It’s Time to Abandon the Status Quo

by E. D. Hirsch, Jr.
February 4th, 2013

Fully implementing the Common Core in the early grades is our best hope for closing achievement gaps

Last week on The Answer Sheet, Valerie Strauss posted “A tough critique of Common Core on early childhood education” by Edward Miller and Nancy Carlsson-Paige. Soon thereafter, she posted the following response (presented in full below) by E. D. Hirsch, Jr. Reading both the critique and response is useful for understanding ways the Common Core could be misunderstood—or could become a vehicle for bringing systematic knowledge development into the early grades.

Earlier this week Edward Miller and Nancy Carlsson-Paige raised some thought-provoking critiques of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). While I don’t know whether early childhood educators were involved in the standards writing process, I do know that many early educators are pleased with the result. As someone who has studied how to best use the early years to close achievement gaps and give all children an opportunity to live happy, productive, engaged lives, I am also a supporter of the CCSS.

I don’t argue that the CCSS are perfect  (I would not even argue that about the Core Knowledge Sequence). And I agree with Miller and Carlsson-Paige that we should all be open to improving the Common Core standards once we have done our best to implement them well. I’ve seen more than a few sets of standards come and go; I will safely bet that the interpretation, the implementation, and most especially the assessments of the CCSS matter far more than the standards themselves. With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few of the critiques Miller and Carlsson-Paige put forth.

The biggest problem with their criticism of CCSS is that they don’t offer anything different or better than what we have now. They call for a rejection of the CCSS because of various perceived faults. But then they call for what, exactly? As far as I can see, they want more of the pre-CCSS status quo. Unfortunately, the status quo isn’t working.  The reading scores of 17-year-olds on the National Assessment of Educational Progress constitute the single most accurate indicator of the effectiveness of our schooling, and as we look at the low reading scores of 17-year-olds over the past few decades of reform, we see no real movement.

Of course, much more goes into reading at age 17 than early childhood education, and there has been some recent improvement among 9-year-olds in reading, especially among our lowest-performing students. Why hasn’t this improvement carried into later grades? As I have argued many, many, many times, the fundamental problem is that American schools, including preschools, typically delay systematic efforts to build students’ vocabulary and knowledge until far too late (usually the end of elementary school or even later).

Building word and world knowledge must begin in preschool if we are to have any hope of closing the enormous language gaps identified by Betty Hart and Todd Risley, or of enabling children to listen and read with comprehension. That’s why the Core Knowledge Foundation has spent the past several years developing a new preschool–5th grade language arts program (grades pre-K–3 will be online, for free download, by summer 2013). Core Knowledge Language Arts (CKLA) is radically different from the most widely used elementary-grades reading programs. Through high-quality fiction and nonfiction, CKLA systematically provides students the broad background knowledge they need to do well in middle and high school. It was developed by researchers and teachers working together. In short, it takes the best of current practice and updates it with solid research: it is nothing like the status quo (and has the results to prove it).

With the troubling results of the status quo in mind, let’s consider the end of Miller and Carlsson-Paige’s critique. They close with this: “Our first task as a society is to protect our children. The imposition of these standards endangers them. To learn more about how early childhood educators are working to defend young children, see Defending the Early Years.”Following that link, I arrived at a website with an open letter to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).  The central point of the open letter is that NAEYC is no longer a strong supporter of it’s mid-1980’s statement on developmentally appropriate practice. The open letter states:

NAEYC has long played a valuable role in identifying and supporting best practices in early childhood education. The strong position NAEYC took with its 1986 publication, Developmentally Appropriate Practice, focused attention on respectful, child centered ways of working with young children…. NAEYC appears to have gradually retreated from its strong defense of DAP. The voices of its leadership have not been heard vigorously protesting the proliferation of standards and assessments or offering meaningful alternatives to them.

To NAEYC’s current leadership, I say “Bravo!” NAEYC has recognized that research does not stand still, and the best practices from almost 30 years ago are not considered best practices today. NAEYC has consistently been dedicated to updating its advice on DAP; it issued major revisions in 1996 and 2008. I had the good fortune in the mid-nineties to meet and talk with the authors of NAEYC’s guides on DAP, Sue Bredekamp and Carol Copple (Bredekamp has worked on each of NAEYC’s DAP papers; Copple joined her in the 1990s). At the time, the Core Knowledge Foundation was creating a preschool program. I found them well versed in recent cognitive science, with a deep understanding of how preschool could enhance children’s oral language development, which is critically important for all future learning.

