RealClearEducation Articles

Now is the Time to Embrace Cyberschool

Emerald Zeitz - July 1, 2020


A recent survey conducted by the Colorado Coalition of Cyberschool Families showed that three in-five parents would be dissatisfied with the current instruction provided by their local school district for the next year. In this season of uncertainty, I believe families should consider cyberschools, which are offered by Colorado, Florida, and other states as a tuition-free public-school option for full-time education. These cyberschools have the infrastructure and tremendous resources in place to support students and their families immediately. Six years ago, my daughter, Alexandra, struggled...

Combining Degrees with Quality Certifications is a Win for Everyone

Karen Elzey & Shalin R. Jyotishi - July 1, 2020


Many colleges have started to embed industry certifications, independent credentials that measure knowledge for competent performance in a specific job or field, (not to be confused with licenses or certificates) into undergraduate and graduate degrees, so that students benefit from a broad-based education as well as specific skills needed to thrive in an ever-changing workplace. This strategy provides life-long pathways to good jobs and is growing in popularity. In a recent Strada Education Network survey, 30% of respondents believed that if they lost their job, they would need more...

The Pandemic Has Reawakened the School Choice Movement

Libby Sobic - June 29, 2020


The roundtable was hosted by Vice President Mike Pence, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway as well as Wisconsin parents, school leaders and school choice advocates. Building off of Lee’s comments, Pence  said, “every parent became an educator, in part, and had to make choices in the way they use their own time and the way they became engaged… I’m really struck by your comment that maybe this challenging time through which we’ve passed has reinvigorated that principle in parents.”   School choice, in a...

American Colleges Must Better Serve Their Communities

Abraham Unger - June 29, 2020


Institutions of Higher Education across the country are issuing fierce statements to their campus communities about their dedication to forging a more representative polis. It is time for them to act upon that conviction. There is no better season to dive into the process of reimagining what an American college education can be than during a genuine transition period such as ours, especially since so many universities have the financial wherewithal to take this summer and lay the groundwork for curricular change. In the wake of Covid-19 and initial fiscal concerns, many colleges expressed...

Blackness, Disability, and Policing in American Schools

Simone Hall - June 24, 2020


More than three weeks after the murder of George Floyd and three months after the murder of Breonna Taylor, we are again left to reflect on the brutal legacy of police violence in this country. Some are affected by what they’ve seen. Others are indifferent. As a Black woman, it revives feelings of anger and grief I’ve felt repeatedly—after the lives of Korryn Gaines, Atatiana Jefferson, Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, Tony McDade, and so many others were taken by those who swore to protect and serve. George and Breonna offered the ghastly reminder that the world...

A Pandemic is Not the Time to Protect the Status Quo

Colleen Cook - June 24, 2020


This piece is troubling because it is yet another example of education elites prescribing what they think is best for students, without taking into account what parents actually want. As cases of the coronavirus spike in states across the country, the threat of the virus’ reemergence in our schools is very real. The National Coalition for Public School Options recently conducted a national study of 2,000 parents with children in traditional elementary and secondary schools to gauge parent opinion on how COVID-19 impacts their child’s education.  The results were...

Closing Schools Was a Grievous Error

Williamson M. Evers - June 22, 2020


Older students also can return to school but need to observe the same precautions as adults under 65: washing hands, not touching their faces, and so forth. Sweden never closed schools for those under 16 and public health authorities in neighboring Norway and Denmark now acknowledge that Sweden made the correct decision.  Globally, according to a research review published recently in The Lancet, a leading medical journal, the number of Covid-19 deaths prevented by school closings has been vanishingly small. The same can’t be said about the closings’ educational...

I’m a Democrat; Secretary DeVos Is Right on Title IX Reform

Buddy Ullman - June 17, 2020


The DeVos Rule provides colleges and universities with a detailed and uniform modus operandi on how they must handle gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual assault disputes.  The new regulations emphasize fairness, equitability, due process protections, and extensive supportive measures for all parties, all of which have been missing from the rescinded Obama-era guidance that the new Rule supersedes.  In contrast, the well-intentioned Obama-era guidance was conspicuously undetailed, constitutionally and legally dubious, and decidedly unfair toward the...

Pandemic Reveals the Perverse Incentives of 'Larger is Better' in K-12 Education

Hattie Mitchell - June 12, 2020


While most districts, schools and administrators are focused on enrollment and average daily attendance (ADA), some schools are focused on really serving the needs of its students. With ever increasing demands on teachers to ensure student learning, and to serve all students by providing FAPE, a free appropriate public education, the cost to educate students continues to rise. Thus, the focus of most schools becomes a rush to enroll and place as many kids into schools and classrooms as physically possible. While high enrollment numbers ensure greater funding from the state and stronger...

Can the Pandemic Teach Students to Fail Forward?

Mike Dardaris - June 8, 2020


Mistakes, on this show, aren’t usually shunned. They’re celebrated. That’s because the show’s experts know what most of us eventually learn—failure is often a steppingstone for success. Too many of us don’t share this mindset and are crippled by a fear of failure. Our students are suffering as a result. Unlike Shark Tank’s contestants, young people aren’t learning the value of failing forward, especially in the classroom. More specifically, business and education leaders are not giving students enough room to explore all their options for the...

