Welcome

I’m Jack Jennings. My web site is dedicated to the improvement of public education by using objective analyses based on sound data.

Several years ago, at a congressional hearing which I had organized, Congressman Gus Hawkins, the committee chair, asked the disputing witnesses if they could at least agree on what the data showed. The witnesses were taken aback and didn’t know how to respond. Then, they just repeated their earlier testimony which was irrelevant to the question. In fact, they were using data not as a guide but rather as a way to support their previously determined positions.

The purpose of this site, and of my career, is to be objective and guided by sound information. A specially critical area is aid for poor children, with controversies over accountability, tuition vouchers, and many other ideas.

To help you with your research, the material is arranged by topic and by date published. Also, the newest entries are shown below.

Oldies But Goodies is a new feature. The idea is that earlier postings which are still relevant in today’s policy debates ought to be brought back for another viewing. Several times a month different ones will be posted mostly from a pool of 43 blogs that I wrote for the HuffPost. If you can’t wait and want to read all those blogs, go to https://www.huffpost.com/author/jackjenningsdc-435

Literary Work is another new feature. It appears on its own page at the end. Literary Work is separated because it does not deal with education policy.

Oldies But Goodies

In 2011, I wrote this blog in the HuffPost in response to assertions made by a candidate running for a seat in the U.S. Senate.

Get the Federal Government Out of Education? That Wasn’t the Founding Fathers’ Vision
by Jack Jennings | Feb 7, 2011

Literary Works by Jack Jennings

I have had three careers in my life: working for Congress for 27 years, establishing and running a Washington-based think tank, and writing fiction. My first attempt in this new career was the following article on getting older.

To Be Announced

Three students in public school classroom
Jack Jennings | Education Policy and Reform | Education Legislation and History #jackjenningsdc
Teacher and three students in public school classroom

Fatigued by School Reform

Latest book by Jack Jennings available online and at many bookstores.

Jack Jennings's new book, Fatigued by School Reform

Fatigued by School Reform, 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 them. This book concludes that the country’s major reforms missed the mark because they did not address adequately the great influence of family backgrounds on school success, as the Coleman Report of 1966 clearly documented.

Fatigued by School Reform shows the importance of involving parents in their children’s education, and helping poor and lower middle class students to overcome the limitations of low socio-economic status. Also essential is raising teacher quality.

A fundamental part of school reform, however, has been ignored by almost all reformers. If economic and social conditions are improved leading to better family backgrounds, student performance should also improve. Students’ family backgrounds are that influential.

This book was published in 2020. A year later President Biden secured one-year funding that would reduce the number of poor children in school by nearly one-half. Senator Bennet (Dem. Colo.) said that this change was really school reform.

As of summer 2022, Biden and Bennet’s one-year funding has not been extended; both, however, have said they will continue to press forward. Fatigued by School Reform shows the need for this policy or for similar changes.

Long-lasting school improvement is dependent on factors outside the school building. That is the key conclusion of this book.

Available now at:

Barnes and Nobles

Amazon

Rowman & Littlefield

 


 

Jack Jennings’s new book, Fatigued by School Reform, available now!

  Fatigued by School Reform, 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...

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Teachers’ views have not been heeded

Teachers' views have not been accorded the weight they deserve in seeking school improvement. Just the opposite--teachers have been unfairly blamed for the lack of progress. Listen to John Thompson for some realism from the classroom....

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Advice for Democrats

To win elections, it is helpful to have a disliked opponent. People are more motivated to vote against someone than they are to vote for someone, according to an old adage.   The dreams of Democrats to have such opponents could not be better fulfilled than to...

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A Reminder

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,...

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Trump’s Wrong About the Schools

“(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%....

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Jack Jennings | Education Policy and Reform | Education Legislation and History #jackjenningsdc