October 2011

Calculating how much college actually costs

Days after the College Board announced that tuition at America’s public universities increased 8.3 percent this year, higher-education institutions quietly met a weekend deadline for reporting what students actually pay, after grants and other financial aid are taken into account. The “net price” accounts for tuition minus scholarships, grants, and income from on-campus jobs, on […]


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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States move quickly to change teacher evaluations: 33 and counting

How fast are states moving to change their teacher evaluation policies in the wake of a major, years-long reform push by the Obama administration and others? Very fast, according to a report released today by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ). The NCTQ, an advocacy group that applauds most of these changes, counted 33 […]


And they’re off … States apply for the Early Learning Race to the Top competition

The next installment of the Obama administration’s Race to the Top education-reform competition, focused on the youngest students, got off to a big start yesterday. Nearly three-quarters of the states threw their hats in the ring to win a portion of the $500 million the administration is offering to states with the best plans to overhaul their […]

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Studies point to principal training as ‘cost-effective’ reform

Often in reform efforts focused on teacher effectiveness, principals are overlooked. Two new studies examining the National Institute for School Leadership, a for-profit company that works in 19 states, point to the importance of school leaders. Researchers found statistically significant gains on test scores at hundreds of schools  in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts with principals trained by the institute. These are […]


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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Should we revive academic tracking?

A new report showing that some high-achieving students fall behind (although not far behind) as they progress through school is reviving an argument in favor of tracking students by ability levels. America’s focus on closing the achievement gap during the past decade has left “advanced students to fend for themselves,” Frederick Hess, a researcher at […]

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