Santorum: Who Needs Public Education?
February 20, 2012

At a weekend appearance in Ohio, Rick Santorum said this about public education, according to the New York Times: [T]he idea that the federal government should be running schools, frankly much less that the state government should be running schools [italics mine], is anachronistic. It goes back to the time of industrialization of America when people came off the farms where they did home-school or have the little neighborhood school, and into these big factories, so we built equal factories called public schools.

How U.S. News Rankings Are Corrupting Higher Education
February 01, 2012

Earlier this week, officials at Claremont McKenna College admitted that a senior administrator had, since 2005, been reporting inflated SAT scores to publications like U.S. News & World Report in order to boost the school’s ranking. That admission has brought new scrutiny to college rankings, which many say are too influential. Do colleges and universities have any good reason to care what U.S. News thinks? Research suggests that whatever flaws the rankings may have, schools would be foolish to ignore them.

Obama vs. Colleges: It’s About Time!
January 28, 2012

On Tuesday night this past week, alarm bells suddenly began ringing at 1 Dupont Circle, the Washington, DC headquarters of the powerful higher education lobby. The trigger was the surprise ultimatum that President Obama leveled in his State of the Union address. “We can’t just keep subsidizing skyrocketing tuition,” he said. “We’ll run out of money.” States needed to stop slashing college budgets, he noted, but colleges also had work to do.

How Hard Will Education Cuts Hit Texas?
December 22, 2011

Texas, like many states, is facing difficult budget cuts—but even in this cash-strapped environment, the Lone Star State stands out. As NPR reports today, “School funding in Texas is in turmoil.” The state has cut $4.3 billion from education over the last school year, leading to over 12,000 layoffs and sharp reductions in everything from school security to special education. Can Texas stomach these cuts? Data from the National Education Association illustrates a few of the reasons why Texas will be particularly hard-hit by education cuts.

Obama’s Education Legacy For America’s Youngest Kids: Too Little, Too Late
December 03, 2011

When Barack Obama ran for president, he claimed that improving early childhood education would be a hallmark of his education reform agenda. Unfortunately, his policies in office have not lived up to that promise.

Rick Perry Is a Higher-Education Visionary. Seriously.
August 25, 2011

Rick Perry is wrong about many things, including (but not limited to) the reality of climate change, the treasonous nature of quantitative easing, and the execution of innocent men. But give the man credit: He’s got some smart ideas about higher education. The fact that most liberals think otherwise reveals a glaring weakness in the progressive education agenda.  Perry’s push to reform the academy came late in his decade-long tenure as Texas governor, after he finished filling the state’s public university governing boards with his personal appointees.

"Mass Resistance" To Education Reform
August 10, 2011

The Obama administration is pursuing a second round of its education reform agenda. The first round was "Race to the Top," which created a competition among states for extra federal grants that would be won by states with the most impressive reforms. This time around, instead of dollars -- there is no new money to hand out -- the Department of Education is using regulatory relief. The 2001 No Child Left Behind law imposed fairly rigid requirements and standards. Everybody agrees it needs updating, but Congress is too dysfunctional to update it, and has been for several years running.

Why Obama’s New Plan to Reform Education Is Likely Illegal
August 10, 2011

Faced with a looming deadline and a deadlocked legislature, Barack Obama is employing a strategy many wish he had in the recent debt ceiling talks: He’s bypassing Congress altogether. On Monday, Obama approved a Department of Education plan to grant waivers allowing states to bypass the most stringent and unrealistic requirements of the Bush-era education law known as No Child Left Behind, including its fairy-tale provision that all schools must be 100 percent proficient in reading and math by 2014, in exchange for the adoption of certain policy priorities.

A Liberal Education
March 11, 2011

Last month was decision time for the many academics who left their tenured jobs to work in the Obama administration. Universities standardly grant leave for at most two years, at which point a professor must either return or resign. Some, of course, can hope to be rehired later, but prudence often rules. Many of my acquaintances made the choice to return to writing and teaching. A few have stayed on. For a long time I’ve been comparing my free and sheltered life to those exposed and difficult lives, with a mixture of relief and guilt.

Budget 2012: Education and the Audacity of Hope
February 18, 2011

As seasoned observers have acknowledged, a sharply divided Washington makes President Obama’s budget this year at least as much a political act as a policy one. Ambitious new initiatives stand little chance at passage. Yet it’s still worth asking how the administration sees education through a political lens. After all, President Obama identified education as one of the central pillars for investment in his State of the Union call to “win the future.” Let’s start then with the top line. The Department of Education surfaces as one of the clear winners in the FY 2012 Obama budget.