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Below are the results for during January .

Idaho Boosts Workforce Development in Midst of Population Boom

With more people pursuing their personal and professional dreams in Idaho, Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter has signed two bills reinforcing strong alignment between K-12 education and workforce demand. In his final legislative session, Governor Otter championed a workforce development package that positively affects current and future Idahoans for years to come. As the fastest growing […]

Three Families Share Their Stories on World Down Syndrome Day

• The Ed Fly

Today, families across the world are highlighting the meaningful contributions people with Down Syndrome bring to their families and communities. World Down Syndrome Day, celebrated on March 21 each year, presents a unique opportunity to talk about equity in education for students with special needs. Children with Down Syndrome, like all children, deserve access to […]

#AskExcelinEd: How can early learning help states close the equity gap?

• Cari Miller

As we continue to explore how states are advancing educational equity that offers students quality learning opportunities, Policy Director of Early Literacy Cari Miller discusses the importance of high quality early learning programs and highlights four states who are leading the way. A new resource from CCSSO is now available to support equity improvements already underway […]

More Utah Schools Can Create Classrooms of the Future

Following the lead of local schools seeking the best way to help students, Utah has been among the national leaders in creating classrooms of the future that focus on students’ mastery of knowledge and skills rather than seat-time. Responding to high demand from schools and local communities, Senate Bill 132 expands a competency-based pilot program […]

Bringing Passion and Focus to Education in America

• Jennifer Diaz

“It doesn’t matter where you came from, it matters where you are going.”  –Dr. Condoleezza Rice in “American Creed”  Perhaps understandably, I thought a lot about education as I watched American Creed, Dr. Condoleezza Rice’s inspiring and uplifting new film. It’s told through the stories of Americans from all walks of life and discusses different views on […]

#AskExcelinEd: How can states allocate resources to achieve fiscal equity?

• Matthew Joseph

As we continue to explore how states are advancing educational equity that offers students quality learning opportunities, this week, Policy Director of Education Funding Matthew Joseph discusses how states can implement student-centered funding, and highlights some promising practices from states across the country.  It’s a poorly kept secret that fiscal equity is elusive in K-12 public […]

Landmark Decision Validates Louisiana’s Charter Schools

Today, the Louisiana Supreme Court issued a ruling in the case of Iberville Parish School Board, et al v. Louisiana State Elementary and Secondary Education Board, upholding the constitutionality of the state’s charter school funding model. “This landmark decision validates the important role of charter schools in helping thousands of Louisiana students receive a quality […]

Meaningful diplomas need external validation

• Sam Duell

This post was originally featured in The Thomas B. Fordham’s Flypaper blog on March 12, 2018.  

Gov. Bush: Legislation Brings Florida Closer to Educational Freedom

Today, Governor Jeb Bush, Chairman of the Board of the Foundation for Excellence in Education released the following statement on the signing of House Bill 7055 by Governor Rick Scott. “Today is a life-changing day for thousands of Florida families, especially those who have faced significant barriers to finding the right learning environment for their child.   […]

Graduation rates are not the real scandal. High school diplomas and how they are earned are.

• Quentin Suffren

This post was originally featured in The Thomas B. Fordham’s Flypaper blog on March 8, 2018.  

North Dakota Districts Can Have More Flexibility and Local Control

North Dakota school districts have a new opportunity to implement innovative learning programs with more local control and the flexibility to redesign their schools with a more student-centered focus. The Innovation Education Program is among a growing number of ground-breaking proposals around the nation as more states consider how to empower schools to rebuild systems […]

#AskExcelinEd: What are states doing to advance educational equity?

• Liya Amelga

During this #AskExcelinEd series, we will be exploring how states are advancing educational equity to offer students quality learning opportunities. Associate Director of K-12 Reform Liya Amelga kicks off this series by providing a historical overview of educational equity.  A new report States Leading for Equity: Promising Practices Advancing the Equity Commitments released by the […]

Public Charter Schools are serving more students with disabilities than ever before

• Sam Duell

According to a just published report by the National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools (NCSECS), public charter schools are serving more students with disabilities than ever before. And while there’s still a gap between the percentage of students with disabilities enrolled in traditional public schools and public charter schools, that gap decreased by […]

Personalized Learning Policy Director Karla Phillips Featured in Education Week

• Karla Phillips

This commentary, “What Should Betsy DeVos Prioritize?” was first published in Education Week on February 28, 2018. Now just over a year in office, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos continues to be a lightning rod in the field of American education. The debate over her K-12 philosophy and policy ideas remains vigorous in many […]

#AskExcelinEd: How can state and local education agencies support educators in improving CTE instruction?

• Danielle Mezera

As we’ve noted before, strengthening Career and Technical Education (CTE) requires a number of steps, including program alignment with state and regional demand; sequenced and progressive coursework; academic and technical student experiences that result in employable skills; and high-quality course standards. What is missing from this list? Educators. As a robust state CTE program grows, […]

Studies Find Boost to College Enrollment, Taxpayers Savings for Prominent School Choice Programs

• Adam Peshek

What impact do voucher programs have on the long-term success of students? For decades, studies of the effect of voucher programs relied on near-term data, such as student test scores. As voucher and tax-credit scholarship programs mature in age, so too are the ways researchers are evaluating them. Two new studies released by the Urban […]

ExcelinEd Shares National Mastery-Based Education Policy Trends with Idaho Lawmakers

Last week, ExcelinEd Policy Director for Personalized Learning Karla Phillips discussed the national policy trends supporting mastery-based, personalized learning before the Idaho House and Senate education committees. “We believe the power of a personalized approach supported by a mastery-based structure has the potential to better inform students and their families with an accurate view of […]

Why Digital Skills Matter for All Students

• Lowell Matthews

Today is Digital Learning Day (#DLDay). Started in 2012, #DLDay highlights the value of, and need for, digital learning opportunities in classrooms to strengthen student learning experiences. Although the focus of this recognition is generally around using digital learning to enhance and expand traditional skill sets students need to succeed in life, I’d like to […]

#AskExcelinEd: What challenges do states face in aligning CTE program offerings to business and industry needs?

• Quentin Suffren

A high-quality Career and Technical Education (CTE) program reflects the needs of business and industry and ensures students are well prepared to meet those needs. Too often, this statement is still the exception – and not the rule. Let’s take a closer look at the top three challenges states face in strengthening their CTE programs. […]

#AskExcelinEd: What steps can states take to ensure their CTE courses are high quality?

• Danielle Mezera

For our next #CTEMonth installment, Danielle Mezera, coauthor of Putting CTE to Work for Students, explains high-quality course standards and why they are essential in a successful CTE program. Strengthening state Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs does not have to involve major legislative changes or depend on federal action, such as reauthorization of the […]

#AskExcelinEd: Why do industry certifications matter?

• Lowell Matthews

February is Career and Technical Education (CTE) month. Today, we’ll tackle the question of why industry certifications matter for secondary students. The benefits are undeniable! Consider each of these advantages: Foundational Skills The process of earning an industry certification allows students to experience the real-world demands of work in a practical way. Acquiring an industry […]

Landmark Decision Validates Mississippi’s Charter Schools

Today, Hinds County Chancery Court Judge Dewayne Thomas upheld the constitutionality of the Mississippi Charter Schools Act, which allows state funding to follow students who attend public charter schools. The decision helps hundreds of families – whose children attend charter schools – continue to access a quality education.  “The Court’s ruling is a clear victory for Mississippi families, especially those struggling […]

Gov. Hutchinson Highlights Importance of Career Pathways and Early Literacy 

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson opened the 2018 Fiscal Session by delivering his State of the State Address where he highlighted the significant strides Arkansas has made in computer science and early literacy. He focused on the work his administration has done to create a top computer science program and directed continued financial support of the program and opportunities to expand it in the future. Gov. Hutchinson also touted the Reading Initiative for Student […]

529 College Savings Plans Can Now Be Used for K-12 Expenses: How Are States Responding?

• Victoria Bell

The federal government has expanded 529 college savings plans to include qualified expenses for elementary and secondary education (public, private or religious). In doing so, educational opportunity has increased for families across the country. Now, in addition to using account funds for college expenses, a family can choose to use up to $10,000 annually toward […]

Nevada Now Accepting Applications for Competency-Based Education Network 

Dear Friend, I’m pleased to share with you that the Nevada Department of Education announced they are now accepting applications for their Competency-Based Education Network. School districts wishing to implement an innovative approach that allows flexibility in the classroom can join the network to study and establish recommendations for implementing personalized learning initiatives statewide. Nevada is empowering schools to create a flexible path […]

The Real Stories of Education Reform

• Jennifer Diaz

I love a good stat. Just last year, more than 36,000 students accessed Choice programs for the first time. 4th graders in states with strong accountability programs outpaced 4th graders in other states in both reading and math. 46 percent of employers nationwide report difficulty in filling open positions across a range of career sectors. 9 […]

#AskExcelinEd: Why is #CTEMonth important?

• Quentin Suffren

February is Career and Technical Education Month (#CTEMonth) and for the next few weeks we will be exploring some of the pressing issues facing state and local CTE programs. Today, Innovation Policy Managing Director Quentin Suffren previews what to expect from this series and provides background on CTE. Here at ExcelinEd, we talk a lot […]

Gov. Haslam Prioritized Accountability and Career and Technical Education in Final State of the State Address

In his final State of the State address yesterday, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam touted the rapid gains Tennessee has made in education. He also urged leaders to join him in continuing to improve academic standards, accountability and educational opportunities for all students. Additionally, he prioritized preparing students for skilled trades in high demand. “Tennessee is now viewed as a change agent, an innovator in the world […]

#AskExcelinEd: Why is School Choice Good for Teachers?

• Victoria Bell

In our final #AskExcelinEd celebrating National School Choice Week, Policy Analyst for Education Opportunity Tori Bell discusses how in an education market that offers robust choice and varied school options, teachers can better develop, own and pursue their preferred pedagogies. During National School Choice Week, communities across the nation are celebrating and advocating for educational […]

Gov. Jeb Bush Congratulates “Choices in Education” Video Contest Winner from Miami

As part of National School Choice Week, Gov. Jeb Bush recognized Christopher Collot and his son, Jayden, as winners of the national “Choices in Education” video competition during a school tour of Mater Academy Elementary School in Hialeah Gardens. Jayden is a second-grade student at the school’s K-2 campus. “Every child in America deserves access to […]

#AskExcelinEd: What are 5 key considerations for creating or developing tax-credit scholarship programs?

• James Paul

As we continue to celebrate National School Choice Week, Associate Policy Director of Education Choice James Paul helps us better understand one of the fastest growing areas of choice – tax-credit scholarship programs. A proper celebration of National School Choice Week must include the life-changing opportunities that tax-credit scholarship programs are offering to hundreds of […]

#AskExcelinEd: How does charter school policy give parents the power to create their own school choice?

• Sam Duell

As we continue to celebrate National School Choice Week, Associate Director of Charter School Policy Sam Duell tells us a story of a group of parents from Norman, Oklahoma starting their own public charter school. Imagine that your elementary school student is happy and thriving in your local public school, attending a language-immersion program and […]

Congratulations to the #ChoicesInEd Video Competition Winners

• Patricia Levesque

In celebration of National School Choice Week, ExcelinEd proudly joins more than a dozen partners to announce the winners of the “Choices in Education” video competition. Selected from hundreds of inspiring stories, these seven winners exemplify a variety of school choice options and show us why access to more educational opportunity is life changing. Please join […]

Winners Announced for the National “Choices in Education” Video Contest

Millions of American families – from single parent to rural families and parents of children with special needs – benefit from the opportunity to find the best educational fit for their child’s unique needs. And each family has an inspiring story to share. As National School Choice Week begins, ExcelinEd proudly joins more than a dozen partners to announce the winners […]

#AskExcelinEd: What does National School Choice Week mean to you?

• Lizzette Gonzalez Reynolds

Next week we celebrate National School Choice Week with more than 32,000 events and activities across the country. Parents, teachers and students will be featuring traditional public schools, public charter schools, private schools, magnet schools, online schools and homeschooling. I personally will be among an estimated 6.7 million participants at National School Choice Week events. […]

Harbor Freight “Tools for Schools” Prize for Teaching Excellence Highlights the Importance of CTE Programs Across the Country

• Lowell Matthews

  When Harbor Freight Tools launched its inaugural Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence last June, so many outstanding skilled trades teachers and programs were profiled in public high schools across the nation. As a judge in the contest, I was immediately struck by the energy these teachers bring to their students […]

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb Presents Ambitious Plan to help Hoosiers Succeed in School, Careers 

In his State of the State address yesterday, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb presented an ambitious and thoughtful plan to help all Hoosiers pursue their dreams today and in the future. “Our greatest challenge is that too many Hoosiers lack the education and skills for the jobs that are here today and being created tomorrow,” Holcomb […]

Gov. Ivey Highlights Importance of Early Literacy

During her State of the State address yesterday evening, Governor Kay Ivey implored leaders to join her in strengthening Alabama’s education pathways from Pre-K education to workforce training. In her address, Gov. Ivey highlighted her Strong Start, Strong Finish initiative, which calls for every student to have a solid reading foundation by the end of […]

#AskExcelinEd: What we are looking forward to in 2018.

• Patricia Levesque

  Across the nation, education reform remains a top priority for those working year in and year out on behalf of students—whether in state capitols, classrooms, board rooms or living rooms. In 2018, ExcelinEd will continue to support state leaders who are on the front lines of reform by leading, supporting and partnering to achieve our […]

Idaho Gov. Otter Focuses on Literacy & Careers in State of the State

In his 12th and final “State of the State” address, Gov. Butch Otter celebrated Idaho’s education gains with a firm focus on improving early literacy efforts and student-centered pathways to success in careers and in life. In the upcoming state budget, Otter supports an additional $6.5 million to expand early literacy interventions for struggling readers, recognizing […]

Arizona Governor Ducey Praises Educational Improvements and Calls for Expanded Career and Technical Education

During yesterday’s state of the state address, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey pledged to continue investing in educational programs that are working, including career and technical education, computer science and coding, narrowing the achievement gap and adding high-speed internet to rural schools. Eighty percent of his new budget priorities are for public education. For the past […]

EIE17 Memorable Moments

• Patricia Levesque

Recently, we celebrated our 10th annual National Summit on Education Reform in Nashville, Tennessee. It was rewarding to see all the new faces at what was our biggest event yet to date. And, great to catch up with old friends, including those of you that have attended many – even all – of our 10 summits. […]

Report Card on Report Cards: States Falling Short in Providing Essential Education Data to the Public

• Claire Voorhees

Florida has pioneered great improvements to its education system over the past few decades, dramatically boosting the quality of schools and accountability from top to bottom. Yet, like other states, more work lies ahead to ensure all schools are adequately preparing students for college and careers in the hyper-competitive 21st century global economy. To achieve […]

Four Takeaways from Florida’s Legislative Meeting on K-12 Scholarship Programs

• Adam Peshek

Last week, I was invited by the Florida House of Representatives’ PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee to share an overview of regulations required for participation in the nation’s many scholarship programs. Here are a few takeaways from my presentation: Scholarship programs positively impact students and taxpayers. The majority of research shows that students benefit from scholarship programs: […]

Let’s Ask the Right Question

• Sam Duell

The Associated Press recently published an article called, “US charter schools put growing numbers in racial isolation” (11/3/2017) that draws from an their own study of national enrollment data. Armed with their own analysis, they concluded that about 1,000 charter schools across the country serve super-majorities of students who either identify as African American or […]

New ExcelinEd Policy Resource Helps States Improve Their Career and Technical Education Programs

The “skills gap” in today’s workforce is real. The Department of Labor released the statistic this summer of 6.2 million job openings nationwide—yet at the same time, 7 million Americans were unemployed. This disconnect takes a tremendous toll on individuals and our nation’s economy. Preparing students for entry and advancement in today’s workforce has become […]

Putting Career and Technical Education to Work for Student Success

• Quentin Suffren

Preparing students for entry and advancement in today’s workforce has become a top priority – and a bipartisan one – in states across the nation. Indeed, it’s become almost commonplace to read about the “skills gap” in today’s workforce – as well as new initiatives to address it through secondary education. Whether via internships, industry-based […]

It’s Time for International “Catch-up” in 4th-Grade Reading

• Jim Hull

Less than two decades ago, 4th graders in the United States were among the highest performing readers in the world. The year was 2001, and students in only three countries—Sweden, the Netherlands and England—significantly outperformed our nation’s students on the inaugural “Progress in International Reading Literacy Study,” better known as PIRLS. PIRLS is administered every five […]

Public Voting Underway for National “Choices in Education” Video Contest

The public now has the unique opportunity to see and hear American families, adults and children share personal stories about how “choices in education” changed their lives. Hundreds of families from across the country shared their stories for the “Choices in Education” video contest over the past two months and now the public can vote […]

North Carolina’s New School Report Card Website is a Great Tool for Parents

• The Ed Fly

We have all heard about information being shared on a “need to know” basis. Parents need to know about the quality of their children’s school. Unfortunately, such information often is not readily available. It is buried deep in web sites, and hidden behind technical jargon and impenetrable spreadsheets. Indiana Jones probably would have more success […]

North Carolina Redesigns School Report Cards for Accountability, Transparency

Today, North Carolina State Superintendent Mark Johnson unveiled a complete redesign of the state’s school report card website that will provide clear, transparent information on local school performance to parents, teachers, students and communities statewide. The new website,, was developed at the direction of Superintendent Johnson and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction […]

ExcelinEd Identifies Key Trends in New Analysis of ESSA State Plans

Now that all 50 states and the District of Columbia have submitted their Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plans to the U.S. Department of Education, ExcelinEd has completed a landscape analysis of the nuts and bolts of these plans. “It’s encouraging that in the majority of states, schools will earn summative ratings that are easily […]

Live from #EIE17 with Mike Thomas

• Mike Thomas

The National Summit on Education Reform celebrates its 10th anniversary this year in Nashville, drawing a record crowd of more than 1,100 attendees from more than 40 states. The leading minds in innovation and reform are here, and will be laying out a new and bold direction for education in the 21st century. Stay tuned […]

Transcript: Gov. Jeb Bush’s Opening Keynote Address at #EIE17

Transcript: Gov. Jeb Bush delivered the following Opening Keynote address at ExcelinEd’s 10th annual National Summit on Education Reform, held in Nashville, Tennessee.  Thank you, Governor Haslam. It is great to be in this beautiful state. There is a reason why we’re here, and it’s your leadership. If there wasn’t the kind of rising student achievement […]

Public School Choice Works, Creates Opportunity

• Victoria Bell

Public school choice is working for families across the country. While choice programs certainly face unique challenges in cities across the U.S., a recent study by the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) finds that public school choice is “working well and resulting in new opportunities for families.” Some people claim education choice will result […]

#AskExcelinEd: Q&A with Governor Jeb Bush

• Governor Jeb Bush

Why did you first convene a national summit on education reform back in 2008? When we held our first summit in Orlando in 2008, our entire staff could have fit in a minivan. We were a start-up that took on the rather audacious mission of overhauling the nation’s education system, basing our approach on disruptive […]

Put Students at the Center of Education Funding

• Matthew Joseph

Too often, debates about state education funding focus solely on how much money should be provided to school districts. Far too little attention is paid to an equally or more important question: How can your state maximize the impact of existing funding? One critical strategy is to fund students, instead of allocating large blocks of […]

Testing tweaks that every state should consider during their 2018 legislative sessions

• The Ed Fly

This piece featuring ExcelinEd CEO Patricia Levesque was originally posted last week on the Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s Flypaper blog.    Testing tweaks that every state should consider during their 2018 legislative sessions The FlyPaper November 8, 2017 By: Michael J. Petrilli Education reform advocates nationwide are putting together their wish lists for the state legislative […]

Pennsylvania Budget Package Puts Students First

• Ashley DeMauro

This package gives more Pennsylvania families opportunities to find the best educational setting for their children and takes another step toward equitable student-centered funding across the state.  

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to Address National Summit on Education Reform

The Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) today announced that U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will address the 2017 National Summit on Education Reform on Thursday, November 30, in Nashville, Tennessee. ExcelinEd’s flagship event, now in its 10th year, convenes leaders from across the nation and around the world to share strategies to improve the quality […]

Yes, and…A Review of the “Progressive Case for Charter Schools”

• Sam Duell

The Center for American Progress (CAP) recently published “The Progressive Case for Charter Schools,” an argument in favor of charter schools. When it comes to charter schools, we find several points of agreement with CAP and some other points we might add to the conversation.

A Tale of Three States: The Next Chapter

• Karla Phillips

Last year ExcelinEd, in partnership with Getting Smart, released Policy, Pilots and the Path to Competency-Based Education: A Tale of Three States, where we followed the different paths that Idaho, Florida and Utah are taking to pursue personalized learning. Now, ExcelinEd has released The Next Chapter and we pick up where we left off, tracking the next phase of implementation of each state’s pilot program.

2017 National Summit to Feature “Real Faces of Education Choice” Session

The Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) today announced that Chris Stewart, president and CEO of the Wayfinder Foundation, will moderate The Search for Opportunity: Real Faces of Education Choice at the 2017 National Summit on Education Reform on Friday, December 1, in Nashville, Tennessee.

2017 National Summit on Education Reform Media Registration Now Open

Media registration is now open for the Foundation for Excellence in Education’s 2017 National Summit on Education Reform. The nation’s premier education forum, featuring a keynote address by Governor Jeb Bush, convenes lawmakers and policymakers for in-depth discussions on proven education policies and innovative strategies to improve student achievement.

#AskExcelinEd: National Summit edition featuring Q&A with Cari Miller

• The Ed Fly

We are just four weeks away from ExcelinEd’s 2017 National Summit on Education Reform (#EIE17)! During this four-part #AskExcelinEd series, we will share Q&As with some speakers from our upcoming event.

National “Choices in Education” Video Contest Invites Families to Share Their Stories

Today, a dozen national partners launched the “Choices in Education” video contest at The contest provides the families and students who have experienced the power of educational freedom with a forum for sharing their life-changing stories. Over the next month, students, parents and alumni of educational choice programs across the country are encouraged to […]

#AskExcelinEd: How do states and schools determine what is a high-quality, industry-recognized credential?

• Lowell Matthews

One question ExcelinEd frequently receives when discussing industry recognized credential opportunities is: How do you determine which credentials are high quality?

The Time Is Now: A Review of New America Succeeds Report, “The Age of Agility”

• Lowell Matthews

Automation and artificial intelligence have and will continue to render many of our existing jobs, work functions, degrees and skills obsolete — having a tremendous impact on all workers. And this disruption is only accelerating.

What’s in a name? Describing Personalized Learning.

• Karla Phillips

“Consistent and effective communication and engagement with students, educators, parents and community stakeholders is crucial for a successful transition to personalized learning.”  – Tale of Three States: The Next Chapter Over the past several years, ExcelinEd has partnered with federal and state policy leaders to support innovative educators and their efforts to implement competency-based education. […]

2017 National Summit to Feature Session on Messaging and Communicating Education Reform

The Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) today announced that the 2017 National Summit on Education Reform will showcase a conversation on communicating education reform at the annual event in Nashville, Tennessee. On December 1, this strategy session—featuring some of the nation’s leading experts—will address how today’s education leaders can reach today’s audiences with the […]

School Choice Update

• ExcelinEd News

FOLLOW-UP How parents make choices: Looking at applicants to New York City’s centralized high school assignment mechanism, a working paper examines the relationship between parent preferences, peer characteristics, and school effectiveness. The researchers find parents prefer schools that enroll high-achieving peers, but, among schools with similar student populations, parents do not rank more effective schools […]

Education Opportunity: A Look at 3 Life-Changing Programs for Florida Students

• The Ed Fly

Florida is the nation’s leader in expanding educational options so that each and every student has access to a high-quality learning environment that best meets their needs. Several states have modeled their private school choice programs after Florida’s Tax Credit Scholarship program, which serves low-income students and Florida’s Gardiner Scholarship Program and McKay Scholarship programs, which serve students with disabilities.

Help Communities, Educators and Students Recover from Hurricanes

• Governor Jeb Bush

This hurricane season has been devastating for countless American families. Unfortunately, these hardships can linger for months and sometimes years as families, communities and local and state governments navigate the tough road to recovery.

What is a major policy barrier to implementing Personalized Learning?

