On this episode of The Report Card, Nat interviews Ian Rowe, senior fellow at AEI, cofounder of Vertex Partnership Academies, and the author of Agency: The Four Point Plan (F.R.E.E.) for ALL Children to Overcome the Victimhood Narrative and Discover Their Pathway to Power. Nat and Ian discuss what the “blame the victim” and the “blame the system” narratives get wrong, Teach for America, the importance of mediating institutions in developing agency within the individual, the state of music videos, why young people want to be taught the success sequence, charter schools, Ian’s parents’ education in Jamaica, what students can learn from investing in the stock market, MLK, why morality must be a part of agency, F.R.E.E., why family and entrepreneurship broadly understood are important for building agency, why it is harmful when teachers overemphasize systemic racism, and much more.

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On this episode of The Report Card, Nat interviews Beth Akers, senior fellow at AEI and the coauthor of Game of Loans: The Rhetoric and Reality of Student Debt. Nat and Beth discuss student loans, student loan forgiveness, why student loan forgiveness might make college more expensive, whether student loan forgiveness would be a good way to address the racial wealth gap, whether it makes sense to forgive student loans in order to encourage entrepreneurship, the dangers of working during college, how to fix income-driven repayment, the benefits of income share agreements, whether for-profit colleges can be good, and what President Biden should do on student loans.

Show Notes:

On the latest episode of The Report Card, Nat interviews Emily Morton and Dan Goldhaber about their new paper The Consequences of Remote and Hybrid Instruction During the Pandemic, which uses testing data from 2.1 million students in 10,000 schools in 49 states to investigate the role of remote and hybrid instruction in widening achievement gaps.

Show Notes:

On the latest episode of The Report Card, Nat interviews Ilana Horwitz, Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies and Sociology at Tulane, about her new book, God, Grades, and Graduation. Nat and Ilana discuss the impact of religion on student outcomes, why religion helps working class kids get better grades and graduate from college at higher rates, the educational benefits of summer camp, Palo Alto, whether the boys are alright, the academy’s understanding of American religious life, why religion helps boys academically more than it helps girls, education in the Soviet Union, why atheists also do better in school, how religion combats despair in working class America, why religious kids might not learn more even though they get better grades, religious girls and undermatching, the trajectory of evangelical Christianity in America, the importance of social capital, the logic of religious restraint, and why Jewish girls do well academically.

Also in this episode? The debut of Grade It.

It’s a challenge for school systems to recruit and retain quality teachers, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This challenge has spurred a number of creative solutions. One, announced earlier this year, is Tennessee’s Teacher Occupation Apprenticeship program, also known as Grow Your Own. Tennessee’s Grow Your Own program is based on 65 already existing Grow Your Own programs within the state.

Here to discuss Grow Your Own with Nat are Penny Schwinn, Tennessee Education Commissioner, and Kate Walsh, president of the National Council on Teacher Quality.

Two upcoming court cases, one a Supreme Court case on affirmative action at Harvard and the other a federal court case on financial aid price-fixing schemes at many of the nation’s top colleges, promise to rock American higher education.

Josh Dunn, professor of political science at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, and Eric Hoover, senior writer at The Chronicle of Higher Education, join Nat Malkus to discuss these cases and their potential implications.

Over the course of the pandemic, masking requirements—particularly school masking requirements—have been a flashpoint issue.

So: what is going on in schools? Which school districts require masking and which don’t? And what demographic factors might help explain masking policies?

We’ve talked a lot on the show about school choice. But it’s not often we discuss intra-district choice – choice between schools in the same district.

Starting in 2012, Los Angeles’ Zones of Choice program creates small local markets with High Schools in neighborhoods throuhgout LA, but leaves traditional attendance-zone boundaries in place. In application, this means that about 30-40% of LAUSD is a Zone of Choice.

American schooling has been on a bumpy road the past few years. COVID-19 is the obvious issues here, but it’s not only that. Students have increasingly faced mental health issues and that preceded the pandemic. All the while, we’ve seen one polarizing issue after another shaking classrooms across the country.

This bumpy road has been eloquently summarized in a new piece by Robert Pondiscio in the lead essay for the March issue of Commentary Magazine, titled: The unbearable bleakness in American schooling.

In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic put a halt to traditional schooling. In response to the, then, relatively unknown threat of COVID-19, Congress sent emergency relief funding to schools. They did so again, sending much more money. Then, they did so again, sending much much more money.

These funds, known as the Elementary and Secondary Schooling Emergency Relief funds, or ESSER for short, totaled nearly $200 billion, making it the largest federal expenditure for public education in American history.

As most schools pass the halfway point of this tumultuous semester, one question continues to loom large: Should schools be reopening for in-person learning?

That contentious question was the topic of a recent AEI web event featuring Report Card host Nat MalkusEmily Oster of Brown University; Sarah Cohodes of Columbia University; Susan Enfield of Highline Public Schools; and Marla Ucelli-Kashyap of the American Federation of Teachers. You can catch the lively panel discussion on this episode of The Report Card or watch the web event in its entirety at AEI.org.

