Education Trust News

Poll: Teachers Matter; So Do Student Outcomes

The results of a new survey from Phi Delta Kappa and Gallup send a positive message: The American public values teachers and their impact on student learning. In fact, 3 out of 4 think we should be recruiting high-achieving high school students to the profession. PDK’s annual survey also shows three-fourths of all Americans polled think student performance should play an important role in decisions about teacher pay and layoffs.

More Students Aspire to College Degree

Numerous studies show that more and more young people expect to attend college. Examining data from its largest pool of test-takers ever, ACT found that students of all backgrounds have these plans. Nearly 80 percent of African-American and Latino graduates intend to pursue at least a bachelor’s degree.

As States Trim Budgets, Equity Advocates Must Protect Vulnerable Students

Throughout the protracted struggle to raise the federal debt ceiling, education advocates focused their efforts on preventing federal cuts to education. While that attention was not misplaced, the precarious condition of most state finances means policymakers at all levels of government are making hard choices about which programs to cut,  which to protect, and how best to share the responsibility for getting their finances in order. If programs designed to close the educational achievement gap are to be spared, equity advocates will need to work together to make their voices heard.

College Degrees Count, Predict Future Earnings

A new report, “The College Payoff,” soundly trounces the notion that a college degree doesn’t matter. Released by Anthony Carnevale, Ph.D., of the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, the report clearly links the level of educational attainment with higher income potential. In fact, the average holder of a bachelor’s degree earns about $1 million more in a lifetime than does someone with only a high school diploma.

Waivers Cannot Become an Escape Route

With school already starting in some districts, and no reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act in sight, Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced on Monday that the Education Department will grant states waivers from some provisions of current ESEA law.

Though long overdue, ESEA reauthorization remains the strongest option for changing the law. The waiver strategy can be a next-best choice — provided that it supports attempts by reform-minded states to adopt new, higher standards and more rigorous assessments; set aggressive but achievable goals for raising achievement and closing gaps; and turn around their lowest performing schools. It must not let states off the hook for closing achievement gaps and improving education for all students. 

Former District Leader Offers Blueprint for College-Ready Schools

Education reform advocates looking for an inspiring summer/fall read should pick up a copy of Diploma Matters: A Field Guide for College and Career Readiness. In the new book, author Linda Murray, Ph.D., shows how educational leaders from the district level on down can create schools that prepare all students for college and career. Murray is superintendent-in-residence at The Education Trust–West.

What the New Budget Control Act Means for Education

On Aug. 2, 2011, the debt-ceiling negotiations impasse ended with President Obama signing into law the Budget Control Act of 2011. The law authorizes three incremental increases to our nation’s debt ceiling through 2012, in exchange for reducing the nation’s deficit by $2.5 trillion over 10 years.  While the measure addressed a shortfall in the Pell Grant program, Pell and other education programs will likely still face cuts.

Undocumented Students Still DREAM, Wide Awake

Even as the national discourse largely centered on the country’s debt woes in recent weeks, the drumbeat for immigration reform continued to pulse. Last month, California became the latest of 11 states that have enacted their own version of the federal Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, more commonly known as the DREAM Act.