50 Essential Blog Posts on Education Reform

Behind health care reform, education reform may be one of the most talked-about and controversial subjects of the moment. So much needs to be repaired in public education, and everyone seems to have their own opinion about how it should be done. Whether you are working on your education degree or are a veteran teacher, it’s important to stay informed about the state of education and the proposed reforms. These 50 blog posts will help you do just that by sorting out some of the major topics being discussed by policy makers, politicians, and educators.

Education, Politics, and Government

These posts highlight the intersection of education, politics, and government.

  1. An open letter to President Obama on schools, education, and teaching. Kenneth Bernstein has written a powerful letter to the president asking him to carefully examine how his administration approaches education reform.
  2. Comparing House and Senate School Facilities Programs in the Student Loan Bill. Learn about the legislation surrounding the first attempt of the federal government to fund much-needed K-12 school building repair, renovation, and construction.
  3. Why Is the Secretary of Education Lobbying on the Health Care Bill?. Frederick Hess wonders about the propriety and intentions of Arne Duncan’s involvement in gathering support for the health care bill.
  4. Two Things Edwonk Wants Back From The Mid-00s: Stock Prices & Pre-Political Hess. Edwonk counters Hess’ concerns over Duncan’s political involvement and offers a view from the other side.
  5. Whatever Happened to that Student Loan Bill? This post provides information about the status of the student loan bill as well as an interesting perspective on why those in the education sector may be so interested in the health care bill.
  6. Skeptics of Standardized Tests Weigh In on ESEA. Forum for Education and Democracy is a group working to educate politicians on the benefits of project-based education over the current standardized testing model. Find out what they have to say and what they are doing to create change.
  7. Race to the Top Versus the Money Chase. Paul Peterson discusses his views on why teachers’ association’s political involvement may prevent productive reform of the teaching profession.
  8. saved by the stimulus, or adventures in accounting. This post explores the effects of this summer’s stimulus package on education, and more specifically, teachers, and wonders at why it has taken so long for funding transparency to become available.
  9. Throwing Teachers Out Of Their Homes And Onto The Streets? Take a look at how funding problems can result in a worrisome situation for educators.
  10. Revisiting the No-Washington-Meddling Doctrine. This post highlights one reason why there is tension over the NCLB/ESEA reauthorization.
  11. Why Business Leaders Should Not Be in the Driver’s Seat. According to Diane Ravitch, schools should not be run like a business or by business leaders. She explains why in this thought-provoking piece.

The State of Education Reform

Examine the current state of education and education reform with the information in these posts.

  1. What Arne Duncan Thinks of No Child Left Behind. This article was written just after Duncan was appointed as Secretary of Education. Find out what he had to say then about NCLB and other education reform issues.
  2. Transcript: An Hour With Arne Duncan. Here is a more recent look at what Duncan has to say about the state of education and education reform. Find video footage, a link to a full transcript, and analysis of his talk within this post.
  3. Race to the Top and the Status of Education Innovation. Find out about a report recently released that rates public schools on innovation in categories such as management, technology, and finance.
  4. ISO an article that fills in the bubbles””I mean blanks. Linda Perlstein asks for some transparency in the current administration’s approach to education policy.
  5. Thompson: Is Our Education Policy Folks Learning?. John Thompson thinks about policy reform by looking back at the early days of NCLB and wonders if anything has changed.
  6. I’m Thankful …. for the Discord? This post illustrates why disagreement and discussion is important in finding solutions for education reform.
  7. Parent Power on Facebook. Learn how the Internet is empowering parents to make important changes to education policy.
  8. Read Growing Pains: Scaling Up the Nation’s Best Charter Schools. Not only does this post provide an opportunity to learn about some of the struggles with charter schools, but it also provides links to some of the politics behind getting this information publicly released.
  9. Non-Learners. Lynne Munson takes a look at the inability of the leaders of Partnership for 21st Century Skills to learn when faced with sound advice.
  10. Common Core Standards update. Get an update on the Common Core Standards Initiative and what is in the works for public education.
  11. School Reform Retreat? This blog post shares an editorial piece from the Wall Street Journal that wonders if the Race to the Top initiative is really all that it was originally touted to be.

Specific Reform Issues

From innovation in education to charter schools to teacher evaluation, these posts focus on specific issues being debated in reform discussions.

