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NCLB Outrages

UA speaker: Poll favors ‘No Child’ law

Ohanian Comment: Let the reader of a news article beware.

Here is Prof. Howell's bio on the website of the National Center on School Choice:

William G. Howell

Associate Professor

Deputy Director, Program on Education Policy and Governance

University of Chicago

William G. Howell is Associate Professor in the Harris School of Public Policy Studies at the University of Chicago and Deputy Director of the Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard University. He writes on separation-of-powers issues, American political institutions, and education policy.

Professor Howell is the author of Power without Persuasion: The Politics of Direct Presidential Action (2003). He recently collaborated with Jon Pevehouse of the University of Wisconsin on a book manuscript, While Dangers Gather: Congressional Checks on Presidential War Powers, that examines how domestic political institutions constrain the president's ability to exercise military force abroad.

He has written on a wide variety of education policy initiatives, including school vouchers, charter schools, and the No Child Left Behind Act. He is the principal co-author, with Paul Peterson, of The Education Gap: Vouchers and Urban Schools (2002) and is the editor of Besieged: School Boards and the Future of Education Politics (2005).

Before coming to the Harris School, Howell taught in the government department at Harvard University and the political science department at the University of Wisconsin. He received his doctor of philosophy in political science at Stanford University.

Current Research Projects

Broadening Analysis of Randomized School Voucher Experiments

Studying Competitive Effects of Vouchers in the Context of a Natural Experiment

Generalizability of Gains on State Exams

Assessing Impact of Choice and Competition in Milwaukee

Competition and Democratic Accountability

Selected Publications

Howell, William G. 2006. âSwitching Schools? A Closer Look at Parentsâ Initial Interest in and Knowledge about the Choice Provisions of No Child Left Behind.â Peabody Journal of Education 81 (1): 140-179.

Howell, William G., and Paul E. Peterson. 2006. The Education Gap: Vouchers and Urban Schools. Revised Edition. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.

Berry, Christopher R, and William G. Howell. 2005. âDemocratic Accountability in Public Education.â In Besieged: School Boards and the Future of Education Politics, ed. William G. Howell. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.

Howell, William G., ed. 2005. Besieged: School Boards and the Future of Education Politics. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.

Howell, William G. 2004. âDynamic Selection Effects in Urban, Means-Tested School Voucher Programs.â Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 22(3): 225-250.

Howell, William G., and Paul E. Peterson. 2004. âThe Use of Theory in Randomized Field Trials: Lessons from School Voucher Research on Disaggregation, Missing Data, and the Generalization of Findings.â American Behavioral Scientist 47(5): 634-657.

Peterson, Paul E., and William G. Howell. 2004. âEfficiency, Bias, and Classification Schemes: Estimating Private-School Impacts on Test Scores in the New York City Voucher Experiment.â American Behavioral Scientist 47(5): 699-717.

Howell, William G. 2003. Power without Persuasion: The Politics of Direct Presidential Action. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Howell, William G., Patrick Wolf, David E. Campbell, and Paul E. Peterson. 2002. âSchool Vouchers and Academic Performance: Results from Three Randomized Field Trials.â Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 21(2): 191-218.

The so-called poll was conducted last January.

The University of Arkansas School of Education Reform was established with a private gift by an unnamed donor in 2005. One man's reform is another's vested interest.

Here is the faculty:

* Jay P. Greene - Endowed Chair and Head of the Department of Education Reform

* Robert Costrell - Endowed Chair in Education Accountability, Professor of Education Reform and Economics

* Gary W. Ritter - Associate Professor, Endowed Chair in Education Policy

* Sandra Stotsky - Endowed Chair in Teacher Quality

* Patrick Wolf - Endowed Chair in School Choice

Here is the Technical Board of Advisors:

* David Figlio, University of Florida, Economics

* Jim Guthrie, Vanderbilt University, Education

* Eric Hanushek, Stanford University, Economics

* Carolyn Herrington, University of Missouri-Columbia, Education

* Caroline Hoxby, Harvard University, Economics

* Rebecca Maynard, University of Pennsylvania, Education

* Paul Peterson, Harvard University, Government

* Michael Podgursky, University of Missouri-Columbia, Economics

* John Witte, University of Wisconsin, Public Policy

* Ken Wong, Brown University, Education

Upcoming speakers include:

