The Bottom Line

Flipped Classroom Concept
Flipped Classroom Concept On Blackboard With Apple And Digital Tablet On Wooden Table
Licensed From Adobe Stock

Flipped Classrooms Are Not the Problem

EducationWeek recently opined that “flipped classrooms may exacerbate student achievement gaps.”  The notion of a “flipped” classroom is one in which the “traditional rhythm of class time” is flipped by “introducing teacher lectures online so that students can view them at home, while using class time for projects and group activities that might traditionally be consigned to homework.” Here’s where they missed the mark: A flipped classroom does not give the student any more required time to fully grasp the material at hand. So the notion that flipped classrooms may exacerbate the student achievement gaps isn’t the issue. The crux of the matter is how long these students have access to learning. In order for educators to meet the needs Read More ›

money cant solve it all
Licensed from Unsplash - Credit: Kat Yukawa

Sometimes You Don’t Get what You Pay For

A scan of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), “the nations report card,” makes it clear that revenues have increased significantly from 1996 to 2016 (the most recent data compiled). However, has that changed the overall outcomes for our children’s education? The data suggest it has not. According to The Hill, “Six of the top 10 states that improved their average test scores on the NAEP the most were among the 11 states with the smallest funding growth.” As our program chair, Don Nielsen, writes in his book Every School, “Spending has grown at ten times the rate of enrollment. Thus, we are now spending almost three times more per child, in inflation-adjusted dollars, to educate our children than in 1970. Most Read More ›

Hand of a businessman writing a business concept text of feedback idea on a blue background.
Hand of a businessman writing a business concept text of feedback idea on a blue background for design in your work Presentation.
Licensed from Adobe Stock

For Educational Success Focus On the Outputs

In Education Next, Orly Friedman, founder of Red Bridge Education, makes the argument that there are many “reasons for measuring inputs in addition to outputs.” The problem with this statement is that the system traditionally has focused on inputs rather than outputs, with poor results. Friedman uses the example that if a person hoping to lose weight focuses only on the numerical goal rather than the entire process (i.e. maintaining a healthy diet and workout routine), weight loss tends to be short-lived. She compares this with cramming for tests which is “incentivized by a system whose sole concern is on outputs.” However, there’s another side of the coin.  Friedman claims that “measur[ing] inputs along with outputs is to facilitate learning Read More ›

Young woman with stack pile of books and piggy bank full of debt rethinking future career path
Student loan concept. Young woman with stack pile of books and piggy bank full of debt rethinking future career path
Licensed from Adobe Stock

Teachers Miffed About Pay

“I am a fool to do this job.” So states one teacher in the PDK Poll as reported by EducationWeek. The comment reflects the fact that teacher compensation is the number one complaint of the teachers polled.  In fact, of the 556 teachers polled, 55% of teachers said they would strike for higher compensation. As we reported on this issue previously, most of the angst comes from unfulfilled promises by strong arm teacher union politics.  Because of unions’ unrelenting support on seniority pay raises and lifetime job security, hundreds of new teachers and central office staff are laid off, class sizes increase, and after-school programs fail. This is bad for everyone, including taxpayers, new teachers who are in dire need Read More ›

Sad businessman looking down standing next to open dumspter with rain of dollars falling into it.
Sad businessman looking down standing next to open dumspter with rain of dollars falling into it. Waste money. Unprofitable project. Business failure.
Licensed from Adobe Stock

Real Solutions, Not Cash Infusions

As Max C. Eden aptly states (National Review, July 30, 2019) when it comes to education, “money matters, but not if it’s simply tossed into a dysfunctional district.” He cites a recent Johns Hopkins University study regarding the dreary conditions of public schools in Providence, R.I, despite the fact that Providence spends $17,192 per pupil every year. Spending has increased significantly for the American public education system—to almost three times more per child, in inflation-adjusted dollars, than in 1970. Eden also points out that “Although education spending took a hit during the Great Recession, it has been climbing steadily over the past five years and is at an all-time high in most states.” Switching to teacher pay (which Democratic presidential Read More ›

