human development. Thirteen years ago, he shared the Nobel for economics. In February, he stood before the annual meeting of the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry, showed the assembled business executives a chart, and demolished the United States’ entire approach to education.
The chart showed the results of cognitive tests that were first performed in the 1980s on several hundred low-birthweight 3-year-olds, who were then retested at ages 5, 8 and 18.
Children of mothers who had graduated from college scored much higher at age 3 than those whose mothers had dropped out of high school, proof of the advantage for young children of living in rich, stimulating environments.
More surprising is that the difference in cognitive performance was just as big at age 18 as it had been at age 3.

A familial model finds favour once again in the classroom

Emma Boyd:

As the world of big business lurches from one crisis to the next, a quiet change of perspective is taking place in many European business schools. The focus on schooling students to expect the prize of a well-paying executive-level position at a large multinational is giving way to a fresh look at one of the oldest types of enterprise in the world – the family business.
While some schools are looking to ramp up their family business education offering, others are expecting to benefit from never having taken their eye off the ball.
The number of family businesses in Europe supports the rationale for renewed interest in such enterprises. Julian Franks, professor of finance at London Business School, estimates that in Italy, which he considers to be the European country with the strongest tradition of family businesses, 60 per cent of companies are family-owned or family-controlled. In France and Germany the proportion is 40 per cent, and in the UK it is only 20 per cent.
Marina Puricelli, professor of small and medium-sized enterprises and family business at SDA Bocconi School of Management in Italy, believes the numbers for Italy are even stronger than Prof Franks thinks. She estimates that 90 per cent of Italiancompanies have fewer than 10 employees.

What Oxbridge can learn from YouTube

Tim Harford:

A couple of years ago, I showed my daughters a video put online by the Khan Academy, which has become famous as a pioneer in open-access education. The video was an amateurish but charming explanation of basic arithmetic. We had fun but the girls were not transformed into mathematical prodigies. Their mathematical education remains the sole responsibility of a rather traditional school in North Oxford. The only thing YouTube has taught them is how to draw manga cartoons.
That experience would not surprise the British educational establishment. Massive Online Open Courses (Moocs) are all the rage but the top universities seem to regard them as mere amusements, unlikely to threaten traditional methods, which may be costly but are exclusive and of excellent quality.
The vice-chancellor of Cambridge university, in a speech in January, said that online courses would “challenge the nature of higher education” but that they would not change what happened at Cambridge.
Educational expert Karan Khemka seems to agree, explaining in this newspaper’s comment page that the Mooc approach would eventually improve higher education, but “through incremental change rather than massive disruption”.

Not so fast on new Milwaukee Teacher contracts

Rick Esenberg:

The MPS teachers’ union wants to negotiate a new contract. They think that contract need not be compliant with Act 10 because of a Dane County circuit court decision holding that the law is unconstitutional. As I have written before, that decision does not create a window of opportunity to violate Act 10. Whether or not the union will ultimately be able to avoid Act 10 will depend on the decision of a higher court – almost certainly the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
If that court concludes that the Dane County circuit court was wrong – a conclusion that is highly likely – then any new contract that violates Act 10 will be unlawful and presumably void.
Moreover, the fact that a single circuit court judge in Madison thinks the Act is unconstitutional will have exactly no impact on the deliberation of higher courts. Lower court decisions are entitled to deference when they involve factual findings or the exercise of discretion. The decision holding Act 10 to be unconstitutional involved neither and is subjected, as lawyers like to say, to de novo
Negotiating a new contract would be even more problematic than that. The attorney for the plaintiffs in the Dane County case seems to think that a municipality that does not agree to negotiate terms that are forbidden by Act 10 would be engaged in an unfair labor practice. In his view, the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission – to whom such charges are initially directed – would be bound by the circuit court decision because its members were defendants in the case.
But there are at least two problems with his argument. First, it us unclear that WERC, in its capacity as a tribunal, can be bound by a declaratory judgment in adjudicating the rights of a party who is not itself bound by that judgment. For example, if the Mequon-Thiensville School District is charged with an unfair labor practice for complying with Act 10, it was not a party to the case finding it to be unconstitutional. The question is one that only a civil procedure professor (and I’ve been one of those) could love.