As schools confront massive budget shortfalls in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, it is critical that they examine how they might use existing funding more efficiently. On this episode of The Report Card, Nat Malkus talks with Byran Hassel about how districts might rethink their staffing models in a way that will increase students’ access to excellent teachers and create opportunities for advancement within the teaching profession, all without spending more money. Byran is the co-president of Public Impact and a contributor to the newly released volume, Getting the Most Bang for the Education Buck.

The post Rethinking School Staffing appeared first on American Enterprise Institute – AEI.

Now, more than ever, it’s critical that school districts examine how to make the most of each and every dollar they receive. On this episode of The Report Card, Nat Malkus talks with Chad Aldeman about ways states and districts might rethink two of their most significant costs—pensions and healthcare.

Chad is a senior associate partner at Bellwether Education Partners, the editor of TeacherPensions.org, and a contributor to the newly released volume, Getting the Most Bang for the Education Buck.

As K-12 classrooms remained shuttered in many parts of the country, childcare and early learning centers are reopening—or, in some cases, never closed in the first place. What lessons might they offer to school administrators and policymakers working to bring kids back to school?

On this episode of The Report Card, Nat Malkus talks COVID and childcare with Celia Sims, who is the vice president of government relations at Kindercare, one of the largest early childhood education providers in the world.

As students across the country head back to their classrooms (or back to their kitchen tables), one of the few guarantees they can count on is that this year’s back-to-school will be unlike any they’ve experienced before.

On this episode, Nat Malkus talks with three superintendents—Jason Glass of Jeffco Public Schools, Monica Goldson of Prince George’s County Public Schools, and Matthew Vereecke of the Diocese of Dallas—about the planning that went into students’ return to learning and the challenges that lie ahead.

The Supreme Court released two decisions this year that could have a significant impact on the nation’s education landscape: Espinoza v. Montana—a case about a small Montana school choice program—and Our Lady of Guadalupe v. Morrissey-Bureau, which considered religious schools’ “ministerial exception” protections.

On this episode, Nat Malkus discusses the potential implications of these two cases with Josh Dunn, a professor of political science at the University of Colorado–Colorado Springs.

Only six weeks away from the start of the school year, many questions still remain as to what schooling will actually look like come fall. Is it really feasible for schools to reopen for in-person classes as President Trump and others are pushing for?

On this episode, Nat Malkus poses that question to John Bailey, a senior advisor to the Walton Family Foundation and visiting fellow at AEI, who recently wrote an article for Education Next titled, “Reopening Resilient Schools.”

When remote learning started up this spring, a number of school districts initially forbade teachers from introducing new content in an effort to prevent achievement gaps from widening. Instead of teaching new knowledge, teachers were told to focus on maintaining previously learned skills. In subjects like reading, this focus on skills over content has long been the norm. Indeed, “teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” was the operating theory most schools followed long before the pandemic struck. But what if schools have it all wrong? What if it’s not a disparity in skills that’s behind the achievement gap, but a disparity in knowledge? That’s the argument that Natalie Wexler makes in her book, The Knowledge Gap: The hidden cause of America’s broken education system — and how to fix it.

Wexler joined Nat Malkus on The Report Card last year to explain why background knowledge—the sort of thing many schools stopped teaching back in March—is more critical to reading comprehension than disembodied skills.

For years, the charter school sector enjoyed bipartisan support, counting among its advocates Presidents Clinton and Obama, as well as Presidents Bush and Trump.

Yet, in 2020, nearly all democratic presidential candidates advertised their opposition to charters and many called for a moratorium on their expansion. Republicans, by some folks’ estimations, also appear to be less enthusiastic about charters then they once were: Back in February, for instance, the Trump Administration called for the elimination of the federal Charter School Program. How did this drop-off in support come to pass? Are charters facing tough years ahead without allies on either side of the aisle?

To say that the coronavirus pandemic is one of the most significant disruptions our education system has ever faced is hardly an understatement. Back in March, without a warning, 50 million students were shut out of school buildings and asked to engage in new modes of learning. Now, with less than a month left of school in many districts, students, parents, and educators are wondering what school will look like in the fall. Will the once familiar routine of taking the bus to school at 8:00 AM and back home at 3:00 PM return? Will students be eating in the cafeteria—or at their kitchen table?

On this episode of The Report Card, Nat Malkus speaks with former Tennessee Commissioner of Education and current National Institute for Excellence in Teaching CEO Candice McQueen, as well as AEI resident scholar and director of education policy studies Rick Hess, about what it will take to reopen schools in the fall. McQueen and Hess, co-authors of AEI’s recently released “Blueprint for Back to School,” weigh in on the many considerations that school leaders should keep in mind when drafting back-to-school plans, from staffing to assessments to transportation.