Education Reform

Education reform is in the works, and you can stay updated on the latest changes, debates, and policies here. Learn more about No Child Left Behind and how it impacts your child. Explore how federal and state government is working to improve school performance, student achievement and education standards.
View the most popular articles in Education Reform:
Updated April 05, 2018 |
How Much Does It Cost to Educate a Child?
Every year, standardized tests reveal that public school performance is woefully low. Yet you pay taxes to fund public education, so where does that money go? Keep reading to find out how much it really costs to educate your child.

When you think of how your child’s education is going to cost, you probably think of the expenses you cover yourself. From school books and uniforms to daily lunches, transportation to and from school, and extra educational materials at home, the costs add up quickly. But what about the costs you don’t cover? Things like teacher salaries, school maintenance and repairs, taxes, and more – someone has to pay these costs, but who?

If your child attends public school, it is likely that the majority of the cost for his education will be shouldered by the government (federal and state as well as local). One might argue that your taxes pay for a portion of those costs, but it is nowhere near the thousands of dollars it actually takes to send your child to public school for a year.

Depending where you live and the quality of the local education system, you may be wondering just where all of that money goes. In this article, we’ll discuss the average annual cost to educate a student in different states as well as some of the ways your tax dollars are spent.

Annual Costs for Public Education by State

Spending varies drastically for public education from one part of the country to another. The biggest spender is New York, shelling out over $20,000 per student per year. This includes teacher salaries as well as support services and other educational costs. On the other end of the spectrum, states like Utah and Idaho spend a fraction

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Published November 09, 2017 |
An In-Depth Look at Common Core – What’s Working and What Isn’t?
The Common Core State Standards Initiative, more commonly referred to simply as “Common Core”, was introduced to help American students graduate from high school better prepared for career and college. But what exactly are these "common core" standards, and are they working?

If you attended a public school in the United States, you have probably taken a standardized test at some point – probably a lot of them. Testing is one of the most common ways to evaluate the efficacy of an education program, though it may not always be the best way. One of the most well-known education programs that makes heavy use of testing is the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

The Common Core State Standards Initiative, more commonly referred to simply as “Common Core”, was introduced in the early 2000s, though many people still have a poor understanding of what it is and how it has affected the nation’s school systems. This system has been in place for half a decade and yet the jury is still out on whether it works or not.

Whether you have detailed knowledge of what’s going on in the nation’s education system or not, you are probably aware that the most recent presidential election has led to some big changes. Keep reading to learn about the history of common core, it’s future, and whether or not it really works.

A History of Common Core

According to the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), the Common Core State Standards Initiative is, “a set of high-quality academic standards in mathematics and English language arts/literacy,” also known as ELA. These standards exist to outline exactly what a student should know at the end of each grade in public educational systems. In a perfect world, these standards will

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Updated February 09, 2018 |
Parents Refuse Common Core Testing
Parents nationwide are opting out of state testing. Hoping to send a message to lawmakers, they are refusing to allow their children to take standardized tests.
Parents Refuse Common Core Testing 

In communities all over the country, parents are choosing to opt their children out of Common Core testing. In schools from coast to coast, April has become “testing season,” the time of the year when students in grades K-12 sit for standardized tests in math and English language arts. Because of initiatives like No Child Let Behind and Race to the Top, which are intended to measure and improve student performance, some students sit for up to nine to twelve hours of testing over the course of a few weeks.  

Race to the Top

The Race to the Top program, which began in 2009, offers grants totaling billions of dollars to states that follow guidelines for education innovation. In order to qualify for the competitive grants, states must build “data systems that measure student growth and success, and inform teachers and principals about how they can improve instruction.” To gather the data necessary to meet this requirement, states have implemented standardized testing for all public school children.

Why Opt-Out?

In 2014, some parents decided they’d had enough of high-stakes, long-duration testing. Around the country handfuls of students showed up on testing days clutching formally-worded notes from their parents explaining that they were “opting out” or refusing to take the standardized tests.

There are several reasons why parents are rejecting Common Core Testing:

  • Parents believe students suffer unnecessary stress due to hours of testing.
  • Teachers are forced to “teach to the test” which limits what students learn.
  • Testing companies collect student data, and
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Updated December 02, 2017 |
The Parents’ Guide to Common Core
The Common Core State Standards were developed as a means to prepare K-12 students for success in college or the workforce upon graduation from high school. Since their inception, they have been adopted by 43 states. While much support has been given for the standards, many criticisms have emerged as well.
The Common Core State Standards were developed after education officials became concerned over the lack of progress American students were making in the areas of math and language arts. After years of being outperformed by children in other countries, various stakeholders came together to devise a new set of standards that would raise the bar for student learning. The result was the Common Core, which took shape over the course of 2009 and was implemented in 2010. In the years since, 43 states, Washington, D.C., the education wing of the Department of Defense, and several U.S. territories have adopted the standards.  
Developed by Experts
 
The Common Core standards represent a cooperative effort between dozens of officials including governors, teachers, curriculum design experts, and researchers. However two agencies, the National Governors Association for Best Practices (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) led the charge for the creation of the standards and continue to lead the ongoing efforts to implement the standards nationwide.
 
Throughout the design process, the NGA and CCSSO relied on input from content area experts, teachers, and even parents to devise standards that are both rigorous and relevant to a modern-day education. The authors of the standards also worked with higher education officials, workforce trainers, and employers to ensure the standards facilitated the development of knowledge and skills required for success in college, at the workplace, and in life.  
 
Purpose of the Standards
 
The standards-based movement was
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Updated March 03, 2015 |
Editorial: Common Core Standards a Good Place to Start, but More Work is Needed
The Common Core Standards were created in order to facilitate greater academic progress among K-12 students, and seek to provide consistent academic benchmarks that students must meet. While Common Core is a step in the right direction, there are some concerns that need to be addressed before they reach their optimal effectiveness.
The Common Core State Standards began, in part, as the brainchild of Janet Napolitano, former governor of Arizona. As the chairperson of the National Governors Association in 2006-2007, Napolitano created a task force on education that released a report calling for standardized benchmarks in education. That report eventually formed the basis of the Common Core State Standards, which thus far have been adopted by 45 states, Washington, D.C., four U.S. territories and the educational branch of the Department of Defense.
 
Today, the Common Core is a set of high-quality, rigorous standards that outline what children should learn, know and be able to do at each grade level in the areas of math and language arts. The standards seek to address the variability between state-level educational standards that have for years produced high school graduates with widely ranging academic abilities.
 
 
The Common Core Standards are both relevant and rigorous. Students are engaged in activities that build higher-ordered analytical skills, critical thinking skills, and problem-solving skills that are necessary for success in today’s world. In that regard, the standards are not focused solely on acquisition of knowledge, but the application of that knowledge as well. Additionally, in states where the standards have been adopted, students receive comparable instruction no matter who their teacher is or what school they attend, which helps eliminate variability in student preparedness. Although teachers still have wide latitude in the delivery of lessons, they each have the same target in the end: student
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April 05, 2018
Every year, standardized tests reveal that public school performance is woefully low. Yet you pay taxes to fund public education, so where does that money go? Keep reading to find out how much it really costs to educate your child.
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