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Rounding Up: The Other Half of Education

Last week, as our summer together in the Bay Area was drawing to a close, a group of Education Pioneers Fellows came over to my house to discuss how we would respond to an essay contest sponsored by Goldman Sachs. The prompt:What should we do to create a strong US education system that works for all, that improves student outcomes and enables our country to regain its leadership position in the field […] Read more

What America thinks about education, 2012 edition

There’s a big problem with public education in this country, but it doesn’t affect my kid. If you had to boil down this year’s PDK Gallup poll – probably the most influential survey of American attitudes on education – down to a sentence, that might be it. But there’s much more to learn here, particularly if you care about improving the way we prepare teachers, school choice, or common core standards.My kids are […] Read more

STEAM-powered engine to Mars

After watching NASA’s rover Curiosity land safely—and with unbelievable panache—on the Martian surface late Sunday evening, I heard a shock jock on a local sports radio show bemoaning the attention the mission was garnering. “I guess I know this is a big deal to some people, but I think we’re going overboard here,” he said. “This must be the way science people feel when they look at how excited we get about […] Read more

What does a moon shot in education mean?

Lately, leaders seeking to describe a bold effort to make massive change have used the metaphor of the moon shot, notably including Arne Duncan, early in his tenure as  Secretary of Education. At the outset of the stimulus, the moon mission offered an apt metaphor for reaching a goal that has long seemed unreachable, through determination, hard work, and vision.I was thinking about those words today as I visited the Kennedy Space Center, […] Read more

Bill Clinton takes on innovation in education at KIPP’s Summit

Bill Clinton’s best speeches invariably are the ones where he travels easily and expertly between disciplines and fields of ideas. On Thursday, Clinton gave one of those stunners, at the KIPP School Summit in Orlando, Florida. KSS, as it’s typically called, brings together thousands of teachers from throughout KIPP—the biggest high-performing charter network in the country focused on underserved kids—along with a sprinkling of board members, advocates, funders, and others. It’s part professional […] Read more

Grit to Graduate, part 1: College Success

As dispiriting as our nation’s math scores can appear as evidence of fading international competitiveness, our position at the top of one ranking might be the most alarming statistic of all: The United States has the highest college dropout rate in the industrialized world. (Both trends are even more pronounced when income is taken into account). Even once they have successfully enrolled at a college or university, American students – especially those from low-income households – are less likely than […] Read more

The J-Factor

Like so many “No Excuses” schools in our portfolio and beyond, KIPP: DC changes the lives of students and families by keeping kids’ interests at the center of decision-making. While the KIPP network earns well-deserved credit for its relentless focus on long-term goals (“KIPPster, what year are you going to college?”), students’ current happiness and well-being are central to fulfilling its mission. A classroom teeming with J-Factor (J stands for Joy; abbreviations […] Read more

Teachers, Reformers and the “Real Fight”

Education reform hardly qualifies as the most exciting news with an Aspen dateline this week. In fact, the Aspen Ideas Festival* didn’t even have an official education track this year. But that didn’t keep the Festival – an annual gathering that represents the high-altitude pinnacle of influential thinking –from making news in the education world. The Festival featured no fewer than three sessions on the potential of technology to bring disruptive innovation to […] Read more

#takethetest

It’s not often that I wake up in the morning, read the blogs, and find a whole lot of common ground with Valerie Strauss’s “Answer Sheet” in the Washington Post. On days when she is quoting the New York Times’ Michael Winerip, it’s even less likely.So, in the holiday spirit of cheer and peacemaking, I’m delighted that just before the year runs out, the moment has arrived, in the form of an […] Read more

Of course class matters. Schools matter too.

A recent piece on the New York Times op-ed page, which somehow didn’t get much immediate attention, ranks in the view of this jaded sometimes-ed-writer as one of the most troubling articles on education reform of 2011.The December 11 op-ed, by Duke public policy professor Helen Ladd and former New York Times education editor Edward Fiske, was headlined “Class Matters. Why Won’t We Admit It?” It makes a few points that ought […] Read more