Facts About Public Education

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Will the Light Shine on Education?

Author(s): Maria Ferguson
Published: April 1, 2016

In the current election season, education is not drawing a lot of interest as a political issue. According to Gallup, only 4% of Americans consider education the nation’s most important problem. Hillary Clinton created a dustup last year when she talked about charter schools and may end up avoiding all but the simplest comments about it. But Sen. Bernie Sanders has put forth a proposal to make public colleges and universities free. The Republicans mostly avoid the topic except to take broadsides at the Common Core and keeping the federal government out of education. But it will be interesting to see if after the two major parties select their nominees that education becomes a more important issue in the fall campaign.

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Keeping Millennials in Classrooms Requires Time and Support

Author(s): Maria Ferguson
Published: February 4, 2016

CEP Executive Director Maria Ferguson reflects on the teaching profession and the dwindling number of college students who want to become teachers.

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The One Who Loved Evaluations Will Now Be Evaluated

Author(s): Maria Ferguson
Published: December 4, 2015

Maria Ferguson's latest Washington View column for Phi Delta Kappan magazine.

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Moving ahead after November elections

Author(s): Maria Ferguson
Published: October 28, 2014

The outcome of the November elections in Washington for House and Senate seats, along with the 36 governor offices up for votes means that there may be a very different political landscape come January. But perhaps the greatest promise of the results of the upcoming elections is that Congress and state houses could find some common ground and new leaders may emerge to move the nation toward addressing sorely neglected education issues.

Click here to read the full article.

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Listen to American Opinions

Author(s): Maria Ferguson
Published: September 3, 2014

The annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools is coming out. It always gives us an important view of what Americans are thinking about their schools and education in general. There are important issues covered in the poll and we would do well to consider what the public is saying about our schools and we in Washington and across the country make and consider policy and initiatives for our future.

Read the full article here.

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Amid the Chaos of Washington Lies Opportunity

Author(s): Maria Ferguson
Published: March 26, 2014

Several important education authorization bills are languishing in the U.S. Congress, victims of sharp policy and political differences with the White House. But things are somewhat quieter now, so it might be a good time for Democrats and Republicans alike to find some common ground by looking at what has worked to improve education in the past.

Read the article here.

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Behind in Assessment and Losing the Shame Game

Author(s): Maria Ferguson
Published: March 4, 2014

When the most recent PISA scores were released last fall, there was a flurry of headlines about America’s stagnant public schools. American students were characterized as being asleep at the wheel and in need of a major wake-up call. If we really wanted the public to look closer and try to understand why PISA, NAEP and other kinds of assessments are important, we would need to do more than just shame public schools. We would need to have a thoughtful and nuanced conversation about why some education systems have been able to improve student performance and others have not. We would have to look at culture, resources, leadership, teacher training and national sentiment. We would have to analyze gaps of all kinds, not just achievement. And we would have to use the information to help teachers and education leaders understand why others are making progress without humiliating them in the comparison.

You can read the full article here.

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High Schools: Grow up!

Author(s): Maria Ferguson
Published: January 30, 2014

CEP Executive Director Maria Ferguson is the author of the “Washington View” monthly column for Kappan magazine (www.kappan.org). This month she focuses on the unique needs of high schools. Click here to read the column.

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Failure IS an Option

Author(s): Maria Ferguson
Published: January 16, 2014

CEP Executive Director Maria Ferguson is the author of the “Washington View” monthly column for Kappan magazine (www.kappan.org). Her December column focuses on finding the value in failure and how educators and policymakers can learn from their efforts, even those that don’t turn out the way they hope. Click here to read the column.

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A Civil Right to a Good Education

Author(s): Jack Jennings
Published: January 30, 2012

This January 30, 2012 Huffington Post blog by CEP President Jack Jennings reviews past national movements to improve schools and proposes a new effort where a good education would become a civil right for all.  The blog summarizes Jennings’ January 2012 paper Reflections on a Half-Century of School Reform: Why Have We Fallen Short and Where Do We Go From Here?