Teachers and education reformers bypass individual students

Nat Hentoff:

The March 18 headline in USA Today blares: “More teachers are grouping kids by ability.” What’s wrong with that? Because the actual problems of individual kids are overlooked when students, especially those starting in elementary schools, are tracked as a group by what they’ve learned.
But Patrick Boodey, principal of the Woodman Park School in Dover, N.H., tries to remind us in the same story: “As a teacher, you know in your heart you need to meet the needs of each child” (Greg Toppo, USA Today, March 18).
Really? How many teachers do know that and act accordingly?
Disturbing answers to that question are documented in the most important article on education I’ve seen in many years: “The ‘Quiet’ Troubles of Low-Income Children,” by Richard Weissbourd of the Harvard School of Education. The article was first published in the March/April 2008 issue of the Harvard Education Letter and is also included in a valuable book: “Spotlight on Student Engagement, Motivation and Achievement” (Caroline T. Chauncey and Nancy Walser, editors; Harvard Education Press, 2009).

Public Facilities Should Be For The Public

Matthew Yglesias:

One of the worst things about “public” schools in many American jurisdictions is that even though the facilites are financed by the public they’re de facto the private property of local homeowners. In DC where I live, for example, all you have to do to get your kid into a relatively high-performing DCPS school is move to the most expensive neighborhoods in the city. Meanwhile if you’re poor you’re out of luck.
Charter schools aren’t free of this kind of concern. Obviously if you plop a school down in an affluent area you’re likely to attract a disproportionately affluent group of applicants if only because convenience counts. And there are things you can do with marketing to try to select the applicants you want. But a real virtue of charters in DC is that they need to be at least formally open to applicants from anywhere in the city, while Ward 3 “public” schools can simply refuse to take any kids from the poor parts of the city. For now, that is. One of our newer Council members, David Grosso, says charter schools should give preference in admissions to kids from nearby neighborhoods. And according to Rahul Merand-Sinha this kind of arrangement is fairly common and exists already in major cities such as New York and Chicago.
In my view, over the long term the question of how linked schools are to particular places is a more important issue than the cliché debate over “charters” vs “traditional” public schools. In a zoning-free Yglesiastopia this might not be such a big deal. But in a real world where real estate markets are defined by location, location, location tying school access to location turns the school system into a form of private property. You can call a facility “public” all you like, but if the only way to gain access to it is to first buy your way into an expensive neighborhood then there’s nothing public about it. It’s just owned collectively by the residents of the neighborhood, in much the way that a luxury condo might have a fitness center or a gated community might have a golf course.

Fordham Institute Short Film Highlights Education Past, Present, and Future


“If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might as well have viewed it as an act of war,” wrote T.H. Bell in the 1983 report, “A Nation At Risk.” Now thirty years after this groundbreaking report, the Fordham Institute’s video, “A Nation at Risk: Thirty Years Later” discusses progress in education and what lies ahead.
Experts including Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, former Washington, D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Michele Rhee, Fordham Institute President Chester Finn Jr., American Enterprise Institute’s Rick Hess, and several former Secretaries of Education speak about the report’s impact on both yesterday and today.
One of the video’s panelists describes the report as the single most influential document in the history of American education. Before “A Nation at Risk,” most Americans thought our country’s education system was exceptional. The report was revolutionary because it revealed extreme inequality and deficits in student’s learning. The report’s call for choice, increased technology use, and common standards was what one panelist said made the report the “biggest wave in a very wavy ocean.” The research and arguments continue to raise awareness of the big problems facing our education system.

Deborah Gist on Rhode Island: When students leave our high schools and they go to the community college, 70-75 percent of them have to pay to take remedial math.


Controversy continues to rage over the requirement that Rhode Island high school students score highly enough on the New England Common Assessment Program test to receive a diploma.
The latest testing data show that 40 percent of students failed to meet the minimum math standard and risk being unable to graduate if their skills don’t improve.
During the March 22 edition of Rhode Island Public Television’s “A Lively Experiment,” state Education Commissioner Deborah Gist defended the requirement.
Gist said that if you let students graduate without proficiency you’re shortchanging them.
“Anyone who’s telling these students that . . . it doesn’t matter that they’re able to do math at a basic level when they leave high school is just wrong. And it’s not fair to them because what’s going to happen to them when they leave our high schools and they go to the community college where 70-75 percent of them have to pay to take remedial courses to get the exact same math that we’re talking about?”
Seventy to seventy-five percent of Rhode Island high school graduates who go to community college have to take remedial courses in math? That struck us as a huge percentage, even for those graduates who wanted a higher education but might not have had the grades, test scores or money to get into a four-year school. So we decided to check the numbers.

