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  • Backgrounder posted February 9, 2016 by Matthew Ladner, Ph.D. Power to the People: Putting DC Parents in Charge of K–12 Education

    Washington, DC, Public Schools (DCPS) receives $29,000 per pupil—the highest per pupil revenues in the nation. Despite improvement, DCPS ranks near the bottom of American urban districts, with a majority of students failing to obtain the knowledge and skills necessary for success in life. What educational improvement has occurred in the Washington, DC, public school…

  • Backgrounder posted November 9, 2015 by Lindsey Burke, Vance H. Fried Open Education: Individualized Learning from Kindergarten to College

    Notions about how the American education system should function, from kindergarten to college, are changing. The very idea of constructs such as grade levels, and a rigid division between high school and college, is being challenged. The proliferation of online learning has created unprecedented access to a wide range of academic content, laying the groundwork for a…

  • Backgrounder posted September 28, 2015 by Lindsey Burke From Piecemeal to Portable: Transforming Title I into a Student-Centered Support System

    At the federal, state, and local level, policymakers and education-reform advocates have been striving to improve educational options and outcomes for all children, focusing in particular on improving outcomes for children from disadvantaged families. This effort is not new, nor is the sense that K–12 education is falling short, particularly for those children who need…

  • Commentary posted May 13, 2014 by Lindsey Burke Our National Report Card: No Education Progress Since 2009

    Last week the U.S. Department of Education released the 2013 results of math and reading achievement for 12th graders on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. It’s hard to say what’s been achieved. According to the NAEP — a standardized test often referred to as the nation’s “report card” — just 26 percent of the country’s 12th graders are proficient in math.…

  • Backgrounder posted May 15, 2013 by Lindsey Burke, Rachel Sheffield 13 Ways the 113th Congress Can Improve Education in America

    There is no shortage of opportunities for Congress to reform federal education policy. Dozens of federal education programs are managed by well-intentioned yet disconnected bureaucrats in Washington, who are far removed from the needs of teachers and children in the classroom. Taxpayers, meanwhile, must send billions of dollars every year to Washington to fund federal…

  • Backgrounder posted September 21, 2012 by Lindsey Burke, Stuart M. Butler, Ph.D. Accreditation: Removing the Barrier to Higher Education Reform

    Abstract: America’s higher education system is in dire need of reform. The average college student leaves school with more than $23,000 in debt, and total student loan debt in the United States now exceeds $1 trillion. Furthermore, too many students are leaving college without the skills needed to be successful in the workforce. And yet, despite the dire state…

  • Issue Brief posted September 5, 2012 by Lindsey Burke No Child Left Behind Waivers: Bogus Relief, Genuine Overreach

    Seizing on widespread dissatisfaction with No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and blaming congressional inaction for the need to act unilaterally, the Obama Administration has begun issuing waivers from the law to states willing to accept Department of Education (DOE) conditions that will end up further centralizing education policy. The NCLB waivers pose serious legal…

  • Backgrounder posted April 12, 2012 by Lindsey Burke, Rachel Sheffield Obama’s 2013 Education Budget and Blueprint: A Costly Expansion of Federal Control

    Abstract: President Obama’s FY 2013 budget request includes another major spending increase for the Department of Education—2.5 percent more than last year—to nearly $70 billion. American taxpayers are calling for spending restraint in Washington, yet President Obama’s proposals would exacerbate the existing bureaucratic maze of federal programs and further remove…

  • Backgrounder posted January 10, 2012 by Jason Richwine, Ph.D., Andrew G. Biggs, Ph.D. Critical Issues in Assessing Teacher Compensation

    Abstract: A November 2011 Heritage Foundation report—“Assessing the Compensation of Public-School Teachers”—presented data on teacher salaries and benefits in order to inform debates about teacher compensation reform. The report concluded that public-school teacher compensation is far ahead of what comparable private-sector workers enjoy, and that recruiting more…

  • White Paper posted November 1, 2011 by Patrick Louis Knudsen, Emily Goff Appropriations Tracker: FY 2012

    The FY 2013 version of the Appropriations Tracker is available here. Download a PDF version with hyperlinks to House and Senate Appropriations Committee documents: Appropriations Tracker: FY 2012 Designed to inform American policymakers and citizens, the Appropriations Tracker: FY 2012 monitors the progress of appropriations bills as they move through the…

  • WebMemo posted October 13, 2011 by James Sherk, Patrick Louis Knudsen Two Cheers for Proposed Labor, Health, Education Appropriations

    House appropriators deserve two cheers for their recently released bill funding the Departments of Labor (DOL), Health and Human Services, Education, and related agencies for fiscal year (FY) 2012.[1] Disappointingly, the legislation only slightly reduces federal spending. Nevertheless, its policy riders take important steps in the right direction. The legislation…

  • Backgrounder posted January 5, 2011 by Lindsey Burke, Jena Baker McNeill “Educate to Innovate”: How the Obama Plan for STEM Education Falls Short

    Abstract: President Obama’s Educate to Innovate initiative has provided billions in additional federal funding for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education programs across the country. The Administration’s recognition of the importance of STEM education— for global competitiveness as well as for national security—is good and important.…

  • Backgrounder posted November 4, 2010 by Matthew Denhart Federal Overreach into American Higher Education

    Abstract: If allowed to take effect, three regulations proposed by the U.S. Department of Education will raise costs for students and limit their educational opportunities. These regulations would require state authorization of higher education institutions, impose gainful employment requirements, and dictate a one-size-fits-all definition of a credit hour. Instead of…

  • WebMemo posted July 20, 2010 by Lindsey Burke Creating a Crisis: Unions Stifle Education Reform

    The Senate will soon consider creating a $10 billion “Education Jobs Fund.” The measure has already been included in a war funding bill passed in early July by the House. Union influence and power has continued to prevent meaningful education reform, and another public education bailout from Washington will further empower unions, which will make it more difficult for…

  • WebMemo posted July 2, 2010 by Lindsey Burke Creating a Crisis: Spending Increase to Fund Bloated Education Bureaucracy

    Congress will soon consider spending $10 billion to prevent layoffs in the public education sector. This money comes in addition to the $80 billion awarded to the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) for K-12 education as a result of the stimulus bill. While DOE funding has increased nearly fivefold in the 30 years since its creation, academic achievement has…