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Reflections on a Half-Century of School Reform: Why Have We Fallen Short and Where Do We Go From Here?

Author(s): Jack Jennings
Published: January 27, 2012

Upon his retirement from the leadership of CEP, Jack Jennings reviews in this paper the three major school reform efforts of the last 50 years, proposes an agenda focused on the classroom, and advocates for the creation of a federal civil right to a good education to advance that agenda.

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The Evolution of the Center on Education Policy: From An Idea To A Major Influence

Author(s): Anne Lewis
Published: January 27, 2012

This paper by free lance writer Anne Lewis describes the beginning and the development of the Center on Education Policy from 1995 to 2012.

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A Public Education Primer: Basic (and Sometimes Surprising) Facts about the U.S. Education System, 2012 Revised Edition

Author(s): Nancy Kober and Alexandra Usher
Published: January 19, 2012

The 2012 Public Education Primer highlights important and sometimes little-known facts concerning the U.S. education system, how things have changed over time, and how they may change in the future. Together these facts provide a comprehensive picture of the nation’s public schools, including data about students, teachers, funding, achievement, management, and non-academic services.

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Coal for Christmas

Author(s): Jack Jennings
Published: January 10, 2012

Before Christmas, Jack Jennings, CEP’s president, submitted the following blog to the Huffington Post. This blog discusses the disappointing results from urban school districts on the National Assessment of Educational Progress that were released in December. He suggests a link between those results and the financial problems being experienced by American schools.

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A Serious Step Backward

Author(s): Jack Jennings
Published: October 24, 2011

On October 24, the Huffington Post carried a blog written by Jack Jennings, CEP’s president and CEO, on the views of the Republican presidential aspirants on the role of the federal government in education.

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Ideal Traits for New DSID Superintendent

Author(s): Jack Jennings
Published: October 7, 2011

The Dallas Morning News asked Jack Jennings, CEP’s president and CEO, to write an article advising the city’s school board on what it should look for in a new local school superintendent. The article appeared in the newspaper on October 7, 2011.

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Teacher Pay: U.S. Ranks 22nd Out Of 27 Countries

Author(s): Jack Jennings
Published: August 30, 2011

This August 30, 2011 Huffington Post blog by Jack Jennings discusses how teacher pay in the United States compares to other countries.

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Long-Term Gains In Minority Education: An Overlooked Success?

Author(s): Jack Jennings
Published: May 8, 2011

This blog, which was written by Jack Jennings, CEP’s president, and posted on the Huffington Post on May 8, 2011, discusses achievement gains of white, Latino, and African American students on the long-term National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).  The blog points out that while general trends show a mixed picture of achievement gains over the last four decades, Latino and African American students made great gains.  Accompanying the blog is a table that shows the changes in long-term NAEP reading and math scores since the 1970s for white, Latino, and African American students as well as for all students.

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Those Who Don't Learn From Their History ...

Author(s): Alexandra Usher
Published: April 20, 2011

In this guest blog posted April 20 on Education Week’s Sara Mead’s Policy Notebook, Alexandra Usher discusses the early federal land grant program which encouraged the creation of public schools across the U.S. Referencing CEP’s 2011 background paper Public Schools and the Original Federal Land Grants, Usher describes how the Land Ordinance and Northwest Ordinance established a policy through which new states were given land by the federal government for the support of public schools.

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Why We Still Need Public Schools: Public Education for the Common Good

Author(s): Nancy Kober
Published: January 1, 2007

This report highlights the history and importance of public education in the United States, dating back to its establishment as a necessary institution for the young republic and Horace Mann’s efforts to promote a common school for all. The report focuses on how and why the U.S. system of public education came into being; the six core public missions that public schools have been expected to fulfill, such as unifying a diverse population, preparing people for democratic citizenship, and ensuring equal opportunities for all children; and why these missions are relevant today and why the nation must maintain them while pursuing reforms to help all schools live up to these core ideals.