Related: What impact do high school mathematics curricula have on college-level mathematics placement?.

Special K: Don’t Sleep On Khan Academy, Knewton

Michael Horn:

Listening to Sal Khan, founder of the Khan Academy, speak on stage to several hundred attendees at the 5th Anniversary Gala last week for Innosight Institute–the non-profit that I co-founded–I thought about how Clayton Christensen and I have speculated for some time that the long-term future of much of educational content will be in the business model of a facilitated network, a platform in which users essentially exchange modular pieces of educational content with each other.
As Khan explained how his team is setting up its network, it reminded me that those who are discounting the long-term value of entities such as the Khan Academy and Knewton, an adaptive learning platform, may be making a significant mistake, as both are positioning themselves to make a run at being the learning platform of the future.
A common rap heard about the Khan Academy is that it’s just a bunch of videos for homework help, nothing more. Even worse, people say, it perpetuates a failed lecture model of learning.
What these critics miss is the evolution of a disruptive innovation–and the steps that the Khan Academy is taking to improve what started as a “good enough” video solution for students who didn’t have access to a tutor.

Tennessee Bill Ties Student Performance to Welfare Benefits

Tom Humphrey:

Legislation to cut welfare benefits of parents with children performing poorly in school has cleared committees of both the House and Senate after being revised to give the parents several ways to avoid the reductions.
The state Department of Human Services, which worked with Republican sponsors to draft the changes, withdrew its previous opposition to SB132. But the measure was still criticized by Democrats, including Rep. Gloria Johnson, D-Knoxville.
The bill is sponsored by Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, and Rep. Vance Dennis, R-Savannah. It calls for a 30 percent reduction in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits to parents whose children are not making satisfactory progress in school.
As amended, it would not apply when a child has a handicap or learning disability or when the parent takes steps to try improving the youngster’s school performance — such as signing up for a “parenting class,” arranging a tutoring program or attending a parent-teacher conference.

Milwaukee Universities Cost More Than Harvard

Steve Schuster:

The new White House Score Card gives comparative information on the costs and success of colleges which should be helpful for students and their parents. At first glance, the information is shocking. It shows that a college education in Milwaukee can cost a great deal more than at Harvard University, long rated the nation’s top university.
According to the data, the average cost for one year of an undergraduate program at Marquette University runs about $28,746, which is $10,000 per year more than Harvard which charges $18,277. Also more expensive than Harvard is Milwaukee School of Engineering ($24,546), the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design ($24,285) and even the privately owned University of Phoenix-Milwaukee ($22,231).
Where does that number come from?

Alice Waters on School Food

Tamzin Baker:

In 1996, Waters set up the Edible Schoolyard Project, a small organic garden and classroom kitchen at Martin Luther King Jr middle school, in Berkeley, where students learn the values of healthy eating by growing their own lunch. Similar programmes have been set up in New Orleans and Greensboro, North Carolina, where obesity levels are among the highest in the country.
“I’m trying to get to a place where we educate children at a very early age and give them a meal in school that is free,” says Waters. “But it doesn’t happen without a curriculum that goes with it. They’ve tried to give kids healthier lunches and kids just throw them in the garbage. Kids have to be engaged with hands-on experience of growing and preparing the food. And so I have an idea for setting up an edible schoolyard at a high school. In fact that’s why I’m going to meet with the mayor of Sacramento.”

Curious Grade for Teachers: Nearly All Pass

Jenny Anderson:

Across the country, education reformers and their allies in both parties have revamped the way teachers are graded, abandoning methods under which nearly everyone was deemed satisfactory, even when students were falling behind.
More than half the states now require new teacher evaluation systems and, thanks to a deal announced last week in Albany, New York City will soon have one, too.
The changes, already under way in some cities and states, are intended to provide meaningful feedback and, critically, to weed out weak performers. And here are some of the early results:
In Florida, 97 percent of teachers were deemed effective or highly effective in the most recent evaluations. In Tennessee, 98 percent of teachers were judged to be “at expectations.”
In Michigan, 98 percent of teachers were rated effective or better.
Advocates of education reform concede that such rosy numbers, after many millions of dollars developing the new systems and thousands of hours of training, are worrisome.
“It is too soon to say that we’re where we started and it’s all been for nothing,” said Sandi Jacobs, vice president of the National Council on Teacher Quality, a research and policy organization. “But there are some alarm bells going off.”

