Spurring Innovation Through Education: Four Ideas
Russ Whitehurst writes that America's economic productivity and competitiveness are grounded in education, and that the nation's public schools and higher education institutions are falling behind those of its counterparts. Whitehurst offers up four policy proposals for improving American education that are achievable and have low costs.
My favorite part is "Link K-12 Curricula to Comparative Effectiveness"
Little attention has been paid to choice of curriculum as a driver of student achievement. Yet the evidence for large curriculum effects is persuasive. Consider a recent study of first-grade math curricula, reported by the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance in February 2009. The researchers randomly matched schools with one of four widely used curricula. Two curricula were clear winners, generating three months’ more learning over a nine-month school year than the other two. This is a big effect on achievement, and it is essentially free because the more effective curricula cost no more than the others.
The federal government should fund many more comparative effectiveness trials of curricula, and schools using federal funds to support the education of disadvantaged students should be required to use evidence of effectiveness in the choice of curriculum materials. The Obama administration supports comparative effectiveness research in health care. It is no less important in education.