Buried alive but not broken
Hand coming out of ground as concept for never give up
Licensed from Adobe Stock

Transform Education from the Ground Up

“[L]et’s focus on what really matters. To my mind, that is, every student, every kid.” So states Stand Together CEO, Brian Hooks, in the “Yes Every Kid” initiative. “Yes Every Kid” is a social-welfare organization funded by The Koch Network. Koch runs the program under the umbrella of Stand Together, a non-profit organization also funded by Koch that works on anti-poverty efforts. The Koch brothers are tied to conservative political causes which to some places them outside the mainstream when it comes to K-12 education policies—especially the belief in smaller government and limiting the overreach of the Department of Education. However, the main focus of “Yes Every Kid” is toward “mov[ing] away from the ‘us versus them’ framing in K-12.” Read More ›

man with binoculars looking at Success banner on a mountain top
person with binoculars looking at the path to reach a Success banner on top of a mountain
Licensed from Adobe Stock

Visualize Becoming a Visionary

Bravo to Ben Rodriguez, the new principal of Buckeye Union High School in Buckeye Arizona. He recognizes that you “become the visionary as the principal.” These words echo what Don Nielsen, program chair to the American Center for Transforming Education, writes in his book, Every School, “A visionary principal always leads an effective school.”   However, too often schools are not left in the hands of visionaries, but with managers. Why is this? The answer is two-fold. The present system advances education leaders not on proven leadership , but upon who wants to be an education administrator. As Nielsen argues, “Leadership development in public education is a process-driven system, not a competency-driven system. Further, the quality of leadership training provided Read More ›

One stuffed, overfilled full piggy bank
Licensed from Adobe Stock

Transparency is a Must with Taxpayers Money

Education Week recently posed a pivotal question: “Where, exactly, do those billions of dollars taxpayers annually spend for schools go?” Those in charge of the funds sometimes don’t even know.  For example, in Mississippi the state education department “miscalculated” the exact dollar amount it would take to contribute a “$1,500 bonus” to teachers. Lawmakers with inquiries about the mistake were directed to the antiquated 20-year-old student-information system which the Mississippi Governor, Phil Bryant, referred to as being “held up by a Band-Aid”. As we’ve reported on before, taxpayers need to know where revenues from their taxes are being spent—especially the annual per student education spending. Instead, antiquated systems track billions of dollars of educational spending with little transparency from lawmakers Read More ›

Help Wanted
Licensed from Adobe Stock

WANTED: New-fashioned Way of Producing Teachers

One article in a recent Education Week popped out of the page: “After Career Overhauling Ed. Schools, Levine to Step Down, Foundation head known for lambasting teacher training.” The article refers to Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, who will now remain at the foundation in a senior fellow role. The strong title is well deserved. Levine came to the position with the intention of either fixing the existing model of teacher preparation or “reinvent[ing] it.” He has been recognized for “spearhead[ing] several initiatives designed to improve the preparation of educators.” In 2006 he stated teacher-prep programs were “unruly and disordered, they’re treated as a cash cow by universities.” His views parallel those of Don Nielsen, Read More ›

We the People.
Constitution of America, We the People withAmerican flag.
Licensed from Adobe Stock

Double Down on Civics Education

How do we expect children to be productive citizens if they do not understand the reason, the importance, and the necessity of a properly-functioning republic? My experience is a case in point. When I was going through the K-12 public school system, I took one, yes one, course on the American Government. It was not required; I had to choose it as an elective. Don Nielsen, program chair to the American Center for Transforming Education, highlights one of the root causes of this deficiency in his book Every School: “Unfortunately, many believe our schools will improve with the more rigorous standards and that was one of the drivers for the development of the Common Core. But, poor performing schools, like Read More ›