Sarah Garland
Sarah Garland is a staff writer. She has written for The New York Times, Newsweek, Newsday, The New York Sun, The New York Post, The Village Voice, New York Magazine and Marie Claire. She was a 2009 recipient of the Spencer Fellowship in Education Reporting at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and received her master’s degree from New York University as a Henry M. MacCracken fellow. Her first book, Gangs in Garden City: How Immigration, Segregation and Youth Violence Are Changing America’s Suburbs, was published by Nation Books in July 2009.

What do Americans want for their schools? Choice, yes. Charters, not so much

What’s a charter school? Or the Common Core? A new poll out today suggests many Americans are unfamiliar with the hottest topics in the education world, and that they’d rather trust their local schools and teachers—not the federal government, their elected officials, or unions—to figure out what’s best for kids. Surveys have long found that […]


In Bihar, hope—and some progress—despite the education system’s many problems

On a 2011 reporting trip to visit schools in Bihar, India’s poorest state, one scene in particular stuck in my mind. After a touring a slum neighborhood on the outskirts of the state’s capital city, Patna, my contact there, Sunita Singh, of the Education Development Center, drove me past a small one-room schoolhouse that served […]

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Supreme Court leaves affirmative action intact, for now

The Supreme Court released an anti-climatic ruling in what might have been a major decision about the use of race in higher education admissions on Monday. In its decision, the court sent the case back to the Fifth Circuit with instructions for the lower court to re-examine how the University of Texas (UT) uses race […]

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Slim chances for new version of No Child Left Behind

Federal lawmakers tantalized the education community this week with a new proposal to reauthorize the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which nearly everyone in the education community agrees is long overdue for an update. But the likelihood of passage seems bleak given a divided Congress. Just two days after Democratic senators released their bill, […]


Will the slowdown on Common Core in some states lead to a wider retreat?

Much to the frustration of many education reformers, another state could retreat from the Common Core State Standards, which have been adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia. A bill was introduced in Michigan this week that would end funding for the standards, meant to increase rigor in English and math classrooms across […]


Are ‘No Excuses’ reformers and their critics finding common ground?

The current debate between business-minded reformers like Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York and former Washington, D.C. chancellor Michelle Rhee and their critics has often been set up as a fight over whether policymakers should tackle poverty or not as they attempt to improve student achievement. Last week, Michael Petrilli, vice president at the Fordham […]


Union president likely to win reelection despite teacher dissatisfaction

The United Federation of Teachers wraps up an election today that will likely see the return of president Michael Mulgrew. It has been a difficult tenure, however. Nationally, unions and many of the policies they support are under fire like never before from former allies in the Democratic Party as well as traditional political foes. […]

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Will value-added measurement survive the courts?

An ongoing argument raging across the country over whether student test score gains are a fair way to gauge a teacher’s skill has hit the courts. In what may be among the first of many lawsuits over the new evaluations—which have been adopted by multiple states—the Florida teachers union is challenging the state’s use of […]


When knowing everything about your students isn’t enough

In March, technology entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, representatives from big-name companies and philanthropies and some teachers descended on Austin, TX for a conference meant to highlight new solutions to the biggest dilemmas in education. Educational games, apps, data dashboards and social media were touted as the next big things in panels with titles like “EdTech Entrepreneurs: […]


Local school districts are new target of education reformers

The large amounts of outside money flowing into the Los Angeles Unified school board election represent a new front in the reform battles that have shaken up education politics over the last decade. Donations of $1 million by Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City and $250,000 by former District of Columbia Public Schools Chancellor […]


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