• Karla Phillips

Over the next few weeks, our Innovation policy team will answer the questions they’ve been receiving. We invite you to send in your questions or Tweet us at @ExcelinEd, and share this important information with education partners, stakeholders and others who would like to know more. #AskExcelinEd   What is a major policy barrier to implementing […]

Champions for Charter Schools in Kentucky Celebrate New Options for Parents, Students

Governor Matt Bevin joined fellow champions for school choice today in a ceremonial signing of House Bill 520. The law, approved by lawmakers earlier this year, made Kentucky the 44th state in the nation to authorize public charter schools. Nationally, more than 3 million students attend charter schools in 43 states and Washington D.C. House […]

ExcelinEd Releases “The Path to Personalized Learning: The Next Chapter in the Tale of Three States”

Today, the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) released “The Path to Personalized Learning: The Next Chapter in the Tale of Three States.” This comprehensive policy paper picks up where ExcelinEd’s 2016 paper, A Tale of Three States, left off following the different paths Florida, Idaho and Utah are taking to implement personalized learning pilot […]

2017 National Summit to Feature Five Sessions on Educational Quality

The Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) today announced that the 2017 National Summit on Education Reform will showcase conversations about educational quality at the annual event in Nashville, Tennessee. On November 30 – December 1, these five separate strategy sessions—featuring some of the nation’s leading experts—will cover crucial issues facing today’s education leaders:

#AskExcelinEd: What role does Course Access play in preparing students for college and career?

• Erin Lockett

Learner-centered education requires broad access to high-quality coursework, yet too many schools and districts are unable to offer critical courses necessary for college and career readiness. ExcelinEd’s Course Access policy seeks to address these gaps through legislation, incentives and guidance allowing students to access an online marketplace of high-quality courses.

Personalized learning and accountability: From transition to transformation

• Patricia Levesque

Personalized learning presents a vital opportunity to provide rigorous, high-quality instruction while addressing students’ diverse educational experiences and pursuing their unique strengths, interests, and needs. Coupled with flexibility in pace and delivery, personalized learning is grounded in the idea of students progressing when they demonstrate mastery of skills and knowledge, regardless of the time, place, or pace at which such mastery occurs. For some students, it means removing artificial barriers to their engagement with more advanced work. For many others, it means providing tailored support as well as the time and opportunity to close learning gaps rather than leaving them behind year after year.

2017 National Summit to Feature Four Sessions on Opportunity & Choice in Education

The Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) today announced that the 2017 National Summit on Education Reform will showcase four conversations about opportunity and choice in education at the annual event in Nashville, Tennessee.

#AskExcelinEd: How do ExcelinEd’s Innovation policies support learner-centered education?

• The Ed Fly

How do ExcelinEd’s Innovation policies support learner-centered education? ExcelinEd’s Innovation policy set focuses on three core areas that promote learner-centered approaches to education. Each policy set is distinct, yet all are focused on expanding families’ opportunities to select the courses and learning pathways that are best for their students. 

Florida Tax Credit Scholarships Send More Students to College, Save Taxpayers Money

Students participating in the popular Florida Tax Credit (FTC) scholarship program are more likely to enroll in college than their peers, according to research released today. The study, by researchers Matthew Chingos and Daniel Keuhn, finds that attending a private school with an FTC scholarship increases a low-income student’s likelihood of enrolling in college by […] Founder Hadi Partovi to Address National Summit on Education Reform

The Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) today announced that founder and CEO Hadi Partovi will address the 2017 National Summit on Education Reform on Friday, December 1, in Nashville, Tennessee.

#ThrowbackThursday A Look Back at How Far We’ve Come!

Back in 2008, ExcelinEd hosted the 1st Annual National Summit on Education Reform in Orlando, Florida. The idea was to create a first-class lineup of inspiring speakers and offer targeted strategy sessions featuring policy experts, legislators and educators to share proven and next-generation policy solutions for improving learning for all students. As we prepare to host […]

A Parent’s Call to Action: Leveraging Personalized Learning for Your Child

• Karla Phillips

From the day of diagnosis, parents of students with disabilities begin the long journey of paving paths through a world designed for the mythical “average” person. In education, we grow accustomed to challenging traditional systems to serve our children so they too can reach their full potential. But the daily struggle is made more difficult because of a significant problem baked into the basic design of traditional education: these systems are set up to serve the “average learner,” who doesn’t exist.

2017 National Summit to Feature Three Sessions on Innovation in Education

The Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) today announced that the 2017 National Summit on Education Reform will showcase conversations about educational quality at the annual event in Nashville, Tennessee. On November 30 – December 1, these five separate strategy sessions—featuring some of the nation’s leading experts—will cover crucial issues facing today’s education leaders:

New Resource to Develop Leaders for Personalized Learning

• Karla Phillips

One of the first questions schools face when they begin transitioning to personalized learning is: “What kind of support will the school leaders and educators need to make this transition successful? Leadership Competencies for Learner-Centered Personalized Education helps answer this question.

#AskExcelinEd: What are states using as School Quality and Student Success Indicators?

• Liya Amelga

When ESSA was first passed, there was intense interest in the SQ/SS indicator. Many education experts speculated on the measures states would include in their accountability systems. Meanwhile, some organizations dedicated to the implementation of rigorous accountability systems focused on student outcomes, like ExcelinEd, were concerned that states would use the SQ/SS indicator to water down or complicate their accountability systems. Fortunately, this has largely not been the case so far.

#AskExcelinEd: How are states incorporating student growth into their accountability systems?

• Jim Hull

One of ESSA’s strengths is that it encourages states to include measures of student growth in their accountability systems. When states hold schools accountable for the academic improvement of each student, it creates a more balanced accountability system because it gives schools credit for improving student achievement, not just for advancing students to the “proficient” level. Recognizing growth provides schools incentive to improve the performance of all students—from those who start school the furthest behind and may not reach proficiency in the first few years to the higher performers who are already proficient and ready to move to advanced achievement.

“Disruptive Innovation” Expert Clayton Christensen to Address National Summit on Education Reform

The Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) today announced that Clayton Christensen, Harvard Business School professor and disruptive innovation expert, will address the 2017 National Summit on Education Reform on Thursday, November 30 in Nashville, Tennessee. ExcelinEd’s flagship event, now in its 10th year, convenes leaders from across the nation and around the world to share strategies to […]

Gov. Jeb Bush: Power of Educational Opportunity Will Help Illinois’ Families

Statement from Governor Jeb Bush, Chairman of the Board of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, on Gov. Bruce Rauner signing legislation creating the Illinois Tax Credit Scholarship Program. “Today is an historic day for thousands of Illinois families who have been granted the freedom and ability to choose the learning environment that best matches […]

A Public Charter School Helped Improve My Daughter’s Reading Skills and Instill a Love of Learning

• The Ed Fly

As students go back to school this month, I think back three years ago when my husband and I were registering our oldest daughter, Arianna, for kindergarten. We faced the decision of enrolling her in the elementary school in our district—which was in the process of losing accreditation—or applying to the lottery for Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts, a public charter school.

#AskExcelinEd: How much weight do states’ school accountability systems give to academic outcomes?

• Claire Voorhees

This #AskExcelinEd series features our analysis of the nuts and bolts of the first 17 ESSA plans (16 states, plus Washington, D.C.) submitted to the U.S. Department of Education. Each week we will answer a different question about these plans to help the next 34 states learn from the strengths and weaknesses of the first round […]

Here’s the Florida Charter School Data You May Have Missed

• Patricia Levesque

  Last school year was a record-breaker with more than 280,000 Florida students attending public charter schools. While this increase is a cause for celebration, there’s another data point we shouldn’t overlook: Florida’s public charter students are outperforming their peers in traditional public schools in almost all categories and often by wide margins. This performance […]

For Many Reasons, Parents and Students Choose Public Charter Schools

• Sam Duell

Charter schools continue to serve more students and families seeking specific paths toward academic success. Still, some remain unclear on these effective and popular public education options for millions of students. Charter schools are good for students. A 2017 study found the highest performing charters have lasting effects, carrying students through college at unprecedented rates. […]

Send ExcelinEd to SXSW EDU 2018!

• The Ed Fly

ExcelinEd needs your help to get on the agenda for SXSW EDU 2018! Public voting has officially opened for this year’s #PanelPicker sessions, and a seal of approval from the public is worth 30 percent of the total score. Check out our session ideas below and vote for your favorite session (or all three, because […]

Renowned Educator Steve Perry to Address National Summit on Education Reform

The Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) today announced that renowned educator Dr. Steve Perry will address the 2017 National Summit on Education Reform on Friday, December 1 in Nashville, Tennessee. ExcelinEd’s flagship event, now in its 10th year, convenes leaders from across the nation and around the world to share strategies to improve the quality […]

Jeb Bush to Host 10th National Summit on Education Reform

Nation’s foremost education policy convening celebrates a decade of Choice, Innovation and Accountability Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd), will host the 2017 National Summit on Education Reform in Nashville, Tennessee, on November 29 – December 1. ExcelinEd’s flagship event, now in its 10th year, convenes leaders from across […]

Statement from ExcelinEd CEO Patricia Levesque on NAACP charter schools report

Patricia Levesque, CEO of the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) released the following statement on the NAACP Task Force on Quality Education report issued today. “We recognize the NAACP’s effort to look more closely at charter schools and, in rightfully acknowledging their value, also seeking opportunities for improvement. We also agree with the report’s […]

Families Deserve the Truth from School Grades

• Patricia Levesque

This is the eighth installment in a series by ExcelinEd CEO Patricia Levesque, designed to give states guidance on how they can use the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to advance student achievement. Read previous posts:  School Accountability Under ESSA Focus School Accountability on Results Balancing Proficiency and Growth in School Accountability Developing Honest, Transparent […]

Criterion-based v. Norm-referenced: Which testing model offers parents relevant information?

• Patricia Levesque

This is the seventh installment in a series by ExcelinEd CEO Patricia Levesque, designed to give states guidance on how they can use the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to advance student achievement. Read previous posts:  School Accountability Under ESSA Focus School Accountability on Results Balancing Proficiency and Growth in School Accountability Developing Honest, Transparent […]

High School Accountability & Advanced Coursework

• Patricia Levesque

Most of us share the goal of exposing students to more rigorous coursework so they will be better prepared for college or a career after high school graduation. And so, it would seem to make sense for states to give schools credit for student participation rates in higher level classes, such as AP, IB or courses leading to industry certification. But good intentions in this case can lead to unintended and negative consequences.

Should Attendance, Discipline & School Safety Influence School Report Cards?

• Patricia Levesque

We all can agree that improving student attendance is a desired goal. Ensuring a safe school environment is another one. And so, wouldn’t it make sense to include such data in a state accountability formula? Allow me to make the case for why it does not.

ExcelinEd Applauds North Carolina Legislature on Student-Centered Budget

Statement from Patricia Levesque, ExcelinEd CEO, on final action by the North Carolina Legislature on the state budget, which includes major new and expanded parental choice options, college and career readiness enhancements, K-3 reading improvements, and stronger, more transparent school accountability. “With final approval of the two-year budget, major gains have been made toward creating […]

Governor Edwards Signs Bill Strengthening Scholarship Program for Low Income Students

Governor John Bel Edwards recently signed a significant piece of student-friendly legislation into law, which will convert the state’s tax rebate scholarship program to a tax credit scholarship program. This important law will strengthen the state’s scholarship program and ensure additional low-income families have the financial resources they need to choose the best school setting for […]

Statement from Governor Jeb Bush on U.S. Supreme Court Decision

Governor Jeb Bush, Chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, issued the following statement on Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer. “Today’s Supreme Court ruling reinforces the fundamental constitutional principle that governments cannot discriminate based on religious affiliation. We are heartened that the Court has helped pave the way for expanding parental choice […]

Georgia Supreme Court Upholds Tax Credit Scholarship Program

Today, the Georgia Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision upholding the constitutionality of the state’s tax credit scholarship program, which serves more than 13,000 students a year.   “The Court’s unanimous ruling is a clear victory for parents in Georgia seeking better educational options for their children. With assurance from today’s ruling, Georgia leaders will […]

A Vision for the Future of K-3 Reading Policy: Personalized Learning for Mastery

• Karla Phillips

  Envision a future where students’ unique strengths and interests are both respected and harnessed—where each child reaches his or her greatest potential. The education systems that will achieve this are characterized by individualized pathways, timely support, flexible pacing and data-based decision making. This is why ExcelinEd advocates for policies that incentivize and enable educators […]

Nevada Joins Utah, Minnesota, North Dakota and Virginia in Creating Personalized Learning Opportunities for Students

More states are developing innovative approaches to education With Governor Brian Sandoval’s signature on Assembly Bill 110, Nevada joins a growing list of states focused on innovation in learning. The bill directs the Nevada Department of Education to launch a pilot program to study and establish recommendations for implementing personalized learning initiatives. Additionally, Utah announced the school […]

Governor Jeb Bush and Columba Bush Honor 2017 Arts for Life! Scholarship Winners

Today, 43rd Florida Governor Jeb Bush, chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd), and former first lady Columba Bush celebrated the 2017 Arts for Life! scholarship winners during a luncheon and award ceremony hosted at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami. Mrs. Bush, a passionate advocate for the arts and arts […]

Statement on Nevada Gov. Sandoval Signing Law Expanding Opportunity Scholarships

Statement from Patricia Levesque, Foundation for Excellence in Education CEO, on Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval signing Senate Bill 555 which expands the state’s Opportunity Scholarship plan. “Empowered by the opportunity to find the right educational options for their unique needs, more Nevada families will now be able to choose their child’s best path toward success […]

Statement from Gov. Jeb Bush on New Mexico Secretary of Education Hanna Skandera

Today, Governor Jeb Bush, chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, released the following statement on Hanna Skandera, who announced she would be leaving her post as New Mexico’s Secretary of Education: “Hanna is one of our nation’s most effective and dedicated education leaders. Her tireless and determined efforts to transform education have changed the lives of thousands […]

ICYMI: South Carolina Summer Reading Camps Provide Additional Instruction for Students with Reading Difficulties

    The South Carolina Department of Education and school districts across the state are gearing up to provide additional support and time on task for struggling third grade readers through Read to Succeed Summer Reading Camps. Reading camps serve students with significant reading difficulties by providing them with the necessary skills to become successful […]

Watch Live: Governor Bush to Deliver Keynote at American Federation for Children’s National Policy Summit Today

Today at noon, ExcelinEd Chairman Governor Jeb Bush will deliver the luncheon keynote speech at the American Federation for Children’s 8th annual National Policy Summit highlighting historic success and future opportunities for school choice. Watch his speech and all the AFC events at, and follow ExcelinEd on Twitter for live updates of the speech. Click above to watch […]

Competency-Based Education: A National Landscape

• Karla Phillips

Earlier this month, ExcelinEd and EducationCounsel released a new report, Policy, Pilots and the Path to Competency-Based Education: A National Landscape, which offers a survey of current state laws and policies on competency-based education in K-12 systems.

Developing Honest, Transparent and Effective Accountability Systems

• Patricia Levesque

How do you define a successful school? One obvious answer is the percentage of students achieving proficiency in core subjects. If that percentage is high, then obviously, the school has most its students on track not only for graduation, but for life after graduation. And so, it seems we could deem it a success.

ExcelinEd Chairman Jeb Bush Welcomes Dee Bagwell Haslam to Board of Directors

Tallahassee, Fla. – Governor Jeb Bush, founder and chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd), announced the addition of Dee Bagwell Haslam, owner of the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League and one of Ohio and Tennessee’s most engaged and charitable leaders in education reform, to the organization’s board of directors. “Dee Haslam has […]

Just Released: State Guide to Building Online School Report Cards

We are pleased to announce the release of a State Guide to Building Online School Report Cards – a 12-month, step-by-step timeline and guide outlining a process for states to develop a next-generation report card under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This new guide, co-created by the Council for Chief State School Officers, Collaborative […]

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal Vetoes Bill that Would Have Harmed Students, Educators

Preserving accountability for educators and families and demonstrating his commitment to improving education for all students, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal today vetoed HB 425. The proposal would have harmed students and teachers by denying access to measurements that track progress on standardized assessments. Maintaining a transparent and accountable measurement system is critical to ensuring students […]

Balancing Proficiency and Growth in School Accountability

• Patricia Levesque

How do you define a successful school? One obvious answer is the percentage of students achieving proficiency in core subjects. If that percentage is high, then obviously, the school has most its students on track not only for graduation, but for life after graduation. And so, it seems we could deem it a success.

Charter Schools: Increasing quantity and quality in states

• Sam Duell

  This is the final post in a three-part series for National Charter Schools Week. View the first post, Charter Schools: Good News for Students, and the second post, Charter Schools: Still Growing! The US Department of Education (USED) is currently accepting grant applications from states to increase the number and quality of charter schools across […]

Charter Schools: Still Growing!

• Sam Duell

This is the second post in a three-part series for National Charter Schools Week. View the first post, Charter Schools: Good News for Students, and the third post, Charter Schools: Increasing quantity and quality in states. Today, about 3 million students across 43 states attend almost 7,000 charter schools. That is nearly ten times more students […]

Charter Schools: Good News for Students

• Sam Duell

This is the first post in a three-part series for National Charter Schools Week. View the second post, Charter Schools: Still Growing!, and the third post, Charter Schools: Increasing quantity and quality in states. Look at Florida. The Florida Department of Education published a performance study in March of this year, and the news is good […]

Georgia Governor Signs Laws Boosting Transparency, Accountability and Options for Students

Georgia’s students, families and taxpayers will have stronger educational options after Governor Nathan Deal signed legislation today enhancing transparency and access to a quality education. The four new laws strengthen charter schools that are currently serving more than 90,000 students in the state; create greater transparency in how schools spend taxpayer dollars; enhance school choice […]

Focus School Accountability on Results

• Patricia Levesque

To maximize its effectiveness, an accountability formula needs to follow some basic principles. Chief among them is this: Focus on results, not on how they are achieved.

Indiana Students Will Have Enhanced, Equal Access to Educational Options as Governor Holcomb Signs HB 1007

In a victory for Hoosier students in every part of the state, Governor Eric Holcomb signed House Bill 1007 which provides broader course options so every child has opportunities to fit their unique needs. House Bill 1007, sponsored by Rep. Tony Cook, provides greater equity by allowing students in all parts of the state to […]

School Accountability Under ESSA

• Patricia Levesque

We’ve seen the good, the bad, the ugly, the unintended consequences and the double-edged sword of tough-love state accountability systems. Over the next few weeks, we will share some lessons that may help as states develop and finalize their accountability calculations.

VIDEOS: Competency-Based Education Engaging Students & Personalizing Learning

• The Ed Fly

Competency-based education holds the key to revolutionizing education and empowering students by building a foundation for personalized learning. Watch the two videos below to learn what competency-based education looks like and why it’s so important for our nation’s students.

Informed Parents. Better Schools.

JUST RELEASED – is a model online school report card that serves as a prototype for states seeking to empower and inform parents and communities with transparent, understandable school data. As states work to implement the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), is a real-world, replicable example of how states can reinvent school reporting and better […]

New Online Report Card Tool Demonstrates How States Can Provide Parent-Friendly, School-Level Data to their Communities

Washington, D.C. – Today, ExcelinEd launched, a model online school report card that serves as a prototype for states seeking to empower and inform parents and communities with transparent, understandable school data. As states work to implement the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), is a real-world, replicable example of how states can reinvent school […]

Utah Offers Opportunities for Competency-Based Education

I am excited to share with you that the Utah State Board of Education announced the release of the application for schools to participate in the pilot phase of the Competency-based Learning Exploratory Team. This comes after Utah lawmakers passed Senate Bill 143 in 2016, creating the Competency Based Education Pilot Program to advance student mastery of […]

Statement from Gov. Jeb Bush on Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey Signing SB 1431

Statement from Gov. Jeb Bush, chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, on Gov. Doug Ducey signing SB 1431 and expanding the Empowerment Scholarship Account program to all families and students. “This is an historic moment for the state of Arizona, its families and most importantly the generations of students who will benefit from […]

Statement from Eric Cantor on Veto of Virginia Charter School Legislation

Today, Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) board member Eric Cantor released the following statement on Governor Terry McAuliffe’s decision to veto Senate Bill 1283 and House Bill 2342, which would have expanded educational options for underserved students in the commonwealth of Virginia. “Despite a growing chorus of voices calling for greater education options for students trapped […]

Statement from ExcelinEd CEO Patricia Levesque on the U.S. Supreme Court decision on Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District

Tallahassee, Fla – Today, Patricia Levesque, CEO of the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) released the following statement on U.S. Supreme Court decision on Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District. “The Court held that in order to meet its obligations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), a school must provide an individualized education […]

Gov. Bevin Signs Bill to Expand School Choice Options for Bluegrass Families and Students

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin signed House Bill 520 last night, creating new educational options for families across the commonwealth. Kentucky becomes the 44th state in the nation to authorize public charter schools. Nationally, more than 3 million students currently attend charter schools in 43 states. Charter schools are public schools that provide more opportunities to […]

ESSA Implementation: An Update from Washington DC

On March 9, Congress exercised its authority under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to overturn the accountability regulations implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that were issued by the Obama Administration. This unprecedented act may raise some questions for states, which this update attempts to answer. But, our advice to states remains the same […]

Statement on Congressional Vote on ESSA

Tallahassee, Fla – Today, Patricia Levesque, CEO of the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) released the following statement on today’s vote. “Although Congress has overturned the accountability regulations issued under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the ESSA statute and its requirements remain in place. ExcelinEd continues to encourage and assist states in developing strong […]

Personalized Learning Worth Fighting For

• Karla Phillips

These goals and dreams may seem lofty, but they should not be optional. Early implementation evidence and beginning research give us hope, but at the end of the day honoring and leveraging the unique gifts and talents of every child is simply the right thing to do.

Getting Personalized Learning Right the First Time

• Karla Phillips

The persistent incapacity of the system to change shouldn’t be a surprise—we are often stuck retrofitting well-intentioned ideas for students whose needs were too complicated to fit into our original models in the first place.

Starting over with Personalized Learning

• Karla Phillips

Our hope is that personalized learning may present the opportunity to flip the traditional model upside down. Or better yet, put it right side up.

JUST RELEASED: New ESSA Playbook on Innovation

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provides states with new opportunities and flexibilities to promote innovative policies that advance student learning. Today, I am pleased to share the third in a series of ESSA-themed guides, which focuses on innovative strategies that encourage personalization, rigor and excellence. ExcelinEd’s ESSA Innovation Playbook is designed to help state policymakers […]

Does the American Dream still exist?

Economic opportunity and upward mobility are the foundation of the American Dream. However, there is growing evidence that many of today’s students are struggling to advance. Does the American Dream still exist? Find the answer in ExcelinEd’s latest EdPolicy Leaders Online course, Learning to Dream: Education and Economic Mobility.

New ‘Playbook’ Provides Essential Guidance on Interventions to Assist Georgia’s Low-Performing Schools

I am pleased to share ExcelinEd’s latest report, Implementing School Interventions in Georgia. This customized guide provides timely and proven assistance as communities and state leaders consider school turnaround options this year. The playbook helps state policymakers identify how to leverage flexibility within the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and support a rigorous, state-level strategy for turning […]

PRESS RELEASE – An Inside Look at North Carolina’s Read to Achieve Program

North Carolina’s student reading achievement has dramatically increased since the enactment of the state’s Read to Achieve (RtA) Program in 2012. Today, the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) released a first-of-its-kind study on RtA, exploring the program’s successes through the insights of local stakeholders and examining ways to build upon these gains. North Carolina […]

An Inside Look at North Carolina’s Read to Achieve Program

The ability to read opens doors and opportunities every child deserves. And today, ExcelinEd released a report examining how North Carolina is reaching more students with this life-changing skill. For nearly four years, North Carolina has used Read to Achieve—the state’s K-3 comprehensive reading program—to get more students reading on grade level by the end […]

School choice isn’t about pitting public schools against private schools

• McKenzie Snow

“When it comes to education, a one-size-fits-all model simply doesn’t work, and choice is important.” The question remains, how much choice, and, specifically, should private schools be included?

Statement by ExcelinEd CEO Patricia Levesque on Senate Confirmation of Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education

Patricia Levesque, CEO of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, released the following statement on the Senate’s confirmation of Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education. “With Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, our children and parents will have a passionate advocate representing their interests in Washington. Secretary DeVos has the courage, knowledge and leadership […]

Statement by Governor Jeb Bush on Senate Confirmation of Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education

Governor Jeb Bush, President and Chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, released the following statement on the Senate’s confirmation of Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education. “I congratulate Betsy DeVos on her confirmation as our nation’s next Secretary of Education. The President made an excellent choice to lead the Department of Education. […]

DeVos is a Champion for All Students – WTAS 10

Tallahassee, Fla. – Here are some thoughtful views on the nomination of Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education and what it means for education reform nationwide: “For the past 25 years, I have worked to find solutions to the high illiteracy rate in America. This is one of the most significant problems contributing to the […]

Leaders Across Country Say DeVos is Best Choice For Students – WTAS 9

Here are some thoughtful views on the nomination of Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education and what it means for education reform nationwide: “Duncan and DeVos. Different politics. But the same sense of urgency about this mission: Children can’t wait … High praise and a high bar for the next education secretary. We hope […]

#EIE16 VIDEO FEATURE – Todd Rose & the End of Average

At the 2016 National Summit on Education Reform (#EIE16), Dr. Todd Rose shared how shifting education’s focus from the average to the individual could maximize learning for each student and provide an environment for achieving success in a diverse and changing world.

