Education policy

How to think clearly about that clever econometrics policy paper

A late August NBER working paper by Joshua Goodman, Oded Gurantz, and Jonathan Smith argues that if every high school student took common college admissions tests twice, that would shrink the income-relevant college enrollment gap by 20%. New York Times reporter Sahil Chinoy wrote up the story, and the headline repeated the eyebrow-raising import of the paper’s […]

Image from the old Comedy Central The Colbert Report, "The Word" segment, with "Children" as the title.

Dorn vs. Oliver

In May 2015, more than three years ago, the major segment of John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight focused on standardized testing. Eighteen minutes is a lifetime on television, and in his segment Oliver argued that testing was not worth the pain or money. Critics in education policy world responded with serious quibbles, because I guess then we […]

Christina Sommers is not the typical target of attempts to suppress speech on campuses

This morning, New York Magazine columnist Jonathan Chait tried to address the question of political norms on the left in response to several academics and a few journalists who have pushed back against the idea that there is a free speech crisis on college campuses. The headlines of some of the pieces Chait is reponding to: People […]

How the “industrial era schools” myth is a barrier to helping education today

Betsy DeVos got slammed on Twitter Tuesday after posting a tweet from SXSWEdu that included the following: Everything about our lives has moved beyond the industrial era. But American education largely hasn’t. Last time that I checked, that tweet had 629 likes, 194 retweets, and about 5200 replies, most of which read something like the following: […]

The missing methods section: Origins of the dropout problem

A quarter century ago, the History of Education Quarterly accepted my first article, on when and why people in the United States began to use dropping out as the dominant term for people who left school without a high school diploma. Spoiler: we started using the term not because dropping out was a growing problem in the 1960s […]