New results show America’s social studies scores have taken a downturn in geography and U.S. history
American education observers have gotten used to receiving bad news from the National Assessment of Educational Progress. They received a little more last month, as eighth-graders posted lower scores in geography, civics, and U.S. history in the 2018 NAEP than they did four years ago. Referred to as “the nation’s report card,” NAEP is the...
By Kevin Mahnken | May 18, 2020
Record-breaking coronavirus job losses devastate the least educated — and have already displaced highest degree holders worse than the Great Recession
An ominous reality was made clear in the Department of Labor’s new employment figures Friday morning: Unprecedented job losses hit the least educated the hardest, but even those with higher degrees weren’t protected from the downturn. And just months ago, the United States was celebrating “the longest economic recovery in history,” marked by record-low joblessness among...
By Kevin Mahnken | May 11, 2020
School finance expert warns district leaders to prepare for ‘major financial upheaval’ from pandemic
With a recession on the way, states and localities could be making severe cuts to public education over the next year — and many leaders don’t seem to realize it yet. That was the message delivered this week by Marguerite Roza, one of America’s foremost experts in school finance, in a public webinar. Her presentation...
By Kevin Mahnken | March 26, 2020
America’s young people don’t vote. In a new book, Professor John Holbein explores what our schools can do to produce better citizens — and maybe even get them into the voting booth
How do you get America’s youngest voters to actually turn out on Election Day? It’s a question that experts have asked for the last half-century, and one that may determine the outcome of the 2020 elections. Abundant survey data indicates that voters under the age of 40 don’t favor the prospect of a second term...
By Kevin Mahnken | February 18, 2020
At national literacy summit, state education chiefs warn of reading stagnation
Reading instruction in American schools is so rife with poor curriculum and pedagogical dogma that a prominent academic likened it to “the equivalent of chemistry departments teaching alchemy.” “We’ve had about 130 years of bad practice,” David Steiner, director of the Institute for Education Policy at Johns Hopkins University, told the audience at a national...
By Kevin Mahnken | February 3, 2020
Inside 2019’s ‘disturbing’ NAEP results: Sagging reading scores across America, particularly for eighth graders
Scores released last week from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) held bad news for American schools, with trends that are essentially flat in mathematics and down in reading. Most states saw little or no improvement in either subject, with their lowest-performing students showing the most significant declines in scores. Whether the cause lies...
By Kevin Mahnken | November 4, 2019
Challenging charter critics, new study finds that as sector enrollment grows, so do test scores for black and Hispanic students
What happens to traditional school districts when charter schools come to town? Do they offer families new, high-quality educational options and help spread better teaching techniques? Or do they represent unwanted competition, swiping students and funding from districts until academic performance begins to suffer? It’s a debate that divides much of the education community and...
By Kevin Mahnken | September 30, 2019
Elite schools, prized by parents and politicians alike, may actually hurt disadvantaged students more than they help, new research shows
Applying to one of Chicago’s 11 selective enrollment high schools is a little like banking on the Bears to triumph at the Super Bowl: probably futile and, at times, downright depressing. The elite public schools, which admit students on the basis of high grades and exam scores, attract thousands of high-achieving applicants each year. In...
By Kevin Mahnken | September 9, 2019
Biden-Harris exchange makes busing a surprise focus of 2020 campaign. How will it affect the debate over integration?
So are the Democrats going to bus kids across town to integrate schools, or what? That’s the question that has captivated the political media the last two weeks. While the Trump administration has careened from one news cycle to the next, absorbing damaging headlines on everything from its treatment of detained migrants to the president’s...
By Kevin Mahnken | July 10, 2019
Lawmakers are trying to end a weird quirk of California’s charter school sector. Here’s why the state is so unusual
California legislators are considering a change to education law that would address a peculiar and controversial feature of the state’s charter school sector. The proposed fix is dredging up long-standing issues around how the state permits and oversees schools of choice. At present, California school districts have the option to authorize charter schools that don’t...
By Kevin Mahnken | July 8, 2019