The Education Gadfly The Education Gadfly A Bulletin of Weekly News and Analysis from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute
Volume 11, Number 48. December 15, 2011.
In This Edition

New from Fordham: The Accountability Plateau

The Accountability Plateau coverWith the tenth anniversary of NCLB fast approaching, that law’s legacy continues to be fiercely contested. This new analysis of NAEP scores—focusing on Texas and on the entire nation—by former NCES commissioner Mark Schneider finds that solid gains in math achievement coincided with the advent of "consequential accountability," first in the trailblazing Lone Star State and a few other pioneer states, then across the land with the implementation of NCLB. But Schneider warns that the recent plateau in Texas math scores may foreshadow a coming stagnation in the country’s performance. Has the testing-and-accountability movement as we know it run out of steam? How else might we rekindle our nation’s education progress? Download the paper to find out.

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Opinion and Analysis

The accountability plateau
Have we maxed out accountability’s gains?
Opinion | Chester E. Finn, Jr. and Michael J. Petrilli

In praise of performance pay—for online-learning companies
Who’s ready to give it a try?
Opinion | Michael J. Petrilli

It's not voodoo
The next generation of state takeovers
News Analysis

The monolith shifts
But barely
News Analysis

Short Reviews

All Over the Map: Comparing States’ Expectations for Student Performance in Science
The Proficiency Illusion, science edition
Review | Michael Ishimoto

“Multiplication is for White People”: Raising Expectations for Other People’s Children
Let’s discuss the elephant in the room
Review | Laura Johnson

Creating a New Public Pension System
Intro to Pension Reform, with Professor McGee
Review | Tyson Eberhardt

From The Web

Wanna make a bet?
RSDs, K12, and the “stats stud”
Education Gadfly Show Podcast | Hosts: Mike Petrilli and Daniela Fairchild

Schools of choice need to be schools of quality
Is there an Act II for David Brennan?
Flypaper's Finest | December 14, 2011 | Chester E. Finn, Jr.

Building a test worth teaching to
Quantity is a non-issue until we get quality right
Flypaper's Finest | December 14, 2011 | Kathleen Porter-Magee

Education governance in the twenty-first century
Watch the panels from our December 1 conference
Gadfly Studios | December 5, 2011

Extras

Eighty-two percent, you say?
Integrate me
Briefly Noted

Oh man-ager, has Fordham got the opportunity for you!
We’re looking for a research manager
Announcement

Start the New Year off right
Come to Fordham’s first event of 2012—on January 5
Announcement

It's a win-win
Public Impact's looking for district partners
Announcement

A ‘bright new opportunity
Fulbright’s new international education public-policy fellowship
Announcement

The Proficiency Illusion
These cut scores aren’t what they seem
Featured Fordham Publication

Opinion and News Analysis

Opinion: The accountability plateau
By Chester E. Finn, Jr. and Michael J. Petrilli

“Consequential accountability,” à la No Child Left Behind and the high-stakes state testing systems that preceded it, corresponded with a significant one-time boost in student achievement, particularly in primary and middle school math. Like the meteor that led to the decline of the dinosaurs and the rise of the mammals, results-based accountability appears to have shocked the education system. But its effect seems to be fading now, as earlier gains are maintained but not built upon. If we are to get another big jump in academic achievement, we’re going to need another shock to the system—another meteor from somewhere beyond our familiar solar system.

The Accountability Plateau coverSo argues Mark Schneider, a scholar, analyst, and friend whom we once affectionately (and appropriately) named “Stat stud.” Schneider, a political scientist, served as commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics from 2005 to 2008, and is now affiliated with the American Institutes for Research and the American Enterprise Institute. In a Fordham-commissioned analysis released today, he digs into twenty years of trends on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), aka the “Nation’s Report Card.”

We originally asked Schneider to investigate the achievement record of the great state of Texas. At the time—it feels like just yesterday—Rick Perry was riding high in the polls, making an issue of education, and taking flak from Secretary Arne Duncan for running an inadequate school system. We wondered: Was Duncan right to feel “very, very badly” for the children of Texas? Had the state’s schools—once darlings of the standards movement and prototypes for NCLB—really slipped into decline since Perry took office? What do the NAEP data really show?

