Here are news and opinion stories educators, advocates, policy wonks and makers are talking about today:
News and Analysis
States, districts, and schools are actually in charge. (The Atlantic)
Findings from a fascinating new report on school boards are unintuitive for two big reasons. First, the study finds that, among other things, boards can have a meaningful influence on student performance, even enabling district kids’ ability to “beat the odds.” Second, the report is from Fordham(!)—a group that, like me, is generally skeptical of today’s current governance arrangements. The most interesting part is that board-member characteristics (political ideology, prior employment as an educator, level of professional development, when and how elected) can help predict the board’s effectiveness. Score one for interesting research and one for effective school boards. (Fordham Institute’s Education Gadfly)
We hear a lot about how American students lag behind their international peers academically, especially in subjects like math. In the most recent Program for International Student Assessment, commonly known as PISA, students in the United States ranked 26th out of 34 countries in mathematics. On the surface, it would seem that we’re a nation of math dullards; simply no good at the subject. But a spate of new research suggests that we may be underestimating our students, especially the youngest ones, in terms of their ability to think about numbers. (New York Times)
Tennessee does not have enough private schools that could or would serve the students who would qualify for vouchers under a legislative proposal currently under consideration in the state. That’s the conclusion of an ongoing Vanderbilt University research study that was presented Thursday on the first day of the American Educational Research Association’s annual conference here. (Education Week)
The Maryland Senate took action Wednesday on three bills that address concerns over the implementation of new Common Core curriculum standards across the state. (Maryland Reporter)
New York
The $138 billion dollar New York State budget, signed into law earlier this week, received lots of attention for addressing big education issues, including an expansion of pre-kindergarten and tweaks related to the Common Core learning standards. (WNYC)


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