Nick Pandolfo

Round-up of leading thinkers on parent-trigger laws

Parents in Adelanto, Calif., scored a victory for advocates of the “parent-trigger” law last week. The law allows public-school parents who gather signatures from a majority of their peers to transform a school into a charter. They can also opt to remove a consistently failing school’s staff or close the school entirely. (To read more […]


Parents protest Pearson, New York state’s ‘field-testing’ of exams

Over 300 parents and their children gathered outside the New York City office of testing-giant Pearson Education this morning, June 7th, to protest the company’s field-testing of exams in elementary and middle schools across New York state. Students in the Empire State took a new, longer standardized exam this spring as part of the state’s […]


What value-added models can—and can’t—tell us about teaching and learning

Getting your middle-schooler in front of a high-quality teacher for even one year will improve his or her chances of going to college and earning a good salary later in life, according to a recent study. The study’s authors used value-added modeling—predicting how well a given student will do on a standardized test, controlling for […]


Charter-school enrollment: Two million students and counting

The charter-school movement reached a milestone this week: Charter schools, which are publicly funded but typically privately managed, now educate more than two million students, up from around 1.8 million last year. Despite the heated debate over charter schools, the number is still relatively small considering the size of the K-12 student population in U.S. […]


NAEP scores rise, but income gap sees little change

Fourth- and eighth-graders’ scores showed modest improvement and racial achievement gaps narrowed on the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), commonly known as the “Nation’s Report Card,” which was released Tuesday. The gap between disadvantaged students and their more affluent peers remained largely unchanged, however, and widened in fourth-grade reading. Compared to 2009, this […]


Tuition soars as Obama cuts student-loan payments

President Barack Obama’s announcement this week that he will reduce student-loan payments comes as Americans are approaching one trillion dollars in student-loan debt and the number of people defaulting on their college loans is steadily rising. The College Board reported yesterday that higher-education costs, including for public universities, are at an all-time high. But while the  “Pay as You Earn” plan will make […]

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New report: Dropout rates five times higher for poor students

Sen. Tom Harkin’s ( D-Iowa) new proposal to reform No Child Left Behind is the latest attempt by policy makers to fix the country’s  “dropout factories,” identified in the bill as schools with lower than a 60-percent graduation rate. But a new report has found a silver lining amid the crisis: The number of dropouts […]


Mixed reactions to the new NCLB bill

Senators Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Michael Enzi (R-Wyoming) announced new legislation to revamp the 2001 No Child Left Behind law yesterday, garnering some strong reactions from the education policy world. The senators said the 865-page bill would provide more support to “dropout factories,” which they defined as schools with a graduation rate of less than 60 […]


School discipline records show racial disparities

A report released today argues racial disparities in suspension and expulsion rates are hurting academics for minority students. The report, by the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado Boulder, combines information gathered from a variety of recently released studies. It shows that black male middle school students are nearly three times more likely […]

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Duncan announces ambitious federal plan to boost teacher preparation

The Obama administration thinks states aren’t being aggressive enough in tracking how teachers are prepared and making education schools accountable for results. Education Secretary Arne Duncan laid out an ambitious three-part plan this morning that the administration hopes will radically change how states measure the effectiveness of their teacher preparation programs, provide additional scholarship money […]

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