Jack Schneider

Asst. Prof. of Education/Director of research, University of Massachusetts Lowell/Massachusetts Consortium for Innovative Education Assessment

Stories by Jack Schneider

New civics education law misses the mark

New civics education law misses the mark

Thinking ‘civically’ can’t really be legislated

WHEN THE NATION has an itch, the schools get a scratch. As a result, Massachusetts students are getting a new civics requirement, which Charlie Baker signed into law Thursday. Many in the Commonwealth and around the United States have developed concerns over the past few years about the health of our democracy. Without question, this(...)

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State school rankings ‘virtually worthless’

State school rankings ‘virtually worthless’

System mostly captures family background, not school quality

THE FIRST DEADLINE for enrolling students next fall in a Boston school is this week. Consequently, many parents are scrambling under the district’s controlled choice system to find the best fit for their children. As they do, many will turn to state-issued ratings, which can be found online and in the BPS registration guide. Each(...)

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Moving beyond MCAS

Moving beyond MCAS

Current measures of school quality are incomplete, inaccurate

HOW ARE THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS in Massachusetts doing? Are they nurturing engaged thinkers who value learning? Are they expanding the way young people see the world? Are they fostering creativity? We want schools to do a great deal for young people. Yet most states, including ours, measure school quality chiefly through an absurdly narrow instrument:(...)

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Charter cap debate clouds original intent

Charter cap debate clouds original intent

Passing ballot question would stymie education innovation

PROMOTING INNOVATION WAS the original purpose of charter schools. As first envisioned by union leader Albert Shanker and others, charters would benefit the educational system as a whole by serving as laboratories for new ideas. With higher levels of autonomy, charters would have the freedom to experiment. Some of those experiments would be incorporated into traditional(...)

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What makes a Level 1 school?

What makes a Level 1 school?

State's measurements miss key factors

  IN THE STATE of Massachusetts, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education assigns all public schools a rating. Level 1 schools can boast they’ve received the state’s highest rating. Level 5 schools, by contrast, are branded failures. Educators and families take note. But more than pride is at stake here. There are serious policy(...)

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