Daniel Willingham, a professor of cognitive psychology, has explained that many long-held, widely shared beliefs about children’s cognitive development—such as Jean Piaget’s notion that it proceeds in discrete stages—have not been supported by newer, more sophisticated studies. Cognitive development is continuous, and a child’s performance will vary day to day and task to task. (Even very young children can engage in critical thinking if they have been taught the necessary background knowledge.) In an article for teachers on DAP, Willingham asks them to “recognize that no content is inherently developmentally inappropriate.” He then explains as follows:

Without trivializing them, complex ideas can be introduced by making them concrete and through reference to children’s experience.

Of course, as teachers, you must also consider the cost if students do not fully understand a concept the way you had intended. The cost may be minimal, and the content may be worth knowing—even if in an incomplete way. For example, suppose your preschool students have learned about Martin Luther King, Jr., but you are having a hard time getting them to understand that he was a real person who is no longer here, and that fictional characters such as Mary Poppins are not here and never were. If it’s hard for a 4-year-old to conceive of people living in different times and places, does that mean that history should not be taught until the child is older? Such an argument would not make much sense to a developmental psychologist. For children and adults, understanding of any new concept is inevitably incomplete. The preschoolers can still learn something about who King was and what he stood for. Their mistaken belief that they might encounter him at a local store, or that he lives at a school that bears his name, will be corrected in time. Indeed, how do children learn that some people are fictional and some are not? Not by a magical process of brain maturation. Children learn this principle as they learn any other—in fits and starts, sometimes showing that they understand and other times not. If you wait until you are certain that the children will understand every nuance of a lesson, you will likely wait too long to present it. If they understand every nuance, you’re probably presenting content that they’ve already learned elsewhere.

I’ll add that if they do not understand anything at all, you’re probably presenting a concept that is entirely new to them. Don’t wait for them to happen to learn it elsewhere; revamp your lesson plan to include the most basic of introductions and then extend your plan so that the children have time to think, explore, ask questions, and absorb related vocabulary.

In addition to their out-of-date concept of what is developmentally appropriate, Miller and Carlsson-Paige have an unfounded fear that under the CCSS, the early grades will be dominated by direct instruction. I would also be upset to see a classroom in any grade that never departs from direct instruction—as I would be sad to see a classroom entirely devoted to discovery learning, project-based instruction, or free play. Decades ago, Project Follow Through clearly demonstrated that direct instruction works well with young children.

Children have a lot to learn about the world, past and present. They need to learn some things as efficiently as possible—through direct instruction. But they also need opportunities to explore—through well-constructed spaces and activities that invite creative problem solving and role playing. There is nothing inherent in the CCSS that discourages early childhood educators from offering rich educational experiences using a variety of pedagogies.

As NAEYC has noted, the CCSS indicate what should be taught in ELA/literacy and mathematics. They do not dictate pedagogy or prevent teachers from offering a well-rounded curriculum, including the arts and social-emotional learning. In its recent paper on the CCSS, which highlighted benefits of and support for the CCSS while also pointing out potential problems with implementation, NAEYC wrote:

Learning standards, or content standards, provide the “what” of education, but they do not describe the “how” of education. The content standards set the goal toward which teaching and learning opportunities are directed for young children.

The “how” of learning should be aligned to the content standard through our understanding of best practices to increase the chances of attaining the goal, even as the goal itself needs to be aligned with our knowledge of children’s learning processes…. Especially critical is maintaining methods of instruction that include a range of approaches—including the use of play as well as both small- and large-group instruction—that are considered to be developmentally appropriate for young children.

While Miller and Carlsson-Paige seem to think that academic content—gap-closing word and world knowledge—can’t be delivered in a developmentally appropriate way, solid research shows us that it can. For example, the distinguished psychologist Robert Siegler has found that numerical board games (like Chutes and Ladders) can help preschoolers from low-income families increase their numerical skills and concepts. Would a classroom that spends 20 minutes playing Chutes and Ladders and another 10 minutes in a direct math lesson really be such a terrible “drill and grill” place (as Miller and Carlsson-Paige wrote)?

