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Jack Jennings
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Jack Jennings is the former president and CEO for the Center on Education Policy, a Washington, D.C.-based nonpartisan, nonprofit education research organization. From 1967 to 1994, he served as subcommittee staff director and then as a general counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Education and Labor.

Entries by Jack Jennings

When Something Goes Right...

(0) Comments | Posted May 6, 2014 | 4:30 PM

When something goes right for the country, we should first thank those who made it possible. And then, enjoy the moment before being overwhelmed again by reports of wars, mud slides, and unemployment.

In April, the U.S. Department of Education announced that the United States recorded its highest ever graduation...

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Are Current School Reforms Imperiling Long-Term Gains?

(0) Comments | Posted December 19, 2013 | 1:39 PM

A blizzard of education reports and studies appears every year. This swirl of information, analysis, and commentary -- some of which is contradictory -- makes it difficult to understand the condition of America's public schools. In short, are the schools getting better or worse?

In December...

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Privileging the Few over the Many in Education

(15) Comments | Posted September 9, 2013 | 9:40 AM

Ideas matter. In education, an under-appreciated but powerful example of the impact of ideas can be found in the influence of Ayn Rand, a Russian-American novelist and polemicist who died in 1982. In Rand's case, her ideas have helped to shape an environment where the well-being of the few is...

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Why Tests Should Not Be Used to Measure Teacher Performance

(12) Comments | Posted July 9, 2013 | 3:46 PM

Many states have reformed their teacher evaluation systems to hold public school teachers accountable for the academic achievement of their students. The hope is that if teachers are measured by the improvement -- or lack thereof -- in their students' achievement, they will work harder to ensure their students learn...

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The Neglected Purpose of Education

(7) Comments | Posted May 5, 2013 | 12:12 PM

"To prepare all citizens to become responsible members of a democratic society"

"To develop socialization and citizenship skills in children"

"Preparing students for responsible, productive citizenship and imbuing them with values common to one democratic society"

These similar phrases were developed by diverse groups of citizens in...

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Proportion of U.S. Students in Private Schools is 10 Percent and Declining

(9) Comments | Posted March 28, 2013 | 12:31 PM

One in 10 U.S. students in grades preK-12 attends a private school, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Education. Surprised it's not a higher share?

Perhaps even more surprisingly, the private school share of total enrollments has decreased over the past 15...

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California Is Back!

(3) Comments | Posted February 15, 2013 | 1:45 PM

Educators in the Nation's largest state are breathing a deep sigh of relief that public schooling has been freed from the political and economic morass in which it has been mired for over a decade. Bottles of champagne are not yet being popped because educators want to be sure that...

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Breaking the Congressional Logjam on Education

(1) Comments | Posted January 23, 2013 | 3:21 PM

Daily, members of Congress orate on the need for American schools to improve. Yet today, the legislation authorizing every major federal program to assist education has expired or will soon lapse due to the lack of action by Congress. The only way these programs continue temporally is under a Congressional...

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Mind the Gap!

(0) Comments | Posted December 19, 2012 | 11:08 AM

American tourists are often amused when traveling on the London "tube" to hear the announcement at each station to "mind the gap." This attention-getting advice is meant to warn passengers exiting the subway car to step over the space between the car and the platform.

American education has its own...

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Making Neighborhood Schools Better: Hard Work, Not Magic

(3) Comments | Posted November 20, 2012 | 12:10 PM

Many people hope that magic solutions can be found to improve low-performing schools. Philanthropists, hedge fund millionaires, and others interested in reform have put their funds and faith in charter schools or virtual learning, as though these approaches have special powers that will produce a sudden breakthrough to educational excellence.

...
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'Heroes' Aren't Just Men and Women in Military Uniforms

(5) Comments | Posted October 13, 2012 | 1:59 PM

Two basic functions are essential to democratic societies: educating the young and defending citizens from attack. But in the U.S. today, quite different attitudes have developed about each of these functions.

In a nutshell, our nation's schools are considered failures, while the armed forces are beyond reproach.

This double...

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When Politics Comes First: The Reasons Republicans Shifted to Supporting Private Schools

(2) Comments | Posted September 12, 2012 | 12:17 PM

Mitt Romney has pledged that if elected president he will enact a voucher program that would allow parents of low-income and special needs students "to choose from any district or public charter school, or a private school where permitted by state law." This position has become the norm...

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The Power to Motivate

(0) Comments | Posted June 5, 2012 | 5:13 PM

The classic scene from a sports movie occurs in the locker room at half time when the coach delivers a rousing speech to motivate the players to win. Beneath this cliché lies a basic truth -- that in sports, the desire of the players to do their best is as...

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A Civil Right to a Good Education

(1) Comments | Posted January 30, 2012 | 10:35 AM

American schools are not as good as they need to be, according to President Obama, the Republican presidential candidates, business leaders, and many others. It has not been for want of trying to improve education, so the problem must be the way we have gone about it.

Over the last...

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Coal for Christmas

(1) Comments | Posted January 10, 2012 | 12:13 PM

In 19th century England, children were told by their parents that if they didn't behave, Father Christmas would bring them coal for Christmas instead of nice presents.

Two weeks ago, American children in large urban school districts did not produce the higher test scores hoped for by adults. Does this...

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Have We Gotten It Wrong on School Reform?

(25) Comments | Posted November 23, 2011 | 7:55 PM

Benchmarking is popular in business. After studying the performance of the top companies in a particular arena, other companies emulate the leaders' best practices seeking the same level of success.

This method has made its way into education. For example, the new common state standards for reading and mathematics were...

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A Serious Step Backward

(4) Comments | Posted October 24, 2011 | 5:32 PM

During last month's Republican primary debate in Orlando, something very significant -- and dangerous -- happened. All of the candidates agreed that education should not be a concern of the federal government.

Romney said the federal government should get out of education. Huntsman declared that to improve education we...

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A Ray of Sunlight in Education

(2) Comments | Posted September 14, 2011 | 10:22 AM

The nation is awash in pessimism. Persistent unemployment, continuing wars, unexpected earthquakes, searing droughts, and drenching hurricanes have dampened the usual optimism of the American people.

This week, a ray of sunlight pierced the clouds of doom. According to local educators, America's public elementary and secondary schools are on the...

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Teacher Pay: U.S. Ranks 22nd Out Of 27 Countries

(220) Comments | Posted August 30, 2011 | 12:53 PM

A few weeks ago, yet another study showed American students being outpaced in mathematics achievement by students in other countries. In "Teaching Math to the Talented," published in the winter 2011 edition of Education Next, researchers from Stanford and Harvard compared U.S. math achievement at the advanced level...

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School Vouchers: No Clear Advantage in Academic Achievement

(18) Comments | Posted July 27, 2011 | 12:10 PM

In the 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s, private school advocates tried to build support for tuition vouchers, payments of public tax funds for private school tuition. President Richard Nixon most notably endorsed this idea. Proponents of vouchers argued that parents who sent their children to private schools were "taxed" twice...

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