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Op-ed

Professionalizing Teaching and Winning the Salary Wars. Education Next, November 14, 2019

The nation is stuck with a bad equilibrium in terms of teacher salaries: salaries are insufficient to attract new teachers who can fuel improved schools and yet they are not even high enough to satisfy current teachers.

Teacher Pay Raises Aren't Enough: Adding evaluation would make all the difference for improving schools. Education Week, November 4, 2019

The nation is stuck with a bad deal on teacher salaries: salaries insufficient to attract new teachers who can fuel improved schools and yet not even high enough to satisfy current teachers.

Budget 2019 needs to have a holistic view on where education in India needs to go. (with Chirantan Chatterjee) . The Indian Express, July 3, 2019With the new Indian government shortly coming up with its first full federal budget and with education sector outlays being actively discussed, it is time to take a broader, holistic view of where Indian education needs to go.
The War on Poverty Remains a Stalemate. (with Paul E. Peterson) . Wall Street Journal, March 18, 2019Our finding is that the SES achievement gaps have not narrowed over the past 50 years, despite all the money spent on that objective.
Ohio can play offense with the AI revolution by investing in quality education. Cleveland.com, August 29, 2018

Ohio can build on relative strength in math education to shore up the educational skills of Ohioans and better position the state for the coming artificial intelligence revolution.

What Do Test Scores Really Mean for the Economy? Education Week, 37(34), June 4, 2018, 29

Putting our heads in the sand is not the right answer. Test scores today say a lot about what our labor force will look like over the coming decades. Our current students' skills will dictate our economic future in the long run. Understanding the implications of higher skills—as measured by regular standardized tests—provides a way of assessing how our country as a whole will fare in the coming years.

Apprenticeship Programs in a Changing Economic World. Brookings Institution, Brown Center Chalkboard, June 28, 2017

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

Emulating Germany’s Apprenticeship System Won’t Make America Great Again. The World Post, June 23, 2017We should not delude ourselves into thinking that Trump’s apprenticeship expansion will substitute for our failing K-12 schooling system
American Teachers Unions Oppose Innovative Schools—in Africa. Wall Street Journal, March 10, 2017 No longer content to oppose educational innovation at home, the unions representing America’s teachers have gone abroad in search of monsters to slay.Bridge International Academies has shown that it’s possible to provide high-quality, low-cost primary education to poor children in the developing world. Naturally, the teachers unions are outraged.
Can Schools Be Saved? Hope and Despair. The Atlantic, December 30, 2015

Improved education is the key to the future for the U.S., as our economy depends on having a highly skilled workforce. Over the past five years, my sense of hope and optimism has actually overtaken despair with U.S. schools. First, there is now broad recognition that quality teachers can lead to revitalized schools that are competitive internationally. Second, there is a new willingness by legislatures in a majority of states to push actively for more flexibility in hiring, paying, and retaining teachers and for improved teacher evaluations so that we identify the teachers that we want to nurture and retain.

Achieving Universal Basic Skills. Real Clear Education, November 4, 2015

We argue that economic growth is what will ensure the other laudable Sustainable Development Goals and that quality education is the only way to achieve long run growth. Simply put, this economic growth goal and the means of achieving it through quality education stand at the top of the pyramid of the SDGs.

Teach all young people universal basic skills by 2030 – it will give huge boost to GDP. (with Ludger Woessmann). The Conversation UK, May 18, 2015

Ministers and education officials from a wide range of countries and international agencies are converging on Incheon in the Republic of Korea this week to discuss a new set of development goals at the World Education Forum. The evidence on international achievement tests showed dismal levels of knowledge for many of the countries that improved in school access – seat time is not the same as learning.

Not Enough Value to Justify More of the Same. Room for Debate, New York Times, March 26, 2015

It is hard getting around the historic facts. Real per pupil spending has more than doubled in the past 40 years, but the mathematics and reading scores of 17-year-olds have barely budged. We must recognize that more of the same is unlikely to yield better results – and by implication reform through spending is not the way to improvement.

An Evaluation System Linked to Retention and Reward Is Vital. Room for Debate, New York Times, March 2, March 2015

Despite decades of study and enormous effort, we know little about how to train or select high quality teachers. We do know, however, that there are huge differences in the effectiveness of classroom teachers and that these differences can be observed.

Given this situation, the path to improvement rests with enhanced evaluation systems for teachers combined with better personnel systems that link retention and reward to effectiveness.

The UFT’s wasteful class-size push: Research says teacher quality trumps quantity. New York Daily News, December 14, 2014

It’s like the bad penny that keeps appearing, only it costs hundreds of millions of dollars. The city teachers union has begun pushing a new property-tax proposal tied to a union employment program. Everyone would be better off if they just stuck to teaching kids.

How Teachers Unions Use 'Common Core' to Undermine Reform. Wall Street Journal, July 1, 2014This year's battle over the introduction of Common Core standards in public schools has diverted attention from a more important but quieter battle led by teachers unions to eliminate school accountability and teacher evaluations. These two measures are the real engines that will drive educational improvement, and it's critical that attempts to do away with them be blocked.
There Is No War On Teachers. USA Today, June 11, 2014In a stunning decision, a judge in the California Superior Court has ruled that, because education is a fundamental right of California youth, the laws governing teacher tenure, teacher dismissal and rules for layoffs are unconstitutional. This ruling only applies to California – and surely will be appealed by the teachers union – but it could open up consideration of students' rights in a larger number of states.
More Easily Firing Bad Teachers Helps Everyone. Room for Debate, New York Times, June 11, 2014Teacher tenure discussions often suggest that what is in the best interest of teachers is also in the best interest of students. But the groundbreaking decision in the Vergara case makes it clear that early, and effectively irreversible, decisions about teacher tenure have real costs for students and ultimately all of society.
Why the U.S. Results on PISA Matter. Education Week, Vol. 33, Issue 15, January 8, 2014, Pp. 20-21According to PISA, the United States placed significantly below the average for member-nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development for mathematics—and significantly worse than the OECD distribution at both ends of the assessment spectrum, with more low performers and fewer high performers. By historical patterns, improving our achievement – which identifies the human capital of our workforce in the future – has huge economic ramifications. Education Week, January 8, 2014
America’s schools earn a ‘C’ on their report card. (with Paul E. Peterson). The Daily Caller, December 6, 2013

There’s nothing more tiresome than when a Cabinet secretary holds a major news conference when there is no news to announce. It is like the obligatory press conference of the NFL coach of a losing team after his team has lost again. On Tuesday, the U.S. Secretary of Education billed the release of the test scores on worldwide education called the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) exams as a global event, even though the real news is that there is no news at all. The results revealed that U.S.

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