Is Your City Education Reform-Friendly?

What does it take for a city to be ready for school system reform? These days, it's hard not to answer that question by simply saying, "Well, is the teachers' union still active?"

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute, with an assist from the conservative American Enterprise Institute, tried to assess which cities are the country were best perched to revamp their educational apparatuses. The researchers looked at whether a city had access to a talent pipeline, had readily available sources of public and private funding, showed a commitment to charter schools, could properly assess the success of entrepreneurial ventures, and were open to reform and innovative practices at both the district and city level.

Cities were graded from A to F, though no municipalities earned the top grade. (Does that mean no one's really ready for reform?)

New Orleans, which is in the midst of a huge school choice experiment in the wake of rebuilding its education system after Katrina, snagged a B. (Recently, Reason posted a video praising the school choice efforts in New Orleans. It's embedded below.) Denver, which has instituted performance pay incentives for its teachers, did, too. New York; Washington, D.C.; and Houston also earned Bs—as did smaller cities like Jacksonville, Florida and Fort Worth, Texas.

Chicago, arguably the template for federal education efforts (since its former schools CEO, Arne Duncan, is now the secretary of education), only mustered a C, as did L.A. and Boston.

According to the new study, where are the places least prepared to reform their school systems? Detroit garnered an F, despite Michigan's prodigious efforts to revamp education laws in order to compete for Race to the Top funds.

In a press release announcing the study, Chester E. Finn, Jr., president of the Fordham Institute, said cities serious about reform need to create environments akin to Silicon Valley for innovation in technology.



When former Pittsburgh Steelers' center Mike Webster committed suicide in 2002, his death began to raise awareness of the brain damage experienced by NFL football players. A 2017 study found that 99% of deceased NFL players had a degenerative brain disease known as CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). Only one out of 111 former football players had no sign of CTE. It turns out, some of the risks of traumatic brain injury experienced by heavily padded adults playing at a professional level also exist for kids with developing brains playing at a recreational level. The dangers might not be as intense as what the adults go through, but it can have some major life-long consequences.

A new PSA put out by the Concussion Legacy Foundation raises awareness of the dangers of tackle football on developing brains, comparing it to smoking. "Tackle football is like smoking. The younger I start, the longer I am exposed to danger. You wouldn't let me smoke. When should I start tackling?" a child's voice can be heard saying in the PSA as a mother lights up a cigarette for her young son.

Keep Reading Show less
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

On Tuesday morning, President Trump tweeted about some favorable economic numbers, claiming that annual household income is up, unemployment is low, and housing prices are high.

Now, just imagine how much better those numbers would be if the country wasn't mired in an economy-killing trade war with China, bleeding out trillion-dollar-a-year debts, and didn't suffer from chaotic leadership in the Oval Office?

At the end of tweet, came an odd sentence, "Impeach the Pres."

Keep Reading Show less

October is domestic violence awareness month and when most people think of domestic violence, they imagine mostly female victims. However, abuse of men happens as well – in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. But some are taking it upon themselves to change all that.

Keep Reading Show less

At this point most reasonable people agree that climate change is a serious problem. And while a lot of good people are working on solutions, and we're all chipping in by using fewer plastic bags, it's also helpful to understand where the leading causes of the issue stem from. The list of 20 leading emitters of carbon dioxide by The Guardian newspaper does just that.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via International Labour Organization / Flickr and Michael Moore / Facebook

Before the release of "The Joker" there was a glut of stories in the media about the film's potential to incite violence.

The FBI issued a warning, saying the film may inspire violence from a group known as the Clowncels, a subgroup of the involuntarily celibate or Incel community.

Incels an online subculture who believe they are unable to attract a sexual partner. The American nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center describes them as "part of the online male supremacist ecosystem" that is included in its list of hate groups.

Keep Reading Show less