Dealing with the Devil? Policy Research in a Partisan World

This note is in response to James O’Keefe’s attempt to discredit me on his Project Veritas web site (though I think his point was intended to larger than this). I was lucky (?) enough to be part of one of his investigative set ups earlier this fall. I wrote and held on to this postContinue reading “Dealing with the Devil? Policy Research in a Partisan World”

License to Experiment on Low Income & Minority Children?

John Mooney at NJ Spotlight provided a reasonable overview of the NJDOE waiver proposal to “reward” successful schools and sanction and/or takeover “failing” ones. The NJDOE waiver proposal includes explanation of a new classification system for identifying which schools should be subject to state intervention, ultimately to be managed by regional offices throughout the state.Continue reading “License to Experiment on Low Income & Minority Children?”

Why we need those 15,000+ local governments?

Neal McClusky at Cato Institute makes a good point about our casual, imprecise use of the term “democracy” in the post linked here. I did not delve into this in my previous post, and more or less allowed the imprecise terminology to slip past. Clearly there are huge differences between simple majority rule through directContinue reading “Why we need those 15,000+ local governments?”

Logic and Facts, not Democracy, be Damned!

Thanks to good ol’ Mike Petrilli, much of this week’s education policy debate has centered on the relevance of local school boards and the age old tug-of-war between state and local authority over the operation and financing of local public school districts. Much of the debate has been framed in terms of “democracy,” and muchContinue reading “Logic and Facts, not Democracy, be Damned!”

The Wrong Thinking about Measuring Costs & Efficiency in Higher Education (& how to fix it!)

There is a movement afoot to reduce the measurement of the value of public institutions of higher education to a simple ratio of the revenue brought in by full time faculty members divided by the salaries and benefits of those faculty members. That is, does each faculty member “pay” for him or herself, on anContinue reading “The Wrong Thinking about Measuring Costs & Efficiency in Higher Education (& how to fix it!)”

Professionals 2: Pundits 0! (The shifting roles of practitioners and state education agencies)

Professionals, Pundits and Evidence Based Decision Making In Ed Schools housed within research universities, and in programs in educational leadership which are primarily charged with the training of school and district level leaders, we are constantly confronted with deliberations over how to balance teaching the “practical stuff” and “how to” information on running a schoolContinue reading “Professionals 2: Pundits 0! (The shifting roles of practitioners and state education agencies)”

More Inexcusable Inequalities: New York State in the Post-Funding Equity Era

I did a post a short while back about the fact that there are persistent inequities in state school finance formulas and that those  persistent inequities have real consequences for students’ access to key resources in schools – specifically their access to a rich array of programs, services, courses and other opportunities.  In that postContinue reading “More Inexcusable Inequalities: New York State in the Post-Funding Equity Era”

MPR’s Unfortunate Sidestepping around Money Questions in the Charter CMO Report

Let me start by pointing out that Mathematica Policy Research, in my view, is an exceptional research organization. They have good people. They do good work and have done much to inform public policy in what I believe are positive ways. That’s why I found it so depressing when I started digging through the recentContinue reading “MPR’s Unfortunate Sidestepping around Money Questions in the Charter CMO Report”

When VAMs Fail: Evaluating Ohio’s School Performance Measures

Any reader of my blog knows already that I’m a skeptic of the usefulness of Value-added models for guiding high stakes decisions regarding personnel in schools. As I’ve explained on previous occasions, while statistical models of large numbers of data points – like lots of teachers or lots of schools – might provide us withContinue reading “When VAMs Fail: Evaluating Ohio’s School Performance Measures”