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A Public Education Primer: Basic (and Sometimes Surprising) Facts about the U.S. Education System

Author(s): Nancy Kober
Published: July 1, 2006

This report highlights the important facts concerning the U.S. education system and how things have changed — and will continue to change — over time. The primer provides a comprehensive picture of the nation’s public schools with data about students, governance, funding, achievement, teachers, and non-instructional services.

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Do You Know … The Latest Good News About American Education?

Author(s): Nancy Kober
Published: August 1, 2005

A summary of data shows positive trends in American education and indicates areas for improvement. 

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What's Good About Public Schools

Author(s): Jack Jennings, Madlene Hamilton
Published: May 1, 2004

This article, written for the National PTA's magazine-- Our Children, highlights the gains made in US public schools.

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Effects of High School Exit Exams on Dropout Rates

Author(s): Naomi Chudowsky, Keith Gayler
Published: March 1, 2003

Summary of a Panel Discussion. This is the summary of a panel discussion covering major research dealing with the effects of exit exams on dropout rates and indications for future studies.

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Do You Know … The Good News About American Education?

Author(s): Nancy Kober and Diane Stark Rentner
Published: January 1, 2000

Review of positive trends in student achievement from the 1980s and 1990s and comments on current challenges.

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Did You Know? ACT Scores Are Rising

Author(s): Diane Stark Rentner
Published: December 1, 1999

This policy brief on high school students' rising ACT scores was part of a larger 2000 publication, DO YOU KNOW THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT AMERICAN EDUCATION?

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Did You Know? SAT Scores Are Rising

Author(s): Diane Stark Rentner
Published: December 1, 1999

This policy brief on the increasing SAT scores of high school students was part of the larger 2000 publication, DO YOU KNOW THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT AMERICAN EDUCATION?

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Did You Know? Students Are Taking More AP Exams

Author(s): Diane Stark Rentner
Published: December 1, 1999

This policy brief on high school students taking more advanced placement courses was part of the larger 2000 publication, DO YOU KNOW THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT AMERICAN EDUCATION?

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Did You Know? School Crime is Decreasing

Author(s): Diane Stark Rentner
Published: May 2, 1999

In 1998, the Center on Education Policy released a series of one-page issue briefs highlighting aspects of public education where there have been positive trends in the preceding 20 years. These one-page publications were updated and compiled in 2000 for the Center's Do You Know the Good News About American Education? report.

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Did You Know? High School Students Are Taking Tougher Courses

Author(s): Diane Stark Rentner
Published: December 1, 1998

This policy brief on the trend of students taking more difficult high school courses was part of the larger 2000 publication, DO YOU KNOW THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT AMERICAN EDUCATION?

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Did You Know? Fewer Students Are Dropping Out of School

Author(s): Diane Stark Rentner
Published: December 1, 1998

This policy brief on the positive trend of fewer students dropping out of school was part of the 2000 publication DO YOU KNOW THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT AMERICAN EDUCATION?

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Did You Know? More Students Are Going to College

Author(s): Diane Stark Rentner
Published: December 1, 1998

This policy brief on the increasing number of high school students going on to college was part of the larger 2000 publication, DO YOU KNOW THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT AMERICAN EDUCATION?

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Did You Know? Student Math Achievement is Rising

Author(s): Diane Stark Rentner
Published: December 1, 1998

This policy brief on the positive trend of rising math achievement in high school students was part of the larger 2000 publication, DO YOU KNOW THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT AMERICAN EDUCATION?

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Did You Know? Students' Science Achievement is Rising

Author(s): Diane Stark Rentner
Published: December 1, 1998

This policy brief on the positive trend of high school students achievement in science was part of the larger 2000 publication DO YOU KNOW THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT AMERICAN EDUCATION.

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The Good — and the Not-So-Good — News About American Education

Author(s): Diane Stark Rentner, Nancy Kober
Published: July 1, 1996

Review of data showing the achievements of American public school children and the areas for improvement.

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Do We Still Need Public Schools?

Author(s): Nancy Kober
Published: March 1, 1996

A brief history of public education followed by questions and answers on the role and importance of public schools in the US.

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