Other Information for Parents of K-12 Students

Making School and Program Choice Decisions

Here is a good piece of research on whether it makes sense to delay your child’s start in kindergarten.

Here is an excellent paper on the critical transition from 8th to 9th grade. And here is one on why 9th grade is the most important year of high school.

Have you ever tried to decipher just what your district is talking about when they discuss center schools, acceleration, cluster-grouping, and differentiated instruction? This background briefing can help. You should also know that Chester Finn has published quite a skeptical article on "differentiated instruction", which is well worth your time to read. Other writers who have also criticized the efficacy of differentiated instruction include Mike Petrilli and Jim Delisle. We continue to believe that the full potential of differentiated instruction can only be realized through much greater use of blended and adaptive learning approaches, as part of our overall transition from seat-time to competency-based education.

And have you ever struggled to find online courses for your children? We certainly have, as online AP courses have been few and far between. Here are two suggestions: Fuel Education (you have to pay for them, unless your district does), and EdX. Check them both out.

And when your child gets to high school, have you ever stubbled to sort out AP versus IB versus Concurrent Enrollment versus Dual Enrollment? If so, then this background briefing can save you a lot of time, headache, and heartache. And here is a good Brookings piece of why the expansion of these programs -- which enable students to earn college credits at low or not cost -- is critical to the transformation of higher ed.

Getting Involved in Achievement Improvement

If you find your school or district’s achievement results very frustrating, and want to do something about it, start by reading this new report and handbook on organizing a parents movement to improve K12 achievement in your school or district.

You can also join your School or District Accountability Committee. Here is our new Guide for School Accountability Committees If you want to see your District's or School's Unified Improvement Plan, you can find it here, on CDE's website.

Learning More About Other Parents’ Views

Curious about how your approach to parenting compares to other people’s? Pew just published a fascinating new report on parenting in the United States.

Here is a report from the OECD Education Section on What Parents Want in Schools. It covers a wide range of countries and, unsurprisingly, finds that parents around the world are looking for many of the same qualities in a school.

Have you ever wondered where your views on K12 fit in the spectrum of views held by other people? Two new polls can help you answer this question. The first is by Harvard and EducationNext (story, detailed data). The second is by PDK/Gallup (story, detailed data). Unsurprisingly, it turns out that the way a pollster asks a question has a large impact on some poll results. Here is one story comparing the EdNext and Gallup Polls, and here is another one. Finally, this story and this one both address the extent of the Democrat/Republican partisan divide on education issues.