Education policy

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 […]

Credentialism and its discontents

McMillan Cottom, T. (2017). Lower ed: The troubling rise of for-profit colleges in the new economy. New York, NY: The New Press. The Lower Ed project In Lower Ed, Tressie McMillan Cottom explains how the recent boom and bust of for-profit higher education has been a direct result of economic dislocation. Public policy has responded to economic […]

Bill Sanders, evangelizing expert

About a month ago, Kevin Carey wrote a eulogy for the late Bill Sanders in a New York Times’ Upshot column. Sanders was a statistician at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, someone who among other things had contributed to a mixed linear model procedure in the SAS statistical system1. In the 1980s and early 1990s, he […]

Adulting from nowhere

For some years, I have been somewhat irritated by the rhetoric of some in education that posits that there are adult interests and children’s interests, and that opponents of their preferred policies (whatever they are) are somehow privileging adult over children’s interests. It’s a slick rhetorical move that’s about as close to ad hominem as you can get […]

The pendulum and the ratchet

My thoughts on this start with education policy but is more general: Whether elected Republican officials can reverse a slew of Obama administration policies may depend on whether each policy area is more like a pendulum or more like a ratchet. Elite Republicans hope that by the end of 2018, federal health care, environmental, tax, and […]