DeVos Continues to Gather Support Before Final Senate Vote – WTAS 8

Tallahassee, Fla. – With the Senate HELP Committee’s favorable vote on Tuesday, here are some thoughtful views on the nomination of Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education and what it means for education reform nationwide: “Betsy DeVos deserves this vote of confidence and endorsement toward confirmation as the next Secretary of Education. Despite the partisan […]

Kentucky Unveils Great New Tool for Bluegrass Residents to Chart Education Paths to Careers

Tallahassee, Fla. – Kentucky Education Cabinet Secretary Hal Heiner and commonwealth leaders have unveiled the Kentucky Future Skills Report, a new interactive online tool to easily allow all residents to assess the future demand for jobs and the most practical paths to prepare for those opportunities.   “Kentucky’s leaders have created a wonderful tool for parents […]

Statement by Governor Jeb Bush on Senate HELP Committee’s Favorable Vote on Betsy DeVos

Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, Governor Jeb Bush, President and Chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, released the following statement on the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions’ (HELP) favorable vote on the nomination of Betsy DeVos as education secretary. “Betsy DeVos deserves this vote of confidence and endorsement toward confirmation as the next […]

Statement by Governor Jeb Bush on Senate HELP Committee’s Favorable Vote on Betsy DeVos

Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, Governor Jeb Bush, President and Chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, released the following statement on the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions’ (HELP) favorable vote on the nomination of Betsy DeVos as education secretary. “Betsy DeVos deserves this vote of confidence and endorsement toward confirmation as the next […]

ExcelinEd CEO Statement on Senate HELP Committee’s Favorable Vote on Betsy DeVos

Patricia Levesque, CEO of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, released the following statement on the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions’ (HELP) favorable vote on the nomination of Betsy DeVos as education secretary. “Students across our nation are a step closer to having a devoted champion and education leader in Betsy DeVos. Millions share […]

DeVos Support Comes From All 50 States – WTAS 7

Here are some thoughtful views on the nomination of Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education and what it means for education reform nationwide: “Betsy DeVos will put children first and empower not only states to lead the way in making critical education decisions, but also empower parents to choose what type of education is […]

Support for DeVos Continues to Grow – WTAS 6

Here are some thoughtful views on the nomination of Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education and what it means for education reform nationwide: “More than 70 leaders and organizations, including the Foundation for Excellence in Education, joined the following open letter to show their support for Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education. Betsy […]

Open Letter of Support for Betsy DeVos for U.S. Secretary of Education

Tallahassee, Fla. – More than 70 leaders and organizations, including the Foundation for Excellence in Education, have joined the following open letter to show their support for Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education. Betsy DeVos is an undisputed champion of families and students. For nearly 30 years she has devoted time and resources to improving education options for our […]

Uncovering Opportunities for States to Advance School Choice through ESSA

• McKenzie Snow

We all know that too many children have been languishing in failing schools for too many years. ESSA empowers states with an opportunity to rethink their approach to school turnaround and leverage federal dollars to get those students into a high-quality school as soon as possible.

Support Betsy DeVos – A Champion for Children

On January 31, the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) will vote on the nomination of Betsy DeVos to serve as Secretary of Education. Betsy DeVos is a passionate champion of families and students. For nearly 30 years, she has devoted time and resources to improving education options for our nation’s children. […]

The Federal Government and School Choice

• McKenzie Snow

As you may have noticed, school choice is growing—fast. Today, 25 states plus Washington, D.C. host 50 private education choice programs. Nearly 7,000 charter schools serve students in 43 states and Washington, D.C. As state legislative activity burgeons, Washington is becoming increasingly interested in how the federal government can support the immense success of school choice in the states.

#EIE16 VIDEO FEATURE – 4 Sessions on Educational Choice & a Bipartisan Vision for Ed Reform

4 Sessions on Educational Choice & a Bipartisan Vision for Ed Reform ESAs and the New Frontier in Educational Choice Watch this timely discussion of Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) and the future of educational choice for our nation’s families. Charter Schools: The Past, Present and Future Learn about the impact of charter schools on the […]

Leaders Across the Country Applaud Betsy DeVos’ Vision – WTAS 5

Here are some thoughtful views on the nomination of Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education and what it means for education reform nationwide: “Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) spoke about his own rise out of poverty and the role of education in changing lives. ‘We stand on the verge of the successful nomination of a […]

All about Charter Schools

• Adam Peshek

The charter construct is simple, yet profoundly different from traditional public schools. In exchange for more operational autonomy, charter schools are held accountable for student success. If a charter school does not meet the terms of their contract, the school is eventually closed or turned over to another operator. If it is successful, it is offered the opportunity to expand to serve more students.

What They Are Saying About Betsy DeVos – 4

Here are some thoughtful views on the nomination of Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education and what it means for education reform nationwide: “She has extensive experience and an unquestionable commitment to our children. For nearly three decades, she has been on the front lines in dozens of state capitals, working with parents to […]

What are Tax-Credit Scholarships?

• Adam Peshek

Tax-credit scholarship programs provide quality educational options for students, lead to academic benefits for students who remain in public schools, and save taxpayers money. I challenge you to name another government program with these characteristics.

#EIE16 VIDEO FEATURE – Diane Tavenner: Her charter schools use technology to change lives.

  At the 2016 National Summit on Education Reform (#EIE16) last month, Diane Tavenner shared how Summit Public Schools leverage personalized learning with technology to empower students to own their learning.

ExcelinEd Celebrates National School Choice Week

Tallahassee, Fla. – The Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) is proud to join and support National School Choice Week events this week. This annual event celebrates the growing, rich education options for every child and their families. ExcelinEd’s CEO Patricia Levesque said, “Every child deserves the opportunity to pursue their dreams. Providing all parents with […]

What They Are Saying About Betsy DeVos – 3

Here are some thoughtful views on the nomination of Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education and what it means for education reform nationwide: “Betsy DeVos is an inspired choice for U.S. Secretary of Education for a number of reasons, but the most important is that she’s an unapologetic proponent of local control. After years […]

What are Education Savings Accounts?

• Adam Peshek

During National School Choice Week, ExcelinEd’s Adam Peshek is highlighting unique aspects of educational choice policy. Today, Adam explores Education Savings Account programs: what they look like, where they’re advancing and what the 2017 legislative forecast looks like for these programs. Check out related posts on charter schools, tax-credit scholarships, ways the federal government can support school choice and opportunities for […]

What They Are Saying About Betsy DeVos – 2

Here are some thoughtful views on the nomination of Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education and what it means for education reform nationwide: “Thanks to Mrs. DeVos’ advocacy, my son, Sam, gained access to a better school and is now a high school graduate. I know that Betsy DeVos has a big heart and […]

What They Are Saying About Betsy DeVos – 1

Here are some thoughtful views on the nomination of Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education and what it means for education reform nationwide: “It’s disturbing that so many politicians can choose the best educational opportunities for their kids but refuse to allow underprivileged families the same benefit. For the fortunate and the clouted, there […]

Statement on 4th District Court of Appeal Decision

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, the Foundation for Excellence in Education released the following statement on yesterday’s ruling by Florida’s 4th District Court of Appeal, upholding the Florida State Board of Education’s constitutional authority to review and approve charter school applications on appeal. “Charter schools play an important role in Florida’s school choice landscape, providing high quality […]

Governor Martinez Touts Gains, Emphasizes Critical Work Remains on Early Childhood Literacy

During yesterday’s state of the state address, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez emphasized how the state’s dedication to education reform has led to increases in students reaching grade level for math and reading, graduation rates and access to Advanced Placement courses, among other gains. Governor Martinez acknowledged that success is never final and challenged lawmakers […]

Governor Greitens Offers Strong Vision to Provide Choice for Students with Disabilities

During yesterday’s state of the state address, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens offered clear and strong support for increasing student performance in the state. Governor Greitens challenged lawmakers and education leaders to raise Missouri’s student outcomes by creating Education Savings Accounts for children with special needs, expanding access to Advanced Placement classes and increasing teacher pay. “With education savings accounts, parents are able to […]

Governor Sandoval Unveils Student-Centered Education Priorities

Yesterday, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval gave his state of the state address, unveiling several student-centered education priorities, including $60 million to implement the state’s historic Education Savings Account (ESA) program. Governor Sandoval implored leaders to help him modernize education by supporting the state’s ESA program and moving forward with a weighted student funding formula that ensures all […]

Betsy DeVos: A blessing to students, parents, classroom excellence

• Clare Crowson

It’s fair to say that the nomination of Betsy DeVos as U.S. secretary of education is creating some controversy.

And the reason for that is simple. She is a longtime advocate for the decentralization of education decisions to the family level. That makes her a pariah to the education establishment and a blessing to children trapped in failing schools.

Statement from Governor Jeb Bush on Betsy DeVos Confirmation Hearing

Tallahassee, Fla – Today, Jeb Bush, President and Chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) released the following statement on the confirmation hearings of Betsy DeVos. “Betsy DeVos showed today why she is a hero of the education reform movement. She passionately articulated the case for school choice and parental control and expressed a […]

Statement from ExcelinEd CEO Patricia Levesque on the confirmation hearings of Betsy DeVos for education secretary

Tallahassee, Fla – Statement from ExcelinEd CEO Patricia Levesque on the confirmation hearings of Betsy DeVos for education secretary. “As we saw yet again today, Betsy DeVos speaks for those economically struggling parents seeking a better future for their children through the power of a quality education. Those who oppose her nomination now should explain […]

Statement by Governor Jeb Bush on Florida Supreme Court Decision on McCall vs. Scott

Tallahassee, Fla – Today, Governor Jeb Bush, President and Chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) released the following statement on the Florida Supreme Court’s decision to not hear McCall vs. Scott. “Today’s ruling marks a monumental moment in the lives of the more than 90,000 students who are able to receive a quality education […]

Governor Hickenlooper Outlines Vision to Prepare Students for Workforce Success

During yesterday’s state of the state address, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper challenged state leaders to renew their commitment to quality education in Colorado and ensure all students graduate ready for success in college and/or careers. Governor Hickenlooper also thanked business and philanthropic leaders for investing in career and technical education to narrow the state’s “skills […]

Governor Ducey Calls on Legislature to Create Greater Opportunities for Students

Yesterday, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey kicked off the state’s 2017 legislative session with opening remarks on how Arizona can improve its education system to create “boundless opportunities” for the next generation. In a forward-looking speech, Governor Ducey focused on Arizona’s efforts to raise academic achievement and expand educational opportunities to students and their families. “Arizona […]

Georgia Unveils Higher Learning and Earnings Report and Interactive Website

Tallahassee, Fla – Today, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal unveiled Georgia Higher Learning and Earnings, a new report and interactive website detailing earning outcomes for degrees and certificates obtained at Georgia’s public postsecondary educational institutions. “We commend Governor Nathan Deal for ensuring Georgia parents have the information they need to prepare their children for a successful future,” said Foundation for Excellence in Education CEO Patricia […]

The Gift of a Quality Education Lasts a Lifetime.

• Rich Smith

Jeb Bush, Condoleezza Rice Kick off National Summit on Education Reform

WASHINGTON D.C.—Today, Governor Jeb Bush, chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd), opened the organization’s 2016 National Summit on Education Reform with a keynote address. More than 1,000 education leaders from 49 states and 4 countries are attending the event. Additional speakers include Dr. Condoleezza Rice moderating a panel of former U.S. Dept. of Education secretaries; Angela […]

Will we see you at #EIE16 on Thursday?

• Patricia Levesque

The ninth annual National Summit on Education Reform (#EIE16) takes place this week in Washington, D.C., and I’m excited to share we are preparing to welcome more attendees than ever before. The National Summit opens on Thursday morning, with Governor Jeb Bush delivering a keynote address at 8:45 AM. Whether you’ll be attending in D.C. […]

ExcelinEd Calls for Greater Flexibility for States to Ensure Education Funding Equity

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.— This week, the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Education on proposed regulations requiring federal funds to “supplement, not supplant” state and local funds, as indicated under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). “These proposed regulations impose unwarranted and unnecessary restrictions on school districts and […]

Little State, Big Success in Expanding Course Access

• The Ed Fly

All parents deserve the ability to help their children reach their full potential. The unfortunate truth is that, for many parents, the ability to do so is determined by the side of town on which they live, the high school their child attends, or the amount of discretionary income in their household. As a result, many […]

Futures for Students with Unique Abilities Are Brighter Than Ever

• Kate Wallace

Sandra Casson and her husband are proud parents of five children, ages 18, 17, 10, 7 and 3. Their fourth child, Adeline, has Down syndrome.

2016 National Summit to Feature Sessions on Pathways to State Accountability Under the Every Student Succeeds Act

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Foundation for Excellence in Education today announced that the 2016 National Summit on Education Reform will feature conversations about states’ pathways to accountability under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) at the annual two-day event in Washington, D.C. On December 1-2, these four separate strategy sessions—comprised of some of the nation’s leading […]

Is it time to upgrade your state’s federally-required school report card? Hint: Yes

Earlier this week, the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) joined the nation’s leading education reform experts to discuss opportunities for greater accountability and transparency within the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). During the panel discussion, Claire Voorhees, ExcelinEd’s Director of K-12 Reform, highlighted the importance of maintaining rigorous accountability systems that measure school performance on a set of objective student outcomes. One accountability system that has been successful in more […]

“The End of Average” Author Todd Rose to Address National Summit on Education Reform

Register Today for 2016 National Summit on Education Reform TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Foundation for Excellence in Education today announced that Todd Rose, author of The End of Average: How We Succeed in a World that Values Sameness, will address the 2016 National Summit on Education Reform on Thursday, December 1 in Washington, D.C. “We leave […]

Statement on NAACP Public Charter School Expansion Moratorium

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) released the following statement following the NAACP Board of Directors’ vote calling for a national moratorium on public charter school expansion. “The Foundation for Excellence in Education regrets the NAACP’s call to block the expansion of public charter schools. This decision sends a negative message to […]

ExcelinEd Chairman Governor Jeb Bush to Speak at Harvard Graduate School of Education

Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) Chairman Governor Jeb Bush will speak today at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) Askwith Forum. The Askwith Forum is a series of public lectures at the Harvard Graduate School that aim to address the highest-priority challenges facing education. The forum will cover a number of topics including, […]

Leading Education Innovators Sal Khan and David Coleman to Address National Summit on Education Reform

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Foundation for Excellence in Education today announced leading education innovators Sal Khan and David Coleman will address the 2016 National Summit on Education Reform on Friday, December 2 in Washington, D.C. Sal Khan is the founder and chief executive officer of Khan Academy; David Coleman is the president and chief executive […]

This Latina Mom Explains Why She Values Testing

• Kate Wallace

Margie Viera, a single mom of two boys in Orlando, is proud of her Hispanic heritage. “We work really hard at maintaining our culture. That means that everybody who walks in has to eat something,” said Viera, while stirring a pot of arroz con gandules, a traditional Puerto Rican dish, over the stove in her Orlando, Fla., home.

Michigan Governor Signs Groundbreaking Early Literacy Law

Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, Michigan Governor Rick Synder signed HB 4822 into law, placing a command focus on early literacy for all Michigan elementary schools and ensuring every Michigan child can read before leaving third grade. Sponsored in the legislature by Representative Amanda Price, the new law was developed with recommendations from Governor Snyder’s bipartisan Third Grade Reading Workgroup. “In Florida, we demonstrated that a command focus on literacy is key to […]

Angela Duckworth to Address National Summit on Education Reform

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Foundation for Excellence in Education today announced that Angela Duckworth, author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, will address the 2016 National Summit on Education Reform on Thursday, December 1 in Washington, D.C. “Developing grit depends so much on an environment that is both challenging and supportive,” said Duckworth. […]

The Achilles Heel of Texas: Improving College Eligibility Rates Through K-12 Education Savings Accounts

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

The Texas Public Policy Foundation, the Texas Business Leadership Council and Excel in Ed teamed up to publish a new white paper by yours truly called The Achilles Heel of Texas: Improving College Eligibility Rates through K-12 Savings Accounts. Bottom line: only a minority of Texas public school students get prepared for even a moderately selective college or university, and the percentage moves to catastrophically low levels when looking at the ethnic minority student groups which now constitute a large majority of Texas students.

State Actions – Policies and Progress Across the Nation, September 2016

Alabama The Alabama Public Charter School Commission approved the state’s first charter school application this month. The Mobile Area Education Foundation applied to open Accel Day and Evening Academy, which will serve students 16 and older who have dropped out of school or have fallen behind academically. Accel plans to open in August 2017, with an estimated initial enrollment of […]

Nevada Families One Step Closer to Educational Freedom

Today, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled that Education Savings Accounts (ESA) are constitutional.  Nevada’s ESA program is the most expansive educational choice program in the nation. Specifically, the court agreed with the state that the primary constitutional arguments brought by plaintiffs against ESAs are without merit. Although the court ruled against the state on a funding issue, […]

Connecticut Families Look to Improve Outcomes for All Students

Dear Friend, Students make the greatest progress when parents, teachers and education leaders unite around the singular goal of student success. Thankfully, we’re seeing more states move toward this ideal, including Connecticut. Last month, officials released statewide assessment results, which showed progress toward proficiency in English Language Arts and mathematics among Connecticut students. What’s most exciting […]

Putting Cutting Edge Education Policy into Practice

Today, the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) released “Policy, Pilots and the Path to Competency-Based Education: A Tale of Three States.” This comprehensive policy paper outlines how and why Idaho, Utah and Florida launched competency-based education (CBE) pilot programs.

#AskExcelinEd: ESSA

The Foundation for Excellence in Education presents this Question & Answer series #AskExcelinEd on the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to help state policymakers and stakeholders explore and understand the complex new law as well as the many opportunities and solutions to challenges it presents for states. ExcelinEd’s policy team will answer questions they’ve been receiving, […]

ExcelinEd Submits Comments to U.S. Dept. of Education on ESSA Regulations

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.— The Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) has submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Education on two components of its proposed regulations under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Assessments ExcelinEd’s comments assert that the proposed rules clarify a number of concepts in the statute and provide workable, common sense requirements in key areas such […]

Join Jeb Bush for the 9th Annual National Summit on Education Reform

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.— The Foundation for Excellence in Education announces that general registration for its 2016 National Summit on Education Reform, hosted by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, is now open. Now in its ninth year, the summit will be held in Washington, D.C. from November 30 to December 2 at the Marriott Marquis Washington D.C. Gov. […]

Education Policy Experts Join Leadership Team at Foundation for Excellence in Education

The Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) is pleased to announce two new members of its leadership team. Lizzette Gonzalez Reynolds became Vice President of Policy on September 1. Lizzette brings to ExcelinEd almost three decades of policy and legislative experience at both the state and federal level. In her home state of Texas, she […]

New Mexico Students Rising to Meet Higher Expectations

Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, New Mexico released the 2015-2016 school grades, meaning each public school (traditional and charter) earned an “A,” “B,” “C,” “D” or “F” grade from the New Mexico Public Education Department. In 2016, the number of A and B schools exceeded the number of D and F schools, signifying progress and enhanced […]

Opt-Out Movement Struggles for Traction

• Mike Thomas

Those in the Opt-Out movement may be becoming more vocal and more adamant, but they are not picking up more supporters for their cause. A comprehensive national survey on education issues, which is conducted annually by Education Next, shows a decided majority of Americans opposes the Opt-Out agenda.

Helping Louisiana Students Reach Their Potential

Dear Friend, ExcelinEd believes all children have a natural love for learning. This is why we work with states to build an education system that focuses on the success of each and every child, regardless of circumstance. Louisiana is one such state that is achieving real results with bold education reform policies and steadfast leadership. This […]

A Smorgasbord of Learning

• Mike Thomas

Maddison likes her school – a lot.

“We can sit wherever we want,’’ she says. “We can do whatever we want.’’

Obviously this can’t be true because Maddison is in first grade at Lost Lake Elementary in Lake County, Fl. And as we all know, children at that age must be subject to strict control and adult supervision at all times.

Applications Open for the Tennessee Individualized Education Account Program

Applications for the new Individualized Education Account (IEA) Program from the Tennessee Department of Education are available now. The IEA Program provides options for parents of students with disabilities to choose the educational opportunities that best meet their child’s individual learning needs, including private school tuition, online education, homeschooling, tutoring, therapies and other approved expenses.

Creating Better Outcomes for Struggling Students: My Thoughts on Florida’s Recent State Board of Education Meeting

• The Ed Fly

Last month, the Florida State Board of Education met to discuss and approve turnaround plans for 46 elementary, middle and high schools with failing school grades.* More than 14 local superintendents and district leaders appeared before the board to present detailed plans to improve student academic achievement for each failing school in their district.

ExcelinEd Submits Comments to the U.S. Department of Education on ESSA Regulations

Today, The Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Education on its proposed accountability regulations implementing the 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

State Actions – Policies and Progress Across the Nation, July 2016

Arkansas The application period for the Arkansas Succeed Scholarship Program (passed in 2015) is now open. This groundbreaking program empowers parents of students with special needs by providing them a scholarship to a private school of their choice that best meets the learning needs of their children. Up to 100 Arkansas students with an Individualized […]

ExcelinEd Supports Defense of Nevada’s Education Savings Account Program

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Today, the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) submitted an amicus brief with the Nevada Supreme Court in support of the state’s Education Savings Account program, the most expansive educational choice program in the nation. The amicus curiae brief supports the state’s motion to dismiss a constitutional challenge to the program filed by […]

Applications Open for the Arkansas Succeed Scholarship Program!

Dear Friend, The application period for the Arkansas Succeed Scholarship Program is now open! This groundbreaking program allows up to 100 students with special needs to receive a scholarship to a private school of choice, empowering parents to choose the school that best meets the learning needs of their children. Arkansas families can apply today […]

Searching for a Great Education: One Military Family’s Journey

• The Ed Fly

When military families move to a new community, one of the biggest challenges for parents is finding the right learning environment for their children. This can be difficult for any family, but the fact that the average military child will move six to nine times during their K-12 experience makes the need for educational continuity all the more important.

North Carolina Governor Signs Student-Driven Budget

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.— Yesterday, Governor Pat McCrory signed the amended 2016-2017 state budget, which included significant funding for College and Career Readiness, K-3 Reading and School Choice— more than $55 million in additional funds to spur student gains and growth and prepare North Carolina’s future workforce for success in the global economy. “North Carolina has made quality […]

A winning playbook – One principal’s game plan to prepare students for college.

• Mike Thomas

Principal Carlos Ferralls is knocking back his second shot of Cuban coffee, as if he needs it. Ferralls thinks fast, talks fast, moves constantly and sees everything. The traits that served him well as a three-time, All-America wide receiver in college, and later as a high school coach, now serve him well in the hallways and classrooms of the Doral Academy Preparatory School.

Summer Learning on the Lagoon

• Clare Crowson

For many kids, learning doesn’t end when school break starts. They go to camps, visit museums, and so on. Enrichment and learning continues even though school is closed. But for other students, the story is different. Their parents may lack the resources to fill the summer void. What these kids learned the previous school year […]

State Actions – Policies and Progress Across the Nation, June 2016

Louisiana Louisiana ended its regular session on June 8, and Governor Bel Edwards immediately called a special session to address the state’s budget deficit. During the regular session, the legislature proposed funding the Louisiana Scholarship Program (vouchers) at $36 million for FY 2017, but it was ultimately funded at $40 million in the special session […]

Patricia Levesque: Chancellor Henderson’s commitment to improving student outcomes is an example for the nation

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, The Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) released the following statement on Chancellor Kaya Henderson’s upcoming departure from the D.C. Public School District. “Chancellor Henderson’s steadfast commitment to student progress and student success, especially for traditionally underserved students, is a model for all education leaders,” said Patricia Levesque CEO of ExcelinEd. […]

Mississippi Governor Recognized for Leading Education Improvements for Students

Governor Phil Bryant receives the Frank Newman Award for State Innovation Tallahassee, Fla.  – Today, Governor Phil Bryant and the state of Mississippi received the Frank Newman Award for State Innovation. The Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) nominated Governor Bryant and Mississippi for this Education Commission of the States award that recognizes a state […]

AFC and ExcelinEd encourage RNC and DNC platforms to embrace school choice

The American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice, and the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd), a national leader in reforming education, encourage both the Republican National Committee (RNC) and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to embrace school choice in their official party platforms. “Every child deserves access to a world class […]

Playing the waiting game for my child’s education

Last year, Nevada adopted a historic Education Savings Account (ESA) program to expand choice and opportunity to children in the Silver State. Now, the program is under attack. ESAs place state dollars designated for a child’s education into an account that parents can manage to cover the cost of customized learning, including private school tuition, […]

It’s about the child, not the system: Jeb Bush, podcastED

  Photo from redefinED   What is school choice and how can it help empower parents to get the best education for their students? Jeb Bush, ExcelinEd’s Chairman and former Florida Governor sat down with Denisha Merriweather, intern at Step Up for Students to discuss the importance of school choice on redefinED’s podcast PodcastEd. Listen Now.