New Jersey’s Superintendent Salary Caps

Laura Waters:

Today’s Star-Ledger reports that the Superintendent of West Winsor/Plainsboro Public Schools (Mercer County), Victoria Kniewel, is leaving in order to avoid a salary cut. Her contract, which sets her salary at $192.6K, expires in two years. Under NJ’s superintendent salary cap, Kniewel would could earn no more than $175K under a new contract. Princeton’s superintendent, Judith Wilson, is also leaving; she makes over $220K, and the salary cap would lop $57K off her annual earnings. (Caps are linked to total enrollment; the more students, the higher the cap.)
The West Windsor School Board president comments that the salary cap interferes with districts’ ability to “attract quality candidates” because other states don’t enforce salary caps. That’s true. But other states don’t have as many school districts as we do; one could argue that NJ’s abundance of central offices — superintendents, business administrators, personnel directors, etc. — leads to redundancy and inefficiency. We can’t pay our superintendents as much as other states because each one is responsible for far fewer students.

Course Load: The Growing Burden of College Fees

Marian Wang:

At the University of California Santa Cruz, where tuition runs to nearly $35,000 for non-residents, students every year pay more than 30 additional fees — including a small charge for what’s billed as “free” HIV testing. Students at Oklahoma State University pay a handsome sum to attend one of the state’s flagship schools, but they are also responsible for covering 18 different fees, including a “life safety and security fee.”
The $100 “globalization fee” at Howard University is listed — without explanation — in the school’s tuition and fees brochure. A school spokeswoman said the fee “supports internationalization initiatives” such as study abroad. Students pay the fee even if they have no intention of studying abroad themselves.
Worcester State University in Massachusetts, however, might have one of the most arresting fees. Students fortunate enough to be admitted face the challenge of paying the required tuition. But before they step foot on campus, they also will be hit with a fee to, well, step foot on campus. A portion of the school’s “parking/pedestrian fee” goes to the upkeep of the sidewalks on campus.

Simplify State Education “Code” from 1,100 to 50 Pages: Proposed Texas bill could spell changes for public education

Amanda Ross:

Hays County’s state representative has filed a comprehensive piece of legislation that could pave the way for a new approach to public education.
House Bill 300, filed by State Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs) on March 7, would create an alternative to the mandate-filled education code currently followed by all Texas school districts. The bill would give school districts the option to create their own agendas, goals and measurements of success, bucking the current one-size-fits-all approach mandated by the state government, Isaac said.
“(HB 300) gives school districts the flexibility to manage their own curriculum, teachers the freedom to attend to the needs of their students and parents the ability to have more say in ensuring the best education for their children,” Isaac said.
The current education code, which is approximately 1,100 pages long, would be replaced with 50 pages of framework that school districts could tailor to fit their individual needs, Isaac said. For instance, the bill would give school districts the control to allocate financial resources as they see fit and focus on individual programs and areas as needed.

Duke Faculty Say No

Ry Rivard:

Duke University faculty members, frustrated with their administration and skeptical of the degrees to be awarded, have forced the institution to back out of a deal with nine other universities and 2U to create a pool of for-credit online classes for undergraduates.
Duke’s Arts & Sciences Council, which represents faculty from Duke’s largest undergraduate college, voted 16-14 on Thursday against plans to grant credits to Duke students who would have taken online courses from the pool. The vote effectively killed Duke’s participation in the effort, and it immediately withdrew.
The courses were to be offered by Duke and other top-tier universities in a partnership organized by 2U, formerly known as 2tor. Unlike massive open online courses, or MOOCs, only a few hundred students were expected to enroll in each course – which would feature a mix of recorded lectures and live discussions – but each course would be divided into sections of no more than 20 students led by an instructor, perhaps a graduate student. The effort, known as Semester Online, will go on without Duke and offer its first classes this fall, 2U’s CEO said.

How Important Is Undergraduate Teaching In Public R1 Universities? How Important Should It Be?