The CCSS do leave room for great teaching, but that does not mean that all interpretations of the CCSS have been either accurate or helpful. A New York Post article stated that “the city Department of Education now wants 4- and 5-year-olds to write ‘informative/explanatory reports’ and demonstrate ‘algebraic thinking.’ Children who barely know how to write the alphabet or add 2 and 2 are expected to write topic sentences and use diagrams to illustrate math equations.” This is a misinterpretation of the CCSS. I am grateful to everyone who is trying to correct such errors. For young children, the focus of the CCSS is—appropriately—oral language.

Such misunderstanding of the CCSS brings me to a final point. All standards, even the CCSS, are goal statements that can be interpreted many ways. If the idea of all children sharing some core content is to come to fruition, somebody needs to come up with a model curriculum along with validated, curriculum-based tests. That curriculum need not say how to teach, but it does need to say what limited core to teach, grade by grade. (That core is  all the more important, since teachers will still need time to address students’ weaknesses and encourage them to pursue their interests.) Without a specific curriculum, and without tests that are drawn exclusively from that curriculum, word and world knowledge will continue to be taught haphazardly and incoherently, and our achievement gaps will not be closed.

I believe Core Knowledge Language Arts is an important step toward such a curriculum, and I would warmly welcome any funder interested in developing a curriculum-based test for CKLA. If we as a nation developed something of equally high quality for the middle grades, then dramatically more students would be able to take AP’s and IB’s curriculum-based courses and exams in high school.

The future of American education hinges on whether CCSS can be made to work. The alternative, despite the protestations of the critics, is more of the same ineffective and unjust practices that have placed the nation and its middle class at risk.

Education Homilies and Other Empty Buckets

by Robert Pondiscio
July 5th, 2012

Teaching, more than any other profession, loves its homilies.  “Be the guide on the side, not the sage on the stage.”  “Teach the child, not the lesson.”  We unthinkingly repeat these phrases not because they are correct, but because they are inspiring and ennobling.  Of all the homilies in education, none rankles more than this one: “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”  The quote is typically (and apparently mistakenly) attributed to the poet William Butler Yeats.

Writing at the Washington Post’s “Answer Sheet” blog, Carol Corbett Burris, a high school principal and former “New York State Outstanding Educator,” cites this homily to drive a takedown of the Relay Graduate School of Education (RGSE), an independent graduate school of education, which trains teachers for KIPP, Uncommon Schools, Achievement First and other so-called “no excuses” charter schools.   At Relay, “teacher education that balances research, theory and practice has been replaced by ‘filling the pail’ training,” Burris writes.  (Full disclosure: Relay started as “Teacher U” and was incubated by former Core Knowledge board member David Steiner at New York’s Hunter College, where Steiner heads the School of Education).

Burris watches a RGSE video on “Rigorous Classroom Discussion” and is not impressed.  “The teacher barks commands and questions, often with the affect and speed of a drill sergeant,” she writes.  “She is performing as taught by a system that, in my opinion, better prepares students for the dutiful obedience of the military than for the intellectual challenges they will encounter in college,” she observes. In Burris’s view RGSE and its methods portend something dark.

“I worry that the pail fillers are determining the fate of our schools. The ‘filling of the pail’ is the philosophy of those who see students as vessels into which facts and knowledge are poured. The better the teacher, the more stuff in the pail. How do we measure what is in the pail? With a standardized test, of course. Not enough in the pail? No excuses. We must identify the teachers who best fill the pail, and dismiss the rest.”

Having spent a fair amount of time in “no excuses” charter schools that use the techniques that Burris finds objectionable, I understand her criticism.  Such high-energy, tightly structured teaching techniques can seem militaristic, and in the hands of less skillful practitioners a bewildering blur.   But Burris misses badly when she dismisses what she sees as mere “pail filling.”  This badly and broadly misstates the critical role of knowledge (the stuff in the pail) to every meaningful cognitive process prized by fire-lighters: reading comprehension, critical thinking, problem solving, etc.   Dichotomies don’t get more false than between knowledge and thinking.

