Mastery-based learning, also known as proficiency-based or competency-based learning, is taking hold across the country. Vermont and Maine have passed laws requiring school districts to phase in the system. New Hampshire is adopting it, too, and piloting a statewide method of assessment that would replace most standardized tests… More than 40 schools in New York City — home to the largest school district in the country, with 1.1 million students — have adopted the program.

U.S. schools where <25% of students qualify for free- and reduced-price lunch (FRPL) fare extremely well in PISA rankings. In fact, they would rank first in reading and science and third in math among OECD countries.By contrast, U.S. schools where >75% of students qualify for FRPL fare very poorly, ranking nearly last in all subjects. Their scores are so low that they drag the overall U.S. average below the median, just above Mexico and Chile.

Virtually all the 11.6 million jobs created since 2010 went to workers with some kind of postsecondary education... Workers with a four-year college degree were hired for nearly 3 out of every 4 positions. Those with a high school diploma or less saw almost no recovery in demand for their labor... By 2020, 2 of every 3 jobs will require some kind of postsecondary education. And most of these jobs will be in services like health care, customer service, and food prep...not the manufacturing sector

To get to their new school, Tilton Elementary, the children from Marconi had to cross different gang lines and new drug turfs, parents at Marconi complained. There were new teachers, new students and, in some cases, a longer walk. And the neighborhood itself was losing one more bit of precious ballast: the rare public institution that held them together ... Based on the city’s own criteria, Tilton barely rated a “good standing” designation, and so was only marginally better than Marconi.

Contributing to Detroit’s problems is a tangled web of a dozen authorizers that determine where charter schools can open or close. Many of those authorizers are public universities and community colleges that often don’t work together to plan comprehensively, which can create chaotic situations in some neighborhoods. According to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s office, 80% of Detroit’s public and charter schools have opened or closed in the last seven years.

A recent report about the economic impact of drop-outs in the Grand Canyon State shows the 20 percent drop-out rate – equating to about 18,100 student dropping out each year – results in a lifetime economic loss of $7.6 billion. And in Tucson, the state's second-largest city, a 22 percent drop-out rate – equating to about 1,140 students dropping out each year – means a $435 million lifetime economic loss for the city.

The public-education system is undeniably flawed. Yet many of the deepest flaws have been deliberately cultivated. Funding inequity and racial segregation...aren’t byproducts of a system that broke. They are direct consequences of an intentional concentration of privilege. Placing the blame solely on teacher training, or the curriculum, or on the design of the high school...perpetuates the fiction that all schools can be made great without addressing issues of race, class, and power.

California’s push for local control is anchored in a principle the governor calls subsidiarity, the idea that teachers, principals and local school administrators are better equipped to deal with classroom problems than state lawmakers or government bureaucrats. Having witnessed various education reform efforts of the past half century, Kirst and Brown have come to be dismissive of educational fads and discouraging about the state’s ability to fix the problems.

pupils taught by teachers at the 90th percentile for effectiveness learn 1.5 years’ worth of material. Those taught by teachers at the 10th percentile learn half a year’s worth. Similar results have been found in countries from Britain to Ecuador ... Rich families find it easier to compensate for bad teachers, so good teaching helps poor kids the most. Having a high-quality teacher in primary school could “substantially offset” the influence of poverty on school test scores,

The state legislature passed a law this week that keeps the framework of autonomous public charter schools in place – giving them control over things such as staffing, school hours, and budgets – but gives back oversight of charter authorizing and centralized policies to the elected Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) in two to three years ... More than 90 percent of the city’s public school children attend charters, while a handful of well-performing schools are run directly by the OPSB.