Should we feel optimistic or pessimistic about American K-12 education’s future?

Matthew Ladner:

Americans thus seem to see their public education system as falling short in a variety of ways and aren’t especially optimistic about future improvement. Republicans exhibited the greatest amount of optimism, with 24 percent forecasting that the American public school system would be a “model of excellence around the world” in 20 years. Only 13 percent of Democrats and 3 percent of Independents were similarly optimistic. You, as a regular RedefinED reader are more aware of looming challenges lying ahead in the next two decades than most.

Should we be optimistic or pessimistic about the future of public education? Mixed results across states seems like the most likely outcome and “a model of excellence around the world” is not as far off as it may sound.

Massachusetts, the highest scoring state on NAEP, compares well to Asian and European systems on international exams. Stanford scholar Sean F. Reardon’s new data source, for instance, equates state scores to NAEP. When I ran the numbers for my home state of Arizona, I found far more variation within my state than between states. I also, however, found several Arizona districts (and the charter schools operating within their boundaries) that compare favorably to the average performance in Massachusetts:

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, long lead by our new Governor, Tony Evers, has granted thousands of elementary reading teacher mulligans to those who failed to pass the “Foundations of Reading” content knowledge exam.

Based on Massachusetts’ successful MTEL teacher content knowledge requirements, the Foundations of Reading was intended to reverse our long term, disastrous reading results.