Few recent authors have been more pointed in decrying instructional practices that kill students’ love of reading than Kelly Gallagher, the author of Readicide.  He has been outspoken in criticizing “the development of test-takers over the development of lifelong readers.”  Yet I strongly suspect he too would dimiss pitting “bucket-filling” versus “fire-lighting” as wrong-headed.  In his 2011 book, Write Like This: Teaching Real-World Writing Through Modeling & Mentor Texts, Gallagher writes:

“I don’t want my students to read in only one particular genre.  I want my students, of course, to develop a wide spectrum of reading tastes.  To become eclectic readers, they need to broaden and deepen their background knowledge.  Likewise, one of my goals is to broaden my students’ writing spectrum, and if I have any chance of accomplishing this, again, I have to work on building their background knowledge.  whether we are talking about reading or writing, background knowledge is critical.  You have to know stuff to write about stuff.”

The damage done by those who denigrate the importance of a knowledge-rich classroom—especially for our most disadvantaged learners—can scarcely be overstated.   Education is neither the filling of a bucket or the lighting of a fire.  It’s both.

You can’t light a fire in an empty bucket.

We Who Are About to Fly, Salute You

by Robert Pondiscio
September 18th, 2010

“That you’ve driven over bridges and flown in planes and lived to tell about it is a testament to teachers like me who’ve identified what’s important, boring or not, and taught it to those who will ultimately use that knowledge, even for the benefit of people like Kohn and his disciples,” writes “physicsteacher,” an unnamed educator commenting at the Washington Post’s Answer Sheet blog.   This in response to the latest garden variety Alfie Kohn strawmanfest fulminating against teachers who make students “cram facts, practice a series of decontextualized skills on yet another worksheet, [or] listen passively to a lecture.”

Afflicting the Comfortable

by Robert Pondiscio
August 16th, 2010

“The job of the newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable,” Finley Peter Dunne  (1867 — 1936)

Is there any newspaper in America right now more varied, cacophonous, and fearlessly independent in its education coverage than the Washington Post? 

Over the weekend, the Post’s Dana Milbank suggested that if Ed Sec. Arne Duncan wants to get serious about curbing bullying in U.S. schools, he should start by reigning in “the the biggest bully in America’s schools right now,” President Obama.  “In federal education policy, the president and his education secretary have been the neighborhood toughs — bullying teachers, civil rights groups, even Obama’s revered community organizers.”  Obama, Milbank writes, has taken the Bush obsession with testing and amplified it.

Obama has expanded the importance of standardized testing to determine how much teachers will be paid, which educators will be fired and which schools will be closed — despite evidence that such practices are harmful. In the process, he’s offended just about all the liberals involved in or advocating for education without gaining much support from conservatives.

Locally, Bill Turque has run afoul of Michelle Rhee and even his own paper with his coverage of the DC school system, while the editorial page is consistently supportive of the DC chancellor.  In the blogosphere, the Post’s Valerie Strauss and Jay Mathews often come across as the Carville and Matalin of edubloggers, with the latter generally supportive of the ed reform agenda, and the former mightily skeptical.  

Milbank’s piece this weekend is spectacularly pointed, calling out the admininstration for an obsession with testing and refusal to listen to criticism.

“There’s an attitude that if you aren’t with us, you are against us — and therefore against children and reform,” a Democratic friend of mine who runs an education advocacy group in Washington told me. The administration, she said, “tries to bully and condemn any opposition, even if it is from groups that should be their allies.”

The Post is clearly giving its writers and opinionators a long leash.  Agree or disagree with their varied takes–and it’s impossible not to do one or the other, often daily–it’s bravura newspapering, and consistently great reading.

Doubts About Learning Styles

by Robert Pondiscio
February 11th, 2010

Jay Mathews catches up with last December’s report from Psychological Science in the Public Interest thoroughly debunking the idea of “learning styles.”   But he misses, I think, an important DC angle in his piece. Not long ago, a local teacher gave Mathews a copy of his evaluation, in which he “got only 1 out of 4 points for not catering to multiple learning styles.” If there’s no scientific basis for belief in learning styles, how can it be justified as a means of evaluating teachers?  Why isn’t anyone calling out DCPS on this?

Old conventional wisdom: teachers must target students’ different learning styles.  New CW:  Teach like learning styles exist, even if they don’t.  Proposed improved CW:  Teach in a way that engages students and makes the lesson stick, and ignore pseudoscience.

Who Censored the Washington Post’s Rhee Item?

by Robert Pondiscio
January 28th, 2010

Tensions flaring over Turquemakeastand?

