The question is not “Are you better off than you were four years ago.” It’s “Whose life have you made better in the last four years?” If the answer is NO ONE’s, then it doesn’t matter WHO the President is!

Memphis pastor and outgoing Memphis-Shelby County school board member Kenneth Whalum, offering a reminder of what matters most amid this election season — especially for school reformers.

We had 14,000 school boards in this country making the decisions for a long time and that is why we ended up where we ended up… We should not say, well, that kids in Jackson, Miss., should be held accountable to different learning standards to the kids in Beverley Hills to the kids in Worcester, Mass. These children are not going to be competing for jobs against each other. They’re going to be competing for jobs against kids in India and China, and we’re going to have to have a sense of how each of these kids is doing.

Michelle Rhee, explaining why the myth of local control that has helped foster the nation’s education crisis, needs to be tossed into history’s ashbin.

So apparently the straw-man argument generator in the [New York Times] headline writer’s head told him or her that a few charter schools would cure-all of Harlem’s problems. I doubt that anyone else did. Reading the actual story leads one to the conclusion that while there have been difficulties and growing pains, Harlem’s experience with charter schools has been quite positive. The most serious problem pointed to in the article, in fact, is the need for more charter schools…

Did the [reform efforts under New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his chancellors, including Joel Klein] cure all of the education problems of Harlem? Certainly not. They strangely also failed to cure cancer, restore sight to the blind nor erased the painful memory of having shelled out money to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls. They have however seen hard fought gains for disadvantaged students. Rather than wringing their hands, the New York Times should be calling for the logical next steps in reform.

George W. Bush Institute’s Matthew Ladner, noting how a recent article on charter schools (and data on the success of New York City’s school reform efforts) points to the need for expanding choice and Parent Power.

Perhaps it was coincidence, but New York City seems to have gotten the message of the Civil Rights Project (CRP) about discipline and has revised its student code of conduct to help keep kids in school… This is great news, but try to find that in the code of conduct, officially titled… which is an eye-popping twenty-nine pages of small print… I must admit to being old school and focusing on the section called “Prohibited Weapons.” Were there some weapons that weren’t prohibited? Alas, no—the list is as comprehensive an itemization of mayhem as you can find, featuring air guns, spring guns (“or other instrument or weapon in which the propelling force is a spring or air, and any weapon in which any loaded or blank cartridge may be used”), daggers, stilettos, dirks, razors, both sling shots and slung shots, kung fu stars, nunchucks and shirkens—and, of course, your garden variety explosives…

They mean well. But these types of documents, mind-numbing in their detail, tend to be self-defeating. For one thing, you’d have to be a constitutional lawyer to interpret them (though we could be minting them with these codes, since, in my experience, kids are pretty savvy about the fine print); secondly, you’d need twice as many cops as there are students to enforce the rules in anything approximating a fair and consistent manner… In the end these codes of conduct tend to be colossal wastes of administrative and instructional time and money, in record-keeping alone. But the sheer opaqueness of it all—and the level of detail actually contributes to the ambiguity (dare I say `arbitrary and capricious’?) of the thing—helps explain the results of the Civil Rights Project and National Education Policy Center’s recent reports  suggesting that African-American students were more apt to be suspended from school than their white counterparts. Student suspensions, concluded the latter “are significantly influenced by factors other than student misbehavior.”…

It would be simplistic to suggest that you toss the code out and invoke the other meaning of the word discipline—a subject or field of activity, e.g. an academic subject—and start giving out more homework! But we might do well to aim in that direction.

Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s Peter Meyer, demonstrating one culprit for the overuse of suspensions and expulsions that lead to kids being put on the path to economic and social despair.

We should not think of schools as garrisons protecting us from enemies, nor as industries generating human capital. Rather, higher education’s highest purpose is to give all citizens the opportunity to find “large and human significance” in their lives and work.

Wesleyan University President Michael S. Roth, explaining why “learning is freedom” and the importance of providing all kids with strong, comprehensive college-preparatory curricula.