Yesterday I wondered about the effect of next Tuesday’s elections on education and education reform.
Last night I discovered the Fordham Foundation published a new study showing that “half of states miss the bus on education reform.”
Say what? One week before the election?
Fordham Foundation’s President Chester E. Finn, Jr., was a high-ranking official in a Republican administration, true, but that was after working closely with Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan for years. I doubt the study was published with any intent to affect the election at all.
It’s well worth the reading, though.
A new report from the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation finds that just eight states can claim even moderate success over the past 15 years at boosting the percentage of their poor or minority students who are at or above proficient in reading, math or science.
The study also finds that most states making significant achievement gains-including California, Delaware, Florida, New York, Massachusetts, and Texas-are national leaders in education reform, indicating that solid standards, tough accountability, and greater school choice can yield better classroom results.
“Many state officials have claimed credit for gains in student achievement,” said Chester E. Finn, Jr., the Foundation’s president. “But this study casts doubt on many such claims. In reality, no state has made the kind of progress that’s required to close America’s vexing achievement gaps and help all children prepare for life in the 21st Century. Nor are most states making the bold reforms most likely to change this reality. Real leaders will study these data, then focus on what needs doing, not what’s been done.”
The Fordham Report 2006: How Well Are States Educating Our Neediest Children? appraises each state according to thirty indicators across three major categories: student achievement for low-income, African-American, and Hispanic students; achievement trends for these same groups over the last 10-15 years; and the state’s track record in implementing bold education reforms. (Click here for more information on the indicators and methodology http://www.edexcellence.net/doc/TFR06Methodology.pdf.) A table listing states’ performance in all three categories is at http://www.edexcellence.net/foundation/global/page.cfm?id=388#TFR06fullstategrades.
And, one week before this year’s election, it is not too early at all to start thinking about the next elections, and how to use the results of this report.