Ian Robinson:

I ended my previous post by arguing that (1) if teaching is at least as valuable as research, and (2) nontenure-track (NTT) faculty teach at least as well as tenure-track (TT) faculty, then the very large pay disparities between the two classes of faculty that characterize American universities today violate a basic principle of workplace fairness: equal pay for equal work. When conditions (1) and (2) are met, then, all an institution can do to defend current practice is plead poverty: we can’t afford to do what we ourselves must acknowledge to be “the right thing.”
But what about places like the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, where I work? Is condition (1) met in what are sometimes called “R1” universities like mine? If not, maybe big pay disparities are warranted by the fact that, in such universities, research is a much higher institutional priority than undergraduate teaching. If teaching is a low enough priority, current pay inequalities could be justified by the fact that NTT faculty are not paid to do research and publishing – even though many of them do it – and, conversely, that most TT faculty pay is for their research and publishing, rather than their teaching.
We can estimate what we might call the “implicit” value of teaching at a place like UM-AA, by starting with the unrealistic assumption that TT and NTT faculty are paid the same to teach a course. At my university, the median full-time NTT faculty member, if they start (as most do) as a Lecturer I, will be paid an average of $38,289 to teach six courses. That is about $6,381 per course. The median Assistant Professor will be paid $80,361 to teach three courses. Three courses at $6,381 per course is about $19,144. This implies that the value of the median Assistant Professor’s non-teaching work (mainly research, though there is some service work here too) is $80,361-$19,144 = $61,217.

High School Teacher’s Computer Science Vision, but Done City’s Way

Jennifer Miller:

At last year’s State of the City speech, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced the creation of a public high school called the Academy for Software Engineering. The school would be part of an ambitious expansion of computer science education in the city, and Mr. Bloomberg called it the “brainchild” of a local teacher named Michael Zamansky.
Mr. Zamansky was seated on the stage, a few steps from the mayor. But by that point, he said recently, the project was his in name only: he said he had been effectively cut out of the school’s planning process, and his vision of an elite program had given way to one that was more focused on practical job skills.
“I don’t know if they think my plans are too grandiose, or too unrealistic or if I’m an elitist snob,” he said.
The mayor spoke about other efforts to train the city’s future engineers and entrepreneurs. But Mr. Zamansky worried that the new school would be too small: not enough students, not enough ambition.
Mr. Zamansky, 45, had spent two decades developing the computer science program at Stuyvesant High School. Former students now working at Google and Facebook call him a mentor, a role model, a man who showed them their future.

Related: Primary School Computer Science (!) Curriculum in Vietnam and, Dave Winer comments.

Marquette poll shows divide on education spending in Wisconsin

Alan Borsuk:

I’m in favor of spending more money on schools. Education is important. Important things need to be given the right support.
Am I in favor of spending more of my money on schools? A trickier question. I mean it when I say I support education spending. But I don’t like getting the bill. There are a lot of competing demands on my money, starting with my own needs.
How do I navigate this? How do I get it right when it comes to balancing what I favor supporting and what I actually am going to pay for? Come May and June, resolving this is going to be one of the most interesting, controversial and important plot developments in the final stretch of the state budget drama going on in Madison as we as a state decide this.
You can see tension between what people want in general and what they want when the discussion gets specific in results from the Marquette Law School Poll released a few days ago. (Disclosure: I am one of the people who work on the poll and I helped draft the education-related questions.)
When a sample of people statewide were asked if they support spending more money on public education, their answers were overwhelmingly yes. Sixteen percent said they wanted the amount given to support schools to increase more than the rate of inflation (about 2% over the last year). Another 41% said they thought the amount should go up in line with the rate of inflation. And 14% said they favored an increase of 1% a year (a figure used because it has been proposed by some Republican state senators).
That comes to 71% in favor. Gov. Scott Walker has proposed keeping the “revenue cap” on schools flat for the next two years, which would have the general effect of keeping spending for operations unchanged. Seventeen percent favored no increase in public school spending. And 8% wanted to reduce the amount given to public schools.
But not so fast in concluding there is big support for more money for schools. The poll also asked what was more important to people, to reduce property taxes or increase school spending. Walker’s budget proposal increases state aid to schools by about 1.5%, but, because the revenue cap would be flat, the money would go, in effect, to property tax relief.

Madison’s “Professional Development” Plans

Superintendent Jane Belmore (PDF):

The professional learning priorities for 2013-14 are improving practices on both academic and behavior sides of the Multi-tiered System of Support (MTSS) Triangle. More specifically, these priorities are in (a) literacy/English Language Arts and Common Core State Standards and (b) Positive Behavior Supports/Social Emotional Learning. An essential part of this professional learning involves their integration with a MTSS, the Danielson Framework for Teaching, and culturally & linguistically responsive practices. Math will also remain a focus at the secondary level and a summer focus for elementary. Our student data demonstrate the need to focus professional learning on Tier I “core” practices within a MTSS, where the needs of 80-90% of students should be met.

