Tag Archives: rankings

New Rankings Should Lead to New, Better Conversations

While Education Week’s annual Quality Counts report is just one of many K-12 state rankings out there, it tends to get a lot of attention because it’s more accessible and easier to interpret that data directly from, say, the U.S. Census Bureau or the National Center for Education Statistics. The latest edition of that report was just released, which means we’re about to see a bevy of questionably accurate news articles, accusations, and assertions crop up in the near future. In the meantime, we can talk a little about the latest results and what they may or may not tell us. Some of you may remember that the Education Policy Center spent some time talking about Education Week’s 2016 Quality Counts report in a recent paper on Colorado school finance. Here’s a refresher on last year’s report: Published annually by Education Week, this report ranks states on “chance for success,” academic achievement, and school finance, with ratings in each of these categories consisting of both an overall grade and a number of more granular rankings. The 2016 report, which relied upon 2013 data, ranked Colorado 37th overall in the area of school finance. As some interest groups have reported, the […]

Read More...

New PISA Results Bring the Same Old Disappointing News

Have you heard of PISA? No, it’s not some delicious Italian dish you can buy in a restaurant. It’s the preeminent international assessment of student performance in more than 70 countries across the world. A project of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), PISA is administered to a representative sample of 15-year-olds in these countries every three years. Sadly, the recently released results of the 2015 PISA assessment are significantly harder to swallow than tasty Italian food. For those of you who are particularly wonky, you can find the full report on the most recent PISA results here. Other folks may prefer to surf OECD’s curated topline results and interactive map, which can be found here. If you are culturally insensitive and only interested in the results for the United States, those can be found here. If you really, truly don’t want to be bothered with all those numbers, don’t fret. We’ll cover the big stuff right here in this post.

Read More...

Inadequate Funding or Inadequate Information?

Welcome back, friends. I apologize for my absence during the second half of last week. Do you have any idea how busy an intrepid policy explorer like myself gets in the closing weeks of the legislative session? Plus, I had to carve out some extra time to watch interesting education TV shows hosted by my Independence Institute policy friend Ross Izard. See here for a segment on charter funding equity, and here for one of my favorite Colorado private schools, Arrupe Jesuit High School. I’m sorry I left you hanging. But now we’re back. And we’ve got some serious edu-policy work to do. Today’s topic: school finance in Colorado. No, no. Don’t run. I promise it’ll be (mostly) painless. I started thinking about how important it is to get accurate information out there about school finance in Colorado when I read a Colorado Public Radio story about our state’s supposed failure to adequately fund its public schools despite a “booming” economy.

Read More...

Kafer's Invaluable Advice for Colorado Families Seeking a New School

Yes, I’m not ashamed to admit it: I’m a big (and maybe the youngest) fan of Krista Kafer. The column Krista wrote for yesterday’s Rocky Mountain News is just the latest reason — even though she does tell readers to do more homework: While rankings and other analysis can provide the public and parents confidence in charter schools as a whole, school-by-school information is actually more important to individual families. When considering public schools – whether district-run or charter – the [School Accountability Report] is great place to start when choosing a school. Parents shouldn’t stop there. They should check out other sources of information such as www.greatschools.net, www.schoolmatters.com and www.schoolchoiceforkids.org. Next they should visit the school’s Web site and the school building. You don’t have to be an education expert to recognize student disengagement, apathy or boredom. Kids wandering aimlessly, teachers yelling angrily or trash scattered about the floor – these would be bad signs. Talking to other parents, teachers and students is a must. Families who want to look for a charter school for their child, or to take advantage of the open enrollment process and find a different traditional public school, you have to read the whole […]

Read More...