Consumer Empowerment

American Decline can be Reversed through Grassroots Action Public education has been decaying on the inside for decades. Educators blame poverty, poor parenting, changing demographics, the growth of hedonistic popular culture, insufficient funding, and myriad other factors. Seldom mentioned, however, is education’s failure to adapt and overcome these conditions. In the view of most educators, schools are doing all they can–an explanation that is contradicted by the measurable differences in effectiveness among teachers within the same school and … Read More

Education Consumers Foundation

Who We Are We are trained, experienced, and independent educators. We use data and analysis to help parents and taxpayers identify good schools and navigate the others. What We Do We turn school performance data into graphics and explain what they mean about school quality. Why We Do It? Our mission is to improve education by showing those who use and pay for schools how to recognize good ones, find better ones, and get the most from the … Read More


The world of publicly funded education is comprised of numerous institutions, agencies, organizations, and regulatory bodies.  They range from schools and colleges to teacher organizations, to vendors of books and desks, to academic interest groups. All share in the growth and prosperity of the multibillion-dollar industry of which they are a part.  All are stakeholders in the industry’s successes and failures. By contrast, the Education Consumers Foundation (ECF) is a non-profit organization that is financially and otherwise independent … Read More

Are states reporting the truth about student achievement?

National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) vs State Self Reports Are States Being Honest with Themselves About Student Achievement? The charts below compare the most recent National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) reports on reading and math achievement with the state self-reports required by the No Child Left Behind Act. The discrepancies are shocking and they clearly illustrate the need for higher standards, but not necessarily for Common Core. What these discrepancies more directly reveal is a continuing … Read More

Developmentalism: An Obscure but Pervasive Restriction on Educational Improvement

posted in: General Information

Despite continuing criticism of public education, experimentally demonstrated and field tested teaching methods have been ignored, rejected, and abandoned. Instead of a stable consensus regarding best teaching practices, there seems only an unending succession of innovations. A longstanding educational doctrine called “developmentalism” appears to underlie this anomalous state of affairs. Stone (1996)

The Schools we need and why we don’t have them

posted in: General Information

The romantic naturalism brought to public education by the progressive education movement continues to undermine effective schooling. Institutionally, it is preserved and transmitted through teacher training programs. In the views of teacher educators, there is no thinkable alternative. E. D. Hirsch (1996) 

Characteristics of Effective School Boards

posted in: General Information

Center for Public Education (2011) Effective school boards are accountability driven and data savvy, and engaged with both the public and school personnel.  Ineffective boards tend to be the opposite.  Rather than being goal setters and drivers of improvement, they leave the academic side of schooling to the educators and take a largely passive role with regard to school performance outcomes.

Kill the Messenger: The War on Standardized Testing

If standardized testing is such a valuable tool for school improvement, why do so many educators oppose it? The key difference is one of perspective.  Parents, policymakers, and the consuming public view public education as a human development resource. Their top priority is literacy, numeracy, and the other educational outcomes that prepare youth to be productive members of adult society. Educators want these same outcomes but consider a broad range of other objectives to be of equal or … Read More

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