CTAC Insights

The Case for New Metrics

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) introduces a major policy shift. Responsibility is going back to the states for setting academic standards and holding schools accountable for ensuring that students are learning. With each state now determining its own metrics for gauging student success, the question arises: how can states ensure that a student graduating … Read more »

Is it worth investing in education?

A 2017 Institute of Education Sciences report labeled some of the school improvement models mandated under ESEA as ineffective. So, does this mean we need to stop trying to grow our knowledge on how to improve chronically underperforming schools? Do we need to stop investing in education and let market forces dictate how our educational … Read more »

How K–12 Public School Funding Works — And How New Changes May Help Close the Achievement Gap

Most Americans — including political and business leaders, and even people who work in schools — have a very limited understanding of how schools are funded. In fact, in the majority of state capitals, there are only a handful of individuals who truly understand the funding formulas. This is not because people are apathetic, but … Read more »

Argumentation Redux

Argumentative discourse is the hallmark of the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts. The reading and writing of arguments greatly benefits students by asking them to think deeply, use evidence credibly, and write with discipline. The emphasis on argument bespeaks the character of the new standards, which represent the best opportunity in recent … Read more »

What to Do Next With Teacher Evaluations

Teacher evaluation is a contentious issue. It tends to be more so when evaluation systems must show evidence of a teacher’s contribution to student learning, as federal initiatives have recently required. The stakes are high, since how a teacher is rated affects his or her continued employment, advancement, and even compensation. In the wake of … Read more »

California Jolt: State Upends How It Funds and Runs Education

It’s hard to find stories of “upheaval” in the way states structure the machinery of public schooling. Wrangling interests tend to allow only a little tinkering under the hood. But California right now is rewriting that script. And the sweeping changes occurring in the state’s education system are so politically stunning that those inured to … Read more »

“Why can’t the Feds just leave us alone and let us do our jobs?!”

All indications are that when ESEA is finally reauthorized states and local district leaders will get what they say they want: significantly more flexibility. But to these happy folks I say, be careful what you wish for! As a former state education official I longed for flexibility with federal mandates. But I would be less … Read more »