To Teach Better Writing, Don’t Ban Artificial Intelligence. Instead, Embrace it.
For all the speculation about ChatGPT’s potential to upend K–12 writing instruction, there has been little investigation into the underlying assumption that the AI chatbot can produce writing that makes the grade. We put OpenAI’s ChatGPT to the test by asking it to write essays in response to...
As Private-School-Choice Spreads, Implementation Is Imperative
America is in the midst of a parental choice revolution. In the past few months, five states—Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa, Utah and West Virginia—have adopted education savings account, or ESA, programs, which extend private-school-choice eligibility to all or most K-12 students. These programs provide students with public resources for an array of education expenses, including tuition, micro-schooling, homeschooling, education therapies, and tutoring. Florida and Texas may soon join them, and other states seemed poised to adopt more modest private-school-choice programs.
Education Choice Means Accountability to Families
As education choice policies sweep the nation, critics are raising concerns about the potential for waste, fraud, and abuse. Yet a closer look reveals that these policies offer a model for accountability. A dozen states now have K-12 education savings account, or ESA, policies that allow families to use a...
The Education Exchange: Do Gifted and Talented Programs Make Racial Segregation Worse?
An associate professor at Williams College, Owen Thompson, joins Paul E. Peterson to discuss Thompson’s latest research, which looks into whether gifted and talented programs are also drivers of racial segregation in schools. “Gifted and Talented Programs Don’t Cause School Segregation” is available now at Education Next.
Teachers Unions May Intimidate Student School-Board Members
“Districts and States Give Students a Seat at the Boardroom Table” prompted a response from an Education Next reader, J.H. Snider:. Regarding Districts and States Give Students a Seat at the Boardroom Table, Caroline Hendrie overlooks the politics of the student member of the board position. At least in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, where I live and the SMOB has full voting rights, it survives and thrives because the school staff have effective veto over the selection of the SMOB. And then, after a SMOB is selected, they can easily intimidate the SMOB because they control the SMOB’s success in school. I’d suggest that a better way to empower students would be to lower the voting age to 16 for school board (but not other) elections. Compared to older community members, high school students do indeed often have better knowledge of and more of a stake in their local public school system. Sadly, where the staff unions in my district (and their state legislature champions) will fight to the death to keep the SMOB position because it is their most reliable vote on the Board of Education, I doubt they would even lift a finger to empower students in a way that doesn’t facilitate their corrupt control over student representation.
The Education Exchange: What’s Next for Education Reform in Massachusetts?
The former Massachusetts Secretary of Education, Jim Peyser, joins Paul E. Peterson to discuss Peyser’s tenure in the Charlie Baker administration, and what could be ahead for education reform in the state.
Surge in Education Savings Accounts Was Decades in the Making
In the summer of 2015, I sat at my desk and Googled “health savings account providers.” At the time, I had been in states across the country advocating for creation of education savings account (ESA) programs. Arizona’s trailblazing ESA program had passed a few years earlier, Florida’s program was in its first year, and legislators in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Nevada had just enacted their own programs.
Speaker McCarthy, Trump Push “Parents’ Rights”
Republicans in Congress and on the presidential campaign trail are making a big push on “parents’ rights.”. Former President Trump, in a March 6 email to supporters, included excerpts from a campaign speech in which he described himself as a “champion of parent’s rights.”. “I will...
“We speak in whispers behind closed doors”
Daniel Buck is a middle school English teacher in Wisconsin who’s recently published his first book, What Is Wrong With Our Schools: The Ideology Impoverishing Education in America and How We Can Do Better for Our Students (John Catt Educational, 2022). When he’s not working on lesson plans, Buck is a senior visiting fellow at the Fordham Institute and has contributed to outlets like the Wall Street Journal, National Affairs, National Review, City Journal, and RealClearEducation. Buck is one of the most prominent conservative teacher voices in education today. Given that, and the fraught climate of schoolhouse politics, I thought it worth chatting with him about his experiences, perspective, and new book. Here’s what he had to say.
Districts and States Give Students a Seat at the Boardroom Table
University of Pennsylvania undergrad Zach Koung remembers the moment during a college class when his past caught up with him. “We were talking about school boards, and one of my classmates said, ‘Wait, Zach, weren’t you on a school board?’”. Yes, Koung said. Not only did...
