Instead of starving our schools of critical funding and pushing market-based, test-driven policies that ultimately fail our kids, we should be relying on evidence and input from those closest to the classroom to find solutions that work.
Poverty isn't like polio, which can be cured in one treatment. The factors that lead to a child being in a disadvantaged family at preschool are likely to persist afterwards, and top-quality education is needed at every age to help children overcome effects of poverty.
In my own field, education, the "gap" between white students and African American and Hispanic children is always decried but never solved. It has remained about the same since 1980. Could we solve it?
Quite some years ago I visited a school in Baltimore City that had raised its third-grade reading scores dramatically. I wanted to see what they were doing to be so successful -- and I was curious about why its fifth-grade scores had not improved even as its third-grade ones had.
In concept, evaluating teachers makes perfect sense. In what private company are employees not evaluated and held accountable for their contribution to their company's bottom line? In practice, evaluating teachers is not so easy.
We know that principals are the linchpin of school success. But it is by understanding some of the work that instructional leaders do to lead success that we can actually see why they are so important.
Let's be clear here. Our kids take the journey through school only once; the poorest among them, in particular, need us to get serious about their education while they are on that journey, not years later.
As time goes on, Results for America is making significant inroads in the policy world, helping political leaders of all stripes get comfortable with the idea of heightening the role of evidence in policymaking.
Even I, who did not suffer first hand from bullying, can remember being comforted by the fact that all of my peers would be wearing the same thing, regardless of how popular, fashionable, beautiful, or wealthy they may be.