Education Restated: Getting Policy Right on Accountability, Teacher Pay, and School Choice offers the education policy community a roadmap for change in three hot-button policy areas. In each of these areas policy has been anchored around the wrong core values. By putting the right core values at the heart of policy, state governments can create more favorable conditions for education improvement at the local level.
Education Restated takes a pragmatic approach to policy change, recognizing that the forces that created today’s policies have not gone away—and that on complex issues there are legitimate competing interests. This book harmonizes the best ideas of opposing policy camps and identifies opportunities to strengthen connections between K-12 and early childhood. For advocates seeking common ground with historical adversaries, Education Restated provides some ideas on where they might find it.
Elliot Regenstein is a Chicago-based partner at Foresight Law + Policy. His work focuses on how decision-making occurs in state education and early education systems: who is responsible for which decisions, what information they have to support those decisions, and what incentives are influencing key stakeholders.
Part I. Shifting the Focus of Accountability
Chapter 1. Federal Accountability for Educational Success
Chapter 2. How the Every Student Succeeds Act Distracts Us From Half the System
Chapter 3. The Future of External Accountability
Part II. Getting the Best Teachers Where They’re Needed
Chapter 4. The Experience of Teachers
Chapter 5. Why Districts Don’t Put Their Best Teachers with Low-Income Students
Chapter 6. Restructuring Teacher Pay to Help the Children Who Need It Most
Chapter 7. How State and Federal Policy Shapes the Market for Teachers
Part III. Giving Parents Real Choices
Chapter 8. Schools as a Private, Public, and Positional Good
Chapter 9. The Geography and Demography of School Choice
Chapter 10. The Workaround: Public Charter Schools
Chapter 11. How Do Families Go About Choosing?
Chapter 12. Repositioning School Choice
About the Author
Education Restated: Getting Policy Right on Accountability, Teacher Pay, and School Choice is driven by a fundamental commitment to equity: doing more for the students and families who have the greatest needs but are given the fewest opportunities. Regenstein has a great grasp of the current policy and the political landscape and endeavors to find feasible ways for competing factions to come together around their common commitment to equity. This book challenges a number of sacred cows for reformers and teacher unionists alike, but in a way that invites both groups to rethink current practice in order to do what is right. It also makes clear that we cannot make the progress we want and need unless we devote significantly more resources to early childhood education through 3rd grade. Education Restated is both a hopeful book and a realistic book, and one that can provide policy makers and practitioners ways to work together to advance equity.
Elliot Regenstein’s book is a great place to start if you are ready to get past the same tired education policy conversations to create an educational system worthy of the hopes and dreams of students and families. Education Restated is at turns fresh and infuriating—ultimately just the kind of thing we need to be reading and discussing if we are going to co-create innovative education policy solutions that improve the lives of kids.
Education Restated engages readers from start to finish by reframing, expanding, and simplifying transformational strategies. For example, Regenstein proposes an approach to accountability that honors and leverages school and district context, and boldly explores how race and discipline shape the ecosystem of schools in a way that impacts teacher hiring. Uniquely introspective, Education Restated links policy to practice with strategies that can reshape the education system for the better.
No matter what you think you know, Education Restated: Getting Policy Right on Accountability, Teacher Pay, and School Choice will change how you view education policy. Instead of simplistic prescriptions, it’s full of targeted, practical strategies that will make a real difference.
Education policy-making often feels like a game of ‘Whack-a-Mole’, where one problem is addressed only to see a new issue arise. Drawing upon a background in the education policy, practice, and research fields, Education Restated offers a clear-headed, intellectually rigorous, and actionable assessment of the barriers to constructive education policy-making as well as ideas for a way forward for more strategic, collaborative, and successful education systems.
Like the polarized society in which it operates, education too often is viewed in binary terms: public or private schools, traditional schools or charter schools, reform or status quo. Education Restated examines some of the most contentious education issues, discovering in all of them the potential for collaborative solutions. In his engaging and thought-provoking style, Elliot Regenstein identifies worthy ideas from across the political and public policy spectrums for innovative approaches to accountability, school choice, and teacher quality. This book should be on the reading list of anyone who truly cares about every child receiving a great education.
Elliot Regenstein’s Education Restated is an accurate appraisal of our education system that analyzes the contemporary configuration, illuminates areas of dissonance, and makes a pragmatic case for how and why we should make a methodological shift to lead us to not just improved student performance, but more importantly the conditions to foster positive outcomes for both students and educators. As a policy maker and education advocate, I relish in works that provide practical ideas that are thoroughly validated by evidence.
For almost forty years, the education policy and reform landscape has been dominated by various efforts to drive improvement through some form of accountability, whether it be standards, testing, teacher performance, or even school choice. Individually and collectively, these efforts have failed to produce any meaningful improvement in the lives of students, educators, or the public education system in general. Most of the postmortems on policy failures tend to blame a force or constituency other than that favored by the author. But Elliot Regenstein presents an exceptionally thoughtful and integrative analysis of these efforts—and one that looks at how they fit together in a system oriented toward producing measurable improvement over time. At a moment when the values and existence of public education appear threatened, Education Restated provides a constructive and actionable path forward.
Full of new ways to solve long-standing impasses in education policy, Education Restated: Getting Policy Right on Accountability, Teacher Pay, and School Choice is a must-read for anyone who cares about raising the next generation.
Elliot Regenstein takes a rare and much needed look at education policy that actually makes sense. Education Restated is an incredibly smart book but at the same time it’s accessible, it’s logical, and it doesn’t require readers to be education policy experts. If you’re intellectually curious, want to see our schools get better, and want an open, balanced, and sophisticated view on how to do so, you’ll really love this book.
For at least the last decade, our nation’s education policy making has been given more to gimmickry and sideshows than to serious concern with the pillars of a system that serves tens of millions of people. Elliot Regenstein is among the most lucid and practical thinkers in our field. Education Restated makes the case that a commonsensical approach not only can restore policymakers’ focus on the big issues, but also can make critically needed improvements that will have immediate impact at great scale. If the U.S. education system is to be socially just and globally competitive, policymakers and education system leaders should treat this book as a roadmap to progress.
12/15/2023, EduProgress Organization interview with Chad Aldeman
Link: School Accountability Revisited: An Interview with Elliot Regenstein | Education Recovery Hub (eduprogress.org)
6/28/2023, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Future of Design Challenge proposal winner
Check out this blog post by Andrew Rotherham from Eduwonk featuring Elliot Regenstein http://www.eduwonk.com/2022/11/elliot-regenstein-on-naep-next-steps.html
2/6/23 The 74 interview with Conor Williams
1/31/23 Rick Hess Straight Up guest letter
9/16/2022-Interview with Aaron Loewenberg from New America
9/13/22, Education Gadfly Show (Fordham Institute): Elliot Regenstein joined the show to talk about his book.