Late night weirdness at the Washington Post, a paper that boasts arguably the best education coverage of any daily.  A hard-hitting blog post by reporter Bill Turque, which took on both DC schools chancellor Michelle Rhee and his own newspaper’s editorial page, disappeared from the paper’s website for several hours, only to return with some of the more pointed turns of phrase removed.

Turque, who has clashed with Rhee over his tough reporting, has been covering the fallout from the chancellor’s latest controversial statements—a quote in Fast Company defending her dismissal of over 200 teachers last year.  “I got rid of teachers who had hit children, who had had sex with children, who had missed 78 days of school.  Why wouldn’t we take those things into consideration?”  she told the magazine.  Critics, including the head of the city council, erupted and demanded to know why Rhee didn’t say this at the time and whether law enforcement had been alerted. 

Turque pressed Rhee to explain her controversial statement—how many of the 266 fired teachers had abused their positions? — and got nowhere.  But on Tuesday, he read Rhee’s answer–in an editorial in his own paper.   Six teachers were suspended for corporal punishment, two had been AWOL and only one faced allegations having sex with a student.  The editorial cited “information released by the chancellor’s office on Monday.” 

Turque took to his D.C. Schools Insider blog and explained that the Post’s news desk operates independently of the editorial page, with education editorials written by Jo-Ann Armao.  That’s when it got really interesting.  Turque wrote:

The chancellor is clearly more comfortable speaking with Jo-Ann, which is wholly unsurprising. I’m a beat reporter charged with covering, as fully and fairly as I can, an often turbulent story about the chancellor’s attempts to fix the District’s public schools. The job involves chronicling messy and contentious debates based in both politics and policy, and sometimes publishing information she would rather not see in the public domain. Jo-Ann, on the other hand, sits on an editorial board whose support for the chancellor has been steadfast, protective and, at times, adoring.

Sometime around 8pm last time, Turque’s piece vanished from the Post’s website.  When it returned a few hours later, the phrase describing the Post’s editorials about Rhee as “protective and, at times, adoring” was gone.   Other sections of the piece were similarly watered down.

Here’s Turque’s original post (a cached version of which is still available):

Where this gets complicated is that board’s stance, and the chancellor’s obvious rapport with Jo-Ann, also means that DCPS has a guaranteed soft landing spot for uncomfortable or inconvenient disclosures–kind of a print version of the Larry King Show.

And the current, revised version:

Where this gets complicated is that board’s stance, and the chancellor’s rapport with Jo-Ann, means that DCPS may prefer to talk to her than me.

 Having spent the better part of my career in journalism, I was thrilled to read Turque’s original blog post, and delighted the paper showed enough respect for its readers to lift the curtain on its processes. By explaining the behind-the-scenes machinations and showing how powerful people maneuver to affect coverage and spin perceptions, they were treating readers like grownups, holding both Rhee and the paper itself accountable.   But what happened?  Why change the story?  Sounds like a great piece for Howie Kurtz, the Post’s media critic. 

I hope they let him write it.

Good For Me, But Not For Thee

by Robert Pondiscio
April 20th, 2009

A new survey by the conservative Heritage Foundation reveals 44 percent of Senators and 36 percent of Representatives sent their children to private school.  In addition, 20 percent of all House and Senate members attended private school themselves.  And it’s a bipartisan practice.

Private-school choice is a popular among both congressional Republicans and Democrats. Thirty-eight percent of House Republicans and 34 percent of House Democrats have ever sent their children to private school. In the Senate, 53 percent of Republicans and 37 percent of Democrats have exercised private-school choice for their children. Thirty five percent of Congressional Black Caucus Members have sent a child to private school. Only 6 percent of black students overall attend private school.

 In case you’ve forgotten why this matters, the editorial page editors of the Washington Post remind you.

Turnaround Without Turmoil

by Robert Pondiscio
January 9th, 2009

Are conflict and confrontation necessary ingredients in a school turnaround?  Washington Post columnist Marc Fisher files a provocative column about a Maryland school that is succeeding without the kind of bare knuckle brawls that are drawing national media attention to Michelle Rhee and the nearby Washington, DC school system.

Fisher goes to Broad Acres Elementary School in Silver Spring where scores were so low eight years ago that a state takeover loomed. Montgomery County Superintendent Jerry Weast and Principal Jody Leleck negotiated with the teachers union to add extra hours to the work week for extra pay. “Teachers would offer no more excuses about poor kids from dysfunctional families; expectations would soar. About a third of the faculty left; Leleck hired 27 veteran teachers that first summer” he reports. 