What Happens When School Is Too Easy?

• The Ed Fly

What happens when high school standards aren’t quite high enough? In my experience, you get a reality check after graduating.

A birthright of school choice for all Arizona students

Parental choice in education is about giving every child the chance to learn in a school that is the right fit for him or her. In recent years, Arizona’s traditional public and charter schools have made remarkable progress, and the state’s expansion of educational choice has been a major contributor. ExcelinEd’s Dr. Matthew Ladner has […]

Goodbye, middle school! This top school’s K-8 model works.

• Mike Thomas

Arbor Ridge Principal Paige Tracy is using exceptional teachers, higher standards and a dynamic K-8 school model to drive student success. She shares her school’s secrets to higher student achievement in the latest post on the EdFly Blog.

Industry Certifications Prepare Students for In-demand and Better-paying Careers

Much like a professional athlete doesn’t wait to train until they make the team, our students can’t wait until they apply for a job to prepare for a career. Right now, some states are offering students the opportunity to earn employer-valued skills before they leave high school. Otherwise known as industry certifications, these skills lead […]

ICYMI: Jeb Bush on Saving America’s Education System

Today, Governor Jeb Bush, Chair of ExcelinEd, dropped a truth bomb: America must massively disrupt its education system if we want to ensure long-term national and economic security. Read Governor Bush’s latest piece in the National Review to learn just how states can save America’s education system. Saving America’s Education System National Review By: Jeb […]

Grades for Students, Grades for Schools  

• Christy Hovanetz

Everyone is invested in the quality of their local school—from students to local businesses. And in Georgia, it just became easier to understand how well individual schools are preparing students for success.

Ed Tech’s Role in Ensuring Student Data Privacy

Data is essential to an effective educational system. It supports high-quality teaching, drives personalized learning for students and underpins school accountability. Yet parents, privacy advocates, educators, administrators and policy makers may not be equally comfortable with the policies and protections in place to protect student data. It is critical to find the right balance between […]

ExcelinEd Supports Vergara v. California Petition for Review

June 3, 2016 Tallahassee, Fla. – Yesterday, the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) joined the California Chamber of Commerce, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Orange County Business Council, and Valley Industry & Commerce Association in signing an Amici Curiae letter in the case known as Vergara v. California. The Amici Curiae, or “friend of the […]

Meeting the man on the street

• The Ed Fly

A few years ago, a young man stopped me on the street. I didn’t recognize him, but he knew me. “I was in your wife’s intensive reading class because I didn’t know how to read,” he explained. “It changed my whole life.”

State Actions – Policies and Progress Across the Nation, May 2016

  ARIZONA On May 10, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed the comprehensive 2016-2017 budget (HB 2707) into law that included funding for College Credit incentives, a program that rewards schools and teachers for helping students successfully complete Advanced Placement (AP) and other college-level courses. Also this month, Governor Ducey signed SB 1457 to allow students […]

Colorado Governor Signs Career and Technical Training Bill  

May 27, 2016 TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed HB 1289 into law establishing incentives for high schools to offer career and technical education opportunities to students in high-demand fields. Schools will be rewarded for each student who earns an industry-recognized credential. If funds allow, schools will also be rewarded if a […]

Jeb Bush to serve as Chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education

May 24, 2016 TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) today announced the election of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush as Chairman and President of its Board of Directors. Governor Bush replaces Dr. Condoleezza Rice, who has served as Chair since January 2015 and remains a member of the Board of Directors. […]

ExcelinEd Commends Georgia’s A-F School Grading System  

May 24, 2016 TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal’s Office of Student Achievement released the first annual A-F school grades for Georgia’s more than 2,200 schools. Grades are determined by a combination of factors, including student achievement, student growth and achievement gap closure, and can viewed at Schoolgrades.Georgia.Gov. Georgia is setting high expectations for students […]

iHawk Academy is sealing up the cracks in education

• Kate Wallace

Carrie Short believes iHawk Academy is developing an effective framework that more schools and districts will one day follow. “Just imagine how many students have been lost in the cracks because we failed to reach them,” she said.

ExcelinEd Commends Arizona on Efforts to Refine A-F School Grading System

Tallahassee, Fla. – Since 2010, Arizona has employed an A-F School Grading System to help spur improvement among all schools. Equally important, the grades provide critical information about school performance to parents, educators and the public. Today, the Arizona State Board of Education began the process of refining that system to better serve students and […]

Choosing Preparation over Pride for Reading Success

• Kate Wallace

Dale R. Fair Babson Park Elementary is a high-performing conversion charter school in Babson Park, Fla. The school has earned an “A” grade from the state’s school grading system for six of the past seven years. Babson is known for more than its high achieving status; however, it’s also known for its high rates of […]

Statement from Patricia Levesque, CEO of the Foundation for Excellence in Education regarding Duncan v. State of Nevada

“Today, Judge Eric Johnson made the right ruling in upholding Nevada’s Education Savings Account program. “We applaud Judge Johnson for granting the state’s motion to dismiss, which helps clear the way for more than 5,000 families to get on with the business of seeking the best educational options for their children. “We call on the […]

Hands are in the air at Dayspring Academy

• Mike Thomas

  There are many metrics for judging school success—test scores, advanced coursework and so on. My metric is hands in the air. When you walk into a classroom and see hands in the air, quivering and shaking, silently pleading with the teacher to “call on me,” it translates into enthusiastic learners. It’s hard to overestimate […]

Arizona Governor Commits Record College Credit Incentive Funding  

Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey approved a comprehensive 2016-2017 budget that included strong support for College Credit incentives, a program that rewards schools and teachers for helping students successfully complete Advanced Placement (AP) and other college-level courses. “Today’s students will be driving tomorrow’s economy. Advanced course work can make a positive and […]

The Never Ending Middle School Years

• Clare Crowson

“My students know I really want them all to succeed,” says Florida middle school teacher Jo Ellen Stanley. “I tell them, ‘even if you’re the smartest one in the class, I can help you improve.’”

Arkansas Governor Approves Succeed Scholarship Program Funding  

Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, Governor Asa Hutchinson signed Arkansas’ 2016-2017 budget (SB 59) which included funding for the Succeed Scholarship Program for Students with Disabilities.  This groundbreaking program allows up to 100 students with an individualized education plan (IEP) to receive a scholarship to a private school of choice, empowering parents to choose the school […]

Personalizing Learning for Students with Disabilities

This week, our friends at the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) released a new report, Personalized Learning: Meeting the Needs of Students with Disabilities. This report represents the culmination of a year-long project engaging experts, educators and advocates to determine the challenges and opportunities posed by a personalized learning experience for students with special needs. […]

Making reform work: Teachers can’t do it alone

• Neil Ruddock

The strains and struggles in everyday teachers’ voices regarding student poverty are sincere, and fresh thinking about poverty is long overdue.

Tennessee Governor Commits Record Funding to Early Literacy

Dear Friend, Reading is a fundamental life skill. When mastered in the early grades, it becomes a gateway to success in school and life. Last month, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed a comprehensive budget in SB 2653 that included strong support for early literacy. The 2016-2017 budget allocates $9 million for a statewide coaching and intervention initiative that will […]

Expanding course opportunities in South Carolina

Dear Friend, Today, I had the privilege of presenting ExcelinEd’s Course Access model policy before the South Carolina House of Representatives Education and Public Works Committee. The committee is considering the South Carolina Course Access Act (H 5216), a bill that would expand educational opportunities for public school students in the Palmetto State by creating […]

Georgia Governor Stands Up for Students

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal vetoed SB 355, which would have created a formal, statewide mechanism for students to opt out of annual state assessments. Testing shows whether individual students are on track to succeed, and how successful schools are in preparing students for the future. History shows that without giving teachers and schools this feedback on how students are doing, far too many students […]

What a Great Teacher Did for My Kid

• Mike Thomas

My oldest daughter, Carly, was reading my Marvel comics at age 3. She started Harry Potter in first grade, and I stopped her after the third book because of what happens to Cedric Diggory in the fourth book.

State Actions Update: April 2016

COLORADO Earlier this month, a bipartisan vote by the Colorado Senate Education Committee passed legislation to require school districts to share local funding with public charter schools. The bill would also provide public charter schools with access to unused school facilities. The Colorado Senate is now considering this legislation. On April 18, the Colorado House of Representatives […]

ExcelinEd and America Achieves Course Unlocks PISA Data for Districts

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—The Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) today opened enrollment for its latest EdPolicy Leaders Online course, How Do We Stack Up? Using OECD’s PISA to Drive Progress in U.S. Education. The course begins May 23 and has seven modules, which explore how pioneering education leaders can use PISA as a tool to improve teaching and learning for […]

Enroll Now: Learn How to Use PISA to Improve Education

ExcelinEd is pleased to announce that enrollment is open for our newest EdPolicy Leaders Online course, How Do We Stack Up? Using OECD’s PISA to Drive Progress in U.S. Education. The course is a combined cohort and self-paced model, starting on May 23. It offers seven weekly webinars for participants to connect with education leaders across the […]

This school is changing futures—one child at a time.

• Kate Wallace

  School of the Immaculata (SOTI), founded in 2005, is a private religious school serving 106 K-12 students in the heart of St. Petersburg, Fla. Its student body is more than 90 percent minority and low income, and nearly all students are recipients of the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship. The school opened to confront the […]

Tennessee Expands Access to Online Learning

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed HB 1879, a new law that boosts online learning options for students throughout the Volunteer State. Beginning in the 2017-18 school year, the new law allows Tennessee public school students to take a range of courses offered by other public schools across the state. Sponsored by […]

Why charter schools? Because of this.

• The Ed Fly

Each child deserves to be surrounded by adults who truly believe in her. For Kim, that meant choosing a charter school.

Idaho Releases Mastery Education Pilot Participants

April 22, 2016 TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, the Idaho Department of Education announced the first group of schools that will participate in the newly created Idaho Mastery Education Network (IMEN). The Idaho Department of Education selected 19 regionally diverse schools, who are developing unique approaches to mastery education, to participate in the pilot program.   “Idaho is on the cutting […]

Professional & Technical High School in Osceola

• Mike Thomas

Having all students graduate is a goal for every high school. For the Professional and Technical High School (PATHS) in Osceola County, it has been a reality for the past 10 years.

Making the grade in Texas

Dear friend, Today, I presented ExcelinEd’s model A-F School Grading policy to the Texas Commission on Next Generation Assessments and Accountability. The Commission was created in 2015 to develop and make recommendations for new systems of student assessment and public school accountability for the Lone Star State. All states are required to have a school […]

New Blog Series: The Secrets of Great Schools

• Mike Thomas

What are the secrets of great schools? We went to find out in a state with plenty of them—Florida.

Mississippi Expands Access to Public Charter Schools

Last week, Governor Phil Bryant signed SB 2161 to expand the Mississippi Charter Schools Act of 2013 and give more students the ability to attend a charter school. Expanding access to public charter schools can bring life-changing opportunities for Mississippi’s students. ExcelinEd believes all parents deserve the freedom and flexibility to choose the right school or […]

Florida Offers Lessons on Supplement Not Supplant

• Matthew Joseph

Florida’s student funding model aims to achieve equitable state and local funding while taking into consideration on-the-ground realities.

#AutismAwareness: How One State Opened New Doors for Students

• The Ed Fly

Thanks to Florida’s Gardiner Scholarship (PLSA) program, eight-year-old Gregory is in a new learning environment where he is defying previous diagnoses and predictions.


April 6, 2016 Raleigh, NC. – Today, at an event hosted by the Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina (PEFNC), Dr. Matthew Ladner of the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) released original research on the demographic challenges facing North Carolina’s education budget, entitled Record Breaking Heatwave: Baby Boomer Retirement, Student Enrollment Growth and the Future […]

Preparing NC for the Coming Economic Storm

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

Between now and 2030, a seismic demographic shift will wreak financial havoc on government budgets large and small―from Uncle Sam all the way to the local school district. North Carolina will be in the middle of this impending economic storm.

This is what the face of school choice looks like

• The Ed Fly

Public schools and teachers work tirelessly to instill the love of learning in students. But for those of us whose children aren’t thriving, hoping we might get a better teacher next year is not the recourse we are seeking.

50% of high schools don’t offer calculus. The solution is pretty simple.

• The Ed Fly

Your child has big plans for her future. But there’s just one catch—her high school doesn’t offer the courses she will need to earn admittance to her preferred program at her dream college.

What Competency-Based Education Looks Like

Competency-based education is a system of instruction where students advance to higher levels of learning when they demonstrate mastery of concepts and skills. In this setting, learning doesn’t rely on time, place or pace. Students are challenged and ultimately graduate ready to choose college or career. This new system is comprehensive and can include and […]

ExcelinEd Praises Merger of 50CAN and StudentsFirst

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Yesterday, national education reform organizations 50CAN and StudentsFirst announced their merger, strengthening local networks in communities across the country working to improve the quality of education for every student. Patricia Levesque, CEO of the Foundation for Excellence in Education released the following statement. “50CAN and StudentsFirst have been active, impactful partners in […]

Utah Governor Signs Competency-Based Education Grants Program into Law

March 29, 2016 TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Yesterday, Governor Gary Herbert signed SB 143 into law, which establishes the Competency-Based Education Grants Program.  Under this law, schools may apply for grants to pilot a competency-based education program where students advance to higher levels of learning when mastery is demonstrated regardless of time, place or pace. “Utah […]

How to Recruit High-Performing Charter Management Organizations – Just Released!

Today, the Foundation for Excellence in Education with the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and Ampersand Education released a new report that explains how to attract high-performing Charter Management Organizations (CMOs) to states and cities. The paper, How to Recruit High-Performing Charter Management Organizations to a New Region: Results from the 2015 CMO Survey, […]

Does K-3 reading matter? Ask the 70% of inmates who can’t read.

• The Ed Fly

Life is unforgiving for children who can’t read. This is why K-3 reading matters so much.

‘The Voice’ and School Choice: One young singer is thriving thanks to education options

• Kate Wallace

Shalyah Fearing, 16, is competing on the hit TV show ‘The Voice.’ Florida’s school choice options make it possible for her to pursue music while completing her education.

Idaho Governor Signs Early Literacy Program into Law

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Butch Otter signed into law H 451 and H 526, bills that establish and fund an early literacy program to help struggling readers and ensure all students are reading on grade level. The new laws follow Governor Otter’s bold commitment to early literacy efforts that ensure all Idaho students are […]

A dream put on hold returns to life

• Kristin Lock

An epic battle took place on The Voice stage a couple weeks ago. The contenders were similar in style and sound. But different in age, and different in opportunity.

Cake-covered smiles

• The Ed Fly

Hearing those words–Down syndrome–just minutes after her birth threw me into a tailspin. The doctor went through a litany of things our daughter would never do in her life. But she never told us about cake-covered smiles.

Reimagine Prep Charter School providing opportunity to Mississippi scholars

• Adam Thompson

In August, Reimagine Prep opened in Jackson as Mississippi’s first charter school, and from the moment you walk in, you can sense that everyone is bustling with purpose. The school’s mission is straightforward: to prepare each student for college.

Are States Preparing Students for Success?

Tallahassee, Fla.—Today, the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) relaunched an updated interactive website, offering parents and the public an easy way see how their state compares when it comes to setting academic expectations for students. To date, 36 states, including Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, New York and West Virginia, have raised their expectations […]

Statement by Patricia Levesque on U.S. Secretary John King

Tallahassee, Fla – Today, Patricia Levesque, CEO of the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) released the following statement congratulating Secretary John King on being confirmed as the U.S. Secretary of Education. “Throughout his career – from teaching to leading the New York State Education Department  – Secretary John King has shown a tireless commitment to […]

Industry Certifications Can Help Colorado Build a Global Workforce

Today, I addressed policymakers, education advocates and business leaders at the STEM Summit Policy Forum in Denver. The forum, hosted by the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce and Colorado Succeeds, was an opportunity to focus on expanding and improving STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – options for all of Colorado’s students. Career preparation […]

The Truth about Reading

• The Ed Fly

Kids who can’t read proficiently in third grade are four times more likely to dropout or fail to graduate from high school.

Student learning soars in Florida school embracing high standards and testing

• Kate Wallace

“I like accountability, and it’s why I made the jump,” said 25-year educator Tracey Hertzog. “Test data helps me understand my students’ thinking, and it drives my instruction. I’ve seen struggling students make a complete turnaround because of it.”


GEORGIA: AT THE INTERSECTION OF EDUCATION AND AGING Research Report by ExcelinEd Highlights How Demographic Changes Will Challenge Georgia’s Public Education System Today, at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, Dr. Matthew Ladner of the Foundation for Excellence in Education released original research on the demographic challenges facing Georgia’s education budget, entitled At the Intersection of […]

Uncle Sam’s Sketchy Finances and the Future of Georgia

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

In the coming years, Georgia will see a rise in the percentages of elderly and youth populations. The changing age demography is going to have a direct impact on Georgia’s state budget and an indirect one through federal finances.

#ProficiencyMatters for the kids in your life

• The Ed Fly

Does your state have high expectations for student learning? The answer to this question could shape the future of the children in your life—your son or daughter, your niece or the kid next door.

Hurricane Gray Swirls Toward South Carolina

Today, Dr. Matthew Ladner of the Foundation for Excellence in Education released his second piece of original research on the demographic challenges facing state education budgets, entitled Hurricane Gray Swirls toward South Carolina: Age Demographic Change and the Near Future of South Carolina Education. The analysis contains both research on the demographic challenges facing South […]

South Carolina Can Survive and Thrive Through Hurricane Gray

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

There is a serious storm on South Carolina’s horizon. In order to secure a brighter future for all citizens, the state must take action now.

It’s Testing Season: Keep Calm

• The Ed Fly

Spring is a time to celebrate warmer weather, budding flowers and things looking a little brighter. But some might argue that spring also has a few drawbacks, like pollen or testing.

Blaine discrimination started with Catholics and now extends to families

• Mike Thomas

A byproduct of anti-Catholic bigotry in the 1800s, Blaine amendments have become the preferred method for those attempting to block parents from choosing where their children go to school.

ESSA: What States Need to Know Now

• The Ed Fly

With the passage of the Every Students Succeeds Act (ESSA), states face an incredibly complex transition filled with opportunities and potential perils. Here are 5 things states need to know about school accountability.

State Actions – Policies and Progress Across the Nation, February 2016

COLORADO This week a bipartisan coalition of Colorado legislators filed HB 1289, a bill to establish a pilot program of incentives for high schools to provide a variety of career and vocational training courses to students. The bill would establish a $1 million annual appropriation that begins in fiscal year 2017-2018 and continue for two years. Participating school […]

Wondering about the ESSA timeline? Check this out.

• The Ed Fly

America’s revamped federal education law sets into motion a series of events that will influence education from state departments of education to local classrooms.

A “Supreme’’ victory for Oklahoma families

• Mike Thomas

400 Oklahoma children are using the state’s scholarship program for students with disabilities. This month, the Oklahoma Supreme Court unanimously concluded the program is in compliance with the state constitution.

Video: Nevada Parents Await Court Ruling on ESAs

• The Ed Fly

This video by The Seventy Four captures exactly how the lawsuits against Nevada’s Universal Education Savings Account Program are affecting families in the state.

A Word to Success Academy’s Opponents: Stop Hating and Start Creating

• The Ed Fly

To those who don’t approve of Success Academy’s model or the charter school network’s extraordinary outcomes, Derrell Bradford of NYCAN recently offered some savvy advice: open more charter schools.

Florida Chamber of Commerce issues education report

• Mike Thomas

The Florida Chamber of Commerce recently released a comprehensive report on our education system that is a must read for all stakeholders.

Why advanced coursework in high school matters for success in college

• The Ed Fly

Yesterday, ExcelinEd and the Arizona Chamber Foundation released a joint policy brief which finds that completing rigorous coursework in high school is one of the best predictors of students’ success in college.

Why advanced coursework in high school can lead to success in college

New paper from the Arizona Chamber Foundation and the Foundation for Excellence in Education examines barriers to advanced courses, explores options for increasing participation rates PHOENIX – The Arizona Chamber Foundation and the Foundation for Excellence in Education today released a joint policy brief that examines the challenges to ensuring more Arizona high school students […]

Idaho, Georgia and Ohio are on the road to personalized learning

• The Ed Fly

Idaho, Ohio and Georgia provide three different state approaches to expedite the beginning of the initiative while allowing time for thoughtful implementation.

Here’s what personalized learning looks like in Florida

• The Ed Fly

Florida lawmakers are working to make true Competency-Based Education possible in the Sunshine State.

Are you ready to celebrate Digital Learning Day 2016?

• Jazmyn Reed

Tomorrow, students, parents and educators nationwide will celebrate student-centered innovations during Digital Learning Day 2016.

ICYMI: DC Devotes $29K per Student Each Year. What if Parents Controlled That Money?

• The Ed Fly

Public schools in Washington, D.C., have made incredible strides in recent years, but there is still much more that can be done to improve education for all students in the District.

Time to Take Off the School Choice Training Wheels in D.C.

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

On the surface, Washington, D.C. has been making dramatic academic progress, especially in the charter school sector which now educates almost half of K-12 students in the District.

States considering next generation of school choice policies

States considering next generation of school choice policies  School Choice policies, particularly Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), are an innovative way to bring customization to K-12 education. The 2016 legislative season is off to a great start with many states pursuing new programs or expanding programs to give more students access to educational opportunities. ALABAMA Representative […]

Tennessee Considers Course Access

• Neil Campbell

Thanks to this new technology-driven choice initiative, students can access a high-quality education regardless of their location.

Competency-Based Education requires more than just adding devices

• The Ed Fly

What are the best ways to get started with Competency-Based Education? ExcelinEd’s Karla Phillips teamed up with Getting Smart’s Tom Vander Ark to share a dozen ways schools and districts can begin personalized learning and Competency-Based Education.

About Testing

• Christy Hovanetz

While tests are a regular part of life, they should not be the focus of a student’s classroom experience. ExcelinEd advocates for fewer, better tests, and we will continue to support statewide testing as an annual check on student achievement and learning.

School choice: “The Civil Rights issue of our time.’’

• McKenzie Snow

At a hearing before the Education and the Workforce Committee, Denisha Merriweather attested to the impact of school choice in her own life. Merriweather told the committee, “The cycle of poverty is ending in my family because of the Florida Tax‐Credit Scholarship. I received a quality education and, because of my example, my siblings are now seeing how to take advantage of educational opportunities.”

State of States Update: Tenn., Okla., Miss. and S.C. Governors on Education

• The Ed Fly

Today, we’re highlighting four governors—from South Carolina, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Tennessee—who have used their state of the state addresses to highlight education.

ExcelinEd applauds Tennessee Governor Haslam for championing student achievement

Dear Friend, Yesterday, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam delivered his State of the State address, marking the sixth straight year in which he has emphasized education reform in his agenda. The Foundation for Excellence in Education (@ExcelinEd) applauds Governor Haslam for again prioritizing the needs of Tennessee students. Education highlights in Governor Haslam’s remarks included: School […]

ExcelinEd Commends Oklahoma Governor Fallin for Embracing Reform to Improve Education System

Dear Friend, Today, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin delivered her sixth State of the State address and underscored the value of building a student-centered education system. The Foundation for Excellence in Education (@ExcelinEd) commends Governor Fallin for continuing to introduce bold education reform policy that provides Oklahoma students with choice in education. Education highlights in Governor […]

Putting the Pieces Together

• Karla Phillips

In the midst of holiday preparations, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal’s Education Reform Commission issued its final report and gave competency-based education advocates a little present.