Schneider agreed to take on the project but quickly concluded that there’s a larger and more interesting story to tell than simply the saga of Texas. It was true, he noted, that Texas’s achievement slowed during the Perry years, particularly as compared to the rest of the country. But rather than pin that development on the governor, Schneider saw a more likely explanation: As an early adopter of standards, testing, and accountability, Texas got a head start on the big achievement gains that these initiatives brought in many place—and realized most of these gains in the 1990s when George W. Bush was governor.

Take fourth-grade math, for example:

Figure1 : Fourth Grade Math results

In 1992, fourth graders in Texas were performing on par with their peers nationwide on NAEP’s math assessment. In the 1993-94 school year, however, Texas introduced its strict “consequential accountability” system, and its effects can be seen in NAEP’s next iteration in 1996: Texas fourth graders scored about five points above students nationwide. That gap persisted through the 2000 NAEP assessment as well, and not just for Texas students as a whole. Rather, Texas’s black, Hispanic, and lowest-performing fourth graders—those groups that served as particular focal points of NCLB and accountability systems more generally—all scored at least thirteen points above their national peers in 2000. That translates to roughly a year’s worth of schooling, or more.

Indeed, the Lone Star State made Texas-sized gains from the early- to mid-1990s, as its accountability system got traction. But as other states followed suit in the late 90s, and as all remaining states introduced NCLB-style accountability systems after 2001, they too jumped onto the achievement fast-track, leading to sizable national gains. Between 2000 and 2003 alone, fourth-grade performance in math nationwide jumped a full nine points on NAEP’s scale.

But much as Texas led the nation in making positive strides throughout the 90s, so did it lead the nation in petering out thereafter. Texas’s fourth graders peaked on the NAEP math exam in 2005; their average score has wavered between scale scores of 240 and 242 in the last four iterations of NAEP. Students nationwide caught up to Texas by 2009. In that year, and in the 2011 assessment that followed, there was no significant difference in the scores posted by students in Texas and those nationwide. That’s true of sub-groups, too. While black, Hispanic, and low-performing students in Texas still led their peers nationwide in math by eight, six, and five points in 2011, respectively, their progress and the progress of those groups nationally has stalled over the last few assessment cycles. The same general patterns can also be traced for eighth-grade math students, though their progress built upon fourth-grade gains both in Texas and nationally and thus occurred in later years, without clear signs of stalling as yet. (Overall reading scores, however, have changed little over the last two decades, both nationally and in Texas, though some subgroups have shown significant gains.)

So while Texas’s progress has cooled in recent years, the same pattern can be observed in the country as a whole—only offset by about half a decade. It’s not that Perry was a worse “education governor” than Bush (or, for that matter, Ann Richards) before him, but that he presided over an accountability strategy that was running out of steam. Like the meteor that set in place a new state of equilibrium for our Earth, consequential accountability shocked our education system and improved math scores, but that system has now begun to settle into a new stasis. So sayeth the stats stud.

It’s an intriguing argument, and one that deserves serious consideration, even more so as the U.S. marks the tenth anniversary of the enactment of NCLB and tries to figure out what the next version of that law should entail. If school-level accountability, as currently practiced, is no longer an effective lever for raising student achievement, then what is? If we need another “meteor” to disrupt the system, where should we look? Mark suggests that the Common Core and rigorous teacher evaluations have potential. We also see promise in the digital-learning revolution. But other shocks to the system might work even better. What are they?

Interested in learning more—or just want to keep the conversation going? Attend our event, “Has the Accountability Movement Run its Course,” at Fordham from 8:30 to 10:00AM on January 5, 2012. More information can be found here.

Click to play

Click to listen to commentary on the "accountability plateau" from the Education Gadfly Show podcast.

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Opinion: In praise of performance pay—for online-learning companies
By Michael J. Petrilli

Whether you consider this week’s New York Times article on K12.com a “hit piece” (Tom Vander Ark) or a “blockbuster” (Dana Goldstein), there’s little doubt that it (and the recent crop of other pieces like it) will have a long-term impact on the debate around digital learning. Polls show that the public in general and parents in particular are leery of cyber schools, and this kind of media attention (sure to be mimicked in local papers) will only make them more so.

But just as these criticisms aren’t going away, neither is online learning. That genie is out of the bottle. So how can we go about drafting policies that will push digital learning in the direction of quality?