*Andrew Rotherham, Co-director, Education Sector

*General John Fryer, Commandant of the National War College, National Defense University

*Susan Zelman, Superintendent of Public Instruction for Ohio

*Paul E. Peterson, Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government, Harvard University, Editor-in-Chief, Education Next

*Michael Puma, President of Chesapeake Research Associates, LLC
Title: National Head Start Impact Study

UA speaker: Poll favors âNo Childâ law

by John Krupa

FAYETTEVILLE â The majority of Americans want the federal No Child Left Behind Act renewed with few changes, a guest lecturer at the University of Arkansas said Friday.

William Howell, associate professor in the Harris School of Public Policy Studies at the University of Chicago, said on the Fayetteville campus a new public opinion survey shows 57 percent of Americans support renewing President Bushâs landmark education bill of 2002 âas isâ or âwith minimal changes.â

Another 25 percent support renewing the act âwith major changes,â leaving 18 percent who donât support renewing the law.

The law is particularly popular among minorities, the survey shows, and is less popular among current and former school employees.

The survey Howell cites was conducted online by Knowledge Networks, a polling firm. The firm offered respondents free Internet and computer access to take the survey.

The poll, conducted in February and March, surveyed a nationally representative sample of 2, 000 adults.

Howell has an article in the current issue of Education Next discussing the survey results.

Americans also want more testing in schools, Howell said.

Standardized exams, and holding schools accountable for their results, is a key part of the federal law. The act requires states to test students in reading and math annually. It expects 100 percent of students to score at grade level in both subjects by 2014. Schools face severe sanctions if students do not meet certain performance goals along the way.

The survey showed that 73 percent of Americans prefer a single national exam over different tests in each state, 81 percent support requiring students to pass a test to move up a grade and 85 percent want high school exit exams.

Federal lawmakers should take note of these findings when they consider re-authorizing No Child Left Behind later this year, Howell said.

âWhile at the elite level, issues of accountability are highly controversial and polarizing, among the public thereâs widespread consensus that accountability isnât such a bad thing,â Howell said in an interview after his lecture. âThe public wants their schools to be good, they want them to be rigorous and they equate testing with those qualities.â

Howellâs findings, however, donât mesh with a recent Gallup Poll commissioned by Phi Delta Kappa International, a nonprofit organization that represents 40, 000 educators.

That poll, released in late August, found 3 of 4 Americans believe No Child Left Behind is either making no difference in or hurting their schools.

Just 31 percent of Americans have a favorable view of the law, according to the Gallup survey.

Gallup polled a nationally representative sample of adults via telephone. Respondents were obtained from Gallupâs 48, 000-member household panel, which was recruited through randomdigit dialing selection methods.

Bob Schaeffer, a spokesman for FairTest, a nonprofit organization that advocates for less standardized testing in schools, said in a telephone interview Friday that Americans embrace the key principles of No Child Left Behind â that all children should receive an equitable education and that poor schools must improve.

The problem, Schaeffer said, is that Americans recognize the mechanism of No Child Left Behind, standardized exams, actually undermines those goals.

âIt narrows curriculum and turns schools into test-prep centers,â he said. âThe more people know about No Child Left Behind, the less they like about it.â

UAâs department of education reform sponsored the Friday lecture.

The department will sponsor at least 11 lectures between now and April. Other speakers include Ken James, commissioner of the Arkansas Department of Education, and Susan Zelman, head of Ohioâs public schools. Jay Greene, head of the education reform department, said this yearâs lineup of speakers is impressive. âItâs a major part of our mission to talk about the important issues in education reform today,â Greene said Friday before Howellâs lecture. All lectures are free, open to the public and include lunch. They usually are held at noon Fridays. More information is available at www. uark.edu/ua/der /.

— John Krupa
Arkansas Democrat & Gazette


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