Author Archives: Paul Bruno

There Is Probably No “Crisis” In American Education

Here is a chart of educational attainment in the United States since 1940: When you look at that chart, do you see a crisis? No? Me neither. How about in these charts of reading and math achievement on the NAEP for 17-year-olds, broken down by race? Still hard to see a crisis, at least to […]

Posted in Education Reform | Tagged , , , , | 16 Responses

Are the Common Core Standards Voluntary?

Did states adopt the Common Core standards voluntarily, or were they forced to do so by the federal government? I’m not sure why we would think the answer to that question matters very much. If adopting the CCSS would be good for a state, then their adoption by that state would be good. If adopting the […]

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Everything is Untested Until You Test It

Teacher tenure is a hot topic in California these days thanks to the Vergara trial, so it was newsworthy when the San Jose chapter of the California Teachers Association asked the State Board of Education for a waiver from state law extending the probationary period for some teachers using a system of peer review. They didn’t get it: […]

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Why Education Reform is Probably Not The Best Way to Fight Poverty

Doug Lemov is skeptical that I’m right about education being a (relatively) ineffective way of fighting poverty. His response is thoughtful and deserves a response of its own. First, it’s worth being clear that the only claim I’m prepared to advance and defend is that education reform is not the best way to fight poverty […]

Posted in Education Reform | Tagged | 11 Responses

Reformers and International Comparisons

On Tuesday at This Week in Ed I asked what the evidence is that education reform is the best way to fight poverty. The domestic evidence doesn’t strike me as obvious, but I was especially curious about the international evidence. After writing that post I started nagging people on Twitter to tell me which countries have […]

Posted in Education, Education Reform | Tagged , | 6 Responses

Some Advice for Common Core Supporters

Yesterday at TWIE I gave CCSS supporters a hard time for seeming to give up the affirmative case for the new standards: These days supporters seem to dedicate most of their time to assuring us that the CCSS are not to blame for “fuzzy” math curriculua or “whole language” or questionable history assignments. We are even told that it’s just as […]

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VAM and Status Quo Bias

Yesterday at This Week in Ed I wrote about the American Statistical Association’s report on value-added modeling in education: [I]f you were to hear about this report only from the staunchest, most ideological opponents of VAM, you would think it says something else entirely. Valerie Strauss, for instance, claims the report “slammed” the use of VAM […]

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#EduFictionMoviePitches

After watching the trailer for Scarlett Johansson’s new action flick last week, Marc Porter Magee and I agreed that the movie seemed perfectly acceptable until Morgan Freeman intoned that “most human beings only use 10% of their brain’s capacity”. I’m pretty forgiving when it comes to contrived movie gimmicks, but as an explanation for the […]

Posted in Education, Movies & TV, Pop Culture | Tagged | 1 Response

For Teachers: An Important Paper on Rewards and Motivation

If you ask a teacher about the virtues of giving students rewards for behavior, effort, or accomplishment, there is a very good chance that he will tell you about the dangers of “extrinsic motivators”. Specifically, he me may tell you that giving students rewards for doing something will undermine their “intrinsic” motivation to continue doing […]

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For Reformers: An Important Paper on Worker Compensation and Incentives

I’ve written before that education reformers often have an unfortunate lack of perspective about the way the world works outside of education. This means that reformers often unjustifiably assume – implicitly or explicitly – that their proposed changes would make education more like other sectors. This assumption, in turn, makes reformers’ proposals seem more intuitive […]

Posted in Education Reform, Teacher Compensation | Tagged , , | 2 Responses