State Actions January 2016 – Policies and Progress Across the Nation

The State of the States As many states begin their legislative sessions, Governors across the country are addressing their constituents on the state’s accomplishments to date and goals for the future. Education has been a central topic for many Governors, including:  Arizona Governor Doug Ducey reiterated his support for ensuring all students are college and […]

ExcelinEd Participates in 2016 Educate Georgia Summit

Dear Friends, The Foundation for Excellence in Education (@ExcelinEd) was proud to be a part of 2016 Educate Georgia Summit this week, hosted by Georgia State Representative Valencia Stovall and featuring Governor Nathan Deal, House Speaker David Ralston and others. During this two-day event, more than 300 education leaders and lawmakers gathered at the capitol […]

Celebrating a new choice in town: Single-gender public school

• Kate Wallace

“At first, I was skeptical of the single gender concept,” said Hiram Tookes, YMLA class president. “Now I can’t thank our teachers and principals enough for making this place possible. I am more focused, my teachers push me to be my best, and now I realize I must take a serious business approach to my studies in order to be successful.”

ExcelinEd Applauds MS Governor Bryant for championing education reforms

Dear Friend, Yesterday evening, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant delivered his fifth State of the State address and once again demonstrated an unwavering commitment to fighting for education reform. The Foundation for Excellence in Education (@ExcelinEd) applauds Governor Bryant for being a tireless champion for education reforms that benefit all of Mississippi’s students. Governor Bryant used […]

CARE Elementary is changing education in Overtown

• The Ed Fly

In a Miami neighborhood where illiteracy and poverty are rampant, one free private school is changing lives.

ExcelinEd Celebrates National School Choice Week in Nevada!

ExcelinEd Celebrates National School Choice Week in Nevada! Tallahassee, Fla. – The Foundation for Excellence in Education (@ExcelinEd) proudly supported and participated in the Nevada National School Choice Week event today. In the Silver State, it is an especially significant celebration as Nevada implemented the nation’s first Universal Education Savings Account last year. Around the […]

Crazy Socks & Quiz Shows: This is how Florida celebrates reading!

• The Ed Fly

It is Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida! Each year, Florida dedicates seven days to recognizing and encouraging the journey of literacy for its children.

ExcelinEd Celebrates National School Choice Week!

• The Ed Fly

This year, an anticipated 16,000+ events will be held across the nation in support of school choice. Here are some highlights:

ExcelinEd Celebrates National School Choice Week!

Dear Friends, The Foundation for Excellence in Education (@ExcelinEd) is proudly participating in several National School Choice Week events this week. This annual event celebrates and raises awareness of effective education options for every child. Follow @ExcelinEd for live updates, and join the social media conversation on these and other #SCW events. ExcelinEd’s CEO Patricia […]

How Idaho Is Making Mastery Education a Reality

• The Ed Fly

Last week Kelly Brady, the Director of Mastery Education* for the Idaho State Department of Education, explained why she believes in this approach to learning. Read Kelly’s first post here. Today, Kelly is sharing a second post, explaining just how Idaho is making Mastery Education a reality for its students. *Mastery Education, also known as […]

ExcelinEd applauds SC Governor Haley for her commitment to students and families

Dear Friend, Yesterday, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley delivered her sixth State of the State address, in which she laid out a budget that moves education reform forward. The Foundation for Excellence in Education (@ExcelinEd) applauds Governor Haley for her leadership in continuing to improve the education system and prioritizing student learning and success. Some […]

Kids have one shot at education. Help parents make it count.

• Adam Peshek

Today’s post is co-authored by ExcelinEd’s McKenzie Snow and Adam Peshek. Last week, they authored the post “ZIP codes are great for sorting mail. But kids?”   Children have just one opportunity to receive an excellent education. Our parents were able select great schools for us. Because of our parents’ choices, we were each able to […]

State of States Update: New Mexico, Indiana and Georgia Governors Spotlight Education

• The Ed Fly

Today, we’re highlighting three governors—from New Mexico, Indiana and Georgia—who have used their state of the state addresses to discuss education.

ExcelinEd applauds NM Governor Martinez for championing an education-first budget

Dear Friend, Yesterday, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez delivered her sixth State of the State address and offered bold initiatives to continue education reform in the state. The Foundation for Excellence in Education (@ExcelinEd) applauds Governor Martinez for being a tireless champion for education. Governor Martinez is proposing greater investments in New Mexico’s education system […]

Why this experienced teacher believes in Mastery Education

• The Ed Fly

Thanks to advances in technology and new student-centered models of teaching and learning, we now have the tools to meet the needs of every learner!

ZIP codes are great for sorting mail. But kids?

• Adam Peshek

In the past decade, we have seen a tremendous growth in school choice. Why? Because people acting on something they have known all along—education cannot be delivered like the mail.

ExcelinEd commends IN Governor Pence for commitment to students and teachers

Dear Friend, Last night, Indiana Governor Mike Pence delivered his fourth State of the State address. The Foundation for Excellence in Education (@ExcelinEd) commends Governor Pence for his commitment to Indiana students and teachers.  Whether it be expanding a student-centered school choice programs, providing additional dollars to Indiana’s highest-performing teachers or giving much-needed support and […]

ExcelinEd applauds GA Governor Deal for pursuing bold education policies

Dear Friend, Today, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal delivered his sixth State of the State address and reaffirmed the state’s commitment to building a better education system for all Peach State students. The Foundation for Excellence in Education (@ExcelinEd) applauds Governor Deal for being a tireless champion for education reforms that benefit all of Georgia’s students. […]

Mississippi Governor: We Should Not Stand in the School House Doorway and Resist School Choice

• The Ed Fly

Yesterday, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant gave an inaugural speech that outlined a bright future for Mississippi students and their families–a future including a healthy dose of school choice.

State of States Update: Idaho and Arizona Governors Spotlight Education

• The Ed Fly

This week, our nation’s president and state governors have been giving state of the state speeches to address issues, call for change, recognize triumphs and paint hopeful portraits of the future. Today, we’re highlighting two governors—from Idaho and Arizona—who have used their state of the state addresses to discuss education. Specifically, how they plan to […]

ExcelinEd applauds AZ Governor Ducey for his commitment expanding educational opportunities

Dear Friend, Yesterday, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey delivered his second State of the State address, in which he reiterated his continued commitment to improving and expanding educational opportunities for all of Arizona’s children. The Foundation for Excellence in Education (@ExcelinEd) applauds Governor Ducey for his leadership in continuing to improve Arizona’s education system and making […]

ExcelinEd commends ID Governor Otter for embracing reform to improve education system

Dear Friend, Yesterday, Idaho Governor Butch Otter delivered his 10th State of the State address and once again embraced reform policies to improve the education system for all students in the state. The Foundation for Excellence in Education (@ExcelinEd) applauds Governor Otter for working to ensure every school in the state prepares Idaho’s children for […]

Why Nevada’s ESA program injunction should be immediately reversed

• The Ed Fly

Yesterday, Carson City District Court Judge James Wilson granted a preliminary injunction that orders the State Treasurer to stop implementing Nevada’s new education savings accounts pending further court deliberations.  Blocking this new education program restricts Nevada parents from choosing the best education option for their children. Further, these actions will cause irreparable harm, disruption and […]

ExcelinEd Calls for Immediate Reversal of Nevada Education Savings Account Program Injunction

Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, Carson City District Court Judge James Wilson granted a preliminary injunction that orders the State Treasurer to stop implementing Nevada’s new education savings accounts pending further court deliberations. Patricia Levesque, CEO of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, released the following statement. “Today’s action by a Nevada District Judge to block […]

Statement from Patricia Levesque on FL State Board of Education

Tallahassee, Fla – Patricia Levesque, CEO of the Foundation for Excellence in Education today released the following statement on the Florida State Board of Education’s decision regarding Florida’s School Grading formula. “Florida has become a national leader in student academic improvements, with its most disadvantaged children making the most progress. This came about because our […]

Updated #ProficiencyMatters Scorecard: Is your state closing the gap?

• The Ed Fly

Check out this updated #ProficiencyMatters score card to see if your state is setting adequate expectations for your children!

#OnTheFly: 10 Greatest Hits of 2015

• The Ed Fly

This year, The EdFly Blog published 197 posts—ranging from provocative perspectives on the opt-out movement to in-depth policy pieces and heartwarming parent testimonies on school choice. Here is a recap of 2015’s greatest hits on The EdFly Blog!

Over-Regulation in Louisiana’s Voucher Program

• Adam Peshek

But for vouchers to work, a program must be well designed and implemented. It must not overregulate schools or handcuff them financially. They must be given the autonomy to maintain their unique identity, including the ability to control their curriculum rather than being forced to follow the public school template. Doing so only defeats the purpose of the vouchers.

Video: What grade would your school earn?

• The Ed Fly

Everyone understands the difference between an A and an F. Learn how A-F School Grading is making a difference in more than a dozen states!

Advancing students when they are ready

• The Ed Fly

It’s no secret that ExcelinEd is excited about Competency-Based Education—the new approach to learning that allows to students to advance as they master course material. Politico Florida recently reported that with guidance from the Foundation for Florida’s Future (ExcelinEd’s sister organization), three school districts in Florida have already begun implementing competency-based education pilot programs. Now […]

DLN Report Card: Advancing Course Access in Michigan

• Erin Lockett

Over the past year, Michigan has built on this policy to streamline offerings and work toward ensuring that Course Access will be a sustainable part of its educational ecosystem.

Tennessee’s Looming Battle: Needs of the Young v. Needs of the Old

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

Tennessee students made more improvement between 2011 and 2013 on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) than their counterparts in any other state. This is a promising start, and in this blog post we will be making the case for why Tennessee lawmakers should continue to vigorously seek still more improvement.

Our actions today will decide history

• Patricia Levesque

Today, the Foundation for Excellence in Education released the 2014 Digital Learning Report Card, an annual report that grades each state’s 2014 digital education policies. If you’re left wondering how these policies affect you, just consider what is happening in your hometown right now.

Betrayed by the System 

• The Ed Fly

Michael Lomax, CEO of the United Negro College Fund, weighed in on the national debate on testing earlier this month.

Let’s Stop Cheating Kids out of the Education They Deserve

• The Ed Fly

With all the news around the opt-out movement, one important question is often overlooked. Who really benefits when students opt out of an annual test?

DLN Report Card Preview: Student Achievement Backpacks in Utah

• Erin Lockett

Utah’s Data Backpacks will give parents and educators a comprehensive view of each student’s progress and achievement so they can work with the student to create a personalized learning plan.

Just Do Your Best

• The Ed Fly

In watching parents across the nation opt their children out of standardized testing, I am left wondering why they have changed course and strayed from their usual mantra of “just do your best.” Why is this childhood experience so different in their eyes?

Vanessa’s Journey: Empowering Special Education Through Technology

• The Ed Fly

Like any good Type A, control-freak, helicopter mom, I had been making my daughter watch educational videos pretty much since birth, but the truth is that because she was still non-verbal at two-to-three years old I had no idea if she was learning much. And then I bought an iPod…

Florida Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts Poised to Help More Students

• Sara Clements

Florida is becoming as well known for its education as its sunshine, and the state’s newest educational choice option is gaining national attention from states looking for common-sense, customizable solutions for students.

Opt-Out:  Grassroots movement or teachers union initiative?

• The Ed Fly

But now we are seeing the unions break ranks, actively working against that which they once supported as being in the best interest of children. They are spending vast sums to promote the so-called opt-out movement, claiming it is a large grassroots effort when in fact it is an organized political campaign that has attracted only a small minority of more affluent parents.

DLN Report Card Preview: Creating Innovation Zones in West Virginia

• Erin Lockett

West Virginia is doing something truly novel. The state is allowing schools and districts to disregard policies and ignore codes. This approach hasn’t spawned anarchy. Instead, it has allowed schools and teachers to try new innovations in teaching and learning methods.

The Three R’s of National Security

• The Ed Fly

Florida’s public education system is on track toward ensuring all students are equipped to succeed. That bodes well for our students, our state, our economy and our nation’s security.

What Will It Really Take to Realize the Dream

• Karla Phillips

America has spent 40 years working to individualize education, and what lessons have we learned? What have we learned to enable a true shift to a student-centered personalized system of education?

Florida Mom: Testing and Accountability Are Important for Education

• The Ed Fly

Testing is an important tool to measure progress and quality. Without it, the quality of a student’s education would vary significantly from district to district, town to town, school to school and even classroom to classroom. Our kids deserve the highest-quality education possible. To achieve that, we need to measure progress and make sure schools and teachers are helping students reach their greatest potential.

Déjà Vu All Over Again

• Lowell Matthews

You probably noticed the great fanfare over Florida’s new Advanced Placement (AP) results this past week. Wait…You didn’t hear anything about it?

Finding the Balance: Accessing the benefits of data while safeguarding student information

• Patricia Levesque

Last week, Georgia passed the Student Data Privacy, Accessibility and Transparency Act (SB 89). This is the first bill in the nation that comprehensively protects student data while also improving parental access to their own child’s data.

DLN Report Card Preview: Providing Options for Arizona Students

• Erin Lockett

For years, this seat-time oriented system has forced students to adapt to a pre-determined learning schedule. Now, states are recognizing the need to allow students to progress at a flexible, personalized pace. That is exactly what is happening in the Grand Canyon State.

Florida AP Results Top Massachusetts

• Mike Thomas

Florida just passed Massachusetts in the percent of high school graduates who have scored 3 or higher on an Advanced Placement exam, probably the biggest upset since the tortoise and the hare.

Choice for school board members comes to Florida

• Mike Thomas

As a professional, Shawn Frost works with business start-ups. But it was as a member of the Indian River County School Board that Frost really decided to do something different. He took on the established Florida School Boards Association by starting up a conservative alternative.

DLN Report Card Preview: Seeding Innovation in Ohio

• Erin Lockett

Imagine a fund that sparks innovation and spurs student learning. In Ohio, such a fund is setting the stage for real change to K-12 education. They call it the Straight A Innovation Fund.

Mom of Five: Parents Can Make Better Decisions Than Zip Codes

• The Ed Fly

Some parents have choices in their children’s education. They can afford different schools, they get lucky, they know how to finagle the system or – like me – they qualify for one of the programs in our state that gives families more options. But what about the others?

Hay una alternativa a la “exclusión”

• The Ed Fly

Hay quien afirma que los exámenes son injustos, y que ejercen demasiada presión sobre los niños y las escuelas. Pero el estado de la Florida ha demostrado que cuando se mide el desempeño académico, aquellas escuelas cuyos alumnos obtuvieron calificaciones inferiores han demostrado una mejoría dramática. Yo considero que lo injusto sería no preparar a nuestros hijos para los retos de una educación y éxito en la enseñanza en sus estudios postsecundaria.

Winning the Ed Reform Conversation

• The Ed Fly

Reform is reshaping the landscape of public education, converting a stale and outmoded system designed for centuries past and converting it to a 21st century model designed around the learning abilities of students.

There is an alternative to opting out

• The Ed Fly

There are those who argue tests are unfair, that they put too much pressure on schools and children. But Florida shows that when held accountable, schools that once failed children can improve results dramatically. What is unfair is not preparing our kids to be successful after high school.

Idaho Agrees: Flexible Pace > Seat Time

• Karla Phillips

Earlier this month, the Idaho legislature unanimously passed legislation, HB 110, which directs the Department of Education to begin Idaho’s transition to a mastery-based education system.

Timing Is Everything

• Karla Phillips

Competency-based education is a system of personalized instruction with enough flexibility to provide the time, feedback and support for ALL students to demonstrate mastery of state standards. By allowing students to “show what they know,” students will be able to progress through classes at a flexible pace, with around-the-clock access to coursework from any location. […]

Florida’s class-size amendment: Fixing a $30 billion mistake

• Mike Thomas

What sounded good on a ballot turned chaotic when implemented to the letter of the law.

The Link Between K-12 Education and National Security

• Patricia Levesque

Education gives children the capacity to succeed in life, and their combined success ensures prosperity for our nation. We all understand that. Now take out the word “prosperity” and substitute “security.’’

SXSW Update: ExcelinEd presents EdPolicy Leaders Online

• Samantha Tankersley

This is the final piece in a three-part series on our takeaways from the SXSWedu conference. Earlier this month ExcelinEd staff joined teachers, ed tech companies, district leaders and stakeholders at the annual event in Austin, Texas to discuss the most pressing topics in education, including personalized learning, student data privacy and classroom innovations. Read […]

SXSW Update: The Need for Innovation

• Samantha Tankersley

SXSWedu sparked conversations on innovation in education. One conversation included Betsy DeVos, ExcelinEd Board Member and Chairman for the American Federation for Children. She spoke last Wednesday at “Competition, Creativity, and Choice in the Classroom” and shared how modernized education practices – including digital learning – can help our nation produce students ready for college and careers. DeVos also focused on how educational choice can transform lives and provide students with unprecedented educational opportunities.

SXSW Update: Student Data Privacy

• Samantha Tankersley

Last week, thousands of innovative teachers, ed tech companies, district leaders and stakeholders flocked to the annual SXSWedu conference in Austin, Texas. Today we’re sharing the first of a three-part series on our top takeaways from the event.

Georgia Faces a Challenging Future

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

Is Georgia prepared for the future?

DLN Report Card Preview: Accelerating Students in Florida

• Erin Lockett

This means Florida schools no longer have to rely on seat time to award academic credits. Advanced students who master the material quickly can move on to another course, cutting down on boredom. Struggling students can take more time so they are not left behind. Learning is the constant and seat time is the variable.

What It Takes for a Student to Succeed

• The Ed Fly

Frustration quickly grew into hopelessness. De’Antay even told me he wanted to drop out of school. And then we realized this was normal. His teachers told us that De’Antay was doing better than most, that we should be happy he was a “D” student. When I heard this, I knew I had to get him out of that school as soon as possible.

States Across the Nation Pursuing Education Savings Accounts

• Adam Peshek

There is growing interest by states in Education Savings Account (ESA) programs, with at least 22 state legislatures pursuing or considering the policy in 2015. The programs take funds that otherwise would be spent educating children in traditional public schools and sets them aside into accounts controlled by parents. The parents then can use the […]

Waffles & Testing – A Dad’s Recipe

• Mike Thomas

My daughter started writing books in first grade, was a better writer than me by third grade, and now here she is in fifth grade, afraid of a standardized writing test. This is like Einstein being afraid of Algebra 1.

I wish I could opt out of writing this

• Mike Thomas

I would like to opt-out of writing this blog, but alas I cannot. Because my boss would opt out of paying me. And my wife might opt out of having a deadbeat hanging around the house. There are some things that just must be done.

When the difficult is entirely possible

• Mike Thomas

Is an A-F school grading system unfair to low-income schools, which invariably earn a disproportionate number of lower grades?

Getting Smart on the My School Info Design Challenge

• The Ed Fly

Last year, ExcelinEd launched the My School Information Design Challenge to help states reimagine their annual school report cards. Read what our friends at Getting Smart had to say about the Challenge, including the Challenge’s recently released findings brief. My School Information Design Challenge By: Getting Smart February 26, 2015 The #SchoolInfo challenge is an […]

Third Grade Reading Laws: Their Importance and Impact on Students with Learning Disabilities and Attention Issues

• The Ed Fly

Experts agree that many students with Individualized Education Programs can meet grade-level reading standards. Even students with reading disabilities can learn to read when provided with appropriate services, instruction and supports. That’s why we believe that students with disabilities, as a whole, should not be exempt from any third grade reading program. Failing to include students with disabilities can allow poor reading instruction for these students go undetected. It can reinforce the idea that students with disabilities should have different expectations than those in general education. We must not turn away from these students. Instead, we should provide the services and supports needed to help them reach the same standards as their peers.

How to Transform Convoluted Documents into Accessible School Report Cards

• Elizabeth Emery

Through the My School Information Design Challenge and the research on which it was based, states possess a greater understanding of the need and opportunity to transform their school report cards. They have access to creative ideas and willing assistance to help them reach that goal.

ExcelinEd Develops Roadmap for States to Deliver Powerful School Information

• Patricia Levesque

Over the past five months, ExcelinEd has been focused on bringing creative energy to a national opportunity. And just what is that opportunity? Improving parents’ ability to access and understand powerful school information.

Opportunity Scholarships are a Lifeline to a Better Education – to a Better Life

• The Ed Fly

In December 2013, two lawsuits were filed, one by the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) and the North Carolina Justice Center, and another by the North Carolina School Board Association, to block low-income families from using Opportunity Scholarships. The new voucher program launched for the 2014-15 school year with over 5,500 applications. However, due […]

Using Minds Well in the Grand Canyon State

• The Ed Fly

Our very own Karla Phillips joined Getting Smart’s Tom Vander Ark last month to visit two school networks in Phoenix that teach young people to use their minds well. Earlier this month, Vander Ark shared about the school networks in two posts on his EdWeek blog. Check out part one on Great Hearts Academies below. (Click here to read part two […]

Warning: Delayed Graduation Possible

• Karla Phillips


What if parents received these notices on their child’s report cards?

EdPolicy Leaders Online: Access to Education’s Top Experts

• Patricia Levesque

I am excited today to announce a new initiative by the Foundation for Excellence in Education called EdPolicy Leaders Online, a series of free, self-paced online education reform massive open online courses (MOOCs) designed specifically for policymakers and education reform partners. The best part is – you can enroll right now!

Expanding student minds in the Bayou

• The Ed Fly

Imagine an education system where we go beyond school choice, where we give families a choice over courses. Not simply the courses available in their schools, but every conceivable course that could be offered – languages such as Chinese, technical courses such as welding, rigorous academic courses such as Advanced Placement calculus, or even music […]

Report Review: Michigan’s K-12 Virtual Learning Effectiveness Report

• Erin Lockett

Last week, Michigan Virtual University (MVU) released Michigan’s K-12 Virtual Learning Effectiveness Report for 2013-2014. The second annual report, required by the legislature, looks at 2013-2014 data from the Michigan Department of Education to analyze the growth and effectiveness of the online delivery model. This unique requirement enacted through Public Act 60 encourages transparency, additional […]

Will Oklahoma be OK or KO in 2030 and Beyond?

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

Oklahomans should feel the gravest possible level of concern. It is an unambiguous blessing to have multiple generations of Americans alive at the same time, but the American social welfare state is not prepared for it at either the state or federal level.

“This School Afforded Me the Opportunity to Be a ‘D’ Passing Student”

• J. Alex Kelly

“This school afforded me the opportunity to be a ‘D’ passing student.” De’Antay Curry from Birmingham went on to say “I stayed in this school for two years, and I was told that I was doing better than most.” Thankfully, De’Antay was not proud of the results, despite his teachers suggesting he should be, and […]

A Demographic Tug-of-War Faces State Leaders

• Patricia Levesque

¬The myth that bigger budgets will lead to better public education has been refuted by years of research, yet a state’s commitment to quality schools often is measured by how much it spends on them. As detailed in a groundbreaking report out today from the Foundation for Excellence in Education – Turn and Face the Strain: Age Demographic Change and the Near Future of American Education by Dr. Matthew Ladner – that approach not only has failed but also is no longer sustainable given the demographic trends facing our nation.

Turn and Face the Strain

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

Tomorrow we will release a new study on American age demographics and their looming impact on the American K-12 education system. The report Turn and Face the Strain: Age Demographic Change and the Near Future of American Education will contain detailed projections on all 50 states and scale of the challenge each faces due (mostly) to the retirement of the Baby Boomers. Among a number of other needs, the study will make the case that America desperately needs better K-12 results as soon as possible.

5 Questions with Matthew Ladner About School Choice

• The Ed Fly

This week is National School Choice Week, a time to celebrate expanding educational choices around the nation, inform communities and support efforts to help more families choose the educational environment best for their children. Senior Advisor of Policy and Research for the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) Dr. Matthew Ladner recently answered five questions […]

The Magic of Turning a Page

• The Ed Fly

Guest blog by Rian Meadows of Tallahassee, Fla. It is Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida! Each year, we dedicate seven days to recognizing and encouraging the journey of literacy for Florida’s children. Reading opens up a world of thoughts and experiences. It introduces us to new people and places – past, present and even future. The […]

Teachers, Students and Politicians Unite for Nation’s Largest School Choice Celebration

• Kate Wallace

Last Friday, I was privileged to attend the official launch of National School Choice Week at the historic Florida Theatre in Jacksonville, Fla. Along with a capacity crowd of 1,900 other students, parents, teachers, community leaders and education advocates, we kicked off what is certain to be the largest celebration of school choice in history. […]

A-F School Grades Inform and Engage

• Mike Thomas

The National Education Policy Center has issued a report on the use of A-F letter grades in school accountability systems. As expected, given its close affiliation with teachers unions and its opposition to education reforms in general, the NEPC was critical. “Expressing school quality via a single composite grade is flawed,” the report says. But interestingly enough, the NEPC says nothing about states expressing school quality through a single, composite label. For example, many states classify schools with confusing terms such as Distinguished, Academic Watch or Priority.

