FutureEd is an Independent, Solution-oriented Voice for American Education.

Dear Colleagues,
 
With the holidays approaching, I'd like to thank the many people in the education sector who contributed to FutureEd's work this year. We have sought to provide clear, informed analysis of key education issues and we've worked to elevate evidence-based solutions to challenges facing the nation's education system.
 
We hosted three live-streamed events and produced four major reports in 2018, on topics ranging from chronic student  absenteeism to teaching and learning and school improvement. We published more than 60 commentaries, analyses, and podcasts on our website by our team and a wide range of contributors. Many were republished by other organizations. We doubled our web traffic. And we grew our roster of research advisors and senior fellows, most recently adding Mathematica's  Brian Gill  and  New York Times contributor  Alina Tugend .
 
In recent weeks, Northwestern University
researcher  and FutureEd research advisory board member Kirabo Jackson shared his important new research on school spending and student achievement in our latest  FutureEd Interview Education Week published a commentary piece  by editorial director Phyllis Jordan, senior fellow Mike Smith, and Alan Ginsburg challenging conventional wisdom on the federal School Improvement Grants program.  Jordan continued her work on chronic student absenteeism in a piece on the impact of teacher home visits on absenteeism rates. And research associate Rachel Grich explored alternatives emerging in the states to using the free and reduced-priced lunch metric for identifying low-income students.
 
Outgoing Tennessee schools chief Candice McQueen and senior fellow Lynn Olson joined us for a podcast on Tennessee's work to improve teaching and learning, drawing on lessons from Lynn's recent FutureEd report on the  Volunteer State reforms. FutureEd senior fellow Jeff Selingo and contributor Michael Horn posted new installments of their lively FutureU podcast on the  educational consequences of automation and on what the Harvard admissions case means for higher education.  And I did a podcast with the National Association of Elementary School Principals on ways to increase instructional leadership, and wrote a piece on the topic.
 
In a new infographic based on information from Teach for America's over 50,000 alumni, we examined the claim that TFA merely cycles recent college graduates in and out of classrooms. And we highlighted new roles for Vicki Phillips, Lewis Ferebee, Paul Pastorek, Candice McQueen and other education leaders in our regular feature, The Churn.

Finally, we're pleased that others have recognized our work this year. The 74 recently included our report on the federal school-improvement program among the year's  most important  education research. Our commentary  on the Obama-era national testing consortia was one of the most widely read pieces  on the Education Next web site. And  my conversation  with Harvard's Paul Peterson about teaching reforms in the District of Columbia was among Education Next 's   top podcasts

It is easy in today's cacophonous and often fractious education policy environment to believe that we can't move the conversation forward, that we can't solve the many challenges facing our education systems. But the history of education in this country, even the recent history, demonstrates that ideas do matter, that solutions do emerge, that systems do improve. So thank you to those of you who happen to read this note, thank you for supporting the nation's students, and best wishes as you return to the work in the new year.
 
Tom

Thomas Toch
Director, FutureEd
McCourt School of Public Policy
Georgetown University
ttoch@future-ed.org
@thomas_toch



FutureEd | 202.413.2247 | @futureedgu | www.future-ed.org
Enjoy our website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.