Brandon Wright

Managing Editor and Policy Associate at the Fordham Institute (@educationgadfly); @bwrighted


How population size affects PISA results

The U.S. isn’t doing too bad


Myriad articles have pointed out tha the U.S. has had very average mean scores on the recent PISA exam and that our top performers were mediocre compared to those in other countries. And while that’s true, it doesn’t tell the whole story: Size matters.


Teacher tenure lawsuits and their pitfalls


It’s open season on teacher employment protection laws in U.S. state courts. The watershed moment, of course, was June’s Vergara v. California verdict holding California’s laws unconstitutional. Vergara began back in March of 2012, when nine public school students filed suit against the State of California, arguing that California’s laws violated…

Publications edited by Brandon Wright

A place for thoughtful, lively posts about education policy and reform. 


What’s missing in gifted education debates

A call for an expanded definition


In its “Room for Debate” series recently, the New York Times published a quartet of opinion pieces discussing the value of gifted and talented programs. New York City schools chancellor Carmen Fariña prompted this discussion by promoting the faddish and contradictory mantra of “gifted…


Becoming a teacher vs. skipping college: A financial wash?

Some surprising data


There’s been much talk lately about whether college is for everyone. And there’s always much talk about teacher preparation and pay. Let’s combine these issues and look at them through a specific lens: money.


Why does America produce so few low-income high-achieving students?

More insight into a known problem


We know from international data—PISA, TIMSS, and so on—that other countries produce more “high achievers” than we do (at least in relation to the size of their pupil populations). And it’s no secret that in the U.S., academic achievement tends to correlate


The false tradeoffs of test scores, creativity, and happiness

One doesn't preclude the others


Rationalizing America’s lackluster academic performance is something of a cottage industry. One of the most popular ways people explain away our low test scores is to claim that they don’t matter much anyway. “Let others have the higher test scores. I prefer to bet on…


How population size affects PISA results

The U.S. isn’t doing too bad


Myriad articles have pointed out tha the U.S. has had very average mean scores on the recent PISA exam and that our top performers were mediocre compared to those in other countries. And while that’s true, it doesn’t tell the whole story: Size matters.


Promoting hard work

A thought experiment


Here’s a simple thought experiment:

Sam and Ben are eight-year-old identical twins. Like most identical twins, they are the same in almost every way. They do, however, differ in two important respects: Sam is smarter than Ben, but Ben is naturally a harder worker. So