New Hope for Simon’s Future

• The Ed Fly

Before the PLSA program, I felt extremely limited in the resources I could offer my child. We are a one-income family and there is not much left to go around for books and expensive curriculum, not to mention a computer or an iPad. Now, with the flexibility a PLSA allows, I am so hopeful for Simon’s future.

Setting the Record Straight

• Jaryn Emhof

We believe states should embrace a variety of education choices, expand those that advance student achievement and weed out those that do not.

It is our hope that one day naysayers will put aside rhetoric, embrace a student-centered education system and engage in an education transformation that will provide America’s students the quality education they deserve.

In Case You Missed It: Senator Nancy Collins calls for customized education for special needs students in Mississippi at #EIE14

• The Ed Fly

“The injustice that was caused should not be forgotten.” At ExcelinEd’s 2014 National Summit on Education Reform, Senator Nancy Collins stressed the critical need for educational options for special needs students in Mississippi. During the Summit, Senator Collins shared a story about Ericka, a deaf and blind Mississippi student who spent 15 years in the public school system […]

The Futures of My Daughters Are Too Precious to Waste

• The Ed Fly

If you knew your local public school had no intention of meeting the needs of your child, what would you do? When I had this realization, I decided to advocate for change. Not just at the local level, but state-wide change.

The Right Mix of Autonomy and Accountability for School Choice Programs

• Adam Peshek

One question has preoccupied the school choice community for many years. What is the best way – if any – to measure student learning in choice programs?

Don’t let a piece of paper place children in an educational box

• The Ed Fly

Don’t let a piece of paper place children in an educational box based on their diagnosis. As more families access PLSAs, I know more will see that all children can succeed if we are able to think outside the box and create an education that truly fits the needs of each unique child.

Mississippi Mother: “I was not going to let my sons become yet another tragic statistic”

• The Ed Fly

The benefits of this new school are significant, but so is the financial burden for the school’s tuition. Unfortunately the cost of a custom-made education is not an option for every parent, yet the prospect of a 23 percent chance at graduation is not an option either.

School Choice Is the Answer to Education Inequality

• Patricia Levesque

Beginning January 25th,  families across the nation will celebrate the fifth annual National School Choice Week. Stay tuned to The EdFly Blog for more on school choice this month, and visit to find events in your area. I sometimes wish we could change the name of National School Choice Week to National Parent Equality Week. […]

Believe in the gift of a quality education

• The Ed Fly

Wishing you and your family a happy holiday season!

The Edfly Blog’s 10 Greatest Hits of 2014

• The Ed Fly

It’s been a great year #OnTheFly! The EdFly Blog showcases perspectives, victories and changes happening across the education reform landscape by examining news stories, policy-in-action updates, critical analysis of education news, and star reformers profiles. Take a look back at some of this year’s highlights in The Edfly Blog’s 10 Greatest Hits of 2014

Technology + Innovation = Gains in Math

• Andrew Kossack

Recently, New Classrooms released an independent study of the first two years of implementation of its new middle school math program called Teach to One, which is a blended and personalized learning program that allows students to learn at their own academic level in an instructional format that is most likely to help them succeed.

School Choice: A Fight for Students

• The Ed Fly

You see, it’s not a battle over public education versus other educational options. And it most certainly shouldn’t be a fight over where the funding “should” go. It’s a fight for students – for the futures that “could-be.” It’s about allowing all children access to a quality education that’s best suited to their needs and conducive to their educational success.

Designing the Future, Starting with What We Know about Schools

• The Ed Fly

What if public reporting of data was not only easier to understand, but could be used to spark a conversation between communities and their schools? More than simply a repository of numbers, interactive online report cards could be the answer. If done well, they would be a living resource and a forum for conversations about data and what’s happening in schools.

Principals with No-excuses Attitudes

• knol

Some might say schools who serve high-needs students who achieve dramatic learning gains are defying the odds. But the success at these schools is not due to magic or luck. These are not isolated incidents. They can be replicated. There are themes that arise. One of the clearest similarities at these schools is that change begins with a strong leader.

Everything I needed to know about student data, I learned in kindergarten

• Andrew Kossack

Our son’s school encourages its students to lead parent-teacher conferences, so our little five-year-old served as the official host for the evening.

Accountability in Education: How Design Can Accelerate Innovation

• Omid Jahanbin

Design is a necessary ingredient for making real progress in today’s world. But let me be clear, design is not what happens when a fresh hipster with heavy glasses and a fade haircut opens up Photoshop. It is the planning and decision making process on how something will look, happen or be made. And we […]

School Report Cards: Removing the Mystery and Adding Clarity

• Marilyn Dwyer

As a research coordinator at the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd), I am asked to do a wide variety of long and intricate projects involving education reports and data. But none of my research assignments intrigued me – or shocked me – as much as the request to visit all 50 states’ education department […]

ExcelinEd announces winner of school report card design competition

• The Ed Fly

Designing a report card for students is simple: Biology: A; Math: B. Designing a report card for a school is more complicated. How do you capture all the elements of school quality in a report that is concise, accurate and simple for parents to understand? We put the question to the design community by sponsoring “The My School Information Design Challenge.’’

When the Stars Align in Support of Learning . . .

• Karla Phillips

There is one key area where K-12 and higher education policy intersect—teacher preparation. Higher education needs college and career ready graduates while K-12 turns around and asks for better equipped teachers. I think it’s safe to say that there is broad agreement on the importance and impact a great teacher can make—a point confirmed by […]

Doug Tuthill: In the Business of Changing Lives

• The Ed Fly

Lifelong educator, former head of a teachers union and tax-credit scholarship president Doug Tuthill is in the business of changing lives. Read the story below to find out what has motivated this education leader throughout the years. NOTE: Last month, Doug Tuthill joined us at the 2014 National Summit on Education reform for the session […]

#EIE14 Videos Are Online and Ready to Watch

• The Ed Fly

The 2014 National Summit on Education Reform has passed, Thanksgiving dinner has been eaten, and you’re wondering how you will fill the time between now and Christmas, right? Well, we have good news for you: #EIE14 videos are all online and ready to watch.

Mom Blew It

• Patricia Levesque

Mom blew it. That’s what I told my kids after our National Summit on Education Reform. More than once, standing at the podium, I told the audience, “Good night.” Unfortunately, it was the middle of the day. A mistake like that is magnified at an event in which people are listening to the eloquent words of Secretary Condoleezza Rice, Senator Marco Rubio and Governor Jeb Bush. They never say “good night” to people eating lunch.

Teacher unions: An agenda that has little to do with kids

• Mike Thomas

Undeniably there are public schools that do an amazing job educating poor kids. Undeniably, there are schools that do not.

Joel Klein on Teachers Unions and Ground Wars at #EIE14

• The Ed Fly

In an informal discussion at the National Summit on Education Reform in Washington, D.C., former New York City School Chancellor Joel Klein laid out two paths teachers unions can take. “They can double down on an anti-choice, anti-accountability model,’’ he said. But if they do, he said, it is “a ground war’’ they will lose. […]

Pre-#EIE14 Experience: Blended D.C. Policy Hackathon

• The Ed Fly

Blended, personalized and competency-based learning holds promise for boosting achievement in high challenge cities like Washington, D.C.–that was the conclusion reached by a group of policy makers that toured schools in the nation’s capital yesterday.

Look forward to seeing you at #EIE14 tomorrow!

• Patricia Levesque

Our 7th annual National Summit on Education Reform (#EIE14) begins bright and early tomorrow morning. Governor Bush will open the summit with a keynote address at 8:45 a.m., and the fun will continue until 2:00 p.m. on Friday.

Three, Two, One…Vote! (For the My School Information Design Challenge)

• Patricia Levesque

Vote today until December 2 by visiting

New Tools Help Parents Open Doors for Children with Special Needs

• The Ed Fly

This #ParentalInvolvement Month, we’re recognizing the important role parents play along their children’s educational paths. Student success gets a boost when parents and schools work together. The path to educational success can be more challenging for students with special needs – parents share in those challenges. But scholarships in Florida and Arizona are helping to open doors to a tailor-made education and empower parents to help their children with unique abilities thrive in school and in life.

Jeb Bush Speaks Out

• The Ed Fly

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, recently answered questions from Education Next about Florida’s education success, school choice and lessons learned moving forward in education reform. Check out the full interview below.

Dear USED, Student Outcomes Must be Focus

• The Ed Fly

Closing the achievement gap in education is one of the most critical challenges our nation faces today. For far too many years, the performance of our students of color, English language learners, low-income students, and students with disabilities has lagged behind that of affluent, white students. On Monday, the Foundation for Excellence in Education and […]

A Call to Educational Arms

• Samantha Tankersley

This Veterans Day, take time to thank those who have served. And take a moment to learn more about how we can change America’s education system to better serve the needs of our students and our country.

The Brave New World of Public Education

• The Ed Fly

You might think “school choice” is here to stay, but Doug Tuthill, president of Step Up For Students, isn’t so sure. In this redefinED piece, he explores the brave new world of public education and explains why the end of “school choice” is nigh. (Spoiler alert: a semantic shift is involved.)

Star Trek Technology in Classrooms Today

• Nathan Martin

Quality education technology should be constructed around student learning and research and should be cognizant of past work.

Florida Faces a Demographic Vise Regardless of Whose Estimates You Use

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

A mind has always been a terrible thing to waste and the price of this waste will grow catastrophically.

Proven reforms are making a difference, but we must do more

• Patricia Levesque

Often overlooked in the heated national debate of improving education are data and evidence. Today’s release of the ” Report Card on American Education: Ranking State K-12 Performance, Progress, and Reform,” written by Dr. Matthew Ladner and Dave Myslinski, shows that common sense reforms are working for schools, and most importantly for students.

We Need More Transparency in Our Public Reporting

• Claire Voorhees

For the most part, states are making that mountain of data publicly available to parents and other stakeholders. But, have we accomplished our goal of true transparency?

My cab ride started with simple chit-chat and ended with a discussion of school choice.

• Jess Langhaim

ExcelinEd believes that all children can learn, all children should be learning a year’s worth of knowledge in a year, and a parent knows which learning environment is best for their child.

What is more high stakes than your child’s future?

• Patricia Levesque

Tests need to serve a purpose and not simply take up valuable classroom time. It’s refreshing to see that some districts are reviewing their local tests. And we would encourage the state to also do a review to see if there are duplicative tests that could be eliminated.

What a Great Teacher Did for My Kid

• Mike Thomas

My daughter isn’t the only one who learned a lesson. I began to appreciate that the best way to engage kids is to challenge them, that earned self-esteem lasts a lifetime.

The Power of Technology Can Elevate All Children

• Erin Lockett

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. For students with Down syndrome and other special needs, communicating through traditional assistive technology can be both limiting and frustrating. Several recent advances have sought to remedy this issue by providing the foundation for personal and specialized learning.

Give a Gold Star

• Lauren Chianese

Take a moment to say thank you and #GiveAGoldStar to the teachers who have impacted your life – those who have inspired and influenced you or your child. Together, let’s spread the word and #GiveAGoldStar to America’s teachers!

Dear Ed Trust, Which States Really Are Closing the Achievement Gap?

• Patricia Levesque

The report is based on a limited set of data for only a handful of cherry-picked states and misses the mark when it comes to Florida’s accountability system.

We Know the Line and We Have Passed It

• Lowell Matthews

Unfortunately, these practices of kicking the can down the road and lowering our expectations for what our children can learn and do only hurts their self-esteem when they rapidly fall behind their classmates or can’t find a job. More than 7 out of 10 prison inmates are functionally illiterate. More than 8 out of 10 high school dropouts were struggling readers by third grade. Our education system has failed them.

Join Us at the 2014 National Summit on Education Reform

• Governor Jeb Bush

Register today to guarantee your space at this special event. Together, we can transform education in America.

Don’t Miss This Opportunity

• The Ed Fly

Mark your calendars to join Governor Jeb Bush and ExcelinEd on November 20-21 for our 7th annual National Summit on Education Reform in Washington, D.C.!

DQC: Public Reporting Informs Decisions, Empowers Action

• The Ed Fly

We are two weeks into ExcelinEd’s My School Information Design Challenge, with the goal of making state report cards on schools more useful to parents, teachers, policymakers, and the broader community.

Friedman Foundation Releases Study of Voucher Program Savings

• Adam Peshek

If these projections continue through the current school year, Florida’s McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities, for example, can be expected to have saved much more than a billion dollars over the past 10 years.

Hispanic Reading Achievement by State Spending

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

Our highest performing states, with proficiency rates of around 30 percent, make for a very uncomfortable place to rest upon your laurels, but it is the best we have for now. This should serve as a wake-up call—we need to do much better everywhere.

What I Learned in Prison Libraries

• J. Alex Kelly

Unfortunately, the missed opportunities in life for these youth and adults are a common tale, often with a connection to their early education or lack thereof.

Upgrading High Schools with MOOCs

• Nathan Martin

This new offering should excite districts and states rather than frighten them. Embrace high quality disruption for the sake of the students.

Accountability is Working for Florida Students

• Patricia Levesque

That doesn’t mean we turn a complete blind eye to the possibility of cultural bias. And the Florida Department of Education is not doing that.

It’s Time to Reimagine School Information

• John Bailey

School report cards should reflect the very latest in graphic design. The design should be intuitive so the strengths and challenges of a particular school are easy to understand by all audiences – whether you are an education policy expert with a Ph.D., a parent in an underserved community with failing schools looking for better school options, a busy parent managing a child’s involvement in school activities, or a first-time parent choosing a kindergarten.

Launching Today: ExcelinEd’s My School Information Design Challenge

• The Ed Fly

ExcelinEd invites you to join us in an exciting initiative as we attempt to reinvent the ways in which parents and other stakeholders consume and use school information!

Literacy: The Touchdown that Matters Most for This Star Receiver

• Dave Myslinski

Too many students are shuffled through school, promoted to the next grade without building the fundamental skills of reading. Reading is not just a subject; it is the foundation for all learning.

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

• The Ed Fly

As demographics shift, America will see communities and schools transitioning to a majority of minority students and their success is inextricably linked to the well-being of our nation.

Time to Act Now to Improve Today’s Education for Tomorrow’s Economy

• Patricia Levesque

I applaud our partners at the U.S. Chamber for consistently keeping education at the forefront of the business community, recognizing the influence of our nation’s employers in improving education.

Big Ideas in Education Funding

• Whitney Chapa

This November, the Foundation for Excellence in Education will host its fifth annual National Summit on Education Reform, in Washington, DC. As a first-time Summit attendee and new member of the ExcelinEd team, I am excited to learn about the great work being done across the country to advance student outcomes and meet the leaders at the forefront of this work.

This School Year Let’s Embrace Teacher Accountability

• Matt Minnick

Nobody likes the feeling of failure, and that sinking feeling is only magnified when you know a classroom full of 14-year olds are staring up at you, suffering from your failure.

A Lesson in Education Reform from a Teacher of the Year

• Kate Wallace

The Florida A-F school grading system has been a powerful evaluation tool since its inception in 1999. It’s hard not to appreciate how far Florida’s schools have come under school grading and its emphasis on measuring student learning and progress. Recent changes to the formula, however, made it more complex and difficult for the public to understand, and the pending transition presented a good opportunity to simplify it.

Opting Out. Count Me In.

• Lowell Matthews

By now, you’ve probably heard the news that the Lee County School Board in Florida has voted (3-2) to opt out of standardized testing of students. Although one of the three is having second thoughts, this is truly a watershed moment in education.

Improving Student Engagement With Course Access

• Neil Campbell

Providing students with more control and autonomy over their education by allowing access to a wide range of courses that interest them is why we are so excited about Course Access programs.

When Kids Who Need the Most Get the Least

• Mike Thomas

Sixty years after Brown v. Board of Education, the shortage of excellent teachers in low-income classrooms has become the newest battleground in education equality.

Rethinking School

• Karla Phillips

Would you be surprised if I told you that the idea of proficiency or competency-based education was already happening all across the country?

Where to Find Success in New York

• Mike Thomas

The students and teachers of Success Academy Charter Schools in New York continued their remarkable record of success this past year.

Another Year Lost

• Patricia Levesque

ACT released its annual The Conditions of College & Career Readiness report today, with results that should raise alarm.

How a Great Florida Principal Turned Around a Failing School

• Mike Thomas

A once-failing school in Florida shows that excellence is a matter of principal.

Plain Language Summary of the E-rate Modernization Order

• The Ed Fly

The current E-rate program is as complex as the changes being made.

The Data Behind Education Reform

• Alexis Flowers

Each day, education advocates work to ensure that students receive quality educations that will prepare them for success in college and beyond

21st Century Classroom Innovation Act

• Neil Campbell

Successful blended learning schools are created when teachers and school leaders design and implement new instructional models to personalize learning for their students.

Toni Jennings: Expecting More of Schools and Students in Florida

• The Ed Fly

Some proposed that grading be suspended, which would be a mistake. Instead, Florida is compromising.

Making Magic in Muggle Schools

• Mary Laura Bragg

No matter whether it’s in the wizarding world or muggle world, kids do best when they are held to high standards backed by quality, rigorous assessments.

Grading Arizona

• The Ed Fly

School grades are going up in Arizona as the state’s A-F grading system is having the desired effect.

Parents: Your Child’s A-F School Grade May Not Be What You Think It Is

• Leanne Norr

It’s not enough to merely grade schools. States must raise the bar in their grading calculations. This will give the system credibility so parents can trust the information and make informed decisions about their children’s education.

Lessons from Rocketship: Thinking like a Start-up

• Sara Clements

Richard Whitmire’s latest book details how Rocketship, one of the celebrated “No Excuses”-brand charter networks got its start and, in doing so, shares a valuable lesson that everyone in the education field can learn from.

MOOCs: Questions Answered

• The Ed Fly

I am not just learning;—I am experiencing education at the highest level, and there is no substitute for that feeling.

Our Top Choices for Choice News

• The Ed Fly

There has been lots of news and discussion about school choice this month. And so we decided to compile our own list of greatest hits.

From Movies to MOOCs: Putting the Individual in Charge

• Marilyn Dwyer

Envision Arrested Development as a chemistry class offered as a MOOC by one of the many online providers.

Taking a MOOC: How Does it all Work?

• The Ed Fly

Rather than being forced to hang onto every word of every lecture, I can gain what I want from the course rather than what a teacher wants me to learn.

Christensen Institute: Course Access Opens New Horizons for Students

• The Ed Fly

In this day and age, a student’s education need not be limited to the four walls of the classroom nor the lines drawn around his school district.

Leading in an Era of Change: Course Access Whitepaper

• Nathan Martin

To maximize every student’s potential for learning and prepare them for success in the 21st century, America needs an education system that is constructed around the needs of learners.

Transforming Education for Students with Unique Abilities: Applications for Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts Now Available

• The Ed Fly

Through the PLSA Program, the state is not only empowering parents of children with unique abilities to make critical choices concerning their children’s educational goals, but also providing the specific resources to make those goals a reality.

Evaluating Education: Do Results Matter?

• Mike Thomas

Funding has long been the flawed measuring stick of education quality.

Florida Faces the Future: Part 4

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

The task facing current policymakers will prove still more daunting: to produce even greater improvements without increasing per-pupil spending.

Enrollment Opportunities with MOOCs

• The Ed Fly

So much of the beauty of MOOCs lies in their widespread availability, yet they must be coupled with widespread awareness.

Should We Reform Summer Vacation?

• The Ed Fly

A teacher from Baltimore argues in Education Week that it is time to address the “brain drain” that occurs over summer by reforming vacation.

FCC Votes to Modernize E-Rate

• John Bailey

This is an important first step toward reforming and modernizing the E-Rate program.

South Carolina Students Benefit from Leaders Putting Policy Ahead of Politics

• Matt Minnick

But the night is darkest just before dawn; with the signing of Read to Succeed, it looks like the sun is rising on literacy in South Carolina.

Constructing Education Systems around Students

• John Bailey

Creating a new education system where the constant is student-centered mastery rather than time requires new measurements, it requires trust, and it must be built on an infrastructure of meaningful connectivity.

A First Exploration of a MOOC

• The Ed Fly

For my entire life, technology has always been used to supplement learning, not deliver it.

Groceries and Education: Too Important Not to Be Left to the Market

• Adam Peshek

History has shown us that the government is great at collecting money, worse at distributing it, and utterly inefficient at delivering services.

Freedom in American Education

• Dave Myslinski

Our Founding Fathers understood the importance of education. They knew education was the key not just for personal prosperity, but for a free society.

Florida’s Race Against the Future, Part 3

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

Florida needs substantially more effective methods for educating students at a substantially lower per pupil cost.

Measuring Student Success at the Center of Learning

• Nathan Martin

Student growth cannot be equated with the number of hours spent sitting in a classroom and cannot be fully captured by a traditional diploma.

What’s happening #OnTheFly

• Kristin Lock

Here is a roundup of what’s been happening #OnTheFly this week along with an easy way to share your favorites with your social media circles.

How FCC E-Rate Reforms Can Support New, Student-centered Vision of Education in Aspen Institute Report, Part 2

• John Bailey

We believe that if properly implemented, these significant, common-sense reforms could strengthen and revitalize the E-Rate program to better meet the needs of schools and libraries.

How FCC E-Rate Reforms Can Support New, Student-centered Vision of Education in Aspen Institute Report, Part 1

• John Bailey

Since 1997, the E-Rate program has provided financial support to connect schools and libraries to the Internet. And, thanks to the program, nearly every school in the United States now has at least basic Internet access. Unfortunately, most schools do not have the broadband capacity to support the digital curricular materials, online and blended learning programs, and online assessments that are required to place our students at the center of a “networked world,” as the Aspen Task Force promises.

Lessons in Digital Learning from the Florida State University Football Team

• Adam Peshek

Empowering students starts with understanding students. Data is a powerful tool for teachers, parents and students as they work to align instruction around the customized needs of each learner.

Reforming Teacher Prep Requires a Comprehensive Approach

• Sara Clements

In the quest to reform teacher preparation, there are two opposing schools of thought: improve traditional programs through increased regulation, or create an open marketplace and deregulate the whole system. But as we’ve learned in K-12 education, it’s not as simple as either/or.

Putting Students at the Center of Education

• Nathan Martin

A fundamental goal of education should be fixed on one simple question with a million complex answers: “How can we place each student at the center education?”

Teachers in Maryland Stress the Importance of Reading

• The Ed Fly

Common Core State Standards, like any state standards, will succeed only as far as the teachers who bring the standards to life in the classroom.

Aspen Institute Report: Learner at the Center of a Networked World – Protecting Student Data

• John Bailey

Our education system has a responsibility to ensure students—including their personal information—are safe.

Open Letter from Patricia Levesque: Accountability Drives Results

• Patricia Levesque

We believe that if properly implemented, these high-quality math and English language arts standards will raise the academic bar in American classrooms, ensuring children are ready for life after high school, whether that involves enrolling in college or pursuing a career.

Digital Learning Now Joins Consensus Letter Calling for E-rate Modernization, Simplification and Fiscal Discipline

• The Ed Fly

As the E-rate rulemaking proceeds, we look forward to working with the FCC as well as the other organizations pursuing reform to make E-rate a fiscally sustainable program.

The Future of Education is Choice, Customization, Mastery

• Patricia Levesque

Public education needs to transform from a system that funds schools to one that funds the child, where parents take control of their child’s education and direct funding towards the schools, programs, and services that best fit their needs.

Every Course for Every Student

• Nathan Martin

Without expanding access to rigorous and robust courses—including growing innovative options for career and technical education—we starve eager learners and the future entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

Congratulations Class of 2014*

• The Ed Fly

As we struggle to gain ground economically from the recession, one thing has become clear: education is an economic lifesaver.

Mississippi Focuses Reading Policies on Young Learners

• Cari Miller

No matter how fantastic a policy may be, it’s only as good as its implementation.

Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

• Jess Langhaim

Setting goals is a normal part of life and crucial to improvement. We set exercise goals, reading goals, goals to eat more vegetables, goals to check Facebook less often on the weekends, and so on. But in order to set achievable goals, we must first consider where we currently stand and where we want to go.

¡Gracias a la Sra. Laurent!

