American Educator: Spring 2005

  • Building New Knowledge

    "The problem with most incentive structures is not getting people to do the right thing. It's getting people to figure out what the right thing is to do."

    –Thomas Schelling
    Distinguished Professor, University...

  • The "AYP" Blues

    Low-Achieving Schools Will Fail—but They're Not the Only Ones Nancy Kober

    Each year, states release lists of schools and school districts that have not made "adequate yearly progress" (AYP) in raising student achievement. Schools and districts appear on these lists because they have fallen short of one or more of the annual test score targets and/or other performance...

  • Accountability 101: Tests Are Blunt Instruments

    Nancy Kober

    Large-scale tests like those used for NCLB have advantages over less standardized forms of measurement. They can provide results that are more consistent and useful for comparisons than those from assessments based on individual judgment. They can also produce extensive information about student...

  • Ideas to Consider: How to Make AYP Work Better for Students and Their Schools

    There is a growing consensus that, as described in the previous article, the formula for determining whether a school has made adequate yearly progress (AYP) is deeply flawed. These flaws can produce misjudgments about a school's effectiveness and then, under NCLB, trigger...

  • Getting Back on Course

    Standards-Based Reform and Accountability Lauren Resnick, Chris Zurawsky

    The last 15 years have witnessed a profound sea-change in American education. Labeled "standards-based education," the shift has involved important changes in the basic mode of operation of our schools and has greatly affected the lives of teachers and other educators. It has entailed a greater...

  • An American Revolution: A Common Curriculum

    Under Albert Shanker, president of the American Federation of Teachers from 1974 to 1997, the AFT was one of the earliest advocates for high-quality, rigorous academic standards. In his weekly New York Times column, Shanker often explained the benefits of getting the standards and...

  • Lack of Equity, Quality Push Standards Forward in '90s

    In 1994, the U.S. Department of Education, under President Clinton, released a startling report that documented how much less learning was expected of children in poor schools than in other schools (OERI, 1994). Researchers examined the math and English grades received by a sampling of students...

  • Standards-Based Reform Brings New Attention to Key Elements Necessary for Improving Student Achievement

    Standards-based reform and accountability have helped bring focus and attention to key elements necessary for improved student achievement, especially among poor and minority students in schools with the lowest levels of student achievement.

    Investment in early childhood...

  • Curriculum First

    A Case History Roger Shattuck

    The great truths in education turn out to be half-truths in search of their other half.

    *  *  *

    On Town Meeting Day in March 2000, some 400 legal residents of Lincoln, Vt., elected me to a three-year term on the board of Mt. Abraham Union High...

  • Keeping Score

    Why Standards and Accountability—Done Right—Are Good for Schools, Teachers, and Kids John Cole

    Back in the 1980s, when Texas education reform got underway, I was often asked: "Why is the teachers union supporting the new school reform law?" The 1984 law required a lot of new accountability for teachers and students, including district report cards that contained information on student...

  • Getting It Right: Standards-Based Reform and Accountability

    In a survey of AFT teachers last year, two-thirds said the No Child Left Behind law was having a negative effect on public education. But, by the same two-thirds margin, they said they wanted the law fixed, not scrapped. Likewise, in a 2002 poll, two-thirds of AFT teachers said standards-based...