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Summary: Lessons From School Improvement Grants That Worked

TCF senior fellow Greg Anrig takes a critical look at School Improvement Grants (SIGs) and how, if implemented strategically, they can succeed in turning around struggling schools.


Teacher unions and civil rights groups battle over future of No Child Left Behind

The Senate passed an education bill this month to replace No Child Left Behind. An amendment to continue tracking the test scores of low-performing schools pitted civil rights groups, who were in favor of continued tracking, against teachers' unions, and was ultimately defeated. The Deseret News spoke with TCF fellow Halley Potter about the amendment's failure and why those groups responded in the way they did:

Potter says she understands why teachers are concerned. "We haven't had a good track record of healthy alternatives to punishment," she said, "and teachers have been too often blamed for school and societal failures that lie wholly outside their control.

"Regardless of what you think of the NEA's advocacy on these issues," Potter said, "if you care about the future of education you have to ask why they are reacting this way."

The full article is available here.

Tags: teachers unions, standardized testing, no child left behind, education

How a New Report May Hasten the End of Racial Preferences in Admissions

With the Supreme Court set to rehear Fisher v. University of Texas, which concerns race-based affirmative action policies, a new report from the American Council on Education shows that the previous ruling did little to change colleges' admissions policies. TCF senior fellow Richard Kahlenberg writes in the Chronicle of Higher Education that the report's findings may help lead to a different ruling this time around:

In short, colleges didn’t take the ruling very seriously. The headline finding is that "when asked directly whether the Fisher ruling affected their admissions or enrollment management practices, only 13 percent of institutions responded in the affirmative."

This new information is deeply problematic for supporters of affirmative action because the nonchalant response to the earlier Fisher decision may well embolden conservative justices — including swing vote Anthony Kennedy — to make a more definitive statement about racial preferences in the Fisher II case.

The full column is available here.

Tags: supreme court, race-based affirmative action, education, affirmative action

Boom-or-bust education entrepreneurs are courting hope and risk with children

July 23, 2015 BY: Richard D. Kahlenberg TOPICS: Education

An increasing number of entrepreneurs are interested in pursuing experimental approaches in education. However, says TCF's Rick Kahlenberg in an interview with the Kansas City Star, treating education like a market can have negative consequences.

“Obviously, there’s a tension here,” said Richard Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at The Century Foundation, a left-leaning think tank. “Applying market principles might fly when creating a new detergent, but it doesn’t necessarily work with children.”

Read the full article here.

Tags: education policy, education

Lessons From School Improvement Grants That Worked

By Greg Anrig

TOPICS: Education, Promoting Effective Collaboration in Education

This Century Foundation report synthesizes that evidence about the SIG initiative and provides recommendations for enabling many more chronically struggling schools serving low-income populations to better educate their students.

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The Constraints of Poverty on Open Choice: A Baltimore Case Study

A case study of Baltimore students who are given the opportunity to choose which high school to attend shows evidence that school choice is a worthy program, but often misused.





Most K-12 education reforms are about trying to make "separate but equal" schools for rich and poor work well. The results of these efforts have been discouraging. The Century Foundation looks at ways to integrate public schools by economic status through public school choice. At the higher education level, we examine ways to open the doors of selective and non-selective institutions to students of modest means.

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