• Kate Wallace

After 36 years of teaching, 30 of which were at my alma mater, Bartow Sr. High School, she is retiring today, June 6. I’m not sure if my high school will ever be the same without her.

Florida’s Race Against the Future, Part 2

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

The pace of charter and private choice program seats simply is not fast enough to do much more than to take the edge off of the projected cohort of students.

Student Success Depends on Testing and Accountability

• Patricia Levesque

We need to worry more about a student’s future than the protests of adults who would shirk that responsibility.

Mission Dolores Academy Puts a Renewed Focus on Students through Blended Learning

• Lauren Chianese

Once struggling, this school is increasing enrollment, holding the line on costs, and improving student learning. Mission Dolores Academy isn’t just surviving, it’s thriving.

Honesty is the Best Policy

• Christy Hovanetz

As the K-12 education policy landscape has evolved over the past several months, policymakers need to resist the temptation to overthink.

Florida’s Race Against the Future – Part One

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

Having a high proportion of elderly people combined with young people puts quite a strain on working age people, who pay the taxes necessary to support Medicaid, K-12, public universities, etc.

Digital Learning Now & Stanford University Focus on Online Education

• The Ed Fly

This article was originally posted at Digital Learning Now.  When most people talk about increasing choice in education, they think about parents and children having more choice when it comes to selecting which school to attend. Digital learning, however, is making it easier and easier for students to customize their learning experience by having choices at the […]

Separating Common Core Myths from Reality

• The Ed Fly

ExcelinEd believes in a healthy, informed discussion on an issue this important.

RedefinED — Report: Achievement gaps smaller among Florida charter school students

• The Ed Fly

While Florida has made progress in closing achievement gaps, being the only state to make statistically significant progress on the White-Black achievement gap in all four NAEP exams between 2003 and 2013 (fourth- and eighth-grade reading and math exams), Florida’s charter schools are doing an even better job at closing achievement gaps than traditional district schools.

Balancing Transparency and Independence in School Choice Programs

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

In crafting private choice programs, policymakers must balance the legitimate public interest in transparency with a respect for the independence of private schools, which are held to the ultimate form of accountability: parental satisfaction.

Parents Will Do Whatever It Takes for Their Children

• The Ed Fly

When people dismiss school choice, claiming parents—especially those of limited means—aren’t interested in or able to make the best decision, remember Stacie Jones.

Education Reform Lessons from My Greatest Teacher: My Mom

• Nadia Hagberg

As reformers, we believe common-sense policies should reach into every classroom—and be available to every student.

The $130,000 Question

• The Ed Fly

New Mexico is a state that spends more than the national average, spending $11,019 every year for each student. But despite that high level of funding, their academic results are among our country’s lowest.

The Tennessean: More High School Diplomas Aren’t Translating to Higher Achievement

• The Ed Fly

An article published yesterday in The Tennessean brings attention to a growing divide in education: the gap between what’s needed to earn a high school diploma and what is expected of high school graduates once they enter the real world. Our country has made substantial progress in eliminating “dropout factories” and bringing graduation rates up […]

Amanda Howard: How a Scholarship Helped My Son Learn to Talk

• The Ed Fly

For too many families, existing public schools can’t meet the needs of their children.

The Value of Comprehensive State Accountability Systems

• The Ed Fly

High school students obviously are doing better by any credible measure. But that comes with the disclaimer that we still are a long ways away from an education system that prepares all students for college or a career.

Washington Post: Teachers Unions Threaten Common Core Implementation

• The Ed Fly

After years of support of the Common Core State Standards and stronger academic standards in general, teachers’ unions are reversing course.

Louisiana Lawmakers Have Innovative Opportunities to Increase Quality Education Options

• Patricia Levesque

When we look at states that exemplify leadership in charter school and school choice options that put students at the center of learning, Louisiana is at the head of the pack.

Reformer Star of the Week: Cynthia Davis

• Sara Clements

Ms. Davis is a rare breed. It’s not that she is just hardworking or dedicated to her students—most teachers are. She’s more.

The Death of Discourse in the Common Core Debate

• The Ed Fly

Are we really having an open discussion about the Common Core State Standards? Or does this sound more familiar?

This is Not Your Father’s School Choice Plan

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

Parents will be given the chance to build a customized education experience for their children and will have full control down to the last penny.

A Delay to Educational Freedom for Mississippi’s Students with Disabilities

• Matt Minnick

Of all the achievement gaps we see in American education, the largest exists between disabled children and their non-disabled peers.

The Path to Rediscovery

• Neil Ruddock

Systematic finance reform will not get easier if we wait until the next downturn, and it won’t happen in a single step.

The difference a new school and higher expectations can make

• Mary Laura Bragg

Anyone who says that choices for parents are bad for the education system should meet James’ mom. She’ll set you straight.

The Impact of a High Expectations Culture in Schools

• Kate Wallace

These students want to be challenged in a way that stretches their abilities and allows them to display their gained knowledge. Opponents of testing would have you believe otherwise.

Testing Allows Students to Showcase their Knowledge

• The Ed Fly

Testing is a part of life. Doctors, nurses, teachers, mechanics, and airline pilots all had to pass tests to succeed—and each time we board an airplane, we’re thankful those tests exist. That’s why being able to learn and absorb information and then reflect that knowledge on a test is so important, no matter what career path you choose.

Adding up the fuzzy math in Arizona Empowerment Accounts

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

Foundation for Excellence in Education Senior Advisor of Policy and Research Dr. Matthew Ladner posted a piece this morning on Jay P. Greene’s Blog in regards to today’s Wall Street Journal article on Education Savings Accounts.

Education Motivation: My Story

• Sara Clements

There truly is no greater joy in the world than watching a child be successful and knowing that YOU helped make it happen.

Student learning is enhanced through the use of technology

• knol

Our responsibility as educators is to prepare students for the future. But based on how most schools utilize technology today, current students will be prepared for the past, at best.

Court Ruling Protects Louisiana Voucher Program, but Federal Overreach Persists

• Adam Peshek

Apparently at the Justice Department, information gathering includes an injunction to shut down the program you’re interested in.

Yes, we can beat the kids from Singapore

• Marilyn Dwyer

For those who argue that the standards are too tough, the BASIS Charter Schools set their goals even higher. Common Core should represent the floor in our schools, not the ceiling.

Parents’ wishes put on hold in North Carolina

• Shea

Fewer than 30 percent of low-income students enrolled in North Carolina public schools are proficient in math and reading.

The View from a Teacher’s Chair

• Mary Laura Bragg

Kids who master the content of a course – truly master it as measured by a rigorous assessment – shouldn’t have to stay with the pack.

Holding Firm on Common Core in Ohio: Policy over Rhetoric

• Neil Ruddock

Ohio students have made modest progress the past several years. But that still means that only about 40 percent of fourth- and eighth-grade students are proficient in English and math, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

New Models of Education: A Tale of Two Schools

• Jess Langhaim

Last month, Governor Bush and members of the Foundation for Excellence in Education had the opportunity to visit two sensational schools: Nizoni Elementary School in New Mexico and Advanced Technologies Academy (A-Tech) in Nevada.

Digital learning: More states teaching kids at their own level and at their own pace

• Dave Myslinski

With digital technology, we can update this antiquated system. Teachers will be able to tailor lessons for each student. And students will be able to move on when ready, no longer restricted solely by how long they’ve been sitting in a chair.

Education reform is closing achievement gaps in Florida

• The Ed Fly

The latest results from 2013 show Florida’s students are not only making significant gains, but are sitting at the top of their class.

Reformer Star of the Week: Mark Francis

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

I, for one, am incredibly grateful that the Francis family took this risk. I’ll never forget the first day I dropped my oldest son off at ASA.

Education savings accounts: The equalizer in Arizona.

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

The teacher’s union and the Arizona School Boards Association fought hard to block low-income families from having a say in their children’s education. They lost. In a column from the Arizona Republic, Matthew Ladner from the Foundation for Excellence in Education takes a look at what this means for the winners.   Imagine that you […]

Students Benefit from Digital Learning at Nevada’s Advanced Technology Academy

• The Ed Fly

On Thursday, March 27, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd), joined Nevada education leaders at Advanced Technologies Academy (A-Tech) in Las Vegas, Nevada, where they saw first-hand the benefits digital learning.

ExcelinEd Chairman Governor Jeb Bush Visits New Mexico & Nevada

• The Ed Fly

On Thursday, Governor Bush joined Nevada state education leaders at Advanced Technologies Academy (A-Tech) in Nevada. Following a campus tour, they participated in a panel discussion with students, exploring how technology and digital learning tools have helped A-Tech become U.S. News and World Report’s number one school in the state.

Florida legislators earn an A

• Lauren Chianese

If passed, a new formula would go into effect in the 2014-15 school year when the state moves to higher academic standards.

Fact check: Florida schools are rising to the top

• Mike Thomas

The question then becomes: Do you dumb down standards and increase your numbers, producing graduates who can’t even read at a 10th grade level? Florida has found it can raise standards and increase graduation rates at the same time. This is a journey worth taking.

I’ll Have a Dose of Confirmation Bias, Heavy on the Bias

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

Private school students outscore public school students, but private school students tend to be more affluent than public school students, and there can be differences in special need and language profiles. Fortunately the NAEP data explorer allows you to take such factors into account.

Reformer Star of the Week: Glenton “Glen” Gilzean

• Joanna Hassell

It is only fitting that the boy who paid for his own private school tuition by handing out AVON catalogues is now the Vice President of Advocacy and Outreach for Step-Up for Students.

A-F School Grades Make Sense for Virginia

• Adam Peshek

Schools that work tirelessly to improve the learning of Virginia’s most challenging students will finally get the acknowledgement they deserve. Only for schools that are content keeping students below grade level will flounder under an accountability system that recognizes growth.

Reformer Star of the Week: Senator John Thrasher

• Lowell Matthews

All children can rise to their potential and see their dreams realized if they have the support they need, and, just as importantly, an adult who believes they can.

Charter school parents in New York do not give in to bullies

• Adam Peshek

The charter supporters braved below-freezing temperatures to send a message to Mayor de Blasio – if you will not stand up for our students, we will find state leaders who will.

Is Nebraska up for the challenge?

• Neil Ruddock

Nebraska will need to decide if it is up to the challenge.

Reformer Star of the Week: Ray King

• Cari Miller

By accepting no excuses and holding teachers and students to high expectations, he ensured that thousands of kids, some of which educators believed were impossible to teach, become successful lifelong readers.

Florida must embrace alternate visions of public education. Now.

• The Ed Fly

“Florida has had a growing student population for a long time, but it will be facing challenges of a whole new scale with the working-age portion of the population shrinking. The traditional way of dealing with enrollment growth involved building new district facilities”

Reformer Star of the Week: People Of Washington

• Jess Langhaim

This reform movement took time, hard work, and had some failures along the way, but the will was strong and the results are well worth it as students options and parental choices have increased.

Florida excels in Advanced Placement courses once again

• Mike Thomas

Notice the company Florida is now keeping. They’ve come a long way since the 1990s when they ranked near the bottom nationally in almost every academic category.

DC Academic Trends Deserve Celebration but…

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

Last week I told you the good news that NAEP shows that both DC district and charter schools have been improving their academic outcomes, but that charters were showing faster growth.  That post included charts like the following, showing the improvement in the percentage of general-education free and reduced-price lunch-eligible students scoring “Basic or Better” […]

Choice: Phalen Leadership Academy

• Lauren Chianese

Only 37 percent of African American males in Indianapolis will graduate from high school. At a nearby public school, only 39 percent of students pass state exams and a dismal 8 percent graduate from college. These families are hungry for quality school options.

Choice: Florida Voucher Program

• Mike Thomas

On the upcoming legislative agenda in Florida is what House Speaker Will Weatherford calls a “massive expansion of choice for families.’’ In other words, give the people what they want: the right to pick their children’s schools. The popularity of Florida’s choice options has, in fact, created widespread bi-partisan support, particularly for the Florida Tax-Credit […]

Reformer Star of the Week: Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons

• Neil Ruddock

Heaven help the poor child on Coach Lyons’ YMCA soccer team who attempts to complain of fatigue.

Choice: Florida Virtual Schools

• Dave Myslinski

Technology has made it possible for every child in America to access the high quality teachers in an endless variety of courses. Public policy is beginning to recognize this and catch up to the 21st century, but there is far to travel.

Education Savings Account Represent Parental Choice 2.0

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

There will be more students than the public school system can cope with, and fierce competition between education and health care, young and old, for limited public funding.

Choice – It’s good for me, you and Louisiana

• Lauren Chianese

Louisiana is a mecca of school choice, but that wasn’t always the case. Previously known as a bottom-ranking state in educational quality and effectiveness, Louisiana has changed course (and not without making a few waves).  The state is redefining education for its students, and the impacts are huge. Amid policies to increase expectations and promote […]

DC District Schools are Improving but DC Charters are Blowing Past Them

  When the National Center for Education Statistics first released the 2013 NAEP data, the website refused to cooperate with requests to give charter/district comparisons for the District of Columbia.  This is of especially strong interest given that 43% of DC public school children attend charter schools. Well lo and behold the NAEP website decided […]

Trust in the Classroom: Protecting Student Data Privacy and Security

• Dave Myslinski

The expanding array of education opportunities enabled by digital technology and broadband networks necessitates a renewed commitment to establishing trust with teachers, parents, and students that sensitive information is securely protected.

Education Reformer Star of the Week: Ken Bradford

Running 48.6 miles over four days might leave most people in a coma, but after completing the last of four races in Disney’s 2014 Dopey Challenge, Monday morning finds Louisiana’s Ken Bradford taking emails and answering questions about what keeps him running each day

Reformer Star of the Week: Wayne Green

• Sara Clements

I heard theirs and they heard mine, and none of the results were good. It was a humbling moment.

Reformer Stars of the Week: Robyn Bagley and Judi Clark

• Nadia Hagberg

Next time you’re passing through Salt Lake City keep an eye out for these high-heeled heroines of reform, but don’t waste your time looking for them on the sidelines.

Education Reformer Star of the Week: Michael Gregg

• Marilyn Dwyer

When I met Michael, I knew that he loved music. Having majored in jazz piano at Florida State and been in a drum group in high school how could he not? You’ve probably heard him if you’ve seen a musical show at the local Tallahassee Little Theater or at Florida State (and if you ever […]

Education Reformer Star of the Week: Dan Scoggin

Small rays of hope have been emerging in Arizona’s deeply trouble high-school sector.

Everyone talks about the achievement gap, who is doing something about it?

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

Did you happen to notice the state that narrowed the White-Black achievement gap in all four subjects during the last decade? Here is a hint:

Reformer Star of the Week: John Burnett

“Mr. Minnick, Mr. Minnick, where’s Mr. Burnett?!” It was this question—or rather the reason behind the answer to this question—that curved the tracks of my life towards a career in education policy. However, before I tell you where Mr. Burnett was, allow me to first explain who Mr. Burnett is. Mr. John Burnett was my […]

How long should it take to teach a child to read?

• Mike Thomas

Critics of retention argue it is harsh on children. I would argue illiteracy is much harsher.

Reformer Star of the Week – Douglas County Voters

• Joanna Hassell

Sometimes good isn’t good enough. By most measures, Douglas County, Colorado was doing just fine.   This was a community with one of the highest median household incomes in the country and schools that had a graduation rate of 87.4% and an average ACT score of 21.8. Lots of communities would kill for those numbers.  Lots […]

DC Students See Gains No Matter How You Slice It

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

The Washington Post reported on the impressive NAEP gains in the DC, but also that measure of student income in the city has become distorted. The District of Columbia Public School system apparently changed the measure of Free and Reduced-Price lunch eligibility between the 2011 and 2013 NAEP exams. This leaves a bit of mystery […]

Education Reformer Star of the Week: Tony Roberts

• Georgianna Nutt

If you provide a vision and show that good results will come of it, people will follow you. Get on board, Georgia!

Florida Charter Schools Crush the Ball on 2013 NAEP Reading

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

This news is worth singing a round of Sweet Caroline, for sure.

Reform efforts in DC, TN, IN and Florida are working

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

NAEP 2013 affirms the reform efforts in DC, TN, IN and Florida. The National Center for Education Statistics has released the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) for 4th and 8th grade Reading and Math. “The Nation’s Report Card” tests random representative samples of students in all 50 states, serving as the only true […]

Education Reformer Star of the Week: Representative Ryan Aument

• Adam Peshek

Washington’s wisest education experts tell us the reform movement is suffering from a chronic case of fatigue.

What is lime green?

• Mike Thomas

Green. Lime. Yellow. Orange. Red.

The attempt at clarity only brought confusion.

Keynote and General Sessions from #EIE13: All In One Place

• Kristin Lock

Videos are ready!

Excellence in Education Strategy Session: Accountability 2020: Adopting and Readying Transparent A – F Grading Systems for the Next Generation of Schools

• Mike Thomas

The seemingly simple exercise of grading schools like schools grade students has become one of the most powerful and contentious of all education reforms. That was the consensus of state legislators on an accountability panel at the National Summit on Education Reform in Boston. Issuing A-F grades is so controversial because it is so easily […]

Excellence in Education Strategy Session: The Results Are In: The Empirical Evidence Choice in Education Works

• Dave Myslinski

The body of evidence that school choice is working has been expanding at an increasing rate over recent years. Researchers from MIT, Harvard, and the University of California, Davis comprised a panel at the Excellence in Education National Summit this afternoon that shared findings showing choice in education raises academic attainment and increases college attendance […]

Excellence in Education Strategy Session: A Customized Education: Extreme Choices through Digital Learning

• Dave Myslinski

Students in an increasing number of states are benefiting from expanded choice in education: Course Choice. This next step for educational choice allows students to customize their educational experiences, providing students options down to the individual course level. Two leading states in the midst of implementation, Utah, represented by Sen. Howard Stephenson and Louisiana, represented […]

Excellence in Education Strategy Session: The K-3 Reading Strategy: Cementing the Foundation of Lifelong Success

• Mike Thomas

Retaining third graders who cannot read only works when backed by other initiatives that prioritize literacy in the early grades. The combination can result in impressive reading gains, said a panel of experts and policy makers at the National Summit on Education Reform in Boston Thursday. “It’s tough love, loaded with love,’’ explained said Mary […]

Education Reformer Star of the Week: Dale Erquiaga

• Jess Langhaim

He enjoys delving into the laws and determining what Nevada should be doing and what authority the superintendent has to be an effective change-agent.

Education Reformer Star of the Week: Pati Montgomery

• Cari Miller

I knew instantly on my first phone call with Pati Montgomery that she was the right person to lead Colorado’s reading efforts.

Montana Teachers of the Year News Release: 21 Former Current and Former Montana Teachers of the Year Endorse Common Core State Standards

• The Ed Fly

Collectively, the 21 of us have over 500 years of teaching experience….We support Montana’s Common Core Standards.

ICYMI: The Closing of Diane Ravitch’s Mind: A once-great education scholar rejects everything she previously believed

• The Ed Fly

Sol Stern aptly describes Diane Ravitch’s transition from conservative school-reformer and careful scholar to radical progressive in his article in the most recent edition of The City Journal from the Manhattan Institute.

Education Reformer Star of the Week: Clark Jolley

• Neil Ruddock

Ordinary. When one thinks of provocative words in the English language, this aggressively nondescript term is scarce to be found.

K-12 Reform and the Future of South Carolina

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

Public education is a permanent feature of American life, but that the need for improvement in public education qualifies as desperate.

More Things in Heaven and Earth, Dr. Ravitch, than are dreamt of in your ideology (Ravitch vs. Reality Part III)

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

Ravitch and her camp of disgruntled reactionaries may as well face the fact that K-12 education policymaking has grown (gasp) more pluralistic.

The 10 Elements: Forward Lean Versus Fast Retreat

• The Ed Fly

The chance to create new tools and new schools that work better for students and teachers has never been better. In this decade we have the opportunity to dramatically improve education in Detroit as well as Delhi.

Ravitch vs. Reality (Part II)

• Dave Myslinski

There is nothing remotely scholarly or even serious about this latest book. It ignores the fact that poverty isn’t exclusive to America. In fact, we spend more on students in America than any other country.

Ravitch vs. Reality (Part I)

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

There is nothing remotely scholarly or even serious about this latest book. It ignores the fact that poverty isn’t exclusive to America. In fact, we spend more on students in America than any other country.

Florida Demographics- There Is Going to Be Some Changes Around Here

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

“There is going to be some changes around here,” he explains while blowing out a large puff of smoke.

Indiana Independent A-F Accountability Report: Accusations of Grade Manipulation are False

• Patricia Levesque

Today, a report was released confirming what Tony Bennett already shared as the truth

In every job that must be done there is an element of fun

• Mary Laura Bragg

I’ve watched Mary Poppins at least 50 times. Believe me. This was no “snap, the job’s a game.

Not apples to apples

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

It is unfortunate to see some in Utah react to A-F school grades as some kind of attack on public education when in fact it is an improvement strategy that has been successfully used in other states to strengthen public school performance.

Reverend Samuel Rodriguez: Rigorous Standards Critical for All Children

• The Ed Fly

Yet, with half of undergraduates placed in remediation and only 56 percent graduating, countless students quickly found they were unable to succeed at college-level work.

Louisiana’s Compass Provides the Direction Teachers Need to Move Forward

• The Ed Fly

So, if 99 percent of teachers in Louisiana were considered effective, why did more than one-third of eighth graders in the state score below basic in math?

Want to Be a Rock Star? Join the Education Movement!

• Lydia Logan

A career in education provides the chance to truly make a difference in the lives of others and the future of our nation.

Higher Standards: Yielding a Higher Return on Our Investment

• Dave Myslinski

Wrongly tying these new, higher state-led standards to the Obama Administration undermines governors, education leaders and other elected state officials and the work they have so diligently advanced.

The Biggest Pet Peeve

• Mary Laura Bragg

Y’all are getting schooled by 2nd graders.

Transforming Education = Protecting the American Dream

• The Ed Fly

For 20 years ExcelinEd’s chairman, Governor Jeb Bush, has passionately advocated for policies that will center America’s education system around students.

Charter School Laws Continue to Advance

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

Bully for them, but surely that cannot be allowed to stand…

Governor Jeb Bush Delivers Education Reform Address to ALEC August 9, 2013

• Kristy Campbell

On Friday, August 9, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education addressed the American Legislative Exchange Council’s annual meeting, held last week in Chicago, Illinois. During his address, Governor Bush outlined his vision for a quality 21st century education system, including: Raising academic standards; Promoting literacy and ending social […]

Success = Rising Student Achievement

• Jaryn Emhof

Individuals are quick to handicap news and recent happenings from a political perspective.

Tony, Florida and Indiana

• Neil Ruddock

Tony didn’t need the hassle. He took on these fights because they were the right ones.

US Census Bureau Projections and School Choice

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

This inspired me to look into U.S. Census Bureau projections regarding trends in school age population. What I found ought to be recognized in debates over school policy in Florida.

It’s time to break some records

• Kristin Lock

Something tells me we’d laugh if we went to Rio in 2016 and the high jumpers were jumping over the original record height of 1.81 meters from the first modern Olympics in 1896.

Education Reforms Lead to Significant Gains Among New Mexico Minority Students

• Lydia Logan

The commitment to help every child learn is paying off. This year, New Mexico is proving what we know to be true: students, teachers and schools rise to the expectations set before them.

Education Reform, High Standards and American Exceptionalism

• The Ed Fly

Conservatives have always been champions of high standards and American Exceptionalism.

Did FL Legislators Make the Grade?

Education reform is not a turn-key operation. You don’t pass legislation, congratulate yourself on a job well done, and walk away.

Stronger Standards for a Stronger Country

• Dave Myslinski

Our education system has stagnated for too long, holding on to the standards of an outdated economy.

Might be summer, but education leaders aren’t resting

• Dave Myslinski

As we enter the summer months, education leaders aren’t resting. Local districts are preparing for—and welcoming—more challenging academic standards for students.

The one where we fact check

All children deserve to have a system that sets them up for success in life. Americans support their education system at a globally high level but do not receive globally competitive results in return.


• The Ed Fly

Despite a still-recovering economy, in one industry alone, there are hundreds of thousands of open, good-wage jobs employers want to fill, but can’t because of a dramatic shortage of qualified candidates.

High Academic Standards Critical Today for Jobs of Tomorrow

• The Ed Fly

As the movement to raise academic standards gains momentum in states across the nation, take a moment to read the latest on what people are really saying about this initiative.

Chubb and Clark Examine State Achievement Gap

Some states are serious, others Shirley when it comes to education reform.

