Thomas B. Fordham Institute

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute is the nation's leader in advancing educational excellence for every child through quality research, analysis, and commentary, as well as on-the-ground action and advocacy in Ohio. The institute advances high standards for schools, students and educators; quality education options for families; a more productive, equitable and efficient education system; and a culture of innovation, entrepreneurship, and excellence. They promote education reform by producing rigorous policy research and incisive analysis; building coalitions with policy makers, donors, organizations and others who share our vision; and advocating bold solutions and comprehensive responses to education challenges, even when opposed by powerful interests and timid establishments. Fordham's primary role, both nationally and in Ohio, is to frame issues, sometimes in unconventional ways; shape the terms of debate, often going against the education mainstream; identify problems that are being ignored; and offer independent, thoughtful criticism of friend and foe alike. They advocate particular policies and positions that they believe will advance educational excellence for young Americans, but are always remain willing to change direction when presented with new evidence. Currently, the main areas of focus are Implementing the Common Core, Advancing Choice, Stretching the School Dollar, Rethinking Governance, and the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

STEM Ed Initiatives: 

Implementing Common Core:
The Institute pushes for rigorous standards and assessments in all core subjects; for school ratings and performance goals that stress getting students to be college and/or work-ready; for interventions in failing schools and dysfunctional districts that are likely to yield positive results; and for results-based accountability at every level of the system, including individual students and teachers.

Standards Central:
Standards Central is a one-stop-shop for all of Fordham's recent reviews of state, national, and international curriculum and testing standards. This online clearinghouse presents a wealth of information about individual states’ academic standards, the Common Core State Standards, and various national and international assessment frameworks and standards. The Fordham Institute’s Standards Central includes a Best in Class page highlighting states with the strongest standards in English language arts (ELA), math, and U.S. history.

Advancing Choice:
Nationally and in Ohio, the Institute presses for charter school policies that focus on academic achievement; we promote school choice plans (including vouchers) that are transparent when it comes to student achievement; they favor online learning that brings opportunity, innovation and quality into education; and welcome other approaches that provide parents and children solid options and the capacity to make maximum use of them.
Stretching the School Dollar:
The fiscal crisis for states and schools is likely to endure and the era of big spending on American education may be over. We aim to provide bold ideas for how schools can become more efficient, rethink basic assumptions about their costs, structures and financing, and ultimately deliver more achievement at a cost the country can afford.

Rethinking Governance:
This ambitious strand of work freshly examines the basic structures of public education, seeking ways to make them work better and boost the impact and durability of choice- and standards-based reforms. We’re ready to rethink school boards and districts, America’s traditional notions of education federalism and local control, and the barriers that discourage innovation, thwart change, and place entrenched adult interests ahead of children’s.

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