The January 2003 issue of School Reform News offers hard numbers, comprehensive tables, and useful graphs that document in several ways the desperate need for effective school reform in the U.S.
- Managing Editor George A. Clowes applies to NCES data the value-added methodology developed by University of Tennessee researcher William L. Sanders. The resulting graphs say a lot about teachers and the students who get left behind by their methods of instruction.
- Robert Holland analyzes the Manhattan Institute’s recent report on public school graduation rates and presents a table on graduation rates by state and race.
- Holland also reports on the controversy over teacher certification by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, with a graph showing NBPTS-certified teachers deliver only average student achievement.
- The “Just the Facts” feature looks at test scores by gender and other characteristics, with graphs showing how test scores are affected by gender, by parents’ education, the number of hours of television watched per day, and the amount of reading material available at home.
The January issue’s exclusive interview is with John D. Merrifield, an economics professor at the University of Texas-San Antonio and author of The School Choice Wars. Merrifield, who worries that current voucher programs are too limited in scope to act as useful models, says “We don’t need school choice as a lifeboat; we need it as a reform catalyst. ... When we talk about duplicating escape hatch programs like Milwaukee or Cleveland or Florida, we’re defining too limited a role for school choice in our reform efforts.”
The issue also addresses the failure of schoolwide programs to help disadvantaged students; education priorities for the 108th Congress; the cost-effectiveness of small schools; Colorado parents’ demand for more choice; homeschooling; and charter schools.
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