Evangelicals must address America’s educational crisis with both conviction and compassion. We must not only provide food or shelter to help the impoverished survive day to day, we must equip them to thrive. Currently 45 percent of children live in low-income families. Yet, only 29 percent of children from the lowest income quartile will enter college, and only 9 percent will finish. Poor preparation for college is standing in the way of these students and a family supporting income… The home school and parochial school parents have long recognized the lax standards in public schools and insisted on higher standards for their children. But, rigorous standards must be available to all children, especially those in poverty who need clear signals of what skills they need to succeed in college or a career.

The consequences of low standards are pervasive in our education system. Many students with good grades in high school have been told based on previous standards that they were on track to succeed in college. Yet, with half of undergraduates placed in remediation and only 56 percent graduating, countless students quickly found they were unable to succeed at college-level work. Now student achievement in United States lags behind 13 countries in reading and 24 in math. Parents, schools and communities must insist on putting their children’s future first by raising expectations for student literacy and math skills, so when our children graduate from high school they have the have the skills to compete in college and the workplace. The Common Core State Standards, adopted by 45 states, set clear consistent guidelines for what students should be able to do at each grade level in math and English Language Arts. The new standards were found to be clearly better than standards recently used in 37 states for English Language Arts and 39 states in math, and on par with educational standards in top performing countries by top researchers…

here are a small vocal group of opponents to these standards with concerns about inhibiting parental choice, undue influence on our children through the creation of a national curriculum. Yet, the evidence many critics provide to support their claims don’t include any facts, and many times are simple untruths. Recognizing the quality of these standards, many religious schools have voluntarily adopted the Common Core. The new standards do not affect the Christian teachings in our schools or our homes, but higher expectations can only help our children understand scripture and communicate biblical truth more clearly in a society in desperate need of clear teaching of the Word of God.

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, in the  Christian Post, on why men and women of faith should support providing all children with the comprehensive college preparatory education they deserve.

I would say the most important takeaways are these. For starters, over the years it’s become clear that Teach for America’s most important impact on American education probably isn’t through the teaching efforts of TFA teachers. Rather, many alumni of the TFA program have continuing careers in the education field. That’s sometimes as classroom teachers in traditional public schools, but often as leaders in charter schools or charter school networks or else in policy advocacy organizations. Since many people do not like charter schools or disagree with the policies being advocated by TFA aligned policy advocacy organizations, there’s now a TFA backlash. It would be convenient for the leaders of that backlash if TFA’s core claim that it’s a way of improving the average level of teaching in low-income schools was just some kind of ruse. But we can see here that while it is—in part—a ruse through which new cohorts of education policy reformers are recruited, it’s certainly not just a ruse. The existence of Teach for America raises the student’s school learning, completely apart from any downstream policy-level consequences.

The Teaching Fellows finding is less of a political hot button, but it has broader and more important policy implications. The basic upshot is that the current certification process has no meaningful validity. On the other hand, we also saw that TNTP’s effort to devise a better ex ante screening process failed. They came up with one that’s totally different, but about as good. The implication is that we don’t really have a great idea about how to ex ante screen for effective teachers. The reasonable response is to say that lowering the bar for becoming a teacher in the first place probably wouldn’t do much harm, and raising the bar for staying as a classroom teacher once you’ve been on the job for two or three years and can be evaluated ex post could do quite a bit of good.

Matthew Yglesias, in Slate, giving his thoughts on the latest study validating the effective of Teach For America and TNTP recruits — and hitting the point made on this week’s Dropout Nation Podcast about the need to focus on recruiting high-quality talents into teaching.

Arne Duncan was right to call attention to 9/11 as an important opportunity for teaching children about the heinous events of that day twelve years ago, about honoring those who perished, and about the value of “coming together” as Americans.

But he missed a terrific opportunity to remind American educators that kids need context and background knowledge if they’re to make sense of 9/11—or, frankly, of much else, right down to and including what’s going on in Syria today. That calls for a solid, content-centric K–12 curriculum, including lots and lots of history, geography, and civics, the great neglected subjects of the typical “social studies” curriculum. E.D. Hirsch’s Core Knowledge sequence would be a swell place to start.

Checker Finn of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, in Flypaper, pointing out why curricula matters.

I wonder if the candidates even know that this year there were 70,000 applicants, almost all from black and Latino families, for the 20,000 seats in the more than 150 charter schools that opened under Bloomberg’s watch. That leaves 50,000 families with no other choice but to send their children to neighborhood schools they are desperately trying to escape.

You would think that Democratic candidates — who talk a lot about their commitment to improving the lives of black and Latino families — wouldn’t hesitate to increase the number of educational choices for low-income families. You would be wrong. Doing that would upset powerful special interests in the Democratic Party, which is not something the candidates are prepared to do.

So, to cite just one example, most of the candidates want to stop allowing public charter schools to share space in underutilized public school buildings. Without that lifeline, many charters couldn’t survive, much less thrive, in incredibly costly New York City. Beyond repeating a few bromides, none of the candidates has really addressed issues like what they would do to turn around low-performing schools — or how they will prepare teachers to successfully implement the new Common Core standards. The list goes on.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’m not a casual observer. I spent eight years as chancellor of New York City’s public schools under this mayor. Before his election, the public school system was a wreck, and change didn’t come easily. For too many bureaucrats and political special interests, the status quo was a way of life. Most politicians ignored the deep-rooted problems in the city’s public schools for decades. Bloomberg didn’t. He closed more than 150 failing schools and replaced them with more than 600 new, high quality, often much smaller, traditional public and charter schools.

The results, reflexively pilloried by some of those running for mayor, speak for themselves. After more than a decade of stagnation, the high school graduation rate rose by over 20 points across the city, with some especially notable increases at the new, smaller schools. Student achievement improved — whether measured by New York’s old academic standards, or by the state’s new, more rigorous common core standards. After years of trailing the more affluent and homogeneous school districts across the state, New York City public school students — many of whom come from low-income, minority families — are now performing almost on par with those districts. This is a major accomplishment that proves, once again, that poverty is not destiny…

There are at least 50,000 families in this city who don’t have a City Hall lobbyist or a political action committee and they want to know what — if anything — the people running to succeed Bloomberg will do to help them. Unfortunately, the Democratic candidates haven’t answered that question in time for any one of those families to make an informed choice tomorrow.

Former New York City Chancellor Joel Klein, in the Daily News, no more pleased about the men and women who ran in Tuesday’s mayoral primary than any of Dropout Nation‘s contributors.