11 charts that changed the way we think about schools in 2018
Education can look static when viewed from 30,000 feet. Every year, tens of millions of kids enroll in public schools, most moving on to the next level in June. Change comes slowly, if at all. And certain verities — whether held by lawmakers, parents, or teachers — have always held true. But every year, a...
By Kevin Mahnken | January 1, 2019
New poll finds teachers are unlikely to recommend their profession and are disillusioned with parents and school boards
American teachers are less enthused about their jobs than are local politicians or active-duty military personnel, according to the 2018 EdChoice Schooling in America Survey. After a year that saw educators revolt over low pay, and teachers unions seriously weakened by a landmark Supreme Court decision, the survey also found the profession disillusioned with parents...
By Kevin Mahnken | December 4, 2018
California’s campaign for state superintendent costs more than most Senate races. Here’s why
*Updated Oct. 31 The 2018 midterm elections, marked by a slate of tightly contested races and a furious backlash against President Trump, will be the most expensive in history. Both Democratic and Republican aspirants in large media markets like Florida and Illinois have smashed quarterly fundraising records, with outside groups vastly outspending the official campaigns. In California,...
By Kevin Mahnken | October 23, 2018
Thrive Schools: How an innovative California charter network grew to 700 students & 4 campuses in only 4 years through a focus on math, literacy & ‘the Light of Kindness’
At the Juanita Street campus of San Diego’s Thrive Public Schools, the day begins with a high-five and a warm greeting at the visitors’ gate. The charter elementary school currently occupies a handful of compact, semi-permanent buildings and a blacktop in a hilly stretch of the City Heights neighborhood. Its electronic gate is still pretty...
By Kevin Mahnken | October 3, 2018
How schools & philanthropists are joining forces to fight back against fake news: Inside the renewed push for social studies, media literacy, and civic engagement
Two of the oldest questions in Western education, going back to the ancient Greek philosophers, are: What is true? And how do you know? Thousands of years later, as superstition and pseudoscience have been replaced by conspiracy theory and ideological dogma, finding answers to those questions is as thorny as ever. The modern heirs to...
By Kevin Mahnken | September 5, 2018
Education by the numbers: 9 statistics that have made us think differently about America’s schools this academic year
Even with a perpetual media carnival unfolding around the Trump presidency, and ahead of midterm elections that could result in an even more hectic news environment next year, the events of 2018 have been shaped to an extraordinary degree by America’s K-12 schools. After a massacre at a Florida high school in February, the national...
By Kevin Mahnken | July 9, 2018
A growing achievement gap in civics education: What a new study reveals about social studies, class and race
Student performance in civics has improved over the last two decades, even as the gap in civic knowledge has grown along class and racial lines during that period. That’s the conclusion of a new study released today by the Brookings Institution’s Brown Center on Education Policy. Its Report on American Education, an annual publication exploring...
By Kevin Mahnken | June 27, 2018
California makes some gains in reading, but NAEP scores remain flat amid signs of a widening gap between highest and lowest performers
Test scores released Tuesday for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) continued a decade-long trend of stasis, with small improvements measured only for performance in eighth-grade reading. While states with disparate academic approaches have made some strides over the past few years — notably Florida and California — national averages have varied only slightly, despite...
By Kevin Mahnken | April 10, 2018
More HS students are graduating, but these key indicators prove those diplomas are worth less than ever
Last October, in perhaps the final triumphant moment of his administration, President Obama announced that America’s soaring high school graduation rate had risen, again, to an all-time high of 83 percent. Before he took office, the percentage of students earning diplomas languished for decades in the low to mid-70s; now the news was made still...
By Kevin Mahnken | March 27, 2017