Encyclopedia of Ed, Part II: Policy

When I first began this blog, education reform was ascendant. I considered reformers to be harmful, but can’t stand the politics of progressives, their primary opponents.

Education reform has, happily, taken a huge hit over the past couple years.  On the other hand, Trump’s victory has largely ended the cooperation between the left and right side of education reformers.  Conservative reformers are pretty devastated. They were all adamantly Never Trumpers, so his victory didn’t help their cause much. Meanwhile, progressives are becoming even more closeminded and restrictive. I don’t know where this all leads.

Thirteen years of teaching has also taught me how utterly disconnected teaching is from the nonsense bruited about in the education policy discussions. I remain an interested observer. I think a lot of my older stuff is still relevant and interesting, but it describes a world that doesn’t really exist anymore.

But old or new, here are some broad areas.

Multi-part series:

Five Education Policy Proposals for the 2016 Presidential Elections (contains the links to the five pieces and a wrapup). Or you can read them individually:

  1. Ban College Level Remediation
  2. Stop Kneecapping High Schools
  3. Repeal IDEA
  4. Restrict K-12 Ed to Citizens Only
  5. End English Language Learner Mandates

Review of Byran Caplan’s The Case Against Education: How Did We Get Here?, Pre-Employment Testing, Toe Fungus Prevention, How Well Are Americans Educated?, Average Was Always Over

Review of Robert Pondiscio’s How the Other Half Learns: Teacher Origin Stories, Who are the Students?, The Secret Sauce, The Case of Tyrone and Adama, The Path to Principal, Cannon Fodder

History of the Bush/Obama Education Reforms

  1. The Road to Glory
  2. Zenith
  3. Core Meltdown Came
  4. Alex or Gloria?Common Core Assessments
  5. Why Didn’t They See Common Core Fail Coming?
  6. Core Damage?
  7. Victory over Value Add
  8. It All Came Tumbling Down
Accountability and Standards

GPA and the Ironies of Integration

The Fallacy at the Heart of All Reform

The Many Failings of Value Added Modeling

The problem with fraudulent grades

Homework and grades.

On Graduation Rates and “Standards”

Why higher standards are impossible

School Choice
Dance With the Ones Who Brung Him

What the Public Means by Public Education

Unstructured Musings on Choice

White Elephant Students and Charters
Charters: The Center Won’t Hold

The Parental “Diversity” Dilemma

Charter hypocrisy

Charter Schools and Suspensions

Diversity Dilemma in Action

Why Charters Skim, and Why They Should Stop

KIPP Mathematica Study and Bragging Rights

Boston Charter School Study: What “Improved Scores” Look Like

The Takeaway from the TFA Study

School Reform Ideas
An Alternative College Admissions System

Not Why This. Just Why Not That.

Achievement Gap

What Polices Will Help At-Risk Adolescents?

Corrupted College

Vocational Ed: Advancing the Debate

Just a Job

ELL Isn’t Language Instruction

Reading in the Gulag of Common Core

Finding the Bad Old Days

General Education Reform

End of Education Reform?

Doug Lemov’s Creation Myth

TFA Diversity and the Credibility Gap


Wokesters, Grift, and Bureaucratic Sludge

Boaler’s Bias (or BS)

Keeping Teachers New

Parents and Schools

The Teacher Wars: A Review

Discovery Doesn’t Work

Jo Boaler’s Railside Study: The Schools, Identified. (Kind of.)

Reform Math: An Isolationist’s View

Dan Meyer and the Gatekeepers

Social Justice and Winning the Word

Curriculum Folk

Content Knowledge and Reading Comprehension: Bold Talk and Backpedaling

Grant Wiggins

Core Meltdown Coming

Understanding Math, and the Zombie Problem

Skills vs. Knowledge

Math Instruction Philosophies, Instructivist vs. Constructivist


Unions, as separate from progressives, I am surprisingly tolerant of. I wrote all these before I had tenure.

Why Chris Christie picks on teachers

On the CTU Strike

A Few Words on Janus

Middlebrow Madness

Since everyone who writes has been educated, everyone who writes think they know how to make school better. A “common wisdom” has arisen amongst most elites.
Plague of the Middlebrow Pundits, Revisited: Walter Russell Mead

The People Who Share Their Reading Origin Stories

SAT Changes and Cheating

The SAT is Corrupt. No One Wants to Know.

SAT is Corrupt: Reuters Version

College Confidential and Braindumping the SAT

Evaluating the new PSAT: Math

Evaluating the new PSAT: Reading and Writing

SAT’s Competitive Advantage

Braindumping the PSAT

On to teaching. I am a teacher, did ya know?

Part III: Teaching
Part IV: Miscellany, Movies, and Me

If you missed it: Part I: Things Voldemortean

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