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April 11, 2024

The “Case for Curriculum” Is about Reducing Teachers’ Workload

Last weekend, I gave a talk at the U.S. ResearchEd conference in Greenwich, Connecticut, on “The Case for Curriculum,” based on a paper I wrote for Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, which was published this week at The 74. But truth in advertising forced me to come clean with my audience: The case for curriculum is in equal measure the case for making the…

April 9, 2024

The Case for Curriculum Reform

The education reform movement over the past few decades has focused on standardized testing, accountability, and programs to transform the teacher workforce. During this time, there was surprisingly little conversation about the often slapdash and unchallenging curricula that define many American classrooms. Could curriculum reform be the answer to some of the longest-standing questions in…

March 14, 2024

The “No Excuses” Model Is Due for a Renaissance

In a dispatch over the weekend, the New York Times took note of the rise of “super strict schools in England,” marked by “strict routines and detentions,” silent corridors, and “zero-tolerance” policies for even minor student misbehavior. The focus of the piece is London’s legendary Michaela Community School, which has posted the highest rate of academic progress in the…

March 7, 2024

Proven Results: Highlighting the Benefits of Charter Schools for Students and Families

In 2002, I became a fifth-grade teacher at the lowest-performing public school in the South Bronx, New York City’s lowest-performing school district. A mere 16 percent of PS 277 students could read at grade level. The first charter schools were just opening up in the neighborhood back then; there were virtually no alternatives to the…

January 19, 2024

The Case for Curriculum

Since A Nation at Risk, Education Reform Efforts Have Mostly Stopped at the Classroom Door Executive Summary Decades of education reform have left policymakers, educators, and students alike fatigued and unimpressed. From standardized testing to accountability measures and smaller classroom sizes, almost every idea under the sun has been tried and tried again, except for one:…

September 22, 2023

Repairing the Damage Columbia’s Teachers College Did to American Kids Will Take Years

I’ve come to bury Lucy Calkins, not to praise her. Columbia University’s Teachers College announced this month what once seemed unthinkable: It’s “dissolving” its relationship with Calkins, sending the controversial literacy guru and her cash-cow publishing and consulting empire packing. The divorce came a few months after the New York City Department of Education made the…

September 18, 2023

Students’ Lack of Basic Knowledge of US History and Civics Remains a National Embarrassment

A new study from a pair of Penn State researchers finds that passing the US Citizenship Test as a high school graduation requirement does nothing to improve youth voter turnout. Within the last decade more than a third of US states have adopted and implemented a version of the “Civics Education Initiative” (CEI), but according to study…

August 24, 2023

The Hill that Public Education Dies on: Transgender Policies’ Utter Contempt for Parents

An unmistakable fault line is emerging between much of public education and many of those it serves, particularly parents, on transgender issues. Put bluntly, a strong majority of Americans—57 percent in a recent poll conducted by the Washington Post and Kaiser Family Foundation—simply don’t buy the idea that a person can be a gender other than the one…

June 30, 2023

The U.S. Could Learn a Lot from This School in the U.K.

Last month, I took advantage of a trip to the U.K. to spend a day observing at London’s legendary Michaela School, which serves about 800 students ages eleven to 18, a short distance from Wembley Stadium. Katharine Birbalsingh, who has gained fame in her country (some say infamy) as “Britain’s strictest headmistress,” invited me for an entire day…

June 14, 2023

The Best Argument for School Choice

A new study from the Texas Public Policy Foundation is a reminder that the most persuasive argument in favor of school choice is not the promise of higher test scores, the beneficial effects of competition, or even an escape hatch from failing public schools—it’s the power of choice to make a more satisfying range of school cultures…