  1. School District Consolidation: What Happens When You Assume. Take a look at a few of the problems with school district consolidation with the information here.
  2. Leigh McGuigan: Turning Around Low-Performing Schools. McGuigan looks at ways to turn around low-performing schools in order to better serve students and ensure better quality teachers.
  3. Leigh McGuigan: On Innovation. Using examples from her experience in Cleveland schools and the thoughts of Clayton Christensen and his book Disrupting Class, McGuigan offers suggestions to make significant changes in schools through innovation.
  4. Data Visualization for the Classroom: Part I. The Science Goddess presents a useful way of looking at student assessment to look beyond simple numbers and percentages and instead focus on whether or not the class is understanding the concepts being taught.
  5. Charters show the way forward. This post describes the attributes of successful charter schools and posits the idea that all public schools should adopt the same qualities.
  6. Social and Economic Goals of Schooling. With so much of a child’s life devoted to education, it is important to consider the goal of the education beyond just achieving a high-paying job. This post provides perspective on what other considerations might be of importance.
  7. Teacher Magazine: NCLB Definition of Professional Development Scrutinized. Take a look at an issue of professional development that was a part of the original NCLB, but not monitored or enforced, and see what is being said about it.
  8. Pay Bonuses for AP Teachers Only?. This story about bonuses for AP teacher performance highlights the issue surrounding the idea of incentive-based pay.
  9. Metaphor Quest. Learn how testing students in school should be like a swimming test with this blog post.
  10. School Choice Reduces Crime, Increases College-Attendance, and Makes Your Breath Smell Better. All except that breath thing, the thoughts here demonstrate why school choice should be a possibility for students.
  11. Sunday Commentary: How Should We Measure the Achievement Gap?” Corey Bower thinks about measuring and closing the achievement gap in schools here.
  12. A canard worth torpedoing. Take a look at why the view of for-profit education may not be such a bad one after all.
  13. What’s Needed to Make Sure Innovation Is Working?. Check out this online conversation about innovation in education and what could make it successful.
  14. Getting Real About Teacher Evaluation. Renee Moore debunks two myths about teacher competency and lays out suggestions for more successful teacher evaluation.
  15. One Bar For All?. Dr. Pezz suggests that science and math achievement should be tailored to the individual student’s abilities in this post.

Primary and Secondary Education

These posts look at reform issues specific to primary or secondary education.

  1. The Outcry Over Preschool Test-Prep and ‘Gifted’ Kindergartens. This post takes a look at the idea of prepping very young students for test-taking as well as other issues such as early labeling of children as “gifted” and unrealistic expectations for preschoolers.
  2. Urging Solutions on ‘Chronic Absence’ in Elementary Schools. Discovering exactly why absenteeism is occurring in elementary schools, especially among those in poverty, is the first step in solving the problem, which negatively impacts the learning for these young students.
  3. The Proliferation of Federal High School Intervention Programs. Learn about a few federal programs to help reduce the high-school dropout rates and find out if they are successful.
  4. After high school, what happens? This post highlights the need for data collection to measure the success (or lack thereof) of the educational system that delivers students to college.
  5. College success gap. See the statistics on the success gap of college-bound minority and low-income students as well as some thoughts on why this gap may be occurring.
  6. The Other Thirteen. While many alternative schools provide an opportunity for educating students who might not succeed in a traditional school, this post makes a strong argument for why keeping a focus on reform in traditional schools is still important.
  7. Willingham on Online Teaching. This post includes a link to an article in The Washington Post that describes how teachers’ relationships with online students in K-12 environments are strong and actually have benefits over the relationships formed in a traditional classroom.

Higher Education

Take a look at what’s going on in the world of higher education reform with these posts.

  1. At Long Last, Department of Education Puts the Interests of Students First. This blog post describes preliminary proposals that will help regulate and prevent against unscrupulous for-profit colleges taking advantage of working-class students.
  2. Higher Ed by the Numbers. The data in this post provides many good reasons why student loan reform is desperately needed.
  3. Claiborne Pell’s Unfulfilled Legacy. Set against the backdrop of the Pell grant, this post describes why the cost of college must be addressed and corrected.
  4. We need more reporting like this…. This post shares an article out of Canada that explores the international problem of an increasing gender gap on campuses.
  5. Tuition Tax Turmoil. In the ongoing discussion of the high cost of a college education, this post describes yet another increase in the cost of school and the uproar over it.
  6. Fast Track, Slow Ride, Grow Up. Nancy Flanagan proposes that extending college and putting off entering the real world doesn’t do students any favors.

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