** Also posted here on “Valerie Strauss’ Answer Sheet” in the Washington Post.
Race to the Top and Waiting for Superman made 2010 a banner year for the market-based education reforms that dominate our national discourse. By contrast, a look at the “year in research” presents a rather different picture for the three pillars of this paradigm: merit pay, charter schools, and using value-added estimates in high-stakes decisions.
There will always be exceptions (especially given the sheer volume of reports generated by think tanks, academics, and other players), and one year does not a body of research make. But a quick review of high-quality studies from independent, reputable researchers shows that 2010 was not a particularly good year for these policies.