The Education Exchange: Enrollment Down by 1.2 Million at U.S. Public Schools
The Barnett Family Professor at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education, Thomas S. Dee, joins Paul E. Peterson to discuss how enrollment in K-12 public schools decreased during the Covid-19 pandemic, and where those students who left the public system are now being educated. Dee’s report, “Where the Kids...
Teacher Pay Could Be Higher, But Unions, Parents Chose Smaller Classes Instead
Almost everyone wants to raise teacher pay. That’s been true for as long as I can remember. The push comes in various forms and from various places. From the unions, of course, whether at bargaining time, at state legislating-and-budgeting time, and when there’s extra money floating about, as in recent federal stimulus and recovery outlays for schools. The latest is a push by Congressional liberals—most conspicuously by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), now chair of the Senate HELP Committee—to pump out enough dollars from Washington on a continuing basis to create a $60,000 floor under teacher salaries.
The Imperial Presidency Meets Student Debt
The 20th century witnessed an astonishing growth in presidential power, leading some to contend that the office had become “imperial,” dominating other branches of government. President Biden’s decision in 2022 to forgive more than $350 billion in student loan debt—an action taken on the basis of statutory authority that was, at best, unclear—gave critics of the imperial presidency another reason to worry.
Paul Vallas, an Energetic Education Leader, May Be the Next Mayor of Chicago
The top votegetter in this week’s election for mayor of Chicago was Paul Vallas, who has run public school systems in Chicago, Philadelphia, New Orleans, and Bridgeport, Conn. Under Chicago’s rules, Vallas faces an April 4 final-round election against the runner-up, Brandon Johnson. Education Next profiled Vallas in...
The Education Exchange: Pennsylvania’s School Finance Plan Violates State Constitution, a Judge Rules
The co-leader of the Eversheds Sutherland Business and Commercial Litigation team, Rocco E. Testani, joins Paul E. Peterson to discuss the recent decision in the William Penn School District et al. v. Pennsylvania Department of Education case in Pennsylvania, which ruled Pennsylvania’s school funding system unconstitutional.
Great Hearts Network Delivers “Classical” Education to More than 25,000 Students
Great Hearts Academy launched, in 2001, with 130 students. Today, it operates 33 classical K-12 schools serving more than 25,000 students in Arizona and Texas. At a time when there’s a lot of interest in classic liberal arts school models, and with Great Hearts seeking to expand its offerings via pre-K and online offerings, it seemed like a good time to chat about their work with CEO Jay Heiler, who’s been on the board of Great Hearts since its founding and spent more than a decade as chair of the Arizona Charter Schools Association. Here’s what he had to say.
Democrats Push on “Teacher Pay Crisis”
Democrats are making a big push to raise teacher pay. President Biden highlighted the issue in his State of the Union address. “Let’s give public school teachers a raise,” Biden said in the February 7, 2023, speech. On February 9, two Democratic members of the House of...
The Education Exchange: The Myth of American Inequality
A former U.S. Senator and Congressman from Texas and Visiting Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, Phil Gramm, joins Paul E. Peterson to discuss Gramm’s new book, The Myth of American Inequality: How Government Biases Policy Debate. The Myth of American Inequality, co-authored with Robert Ekelund and John Early,...
Policy by Waivers Won’t Boost School Innovation
In recent conversations, educators and state policymakers have expressed shock to me that district schools aren’t innovating more. With microschools growing and test scores floundering, why aren’t districts seeking permission to reinvent themselves?. As evidence of the opportunities to innovate, many bureaucrats and think tanks point to the...
How Teachers Unions Became a Political Powerhouse
How Policies Make Interest Groups: Governments, Unions, and American Education. University of Chicago Press, 2022, $35; 312 pages. During the Covid-19 pandemic, school districts with strong teachers unions were slower to bring students back to the classroom than districts with weaker unions were. Controversy over the unions’ power to determine the mode of instruction capped off a decade in which teachers unions were the most polarizing aspect of American education politics. School reformers blame them for blocking changes to improve public education; union advocates argue they defend teachers, improve conditions for students, and prop up the labor movement.
Education Next aims to provide news and research to bring evidence to bear on current education policy. Bold change is needed in American education, but Education Next partakes of no program, campaign, or ideology. It goes where the evidence points.
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