John Chubb and Constance Clark have a very interesting new study out from Education Sector called The New State Achievement Gap: How NCLB Waivers Could Make it Worse or Better.

Florida, Louisiana Senate Education Chairmen: States Must Lead on Raising Standards

• The Ed Fly

For every 100 ninth graders, 70 will go on to graduate high school. Forty-four of these men and women will enter college, and just 30 will return for their sophomore year. Only 21 will earn a degree within six years.

Should We Retain Kids to Raise Reading Achievement? Part II

• Cari Miller

Part II has arrived and Professor Shanahan shares additional thoughts on whether retention can improve student reading achievement. One of his statements worth highlighting:

Building the quality education system our children deserve

• Patricia Levesque

Existing state standards across our country are deceiving our children. They allow functionally illiterate students to earn high school diplomas and they are not aligned to what the real world expects and requires of individuals, especially in the competitive 21st century economy.

USA Today Endorses Common Core Standards as ‘Quintessential State Effort’

• The Ed Fly

This blunt statement may have shocked some, but it came as no surprise to the many intimately involved in education in the U.S. today – parents, teachers, students, local and state leaders, the business community, and countless others.

Should We Retain Kids to Raise Reading Achievement?

• Cari Miller

Many states are adopting “reading by grade 3” policies to improve student reading achievement in the early grades. Some of these policies include retention for students who are unable to read at the end of third grade, giving them an additional year with intense reading services to help them catch up with their peers. Timothy […]

Conservative Think Tank Mackinac Center Endorses Higher Standards

• Kristin Lock

On the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress – known as the Nation’s Report Card – only 35 percent of American eighth graders performed at grade level or above in math, while just 34 percent of students in both fourth and eighth grades scored at grade level or above in English.

The 81 Percent: Why High Academic Standards Matter

• The Ed Fly

For decades, the education establishment has lowered standards. The results have been inflated test scores, aligned to sub-par standards and generations of Americans unprepared for college or workforce.

Excel in Ed Mythbusters: The Most Outrageous Myth of the Week

• Kristy Campbell

The Most Outrageous Myth of the Week goes to…..

What They Are Really Saying About Common Core State Standards

• Kristy Campbell

Despite continued misinformation about the Common Core State Standards, support for the new high academic standards is building across America.

Common Core Fact of the Day: Standards v. Curriculum

The number one question raised by parents and community members alike when it comes to Common Core is: What is the difference between standards and curriculum?

Sweeping conclusions fail to recognize Florida’s efforts to raise the bar

• Juan Copa

By including all students and implementing policies to not lose focus on the most struggling students, one can concentrate on the fundamental goal of raising student achievement rather than fiddling with the minutia of the calculation. Florida’s ever-improving school grades model has done just that over the last 14 years.

An opinion you won’t read in the Portland Press Herald

• Mike Thomas

I am not in tune with Maine politics, so far be it from me to inject myself in the never-ending political scrum between the liberal media and a conservative governor. It is, as Mrs. Potts once sang, a tale as old as time.

#BostonStrong (#EIA13)

• Kristin Lock

We are proud to be holding our National Summit in a city that symbolizes the American spirit in overcoming tragedy, staying strong and jumping in to help others, even in the face of grave danger.

She took a chance on me

• The Ed Fly

She took a chance on me and offered me a job here as an intern at the Foundation where I have learned so much more than I ever expected in my time here

Thanks for the chalkboard, Santa!

• Mary Laura Bragg

ut hopefully we’ve all had teachers who promised us we weren’t stupid for thinking peanut shells were what made us cough up our lungs. Teachers who made us feel better – even special – about being “The Narrator.” Teachers who cared enough to figure out why we couldn’t do grade-level math. And teachers who made sure we knew that we could be anything, do anything, and go anywhere.

What do you get the teacher who does everything?

• Joanna Hassell

No amount of rice krispy treats, candy-filled coffee mugs, or book store gift cards will ever be enough to thank you for what you do every day. But I hope that you know just how appreciated you are.

Blessed are the teachers who deal with our middle school awkwardness

• Alexis Flowers

Middle school was a tough time for me (says pretty much everyone!). Children can be mean and insensitive, and I was definitely going through my “awkward phase” at the time.

When It Comes to Teaching, Mrs. Whitehead was the Exception, Not the Rule

• Kate Wallace

If you grew up in my small hometown of Bartow, FL in the 1960’s, 70’s, 80’s or 90’s and attended public elementary school, chances are you had Mr. or Mrs. Whitehead somewhere along the way. If you didn’t, you knew someone who did.

Tampa, Miami and NYC share two things: School Grading Policies and Top Reading Scores

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

My failure to persuade however got me to thinking about the Trial Urban District Assessment NAEP data. I ran the proficiency numbers for free and reduced lunch eligible students in all the districts and found the following for 4th grade reading:

School Grading, Digital Learning and the Pride of the Navajos

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

Background: schools located on the reservations in Arizona face enormous challenges and have truly abysmal test scores to show for it. Isolation, poverty and rampant alcoholism probably constitute the top three problems, though not necessarily in that order.

When it comes to reading, money talks

• Cari Miller

Minnesota passed a reading law two years ago to financially reward performance in elementary schools. This law based funding on both the percent of students that made learning gains in reading from third to fourth grade, and the percent of third grade students whose statewide reading test scores showed that they were proficient. This action placed a command focus on reading, and recognized the fundamental importance of literacy achievement by creating an incentive for educators.

Is Alaska reversing course on Common Core?

As some states contemplate whether to stay with the Common Core State Standards, a state that initially rejected them seems headed in the other direction.

All is not lost…but I guess that’s just my opinion

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

Daniel Patrick Moynihan once stated that everyone is entitled to their own opinions but not to their own facts.

The Results Are In: Teachers Support Common Core

• The Ed Fly

As 45 states across the country implement bold education reform in the form of world-class academic standards, we are hearing a lot of feedback from some of the individuals affected most by the Common Core initiative – America’s teachers.

Notes on a scandal

• Alexis Flowers

Incentive and reward systems comprise the foundation of a well-functioning society. In most professions, there is some kind of financial motivation for good performance, as well as negative consequences for poor performance. While some instances of “cheating” may occur on a small scale, the reward/consequence system has generally worked well as a motivator.

Digital Learning in Texas

• Dave Myslinski

Yesterday, Texas Senate Bill 1298 was voted out of the Senate Committee on Education and will move to the full Senate for consideration. If implemented, the policies this bill creates would be a huge step forward in advancing course choice and the customization of public education for Texas students.

Tony Bennett Discusses Common Core Standards

• Jackie Barreiros

Florida Commissioner of Education and Chiefs for Change member, Dr. Tony Bennett discusses the Common Core State Standards with StateImpact Florida.

Thank Goodness for Mississippi

• Mary Laura Bragg

If I had a nickel for every time someone said, “thank goodness for Mississippi” when some national ranking came out and their state wasn’t dead last, I would be as rich as Oprah Winfrey (who, by the way, is from Mississippi.)

Vincit Omnia Veritas: Common Core Supporters Win with the Facts

• Kristy Campbell

Make sure to stop by National Review Online to read the opinion piece from Kathleen Porter-Magee of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and the Manhattan Institute’s Sol Stern on how critics of Common Core State Standards keep missing the mark. When it comes to America’s children and the future of our nation, they know, like we do, that there is just no substitute for the facts.

Big Day in Mississippi

• Kate Wallace

Years from now, the 2013 Mississippi Legislative Session will be remembered for transforming education in the Magnolia State. The magnitude of what lawmakers in Jackson have accomplished cannot be overlooked.

What does a customized education look like for a special needs child?

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

Amazing video on a beneficiary of an Arizona Empowerment Account getting the help he needs through the ESA program: Florida’s McKay Scholarship program should broaden the allowable uses for funds along the ESA model in order to get more students a customized education.  

K-3 Reading Policies Should Not Stop at Identifying a Problem

• Matt Minnick

However, simply identifying the issue is only half the battle. The other half is actually developing and implementing a strategy to appropriately address the issue. Imagine your child being diagnosed with strep throat and instead of prescribing an antibiotic your doctor decided to just have your child tested again a month later, hoping the infection would somehow clear up on its own.

Moving Texas Transparency to Grade A

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

Florida lawmakers under former governor Jeb Bush instituted a sweeping suite of education reforms beginning in 1999 that today is known as “the Florida cocktail.” The reforms included the expansion of parental choice, providing financial incentives for academic improvement and rigorous coursework and a strong focus on early literacy acquisition. Governor Bush put transparency at […]

Why we need Common Core: I choose ‘C’

• Cari Miller

This video illustrating why we need Common Core hits the ball out of the park! It emphasizes the critical need for kids to DO the thinking and work, why’ll calling out school systems who think teaching test-taking “tricks” will improve student achievement and prepare our students for future success.

Rhode Island Adults Embrace Flawed Student Logic

• Adam Peshek

The question is whether we want to prepare students for the real world – one full of consequences, deadlines, and expectations – or the world of perpetual adolescence where the best method of facing your challenges is forming a union to complain.

Checking Voicemail

• Neil Ruddock

The reform universe is stirring today as word gets out regarding the Indiana Supreme Court’s upholding of the state’s voucher (i.e. Choice Scholarship) program.

Amidst the noise of the 24-hour news cycle, though, what most sticks in my mind as the former director of Indiana’s program is a blinking red light. More specifically, the red light on my phone when I worked for the Indiana Department of Education.

Meet some of the real culprits behind education reform and school choice

• The Ed Fly

Only 76 miles separate the Step Up For Students office in Tampa and the Orlando hotel where the Black Alliance for Educational Options held its annual symposium last week. But my Corolla must have hit a black hole on I-4, because I landed on another planet.

Why good news in education is not deemed newsworthy

• Mike Thomas

This is what you didn’t read in the Florida media:

A new report by the Florida Department of Education shows that students in most every demographic category are doing better in charter schools than traditional public schools.

Scrooge, Tiny Tim, and Education Reform

• Mike Thomas

“Strange to have forgotten it for so many years,” observed the Ghost. “Let us go on.”

And with that introduction from A Christmas Carol, here is my final blog of 2012.

We tend to forget the past when contemplating the present and future of education.

This puts reform at a decided disadvantage in the public arena.

The Noblest Profession

• Allison Aubuchon

When parents send their children off to school, they leave them in the trusted hands of teachers – that is a responsibility and a calling that deserves our sincerest appreciation. Teaching is indeed the noblest of professions, and to all current and former teachers, I say “thank you.”

We give thanks for teachers — the first responders in our schools

• Kristin Lock

As the social media manager for the Foundation for Excellence in Education, I have struggled the past several days as to the appropriate manner to ease back into the conversation that takes place on a second-by-second moment in the world of social media.

Last week, we extended our condolences to the families, teachers and students who were affected by the horrific shooting in Connecticut. And then we remained silent.

Nothing else seemed important. Nothing else compared. Anything else we could say would pale in comparison to the raw emotion and reactions to the shooting.

101 uses for popsicle sticks

• Mary Laura Bragg

I embarked on my adventure of teaching high school history when I was 24 years old. I embarked on my adventure of being a parent when I was 40. One of those adventures involved training, the other didn’t.

The irony of the situation is that I felt no more prepared on my first day of teaching (for which I was trained) than on my first day of being a mother. For both adventures, I learned on the job.

There is an art and science to teaching; the science is what I thought I would learn in my teacher preparation program. The art was what I thought I brought to the table.

Classic literature is here to stay

• Cari Miller

There is an unfortunate misperception that the Common Core State Standards will create a dramatic switch from fiction to non-fiction texts in English class. That simply isn’t the case. Don Quixote and To Kill a Mockingbird aren’t going anywhere. The CCSS call for reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language to be taught in all classrooms – from science to […]

Guest post: Ohio moves forward

• Valentina Korkes

The Ohio General Assembly should pass House Bill 555, which seeks to create and implement a grading system that will assign an A-F letter grade to schools and districts. Yesterday, the Senate Education Committee in a bipartisan 7-1 vote approved this bill, which moves on to full consideration by the Ohio Senate. This task is […]

No more Flori-duh. State’s fourth-grade readers go from bottom of the nation to top of the world

• Mike Thomas

Kids in Singapore and Finland have long distinguished themselves on international academic tests, leaving American kids far, far, far behind. They would rule the 21st Century while our kids would assemble snow globes, sew sneakers, man the call centers and figure out how to pay their parents’ entitlements on 93 cents a day. If things […]

Moynihan’s Message

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

Senator/scholar Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a liberal Democrat who conservative columnist George Will only half-jokingly noted “wrote more books than most Senators read” has a fascinating discussion about health care reform and Baumol’s cost disease in his book Miles to Go. Moynihan, the original sponsor of the bill that came to be known as “Hillarycare” in […]

Teachers better than New England Patriots

• Mike Thomas

OK, I admit to being confused. Education reformers have long complained that almost all teachers receive good job performance reviews, which makes little sense given the wide disparities in teacher effectiveness. And so they have pushed for including student achievement in teacher reviews. This caused an uproar in teacher unions, which detected a plot to […]

School dilemma: Empty space and big bucks

• Mike Thomas

We have built public school houses all across America at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars. So what becomes of that investment as more and more students exit these schools for charters and other options, leaving a spate of empty space in their wake? A school that operates under capacity still has to […]

Reuter’s Response

• Mike Thomas

There are media stories designed to inform. And then there are stories crafted to reach a pre-ordained conclusion. Unfortunately, a Reuters story written by Stephanie Simon to discredit Jeb Bush’s education reforms fell into the latter category. This was an exercise in spinning data and ignoring a wealth of information that countered the storyline. The […]

Bush and Duncan form alliance for kids

• Mike Thomas

Now if only we could get the education reformers to work on the fiscal cliff. I haven’t taken a poll but would guess there are as many Democrats as Republicans at the 5th Annual National Summit on Education reform. Top speakers included Jeb Bush and Condi Rice for the Republicans; Arne Duncan and John Podesta […]

Jeb Bush: Remarkable bi-partisan convergence of opinion

• Governor Jeb Bush

It has been rewarding to watch education reform grow from a small movement in a handful of states to a national priority that takes in all states. I am particularly proud of the role played by the Foundation for Excellence in Education in promoting student-driven policy reforms. One of my favorite conferences begins tomorrow, when […]

Complete Agenda Released for the 2012 National Summit on Education Reform

• Kristin Lock

WASHINGTON – The Foundation for Excellence in Education today announced its final general and strategy sessions for the fifth annual Excellence in Action National Summit on Education Reform at the JW Marriott in Washington, DC, Nov. 27-28. During the general session “Won’t Back Down Movie and Parent Trigger,” attendees will hear the story behind the […]

Student-Driven. Teacher-Fueled.

• Sara Clements

I’d like to say thank you. This time of year, many of us are feeling particularly thankful, but I know I speak for most Floridians when I say we’re thankful for teachers every single day. They do so much more than teach. Teachers are motivators, cheerleaders, mentors and the hardworking pit crew on every student’s […]

ALEC Vote Rejects Anti-Common Core Resolution

• Dave Myslinski

Over the weekend, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) rejected an anti-Common Core bill, thus completing its 18-month exploration of the Common Core State Standards. This action reaffirmed ALEC’s position that states should be in charge of their education standards and supports the option for states to freely adopt Common Core. By rejecting the bill, […]

Arne Duncan to Give Keynote at the 2012 National Summit on Education Reform

• Kristin Lock

WASHINGTON – The Foundation for Excellence in Education today announced U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will deliver a breakfast keynote address for the fifth annual Excellence in Action National Summit on Education Reform. This keynote will take place at the JW Marriott in Washington, DC, Nov. 28. Prior to becoming the U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan […]

#EIA12 Summit App

• Kristin Lock

As we’re gearing up for our National Summit (and by gearing up, I really mean we’re in full swing!) we are excited to give you a tool to help navigate the event. Find information about the agenda, speakers, strategy sessions, and our partners by using our new event app from Twoppy. Use this link on your […]

John Podesta to Give Keynote at the 2012 National Summit on Education Reform

• Kristin Lock

Currently serving as chair and counselor of the Center for American Progress and the Center for American Progress Action Fund, Podesta has led American Progress to become a notable leader in the development of and advocacy for progressive policy.

Progress trumped by misguided ideology in Indiana

• Patricia Levesque

Reform champion Tony Bennett lost his bid for reelection as Indiana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction on Tuesday to a coalition of reactionaries- the usual opponents of reform joined by conservative opponents of Common Core. Honest people can and do disagree over the Common Core State Standards, but the sort of arguments against it seen repeated in […]

Virtual school a great school choice for us

• Mike Thomas

My daughter is in history class while I’m sitting across the room from her writing this blog. We are in Orlando. Her teacher is in Tampa. I have no idea where her classmates are. Caroline is in Florida Virtual School. We opted for this class because the history class at her school wasn’t working out. […]

State Actions- Turning Reform Into Reality

• Kristin Lock

State leaders across the nation continue to make improving the quality of education a priority. Below is a summary of state actions that occurred during the past two weeks to advance reform. 
Indiana The Indiana Department of Education released A-F school grades this week for the 2011-2012 school year. The A-F school grading system was […]

Foundation for Excellence in Education Congratulates Indiana on the Release of A-F School Grades

• Kristin Lock

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, the Indiana Department of Education released its A-F school grades for the 2011-2012 school year. The A-F school grading system was first implemented in Indiana last year. This year, the State introduced metrics that capture even more information about student learning. Patricia Levesque, Executive Director of the Foundation for Excellence in […]

On Jeb Bush, the United Nations and drunk teachers in Michigan

• Mike Thomas

In one of her latest posts, Diane Ravitch unleashes a stream of non sequiturs that begins with Michelle Rhee and Michigan, veers off to the United Nations and Canada, takes on global corporations and then does a quick drive-by on Jeb Bush. I must say, there’s never a dull moment with Diane. She takes on […]

Getting judged on the job I do makes me do it better

• Kristin Lock

Joining the Foundation for Excellence in Education has been the most challenging job I’ve undertaken. My education background is in community health. But my mission here is “to ignite a movement of reform, state by state, to transform education for the 21st Century.” Obviously I had some catching up to do. My first 3 months felt as though […]

Writer flunks AP exam

• Adam Peshek

When I was in high school, I wasn’t exactly sure what Advanced Placement courses were. All I knew was classes with “A-P” in front of them carried a level of rigor that underachievers shied away from. As a student who foolishly avoided valuable courses like the plague (i.e. math and science), I decided to hedge […]

Ain’t schools grand in Oklahoma!

• Mike Thomas

Now I understand all the protests over Oklahoma’s school grading system. It is very misleading, although not for the reasons cited by the school superintendents. The state awarded 160 schools an A and only 9 got an F? This is more than a 10-1 ratio of excellence to failure. More than 90 percent of schools […]

Beg and borrow because tomorrow is another day

• Mike Thomas

The Philadelphia school district is taking the rather unprecedented step of borrowing $300 million to stay afloat. This is akin to a starving man munching on his toes. And it is on top of $3 billion in outstanding bonds. Philadelphia is paying today’s bills by borrowing against the future. This might work if the school […]

Baumol’s Disease By Design (Part 4)

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

So the Heritage Foundation just released these fantastically illustrative charts documenting Baumol’s Disease in American K-12 education. The first shows that total employment in public schools increased by ten times more than enrollment growth, with non-teaching staff leading the way with an incredible 138% increase: You can’t hire that many non-teachers without the percentage of public school […]

Perfect for Halloween: Haunted school, zombie principal and children in peril

• Mike Thomas

How appropriate that I went to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios after watching the movie Won’t Back down. They turned out to be quite similar. HHN, as it is known, features a multitude of haunted houses inhabited by various monsters and demons. Won’t Back Down (WBD?) features a haunted schoolhouse presided over by a […]

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

• Patricia Levesque

Thanks to leaders like Governor Bobby Jindal, Superintendent John White and state lawmakers, all low-income parents of K-12 students attending a C, D, or F school in Louisiana now have the opportunity to apply for a state-funded scholarship to attend a participating A or B public school or an approved private school.

Ravitch vs Ravitch

• Mike Thomas

In a recent speech in Chicago, Diane Ravitch pointed out that America has a stellar 90 percent graduation rate. She notes the dropout rate is at a historical low. She notes the federal National Assessment of Educational Progress tests, which she calls the only valid measure of academic performance, are at their highest point in […]

Baumol’s victims and the urgent need for reform (part 3)

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

We could spend some time attempting to explain why this…

Frivolous litigation earns dunce cap

• Mike Thomas

Florida will be the first state to litigate the effectiveness of education reform. State Board of Education member Roberto Martinez calls it “an exercise in futility and madness and a waste of funds.” All of which might disqualify it from other arenas, but certainly not a court of law. Opponents of education reform filed a […]

Grading schools in Lake Wobegon

• Mike Thomas

It seems that support for an A-F school grading system is contingent on the rigor of the grading system. The harder it is to get an A, the more pushback there is from the public school bureaucracy and opponents of education reform. They would prefer we grade schools like we graded kids on my second-grade […]

Baumol Part Deux in 2D-Your Cliffnotes To Eduwonky Enlightenment

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

So in our last nerdfest episode, we explored the idea that American K-12 has a severe case of Baumol’s disease- the tendency of labor intensive services to become more expensive over time without a corresponding increase in effectiveness. At some point we will explore some of excuses often weakly offered up in an attempt to […]

Would you like biggie fries with that geometry assignment?

• Mike Thomas

Customer service, once the domain of corporate America, is coming to public schools in Florida. They are rolling out the welcome mat and increasing their menu offerings to ensure their customers – primarily parents — are satisfied.

Baumol’s disease and the public school

• Dr. Matthew Ladner

I’m going to blog about something really nerdy, but stick with me because it is actually crucial to understanding what has gone wrong with our public schools over the last 50 years. I promise your patience will be rewarded with insight. Paul Hill and Marguerite Rosa explained in 2010 that American public schools are suffering […]

School choice equals higher accountability

• Patricia Levesque

Original item posted in Shreveport Times September 28, 2012 Thanks to leaders like Gov. Bobby Jindal, Education Superintendent John White and lawmakers, Louisiana is taking bold strides forward to improve the quality of education. And, as it relates to school choice, Louisianans are unequivocally supporting their efforts, as evidenced by the more than 10,000 applications […]

We shouldn’t back down

• Kristin Lock

There is some question about whether Florida lawmakers will make another attempt to pass a parent trigger law next year. The measure narrowly failed in the last legislative session because of a tie vote in the Senate. The Florida Education Association and its allies in the Florida PTA and Fund Education Now led the charge […]

Too Few Good Men

• Mary Laura Bragg

In 1941, my grandfather was the State Civil Engineer for the north region of Mississippi. Tom was given a critical skill exemption from the draft but deeply felt the duty to serve his country. He chose to volunteer. He failed a medical exam because of partial hearing loss, but was so determined to serve his country […]


• Mike Thomas

Oh how everybody hates it, particularly the Florida Education Association. President Andy Ford says the union lacks confidence in it. “We all want to know what students are learning and have trust that any assessment be an accurate representation of what students are learning,’’ he says. Of course, Andy knows better. He fully understands the […]

Chicago Public Schools: The look, the plunge, and the tiny poof

• Mike Thomas

Remember the Road Runner cartoon. Wile E. Coyote runs off the cliff edge. His legs churn furiously to gain traction in midair. Then comes the look of realization, followed by the downward plunge and tiny poof. Chicago Public Schools has run off the fiscal cliff.

An Introduction

• Mike Thomas

Welcome to the EdFly Blog. My presence here is the result of a mental journey that began more than 10 years ago.  At the time I was a newspaper columnist and skeptical of most everything linked to Republicans, including then Gov. Jeb Bush and his overhaul of public education.

Schools need help with reading law

• Neil Ruddock

Golfing legend and Buckeye alumnus Jack Nicklaus once said that concentration is a fine antidote to anxiety. As with any new legislation, Ohio’s requirement that students be able to read by the end of third grade is causing anxiety for some school administrators, parents and teachers. Having helped Florida and other states implement similar policies, […]

Showing up is not enough

• Mary Laura Bragg

My beloved Mississippi State Bulldogs got their revenge last weekend on the Auburn Tigers.  After two last-second (not to mention heartbreaking) losses the past two years, they would not be denied on Saturday.  They fought for the reward of singing Hail State in the end zone as the Famous Maroon Band played the fight song. […]

Welcome to the EdFly Blog

• Mike Thomas

Welcome to the EdFly Blog, a running source of news and commentary about education reform. I will manage the blog and contribute regularly. But we also will run posts from other contributors, perhaps even Gov. Jeb Bush on occasion. All comments are welcome. Please let me know about breaking news and research in education through […]

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