Category Archives: education policy

school choice is a question of values not data

I disagree with my friend Robert Pondiscio about many policies, but I agree with an essential aspect of his argument in a US News article entitled “Asking the Wrong Questions on School Choice.” Some impressive-looking recent studies assert that school choice doesn’t “work” … Continue reading

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mixed feelings on the DeVos nomination battle

I opposed Betsy DeVos’s nomination, I’m grateful to the people who protested it, and I’m sorry she won confirmation. But I’m not sure it’s a good sign that she attracted more effective opposition than the other nominees have. (That is, … Continue reading

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Levinson and Fay, Dilemmas of Educational Ethics

Meira Levinson’s and Jacob Fay’s edited volume Dilemmas of Educational Ethics: Cases and Commentaries is enormously valuable. It not only addresses problems that confront educators every day but also suggests how moral reasoning can be revitalized in academia. The book is organized … Continue reading

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new book on communities using Positive Youth Development

Jonathan F. Zaff, Elizabeth Pufall Jones, Alice E. Donlan, and Sara Anderson have published their edited volume entitled Comprehensive Community Initiatives for Positive Youth Development (New York: Routledge, 2016). “Positive Youth Development” is a whole stance toward adolescents that involves supporting them to do … Continue reading

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thinking like a citizen–about schools

In Education, Justice & Democracy, edited by Danielle S. Allen and Rob Reich, all the chapters address the topic of educational equality in the US. The section headings are “ideals,” “constraints,” and “strategies.” In a longish review essay for Theory … Continue reading

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from soft skills to agency

I’m very pleased to see a blog post by Andy Calkins, Deputy Director of the Next Generation Learning Challenge, entitled “It’s Time to Trash the Terms ‘Non-Cogs’ and ‘Soft Skills.’” Partly in response to the hegemony of standardized testing, some organizations and … Continue reading

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why we miseducate children to think of values as opinions

In “Why Our Children Don’t Think There Are Moral Facts,” Justin P. McBrayer observes that his second-grade son has been taught to distinguish between facts (which can be “tested or proven”) and opinions (which are just what “someone thinks, feels, … Continue reading

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civic education and deeper learning

Today, Jobs for the Future (JFF) a national nonprofit that advocates for all youth to gain the skills they need to succeed in the economy, releases a paper entitled “Civic Education and Deeper Learning” by me and CIRCLE Deputy Director … Continue reading

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the monumental task that confronts a high-stakes testing state

Let’s say you don’t especially trust teachers to assess their own students, because their ratings can be inconsistent and biased. So you want to use validated and standardized assessments to evaluate students, schools, and teachers. Let’s say, furthermore, that your … Continue reading

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from the achievement gap to empowerment

Harry Boyte argues that the “achievement gap” is the wrong framework for thinking about education. It “assumes the point is upward mobility — how to give poor people, especially racial minorities, resources and remediation so that they can make it … Continue reading

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