Creating Sound Policy for Digital Learning coverThis is something we at Fordham are busy pondering. To that end, we’ve published three papers (so far) in our series Creating Sound Policy for Digital Learning: Rick Hess on quality control; Paul Hill on funding; and Bryan and Emily Hassel on teachers. And in January, we’ll publish an analysis by the Parthenon Group of what high-quality fulltime online learning really costs.

Set aside for a moment the Times’s extremely selective use of data, expert opinion, and evidence. Where the article landed a punch, in my view, was around the perverse incentives at play today. Clearly K12, and its well-paid CEO, Ron Packard, face strong incentives to boost enrollment at their schools. Unfortunately, states haven’t figured out a way to create similar incentives around quality. And that needs to change.

First, a short digression. I worked at K12 many moons ago, just after its creation. (I believe I was employee number ten.) I needed a job, and I convinced Bill Bennett to create a role for me in which I would figure out how to take K12’s rich resources and make them available for poor kids. (After-school tutoring programs seemed to be particularly promising venues.) Our basic assumption was that K12’s model—which relied on parents or other caretakers doing most of the instruction—wouldn’t be feasible for kids living in poverty, most of whom would need the custodial care offered by traditional public schools.

To be honest, I didn’t make much progress. The learning materials weren’t even created yet, and so I had few “partnerships” to offer to communities; I left after nine months.

But what a difference a decade makes. One of the real surprises of the online-learning movement is that lots of poor families are choosing to give it a try, and that explains (to a large degree) why K12’s test scores are lagging. (Yes, poverty and achievement are linked, at least for now.)

Schools of all kinds should only get paid for the days of instruction that kids actually show up (or log in) for.

 
   
 

And the impression painted by the Times article is that online education companies like K12 have every reason to sign up as many parents as possible—poor, rich, whatever—regardless of how prepared they are to tackle the challenge of home-based instruction. Because of some states’ sloppy finance systems, the schools can keep the money if the families change their minds and head back to traditional schools. And, as has been true for all public schools since the beginning of time, the online schools get paid whether their students are learning or not.

Solving the payment problem is the easier challenge. Schools of all kinds should only get paid for the days of instruction that kids actually show up (or log in) for. But is it time to consider performance-based funding, too? To pay companies like K12 more or less depending on how their students perform on state tests or depending on their graduation rates?

In his paper for Fordham, Paul Hill dismisses the idea, arguing that:

Pay for performance would create a harsh environment for all education providers. Conventional, virtual, and hybrid schools might spend money on a student’s instruction for a whole course or semester yet receive nothing in return. Online vendors of all kinds, who have little control over their students’ effort or persistence, could be even more at risk. In general, this approach would limit the unproductive use of public funds and quickly destroy any vendor that could not demonstrate good results. It would favor providers with deep pockets, e.g., district-run schools and online vendors supported by large foundations. Performance-based payment as defined here could create a lethal environment for smaller-scale innovators.

He’s probably right about smaller-scale innovators, but I still think it’s worth a try, at least for full-time online schools. (It might be harder in the “blended learning” setting, where a child might be taking just one or two subjects online.)

What if K12 only got paid for every student that made at least a year’s worth of progress on the state test? Some argue that this would create its own perverse incentives, encouraging the company to cherry pick students who are most likely to succeed. But if the measure is student growth, and if the test being used is a good one (the latter being a big if, admittedly), then all kids but those with severe cognitive disabilities should be seen as contenders.

Instead of signing up students willy-nilly, K12 would then have a reason to vet each family’s situation to make sure they are ready for the rigors of online learning. They would invest, up-front, in assessing whether the child’s parents or other caretakers are up to the task of instructing the student, and whether they have a home situation conducive to success. And then K12 would work like the dickens to make sure every student makes strong progress over the course of the year.

Personally, I’d like to see performance-based pay for all schools. That may not fly anytime soon, but performance pay for online learning (at the least the full-time, virtual-charter-school version) could. Which state is ready to give it a try?

This piece originally appeared (in a slightly different form) on Fordham’s Flypaper blog. To subscribe to Flypaper, click here.

Click to play

Click to listen to commentary on digital learning from the Education Gadfly Show podcast.