Job: Managing Director, Milwaukee at Rocketship Education


Rocketship Milwaukee is Rocketship Education’s first expansion city outside of California. This is a unique opportunity to collaborate and contribute – with Rocketship Education’s executive staff – on the development of a regional entity, ensuring success for not only the city of Milwaukee and its communities, but many cities to come.
Rocketship Milwaukee’s Managing Director is responsible for the academic, operational and financial success of Milwaukee’s Rocketship schools and continued growth. The Managing Director leads a team of Rocketeers including regional staff, school leaders and teachers towards closing the achievement gap for students and the Milwaukee community. The Managing Director will grow Rocketship Education’s impact from one school in 2012 to 8 schools within 5 years as it works to eliminate the elementary achievement gap in Milwaukee. Internally, the Managing Director manages the regional leadership team that supports school staff, ensures strong and strategic financial management, and partners with national staff to build the best supports for schools possible.
Externally, the Managing Director builds deep community engagement and fosters public and political support for Rocketship to expand its impact as it works with the Milwaukee community to build first class options for all parents. Specifically, the Managing Director will oversee all community development, funder and authorizer relationships in order to drive regional growth.

Online Education’s Dirty Secret: Awful Retention

Peter Reinhardt:

I’m extremely excited about online education, but I’ve noticed that online education products have a really serious problem: low retention. I’ve used Coursera, EdX, HackDesign, Duolingo, Codecademy… and I’ve churned from all of them. I bet you did too!
I don’t want to tear down these products or the people who’ve built them, I’m rooting for them all the way. They just need some tough love, and so this article explains why I churned: the starting commitment is too high, the re-engagement emails are terrible, and the pacing is impersonal.
How low IS their retention?
Coursera founder Daphne Koller said last year that only 7-9% of students who sign up actually “finish” the class. The definition of finish is a bit fuzzy, so I wanted to collect some more data.

Who Rises to the Top? Early Indicators

Harrison J. Kell, David Lubinski & Camilla P. Benbow:

Youth identified before age 13 (N = 320) as having profound mathematical or verbal reasoning abilities (top 1 in 10,000) were tracked for nearly three decades. Their awards and creative accomplishments by age 38, in combination with specific details about their occupational responsibilities, illuminate the magnitude of their contribution and professional stature. Many have been entrusted with obligations and resources for making critical decisions about individual and organizational well-being. Their leadership positions in business, health care, law, the professoriate, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) suggest that many are outstanding creators of modern culture, constituting a precious human-capital resource. Identifying truly profound human potential, and forecasting differential development within such populations, requires assessing multiple cognitive abilities and using atypical measurement procedures. This study illustrates how ultimate criteria may be aggregated and longitudinally sequenced to validate such measures.

Steve Hsu has more.

Number of the Week: College Grads in Minimum Wage Jobs

Ben Casselman:

284,000:Number of American college graduates working in minimum-wage jobs in 2012.
The Wall Street Journal this week reported on the troubling trend of college graduates getting stuck in low-skilled jobs, a problem that new researchsuggests may endure even after the economy improves.
As the story noted, college graduates tend to earn more than their less-educated coworkers, even within the same field. But that isn’t true for everyone: According to the Labor Department, there were 284,000 graduates–those with at least a bachelor’s degree–working minimum-wage jobs in 2012, including 37,000 holders of advanced degrees. That’s down from a peak of 327,000 in 2010, but double the number in 2007 and up 70% from a decade earlier

U.S. Teachers Love Their Lives, but Struggle in the Workplace Teachers rank eighth out of 14 occupation types in rating their work environment

Shane Lopez and Preety Sidhu:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Teachers in the United States rate their lives better than all other occupation groups, trailing only physicians. They have an average Life Evaluation Index score of 68.8, besting workers in most other types of jobs, including managers and executives, nurses, and business owners.
The research is based on interviewing conducted as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which consists of six sub-indexes that measure Americans’ physical, emotional, and financial health. The nation’s teachers score higher than almost all occupational groups on life evaluations plus four of the other five areas of wellbeing — including emotional health, healthy behaviors, basic access, and physical health. In life evaluations, emotional health, and basic access specifically, teachers come in second — trailing only physicians, who typically earn a much higher salary. The one area in which teachers do not score as well is work environment. More generally, teachers earn the second-highest score on the overall Well-Being Index, which is based on all six sub-components, as Gallup and Healthways previously reported.