Tag Archives: Media

Media: “Polling Expert and Former WH Aide Greg Schneiders on Where Education Advocates Must Do Better — and What You Didn’t Know About Carter’s Time in Office” in The 74

I interviewed longtime D.C. hand Greg Schneiders about public opinion research:

You’ve had an eclectic career — before working at the White House for Jimmy Carter, you owned a bar. What did being a bar owner teach you about thinking about politics and public opinion?

Owning a bar teaches you about business. Tending bar teaches you about people — who they are, what they believe or feel, and why. To be a good bartender, you have to be a good listener, which involves the same skill set as being a good opinion researcher. Nearly everyone — in a bar or in a poll — wants to tell you what they think and how they feel. And they want you to listen and respect their opinions and their feelings.

Few people come to a bar to hear the bartender’s opinion. They come to share their opinions and feelings about politics, the economy, education, culture, political correctness, sex, family, sports, the weather. A bad bartender will decide that the loudmouth at the end of the bar doesn’t know what he’s talking about and will argue with or, more likely, ignore him. The good bartender will realize that it doesn’t matter if the loudmouth knows what he’s talking about — the point is that it is what he believes, whether it is true or not.

You can read the entire thing at The 74.

Media: “Phonics. Whole Language. Balanced Literacy. The Problem Isn’t That We Don’t Know How to Teach Reading — It’s Politics” in The 74

In The 74 I ask whether on reading instruction we’re conflating our problems of education craft with our larger problem of education politics:

Most conversations about literacy treat the problem of poor reading instruction as one of craft. The problem is that teachers don’t know how to teach reading, so how do we make sure they do? Solve the craft problem, the argument goes, and the politics take care of themselves. But what if this is exactly backward and, instead, it’s a political problem that allows the craft problem to persist? And maybe not just on reading but also on other issues like testing, accountability and teacher evaluation, where we’re constantly told that if things were just a little better from a technical standpoint everyone would actually be on board?

You can read it all here.

Media: “High performing public charter schools coming to low-income parents” in The Hill

Thousands of low-income Black and Hispanic parents relying on charter schools are on thin political ice as the conservative-liberal alliance to support charter schools begins to falter.

Today in The Hill, I have a piece with co-author Richard Whitmire:

Lost in last week’s frenetic news about Trump’s revenge tour and an unpredictable international virus, a big story got overlooked: what might be the beginning of the end to the conservative/liberal alliance to offer better school options — high performing public charter schools — to low-income parents.

Those caught in the middle, and the clear losers here, are tens of thousands of black and Hispanic parents who can’t afford to move to the suburbs and desperately seek out charter schools they believe, and evidence shows, offer their children brighter futures.

Media: “Debate over charters must consider access to good schools for underserved families” in The Hill

In The Hill, I take a look at what we know about charter schools and how the polarized rhetoric about them obscures the work both “sides” ought to be doing to better serve all kids:

The nation’s first charter school opened in 1992 and there are now more than 7,000 across 43 states and Washington, D.C. Listening to the political debate about charter schools, though, you’d think they are a new idea — or at least one with little grounding in research or practice.

In fact, thanks to a lot of research we know quite a bit about charter schools and charter policy, as well as the complicated issues these publicly-funded but independently-run schools raise…

Read the entire op-ed here.

Media: “The Iowa Caucuses Steer Our National Priorities. But Iowa’s Education Policies Are Bad for the Nation — and for Iowa” in The 74

I grew up in Iowa. I attended public schools in Iowa.

So it pains me to say this, but the Iowa caucuses are bad for education policy. As I lay out in a new column at The 74, the policies favored by an unrepresentative sample of Iowans have an outside influence on our national politics. That has distorting effects, and not in a good way:

When it comes to certain policy areas, such as farming and agriculture, it’s easy to see how an unrepresentative sample of Iowans would result in policies that were unrepresentative of the rest of the country. Our national farm policies are at least partly shaped by the fact that our presidential candidates must kowtow every four years to local interest groups like the Iowa Farm Bureau, where my father worked when I was a kid.

The same applies to presidential contenders crafting their education policies, meaning an unrepresentative sample of Iowans play a quiet but powerful role in shaping our national educational debate. But are the education policies favored by Iowans any good? Are they worth spreading across the country?

The short answer is no. On education, Iowa is falling behind the rest of the country.

In terms of education policy, Iowa is an outlier, and not in a good way. It’s time to give other states a chance to take the lead. Read my piece here.