 

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News Analysis: It's not voodoo


voodoo doll photo

The power of the voodoo. Who do? You do. Do what?
Photo by Juha-Matti Herrala

2005’s hurricane catalyzed one of the largest governance experiments in American education to date, as Louisiana implemented its Recovery School District law under which it took responsibility for the worst schools in the Big Easy (and a few others throughout the Bayou State). While other state-takeover initiatives have seen mixed results, Louisiana’s push has yielded big upticks in student-test scores. Two reasons why Louisiana’s initiative has fared well: It doesn’t get bogged down in the schools’ day-to-day operations. (It offloads that responsibility on school leaders—where it belongs.) And it scraps the current edu-governance system (no more school boards, locally elected or otherwise), giving site management over to charter networks and other external providers. And the idea has some converts: Michigan (with its Education Achievement System) and Tennessee both recently announced the creation of their own “recovery school districts” (though both remain in the pilot stage). This slowly widening movement holds much promise: States can offer management know-how and dedicated resources and can skirt district contracts that stymie creative school models—without getting bogged down in local politics or bureaucracy. Successful state takeovers of failing districts are elusive—often written off (including by us) as a lost cause. But this 2.0 model sure is promising.

Click to play

Click to listen to commentary on the state-led districts from the Education Gadfly Show podcast.

States Creating New Districts to Steer ‘Turnarounds,’” by Christina A. Samuels, Education Week, December 12, 2011.

Growing Push in Newark to Retake School Reins,” by Winnie Hu, New York Times, December 11, 2011.

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News Analysis: The monolith shifts


father and son walking photo

Talk is fine. But it's now time to walk the walk.
Photo by Gustavo Verissimo

Seven days ago, the National Education Association (NEA)—long dormant in matters of education reform—began to stir. The nation’s largest teacher union unveiled “fourteen points” to promote teacher effectiveness last Thursday. Some of them we’ve heard before (the NEA has long endorsed teacher-residency and “peer assistance and review” programs, for example). But many are worthy new ideas—new, at least, to the NEA. For prioritizing these, the union should be commended. (Gadfly readers might find the appeal for a career ladder for teachers, with differentiated pay and responsibility, to be a reasonably mainstream idea, but remember who’s doing the talking here.) To be sure, old-school NEA thought does seep into the reform plan in places: While it’s a good notion to disallow inexperienced teachers from leading the classrooms of our neediest students, the back-handed knock at Teach For America inherent in this recommendation is unnecessary. Further, the union’s avoidance of linking teacher evaluations to additional teacher compensation is short-sighted. Overall, though, nice start, NEA. The question now looms: How will you turn these recommendations into reality? Might we offer a suggestion? Find a partner district—we think Columbus might do the trick—and get to work piloting these initiatives, lest the worthwhile ideas set forth by the committee remain just so (as they did with last summer’s promising NCATE announcement calling for revamped education-school models.)

NEA Stakes a Claim in Teacher Effectiveness Debate,” by Liana Heitin, Education Week, December 8, 2011.

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Short Reviews

Review: All Over the Map: Comparing States’ Expectations for Student Performance in Science
By Michael Ishimoto

All Over the Map coverParents, be aware: The “proficient” designation that your child received on her state’s science test may not signify much. This new report from Change the Equation (a STEM-advocacy outfit) and the American Institutes for Research evaluates the proficiency cut scores of thirty-seven states’ eighth-grade science assessments, comparing their rigor to that of the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress. The upshot? Fifteen states set their bars for proficient below NAEP’s basic designation. Virginia is the worst of the lot—setting its cut scores far below the rest of the pack—and repaying itself with a 91 percent proficiency rate on its state exam. Only four states (New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Louisiana) expect their students to be at or above NAEP’s proficient threshold. (Feeling a bit of déjà vu? This report is a lot like Fordham’s own Proficiency Illusion blockbuster from 2007, in which we drew similar conclusions about reading and math.) A word on the forthcoming common science standards, this work is necessary—and hugely important. But, as we are reminded time and again, it is not sufficient. A failure to link quality standards to rigorous assessments with balanced cut scores is akin to swiping the legs of any common science-standards initiative, just as it’s learning to walk.

Click to play

Click to listen to commentary on this science "proficiency illusion" from the Education Gadfly Show podcast.

Change the Equation and the American Institutes for Research, All Over the Map: Comparing States’ Expectations for Student Performance in Science (Washington, D.C.: Change the Equation and the American Institutes for Research, December 2011).

