Fatigued by School Reform
New book by Jack Jennings available to order now!
by Jack Jennings
After a half-a-century of school reform, a majority of Americans consider the public schools as worse today than when they attended school. Those reforms missed the mark because they were not focused on the backgrounds of the students’ parents--by far the most important indicator of students' progress in school. The importance of parents was documented by the Coleman Report more than 50 years ago.
School reform must be continued but re-directed to over-come the power of low parental socio-economic status. The best way to improve the schools is to create a better, fairer economy providing parents with good jobs and decent wages. In the meantime, good pre-school, after-school, and other aids are needed to help students from low income families.
Teacher quality, although not as influential as the parents' backgrounds, is the second most significant indicator of student success. Teachers, like parents, have not been the focus of the attention their importance deserves. In particular, teachers should be fairly paid, and their verbal and cognitive skills improved.
Available now at:
High school debaters learn about issues and also about democracy. For the school year 2017-18, two recommended topics are based on a book by Jack Jennings.
Yesterday, as usual, we talked now and again about President Trump and politics. As much as we try to avoid the topic, it sharply intrudes into our daily lives. We voted against Trump, and are upset about the direction that the country is taking. Living in Washington,...
Tolerance of other points of view and respect for others as fellow citizens must be a conscious goal.
I am honored to be part of this celebration of the life of Tom Wolanin. Donna, Andrew, Peter and other members of the family, you have the sympathy of everyone in this room. All of us knew Tom during his long career. We admired his talents. And, today, we salute him...
“(A)n education system flush with cash but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge.” President Trump broadcast this biting condemnation in his inaugural address. A short time later, Trump proposed cutting education spending by 13%....
The academic achievement of elementary and secondary students from the 1970s through to the current decade is shown through the unique Long-term Trend Assessments, but the usefulness of that trend line measurement is imperiled by a proposed delay of 12 years until its next administration. This paper argues for greater support for this assessment.
If the U.S. were to value education as much as military activities, the schools would be better funded.
This memorandum explains the methodology used to determine the total amount spent for primary and secondary education by the nations of the world. It also explains how much U.S. expenditures would have to increase to reach a third of that total.
In this interview, Jack Jennings comments on the new U.S. Secretary of Education and the national role in education.
President Trump is violating his pledge to respect state and local control of education by proposing to shift funds from regular public schools to charter schools and private schools.
If competition is good for public education, shouldn’t it be beneficial for the U.S. Armed Forces?
The 2016 elections are now behind us, but what remains is a divided country. Some people are very happy feeling that their voices finally were heard. Others are depressed believing that prejudice and divisiveness won. These strongly held opinions will not fade soon....
A longtime federal education authority concocts a three-part cure for addressing a common school leader’s phobia Psychologists label them phobias. They are a fear of something such as heights, closed spaces or ever-smiling elected officials. Science and medicine...
During the last fifteen years, the reputation of the federal government in education has gone downhill.
A cultural shift from “publish or perish” to “educate students well.”
Boldness needs to be matched by prudence.
Unfortunately, equitable funding is not going to happen.
Fifty Years of Federal Aid to Schools: Back into the Future? Jack Jennings* Excerpts from an article appearing in Volume 3 Education Law & Policy Review 2016 In 1965, the federal government began to provide major financial aid for education to states and local...
Public schools would be better if two major obstacles were removed. Teachers’ unions have injected too much partisanship into schooling, and conservatives have undercut the promise of a good education for all students. These two issues are interconnected. The more the...
“College costs too much!” “My college loans are killing me!” The candidates for the presidency are hearing these complaints as they race around the country. Affordability of a college education is among the few education issues to attract attention in this election...