Want to Make Your College Degree Count? Here’s Where to Live.

Tyler Ransom - June 1, 2020


In a new report released by The Thomas B. Fordham Institute, author John Winters looks at how the monetary return to a bachelor’s degree, compared to a high school diploma, varies across locations in the U.S. This number—what he refers to as the “college earnings premium”—represents the return on educational investment. And it turns out that there are stark differences in premiums based on where a person lives. At the state level, Washington, D.C., and Virginia, along with Georgia, California, and the tri-state area of New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut all...

COVID-19’s Surprise Effect: More Parents Are Interested in Home Schooling

Nathan Harden - May 29, 2020


Schools scrambled to move classes online when the COVID-19 crisis hit. But, for many families, emergency home schooling during the pandemic has been largely a disaster, with low-quality, hastily thrown together virtual classes, and reports of low participation among students. News outlets have been full of stories about how stressful the experience has been for American families. But those stories may have been a bit misleading. Because four out of 10 parents in our poll say they are more likely to consider home schooling after the lockdown. We asked 626 registered voters, “Are you more...

The Childcare Crisis Is in K-12, Not Early Childhood

Katharine B. Stevens - May 29, 2020


High-quality early care — whether at home, a childcare center, or grandma’s house — matters greatly to young children’s healthy development. But to get the economy going again, the critical problem is care for school-age children. In a recent study on this question, University of Chicago economists used 2018 Census Bureau data to calculate the share of the workforce affected by childcare constraints, focusing on working parents with children under age 14 and no available caregiver in the household. They found that 24 million workers (15 percent of the U.S. workforce)...

The Most Anxious Generation

Janet Tran - May 29, 2020


Further, a 2019 Blue Cross Blue Shield report found that millennials are seeing their physical and mental health decline at a faster rate as they age compared to the preceding Generation X. The mental health epidemic and the current COVID-19 pandemic are now deeply interconnected. Long-term social distancing and isolation due to COVID-19 is a prime breeding ground for mental health challenges to grow and fester. While the U.S. death toll of COVID-19 rises, we also know that mental illness untreated can be fatal.   Schools must prioritize this crisis now as they work...

Why Many Charter Schools Were Better Prepared for Covid-19

Baker A. Mitchell - May 29, 2020


As Robin Lake and Bree Dusseault of the Center for Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington Bothell noted recently, charter networks in particular were able to make “rapid leaps from the classroom to the cloud.”  That’s because charters typically are more nimble and less bureaucratic than traditional public schools, recruit teachers and administrators who often have prior experience dealing with time-sensitive challenges, and rely more heavily on technology than traditional public schools, all of which apply to the four Title 1 charter schools...

COVID-19 Will Exacerbate Troubling NAEP Score Declines

Holly Kuzmich & Justine Taylor-Raymond - May 25, 2020


Amidst these challenges, the recently released data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in civics, history, and geography for eighth graders across the country were troubling. The results demonstrated a continued downward trend in student achievement seen the last few years, not just in those subjects, but also in the fundamentals of reading and math.  Why do these subjects matter? They provide students with the knowledge to understand issues important to their daily lives, including those associated with a pandemic. For example, to battle this current pandemic,...

The Limitations of the Virtual Classroom

Jason Stevens & Ellen Tucker - May 22, 2020


Schools and teachers have done their best to shift instruction from the classroom to online platforms, such as Zoom. Since not all students have computing devices, and some—especially those in rural areas—often lack internet access, school administrators have had to seek workarounds. Many have dug into reserve funds or worked with business donors to equip students with what they need.  Still, problems remain. A few students, the unmotivated ones, have taken campus closures as an excuse to forget their studies. Others, who lack the skills of “self-starters,” have...

Questioning Ties to China

Rachelle Peterson - May 20, 2020


The probe doesn’t concern itself with whether the Wuhan lab really did start the pandemic. The U.S. intelligence community’s looking into that. But the Department of Education’s investigation underlines further critically important questions: How closely entwined are American colleges with the Chinese government? And how much undue influence has China thereby acquired over American higher education? The answer is: too much. For years the Chinese government has worked to co-opt American students, scholars, and institutions of higher education. The Chinese government has...

To Succeed in the Post-COVID Era, Our Schools Need to Stop Batch-Processing Kids

David Osborne - May 20, 2020


But these questions miss the point. All students arrive, every year, at different stages in their academic growth. Some are multiple years behind grade level; some are near grade level but have gaps in their learning, topics they have never mastered. And some are at or above grade level. Schools full of low-income children have struggled with this reality for years, because many of their students are years behind grade level. Many charter schools were founded to serve such students, and they have led the search for answers. The high performers assess their students with brief tests at the...

Bailed-Out Colleges Should Be Forced to Cut Administrative Bloat

Christopher Kendall - May 15, 2020


Elite universities received millions of dollars in federal aid, despite boasting tens of billions of dollars in endowment funds. After public pressure, many of these schools backed down and returned or refused to accept the federal aid. Harvard, Stanford, Yale, and the University of Pennsylvania were among those that raced to get these federal grants, only to return them after a public outcry. Despite receiving the initial $14 billion bailout to higher education, many college and university administrators are clamoring for more. The situation is dire. Public colleges face looming cuts to...