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Review: "Multiplication is for White People": Raising Expectations for Other People’s Children
By Laura Johnson

Multiplication is for White People coverIn this book, MacArthur “genius” Lisa Delpit offers an interesting follow-up to her acclaimed Other People’s Children, tackling the continuing challenge of boosting minority student achievement. Using innumerous anecdotes and the occasional data point, Delpit weaves through the complexities of race, class, and culture in America’s schools—and society. In the end, she finds a racial “expectation gap” that pervades our present system. To counter it, educators must develop a “no excuses” attitude (though not necessarily the KIPP-like model of how to implement it), and fight the “responses to oppression” that foster chronic underachievement. The read is quick and enjoyable, and she covers a number of issues, from malnutrition myths to stereotyping to the squishy meaning of “basic skills.” While we don’t always agree on the means of reaching the end, we can definitely get behind Delpit when she says “There is no simple recipe, and the only real solution is for humans who care…to confer, collaborate, argue, ponder, and act to fashion a space for real dialogue and understanding.” Educators and reformers alike would be wise to give this book a look (it’s now available on pre-order)—Delpit adds grounding, and some color, to a discussion that is often arid and unproductive.

Lisa Delpit, “Multiplication is for White People”: Raising Expectations for Other People’s Children, (New York, NY: The New Press, March 2012).

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Review: Creating a New Public Pension System
By Tyson Eberhardt

Few issues as serious as the pension crunch are equally as dull. Addressing unfunded liabilities and implementing defined-contribution plans simply aren’t compelling calls to arms, despite the widening consensus that the balance sheets of public-sector retirement-benefit systems pose grave  threats to state budgets. That’s why the clarity and concision found in this recent “solution paper,” penned by Josh McGee for the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, are so valuable. The piece may be light on detail, but that’s part of the point: It doesn’t aspire to wonky analysis. Instead, it aims right at policymakers and the public in explaining why the set payouts of the traditional defined-benefit (DB) retirement-benefit structure are unsustainable. McGee efficiently makes the case that irresponsible pols inevitably underfund DBs, explains the challenges in projecting their costs, and lays out how they incentivize expensive (and counterproductive) employee behaviors. He then outlines the major cost-saving alternatives on the table—including defined-contributions, cash balance plans, and “stacked hybrid.” (OK, it’s just a little wonky.) There’s far more to this complex topic than McGee includes in this brief paper (case in point: Fordham’s recent study of successful pension reforms), but as an accessible introduction to a vital issue, it’s hard to beat.

Josh B. McGee, Creating a New Public Pension System (Houston, TX: Laura and John Arnold Foundation, 2011).

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From The Web

The Education Gadfly Show Podcast: Wanna make a bet?

Mike and Daniela go edu-meta, asking whether the accountability era has run its course, what the role of for-profits are in digital education, and how state-run districts and schools may reshape governance. Amber investigates the science “proficiency illusion” and Chris channels the Grinch.

The Education Gadfly
Click to listen to the podcast on our website. You can also download the podcast here or subscribe on iTunes here.

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Flypaper's Finest: Schools of choice need to be schools of quality
By Chester E. Finn, Jr.

An updated and expanded version of this piece, written by Checker and Fordham's Terry Ryan, appeared in today's Akron Beacon Journal.

Recent news that White Hat Management, the big, Ohio-based, profit-seeking charter-school operator, faces financial problems surely was received as an early Christmas present by many longtime charter opponents, particularly within the Buckeye State.

The company’s founder and leader, Akron industrialist David Brennan, has been a larger-than-life target for school-choice foes since Gov. George V. Voinovich appointed him in 1992 to head a commission intended to advance choice in Ohio kindergarten-through-12th grade education.…

The Education Gadfly
Click to read the rest on Flypaper.

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Flypaper's Finest: Building a test worth teaching to
By Kathleen Porter Magee

“Believing we can improve schooling with more tests,” Robert Schaeffer of FairTest once argued, “is like believing you can make yourself grow taller by measuring your height.”

It’s a great line. Such statements are the seductive battle cries of the anti-standards and anti-assessment crowd. But is there any reason behind this kind of rhetoric?

Parents rarely complain that their young babies are being weighed and measured too much—even though it can create an extra burden in an often stressful time in their lives.…

The Education Gadfly
Click to read the rest on Flypaper.

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Gadfly Studios: Education governance in the twenty-first century

http://www.edexcellence.net/assets/images/other_images/20111201_RethinkingGovernance_Session1_Screenshot.jpg


Time and again, we see promising education-reform programs and policies crash upon the shoals of failure, broken apart by the jagged rocks of our current governance system. But what is to be done about it? Watch the panels from our recent conference (Rethinking Education Governance for the Twenty-First Century) for an outline of our system’s key challenges, promising innovations, and bold paths forward. Watch them here.

