Michael Petrelli has ten proposals that he thinks should be part of federal education reform that are worth reading:
Expect states, as a condition of Title I funding, to adopt rigorous (i.e., “college- and career-ready”) academic standards in reading and math (either the Common Core standards or equally rigorous ones).
Likewise, expect states to adopt rigorous “cut scores” on tests aligned with those standards—making sure these cut scores signify true readiness for college and career.
Require states to develop the capacity to measure student growth over time.
Demand regular testing in science and history, not just reading and math, in order to reverse curricular narrowing and foster a more complete education in key subjects.
Eliminate Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and instead require states, as a condition of Title I funding, to adopt school-rating systems that provide transparent information to educators, parents, taxpayers, and voters. Such state reporting systems would have to be pegged to college and career readiness and, for high schools, to graduation rates. They would have to rate all schools annually on their effectiveness and include disaggregated data about subgroup performance.
Eliminate all federally mandated interventions in low-performing schools. Allow states to decide when and how to address failing schools—and other schools.
Eliminate the Highly Qualified Teachers mandate.
Rather than demand “comparability” of services across Title I and non-Title I schools, require districts to report detailed school-level spending information (so as to make spending inequities across and within districts more transparent).
Offer states the opportunity to sign flexibility agreements that would give them greater leeway over the use of their federal funds and would enable them to target resources more tightly on the neediest schools.
Turn reform-oriented formula grant programs into competitive ones. Specifically, transform Title II into a series of competitive grant programs, including Race to the Top, i3, charter-school expansion and improvement, a competitive version of School Improvement Grants, and an expanded Teacher Incentive Fund.