Finding Common Measurements of K-12 Effectiveness
The Case for National Standards, Accountability, and Fiscal Equity
The United States faces simultaneously two sets of student achievement gaps: one at home, the other internationally. Despite the lofty goals of the No Child Left Behind Act, recent National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results for 4th and 8th graders showed we are making minimal progress, if any, on raising student achievement levels in reading and math and closing gaps between low-income and minority students and other students.
What is the problem? Do the more than 50 sets of curriculum standards and definitions of student proficiency demean the meaning of “proficiency”? Do states as well as districts and schools need to be held accountable for student achievement? Are inequitable investments in schooling among, and within, states and districts fair practice? While the answers are complex, necessary elements of a solution are likely to include adoption of voluntary national standards, national accountability measures and a greater national effort to level the funding playing field.
Note: All video provided in QuickTime (MPEG-4) format.
Kevin Carey, Research and Policy Manager, Education Sector
Chester E. Finn, Jr., President, Thomas B. Fordham Foundation and Thomas B. Fordham Institute
Marguerite Roza, PhD, Research Assistant Professor, Center on Reinventing Public Education, Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs, University of Washington
Amy Wilkins, Executive Director, Education Reform Now
Cynthia G. Brown, Director of Education Policy, Center for American Progress
Kevin Carey is the Research and Policy Manager of Education Sector, an education policy think tank located in Washington, DC. He previously worked as Director of Policy Research at the Education Trust, where he published policy papers on topics including school funding disparities, college graduation rates, NCLB implementation, and value-added methods of measuring teacher effectiveness. He also worked as an analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, were he conducted research on state education funding policies that target resources to low-income students. He has served as Assistant State Budget Director for the state of Indiana, where he advised the Governor on education and finance policy, and as a senior staff member for the Indiana Senate Finance Committee. He has a Master’s in public policy from the Ohio State University and a B.A. in political science from Binghamton University.
Chester E. Finn, Jr., scholar, educator and public servant, has devoted most of his career to improving education in the United States. As Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution and Chairman of Hoover’s Koret Task Force on K-12 Education, President of the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation and Thomas B. Fordham Institute, and Senior Editor of Education Next , his primary focus is the reform of primary and secondary schooling. Finn is also a Fellow of the International Academy of Education and Adjunct Fellow at the Hudson Institute, where he worked from 1995 through 1998. From 1985 to 1988, he served as Assistant Secretary for Research and Improvement at the U.S. Department of Education. Earlier positions include Staff Assistant to the President of the United States; Special Assistant to the Governor of Massachusetts; Counsel to the U.S. Ambassador to India; Research Associate at the Brookings Institution; and Legislative Director for Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Author of 14 books, Finn’s most recent is Leaving No Child Behind: Options for Kids in Failing Schools, co-edited with Frederick M. Hess. Author of more than 350 articles, his work has appeared in The Weekly Standard, Christian Science Monitor, Wall Street Journal, Commentary, The Public Interest, Washington Post, New York Times, Education Week, Chronicle of Higher Education, Harvard Business Review and Boston Globe. He writes a weekly column in the Fordham Foundation’s Education Gadfly . A native of Ohio, he holds an undergraduate degree in U.S. history, a Master’s degree in social studies teaching, and a doctorate in education policy, all from Harvard University.
Marguerite Roza, PhD, serves as a Research Assistant Professor in the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington. Dr. Roza’s research focuses on quantitative policy analysis, particularly in the area of education finance and labor markets. Recent research has investigated spending patterns among schools within urban districts. This research has documented inequities and inefficiencies in spending and teacher salaries and identified budgeting mechanisms for enabling strategic budgeting decisions for districts. Ongoing studies involve investigations of spending patterns in ten cities including the impact of new allocation systems, including student-based allocations. This work has appeared in Phi Delta Kappan, the Brookings Papers on Education Policy: 2004, and NCES’s Developments in Education Finance .
Amy Wilkins is the Executive Director of Education Reform Now, a new organization dedicated to improved educational outcomes for low-income students and students of color. Prior to joining Education Reform, Amy was a Principal Partner at the Education Trust. As Director of the Education Trust’s Policy, Governmental Affairs, Research and Communications office, Ms. Wilkins advocated for standards-based K-16 reform. Most recently she engineered the effort to support high-quality pre-kindergarten as Executive Director of the Trust for Early Education (TEE). Ms. Wilkins started her career at the Children’s Defense Fund where she worked on child care and Head Start issues. Her legislative successes include: passage of the Child Care Development Block Grant legislation, which established the first federal child care funding initiative since World War II, and key provisions in the Leave No Child Behind Act of 2002 including measures to hold schools accountable for closing the achievement gap that separates low-income and minority students from others, improve teacher quality, and provide parents and other stakeholders with more and better information about student achievement and teacher quality. Ms. Wilkins has also served in media and policy roles at the Democratic National Committee and the White House Office of Media Affairs.
Cynthia G. Brown is Director of Education Policy and served as Director of the Renewing Our Schools, Securing Our Future National Task Force on Public Education, a joint initiative of the Center and the Institute for America’s Future. The Task Force report, Getting Smarter, Becoming Fairer: A Progressive Agenda for a Stronger Nation , was published in August 2005. Brown has spent over 35 years working in a variety of professional positions addressing high-quality, equitable public education. Prior to joining the Center for American Progress, she was an independent education consultant who advised and wrote for local and state school systems, education associations, foundations, nonprofit organizations, and a corporation. From 1986 through September 2001, Brown served as Director of the Resource Center on Educational Equity of the Council of Chief State School Officers. She was appointed by President Carter as the first Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education (1980). Prior to that position, she served as Principal Deputy of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare’s (HEW) Office for Civil Rights. Subsequent to this government service, she was Co-Director of the nonprofit Equality Center. Before the Carter Administration, she worked for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights under Law, the Children’s Defense Fund, and began her career in the HEW Office for Civil Rights as an investigator.