Low Levels & Bottom-Feeders: Education Through the Eyes of Educationnext

A colleague in Massachusetts alerted me to an article in Educationnext, an opinion and research site sponsored by the Hoover Institution and The Thomas Fordham Institute.  The article, written by the editor-in-chief of Educationnext, Paul E. Peterson, and Peter Kaplan, an undergraduate, describes the view from these two men at Harvard and what they think of American education.

They are unhappy with the state of American education, and continue the right-wing cleansing of schools by claiming that American teachers are setting the bars so low that we come in at the bottom (feeders) of international test comparisons.… Read more

Do Higher Science Standards Lead to Higher Achievement?

In a recent article in Scientific American, it was suggested that the U.S. should adopt higher standards in science, and that all 50 states should adopt them.

When you check the literature on science standards, the main reason for aiming for higher standards (raising the bar) is because in the “Olympics” of international academic test taking, the U.S. never takes home the gold.  In fact, according the tests results reported by the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), U.S.… Read more

In Math and Science, Have American students Fallen Behind?

Is science and mathematics teaching inferior to science teaching in Singapore, South Korea, and Finland?  Have American students fallen behind in math and science?

In the 2008 and 2012,  Science Debate asked presidential candidates (as well as congressional candidates) why have American students fallen behind in science and mathematics and what role should the federal government play to better prepare students for the science and technology global economy?

Following are some “talking points” that Obama and Romney, and congressional candidates might consider as they talk about mathematics and science education.… Read more

Are the Common Standards & Assessments the Antithesis of Progressive Values?

We think that Common Standards and Assessments are the antithesis of the progressive  values upon which this nation was founded. The idea of having a single set of standards and associated assessments appears to remove individuality, creativity and innovation from American classrooms.

Authoritarian & Undemocratic

Common standards and assessments were conceived and developed in an undemocratic and authoritarian manner, and have minimized our freedom to have an education system that empowers its citizens to a life that is rooted in progressive ideals.  … Read more

Nationalized Assessments in Mathematics, English/Language Arts & Science are Just Around the Corner

National Assessments in  mathematics, English/language arts and science are coming soon to an American school in your neighborhood.  Although the national science assessments are a few years away, the national assessments in mathematics and English/language arts will begin early pilots and field testing next school year, and will be ready for full operational administration in 2014 – 2015.

Is this an idea that is good for American education?  For students? For parents?  For Teachers?


In a recent post on this blog entitled The Testing Games: How America’s Youth are being put at risk, we suggested that American students from grades 3 – 12, participate in an annual event that makes them take tests to ensure that their state and school continue to receive federal funding.  … Read more

The Common Core is here, Now what do we do?

The Common Core State Standards are here, now what do we do?  Some would suggest we should work to make them go away, or to ban high-stakes assessment.  The adoption of the Common Core and the requirements set forth by NCLB Act that all students be tested from grade 3 – 12, has resulted in an authoritarian system of education, which doesn’t make sense in the American democracy.

Only Texas, Nebraska, Virginia, Minnesota, and Alaska have not adopted the Common Core.  … Read more

Peddling Panic: Biased Survey Promotes National Science Standards

Achieve, Inc. stands to make a lot of money for its work creating new science standards. It might not surprise us, therefore, that a survey they commissioned favors the adoption of these standards. But we need to look at these results with skepticism. Does US competitiveness depend on our rankings on test scores? And will new standards make us better?

This year, Achieve, Inc. commissioned a survey of attitudes toward science education with Public Opinion Strategies and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research. … Read more

Charter School Data Fuels Controversy in Georgia

Figure 1. In this post we will find out if charter schools do raise student achievement in exchange for more flexibility.   The un-labeled graph plots  public and charter schools in Texas comparing poverty concentrations and % of students doing well on the SAT or ACT. You’ll have to read ahead to find out which schools are the red discs and which are the gray discs. YOU MIGHT BE SURPRISED.  Source: Dr. Michael Marder, Used with Permission.
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A Perfect Storm Hits Public Schools

Steven Sellers Lapham and Jack Hassard

Public schools in America are under attack from many directions, and the U.S. Department of Education (ED) seems bent on delivering a lethal one-two-three punch. This decade will likely witness more neighborhood schools shutting down, crowded classrooms, excellent teachers fired, and children fobbed off to “online learning programs.” Let’s recall that Prince Edward County, Virginia closed its schools 1959-64, creating a “lost generation” of children who were hobbled, as adults, by years of missed education.… Read more

5 Education Reform Posts Not To Ignore

Education reform in education seen through the lens of writers and teachers appears as repetitions of innovative ideas that claimed to change and improve schooling as we know it.  In a post at Education Week, Anthony Weiner suggests that education reform of any age simply offers more of the same.  In particular, he sees education reform over many decades focusing on the same themes: privatization and choice, as well as standards-based testing and accountability.  Over time, education reforms that have been suggested are moving the U.S.… Read more