New WHYY Post: StudentsFirst Grades NJ's Ed Reform Policies

How are we doing? Check out today's column at WHYY Newsworks:
This morning StudentsFirst, the take-no-prisoners-education reform organization headed by former D.C. Chancellor of Education Michelle Rhee, released its annual state report cards. New Jersey got a D.

It's easy enough to dismiss this harsh rating as predictable political grandstanding from radical reformers. Not so fast: school assessments tend to be harsh, whether or not they come from hip start-ups or frumpy warhorses.

Last month, for example, PISA results (Programme in International Student Assessment) judged American schoolchildren's progress to be "stagnant" compared with other countries. Last week Education Week released its highly-regarded "Quality Counts" state evaluations, framing some sobering results in the context of "powerful fiscal, academic, and social forces that are reshaping traditional school districts. American schools, deemed Ed Week, deserve an average grade of  C-. (N.J.'s ratings ran the gamut, from A-'s in school spending and student achievement, to D's in policies governing the teacher profession.)
Read the rest here.