Here at Ed Money Watch, we often focus on things we want to change or problems we see in education policy that need improving. But in the spirit of the season, we would like to dedicate this pre-Thanksgiving blog to things we are thankful for in the education arena.
- No Child Left Behind has increased the availability of education data in states and districts across the country. While this data is currently used primarily for accountability purposes, it has the potential to become an integral part of education research, development and practice in the future. Some states, districts, schools, and teachers have already started using data to improve classroom instruction and we look forward to seeing how those practices can be scaled up for wider use.
- The teachers unions appear to be willing to play ball with the new administration with regards to teacher-focused reforms. With any luck, this will open the doors for equalizing the distribution of high-quality teachers across schools, and innovations in teacher pay structures.
- Gutsy school system leaders have been popping up all over the country attempting to tackle serious district malfunctions. Here in DC, Michelle Rhee has made major strides in streamlining the distribution of books and resources, supporting motivated school leaders, and bringing data-focused improvement into schools.
- Researchers, policymakers, and practitioners are starting to pave the way towards a community of practice. Last week we attended an event at AEI where Carnegie President Anthony Bryk discussed new ways to link education research and practice in order to increase innovation, speed up turnaround for reform practices, and enable teachers to be better consumers of research. At the same time, the National Academy of Education released a series of working papers intended to inform education policy by making research more accessible and applicable to practice.
- The increased attention paid to the selection of Secretary of Education suggests that policymakers, stakeholders, and the public care about and are invested in the future of public education in America. Whoever is selected as Secretary certainly has work to do and a diverse constituency to satisfy. We wish him or her the best in these endeavors.