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Extras

Briefly Noted: Eighty-two percent, you say?

  • Remember a few months back when Arne Duncan dropped jaws (and elicited some guffaws) with his proclamation that 82 percent of students would be listed as failing under AYP this year? Turns out, the real number is 48 percent, according to the Center on Education Policy. Way to make a nearly 50 percent AYP failure rate seem not so bad, Duncan.
  • Charter schools in the Buckeye State are reaching a “district-like” racial profile as more white students enroll in them. Rick Kahlenberg would agree—there’s nothing wrong with that.  
  • If you remain unconvinced about the need to think about America’s “excellence gap” in K-12 schooling—even after reading our High Flyers report—then check out Sol Stern’s latest from City Journal. Convincing. 
  • OK, Jay Greene, you found us out: We’re not actually in the business of reforming schools—this is all just a big ploy to support Checker’s “plan for a world government.” Bwahahaha.
  • We’re not so different, after all. Leaders in the developing world are now wrestling with the question: “Should we switch focus from improving schools to improving parents?” It’s worth keeping an eye on what they decide.

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Announcement: Oh man-ager, does Fordham have the opportunity for you!

Christmas came early this year; control your excitement. Fordham is on the hunt for a new research manager to keep our projects pipeline flowing and our final reports engaging and rigorous. If you have both qualitative and quantitative research skills and are smart, dedicated—and just a little punchy—you may just be the right fit. Learn more about the position, including how to apply, here.

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Announcement: Start the New Year off right

For the Gadfly readers now resolving to be better ed-policy wonks in 2012, here’s your first opportunity. Join us on January 5, 2012 from 8:30 to 10:00AM for our inaugural Year of the Dragon event. An impressive set of panelists (Charles Barone, Eric Hanushek, Sandy Kress, and Marc Schneider) will answer the question “has the accountability movement run its course?”—spring-boarded by Schneider’s paper, The Accountability Plateau, released today. Click here to learn more about the event.

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Announcement: It's a win-win

Public Impact—the stellar research shop out of Chapel Hill—is looking to turn theory into action. Through the group’s new Opportunity Culture initiative, it’s looking to pilot twenty models that schools can use to extend the reach of great teachers—and it’s in need of districts ready to partner with it on this work. Interested in becoming an implementation site? Find out more here.

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Announcement: A ‘Bright new opportunity

2012 will mark the first cohort of the Fulbright Public Policy Fellowship (which focuses on education in other countries)—will you rank among its members? The program places fellows in foreign ministries or institutions in the developing world, allowing them to gain hands-on experience, while simultaneously carrying out their own research. Sound cool? Learn more here.

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Fordham's featured publication: The Proficiency Illusion

The Proficiency Illusion cover

A groundbreaking study published in 2007, The Proficiency Illusion revealed that the tests that states use to measure academic progress under the No Child Left Behind Act have created a false impression of success, as states set their “proficiency” cut offs low, in order to meet NCLB mandates. The report, a collaboration of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and the Northwest Evaluation Association, contains several major findings. Among them: Although there has been no “race to the bottom,” the report did find a “walk to the middle,” as some states with high standards saw their expectations drop toward the middle of the pack. States are aiming particularly low at the elementary level and in reading. Read on to learn more.

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The Education Gadfly is published weekly (ordinarily on Thursdays), with occasional breaks, by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Regular contributors include Tyson Eberhardt, Daniela Fairchild, Chester E. Finn, Jr., Chris Irvine, Michael Ishimoto, Laura Johnson, Matthew C. Kyle, Jamie Davies O’Leary, Emmy Partin, Michael J. Petrilli, Terry Ryan, Janie Scull, Bianca Speranza, Chris Tessone, and Amber Winkler. Have something to say? Email us at thegadfly@edexcellence.net. Find archived issues or other reviews of reports and books here.

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The Thomas B. Fordham Institute is a nonprofit organization that conducts research, issues publications, and directs action projects in elementary and secondary education reform at the national level and in Ohio, with a special emphasis on our hometown of Dayton. (For Ohio news, check out our Ohio Education Gadfly, published bi-weekly, ordinarily on Wednesdays.) The Institute is neither connected with nor sponsored by Fordham University.

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