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Apprenticeship Programs in a Changing Economic World (June 28, 2017)

In a knowledge-based economy, early employment gains with vocational training may lead to later problems when specific skills become obsolete.

For Faster Education Progress, We Need to Know What Kids Know (April 14, 2017)

Nobody can realistically improve if they do not know where they stand or what is possible. Throwing more money at the global learning crisis without solid information on the specific challenges facing individual low- and middle-income countries is unlikely to be more successful in the future than in the past.

The Economic Impact of Good Schools (May 03, 2016)

Education policy in the U.S. is in transition. The policy directions of states will have a great impact on the future of each state’s economic development. And here the business community can significantly affect the future, essentially by promoting its own self-interest.

The knowledge capital imperative (January 28, 2016)

In September 2015, the United Nations adopted an aggressive development agenda that included 17 separate Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) designed to guide investment and development over the next 15 years. Two of these assume particular importance because they will determine whether or not the other 15 can be achieved.

Not in the Right Ballpark (July 20, 2015)

My critique of the paper by Jackson, Johnson, and Persico is very simple and might be lost in the dazzling misdirection of their response. When I learned computer programming, I was taught to use simplified approximations of results to make sure that my more complicated, and harder to check, programs produced answers that were in the right ballpark. This step apparently is no longer taught.

Does Money Matter after All? (July 07, 2015)

Considerable prior research has failed to find a consistent relationship between school spending and student performance, making skepticism about such a relationship the conventional wisdom. Given that skepticism, new studies that purport to find a systematic relationship between school spending and student performance get disproportionate attention. Kirabo Jackson, Rucker C. Johnson, and Claudia Persico offer a new study suggesting that a clear money-performance relationship exists if you just look in the right place. Nonetheless, we really cannot get around the necessity of focusing on how money is spent on schools.

Kansas Courts Get It Right (March 12, 2014)
There is a small community that closely watches the various school finance court cases that are always creating background noise for education policy discussions. This community was rewarded last week with a new decision from the Kansas Supreme Court. Importantly, its decision in Gannon v. Kansas potentially signals a new direction for these cases. Instead of deciding whether or not the Kansas legislature had dedicated sufficient funds to its local schools, it chose to highlight the importance of student outcomes.
Some Perspective on Common Core (October 28, 2013)

The presumption behind having national standards is that having a clearer and more consistent statement of learning objectives across states would tend to lessen the problem of heterogeneous skills that students bring to the labor market. Again, however, the fundamental problem is lack of minimal skills and not the heterogeneity of skills per se.

What Happened to 2007? (March 06, 2013)

A little more than a decade ago we embarked on what is arguably the most significant change in educational policy of the past half-century—the introduction of No Child Left Behind. As with any 1,000-page guess about how to do something, I thought the idea of revisiting the law in 2007, the date designated for its reauthorization, was an important part of the underlying wisdom of the act. Without researching it, I suspect that other congressional acts have missed their reauthorization date by wider margins. But, given the importance of this act to the hopes, aspirations, and operations of our schools, I am willing to assert that this ranks among the most consequential dropped balls of Congress.

Exchanges with Deborah Meier, “Bridging Differences” (February 26, 2013)

Over a five week period in early 2013, there were a series of exchanges with Deborah Meier about accountability, testing, personnel evaluation, and salaries. The sequence of posts is provided here, along with a link to the responses by Deborah Meier.