Rhee’s faceoff with the Washington Teachers’ Union creates a dynamic different from the cooperation between Weast and Montgomery County Education Association President Bonnie Cullison. She said she hears Rhee telling teachers, ” ‘You’re not doing the job,’ as opposed to ‘Let’s work together.’ You cannot make it happen in a district where you set up conflict”…Weast won’t criticize his D.C. counterpart, but he will say that narrowing the achievement gap is about expecting all children to work hard and love learning. “You can do it anyplace if you treat people like you want to be treated,” he says.

Today, 81 percent meet reading proficiency standards this year, up from 47 percent in 2003. “Broad Acres did this without Rhee’s reform tactics,” Fisher points out. ”No young recruits from Teach for America, no cash for students who come to class, no linkage of teacher pay to test scores.”  And what’s happening inside the classrooms?

Too often, schools desperate to boost test scores become grim factories in which children are force-fed rote skills. But at Broad Acres, teachers coach each other to keep kids engaged in rich material for its own sake. In Andrea Sutton’s fifth-grade class, 16 kids sit on the floor, jumping up to explain to one another the roots of the American colonists’ grievances with the British. The teacher’s voice never rises above a stage whisper as she plies the class with questions that would fit nicely in a high school course.  With all the pressure from No Child Left Behind, it’s so easy to cut out history and science,” Bayewitz says. “But these kids are going to need those complex skills in high school and college. And these kids are going to college.”

Claus von Zastrow at Public School Insights observes that Fisher’s piece reminds us “that school improvement does not necessarily require a death-match between high-profile ‘reformers’ and the education ‘establishment.’” Fisher is promising a follow-up column Sunday on ”a D.C. school that matches Broad Acre’s population, put presumably not its methods.  Stay tuned.

Bad Economy Good for TFA

by Robert Pondiscio
December 8th, 2008

Teach for America got Page One treatment from the Washington Post on Saturday.  Competition for slots in the program is way up, in part because of the economy.  Nearly 40,000 applications are expected for about 5,000 teaching slots.

In part because of the dearth of other job prospects in the sagging economy but mostly because the program has captured the imagination of a generation of student leaders bent on doing good, some graduates of the nation’s elite universities are fighting for low-paying teaching positions the way they once sought jobs on Wall Street.

The bad economy angle notwithstanding, the Post story mostly covers familiar territory and reports “research into Teach for America’s effectiveness has been inconclusive, but at least three major studies in the past several years indicate that students taught by its teachers score significantly lower on standardized tests than do their peers.”  That’s enough to set Eduwonk’s teeth on edge

In fact, while there has been a lot of “research” into TFA the methodologically most solid studies have shown that TFA teachers are as good or better than other teachers, including veteran and traditionally trained teachers.   Mathematica (pdf) and Urban Institute/CALDER are the two best examples — and those are independent analyses not TFA studies. 

One angle not discussed in the Post piece, or anywhere else that I’ve noticed.  If the recession is driving more recruits into TFA, might it also mean that a lot of teachers who might have left for greener pastures in flush times are staying put?

Suburban Schools Run Afoul of NCLB

by Robert Pondiscio
October 20th, 2008

It’s been easy to shrug one’s shoulders and say that schools in trouble under NCLB deserve to be in trouble.  But when schools in well-regarded districts like Arlington, Virginia’s start finding themsleves in trouble, eyebrows will surely be raised.  The Washington Post reports the Hoffman-Boston Elementary School, where black students missed benchmarks this year, has become the first school in Northern Virginia forced to restructure because of lagging tests scores.  

What’s challenging is they are under a microscope, but they aren’t terribly different than other schools,” Mark Johnston, assistant superintendent of instruction in Arlington, said of the small school near the Pentagon. “I think there are reasons why schools don’t make targets, and it’s easy when those reasons are clear and evident. It’s not easy when they’re not.”

Expect to see more schools in unexpected places run into trouble.  “It’s not just going to be a problem of the inner city. It’s going to be a problem of many school districts,” Jack Jennings, president of the Center on Education Policy, tells the Post. “This will come as a surprise to a number of school officials and to the public.”