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A Close Look at Education Reform in Washington, D.C.

Today, The American Prospect published a feature story by Rachel Cohen on D.C. school reform. The District of Columbia has been cast as one of the nation’s most successful examples of education reform. Over the last decade, the city has significantly expanded charter schooling and implemented a new teacher evaluation system based in part on student test scores. The Obama administration repeatedly touted D.C.’s new school policies, and states across the country looked to the nation’s capital as a model to emulate.

Proponents of D.C.’s new school policies say there is clear evidence that the reforms are working, but critics say the success narratives have been blown way out of proportion. Here are other key takeaways from Cohen's story:

  • Racial achievement gaps have narrowed in D.C. since 2003, but they remain large, and socioeconomic achievement gaps have widened.
  • Researchers say that accessing data to study the effectiveness of D.C. school reform has been quite difficult. City leaders and DCPS officials have often been resistant to the idea of rigorous, independent evaluations, and the lack of transparency has created confusion over how effective or ineffective D.C.’s school reforms have actually been.
  • Some local researchers and education advocates want to see the government establish an agency—similar to the Congressional Budget Office—that could offer independent, objective analysis of D.C. education policy. But whether local politicians could be persuaded to fund a think tank that might possibly reveal less-than-flattering information about DCPS remains to be seen.

You can read the article in full here.

Best of the Prospect 2016

After a year that left progressives reeling, The American Prospect looks back at our most important stories of 2016.

The American Prospect
Most progressives could never have imagined that 2016 would end on such a cataclysmic note. Even at the most appalling moments of a presidential campaign more bitter and divisive than any in recent memory, the depth of the democracy threat posed by a Donald Trump presidency did not fully sink in. Then came Election Day, and now the nation is waking up to the full implications of a Trump administration burdened by conflicts of interest and run by billionaires, CEOs, and doctrinaire conservatives bent on dismantling the very agencies they run. Through it all, the Prospect has weighed in unflinchingly with stories that make sense of the economic, racial, environmental, and civil liberties challenges ahead. Here are some of our favorite stories of 2016. Winter 2016 “ Grace Under Fire ,” by Rachel M. Cohen On a warm Tuesday morning in late September, Cecile Richards, the 58-year-old president and CEO of Planned Parenthood, went before Congress to defend her organization. A few...

The American Prospect Appoints New Publisher

Magazine strengthens resources

head_shot_5.jpg Washington, D.C.— The American Prospect ( ) announced today that Amy Lynn Marshall Lambrecht is returning to the magazine in the position of Publisher. Amy Lambrecht comes with a wealth of experience within nonprofit advocacy organizations, having spent over 25 years as a senior development professional at the Scholars Strategy Network, the Advancement Project, The Washington Monthly , Campaign for America’s Future, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, and the Economic Policy Institute, as well as the Prospect , where Amy was instrumental in acquiring numerous large grants and gifts. She has a proven record of building and maintaining multi-million dollar revenue programs through fearless fundraising, innovative and creative thinking, and relationship-building and management. The American Prospect looks forward to Amy continuing her success. Amy joins The American Prospect as Publisher to support the Prospect ’s ongoing...

Andy Grove on Trade, Globalization, and Defending America’s Economy

Remembering the high-tech visionary, and looking back on his prescient words on globalization. 

AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File
Andy Grove, who died Monday at 79, was a central figure in developing the technology that has shaped 21st-century life. The first employee hired by Gordon Moore and Robert Noyce at their start-up—Intel—Grove became the company’s CEO in the ‘80s and ‘90s, pushing Intel to develop the microprocessors and Pentium chips that became the basis for our digital age. Known as the Father of Silicon Valley, Grove’s non-hierarchical approach to management became the model for many high-tech companies. In retirement, Grove became concerned about the decline of American manufacturing: When he was CEO, Intel not only performed its research and development in the United States, but its manufacturing as well. He was greatly disturbed that more and more American companies produced their products abroad. Concerned about the erosion of the American middle class, he also helped Service Employee International Union leaders Andy Stern and David Rolf conceptualize new ways...

Prospect Debate: The Cost of Sanders’s Single-Payer Health Plan

An exchange including Gerald Friedman, Kenneth Thorpe, and Paul Starr over the costs, resulting taxes, and political implications of Sanders's health plan

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
In “ The False Lure of the Sanders Single-Payer Plan ,” Paul Starr criticized the Sanders plan on a number of grounds, including its cost in new taxes. While arguing that even the cost estimates by the Sanders campaign would make the plan impossible to pass, Starr also cited the much higher estimates of the cost by Kenneth Thorpe. The cost of the Sanders plan has now become a national issue. Here Gerald Friedman, who made the cost estimates for Sanders, defends those numbers, while Thorpe provides the most detailed account he has yet provided of why the Sanders plan would cost almost twice as much as Friedman’s estimates. Starr elaborates on three additional reasons to be skeptical about the single-payer proposal. Gerald Friedman is professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts. Kenneth E. Thorpe is the Robert W. Woodruff Professor and Chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management, in the Rollins School of Public Health of Emory University. Paul...