Jacob on how the U.S. Department of Education can foster reform in the Trump era

February 3, 2017

In "How the U.S. Department of Education can foster education reform in the era of Trump and ESSA," Brian Jacob describes Michigan's disappointing performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. According to Jacob's analysis, Michigan "ranks dead last in terms of proficiency growth since 2003."

Jacob's piece appears in Evidence Speaks, a weekly publication of the Brookings Institution's Center on Children and Families.

"The current administration has vowed to leave education matters up to the states, continuing a movement started with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which dramatically limited the federal government’s role in school accountability," writes Jacob. While Jacob notes that greater local control produces some benefits, he cautions that it also "risks exacerbating the massive disparities in educational performance across states that already exists."

"The Department of Education (DoED) should take steps to highlight these disparities by identifying the lowest performing states and providing information on the status and progress of all states on a variety of educational metrics," argues Jacob. He adds that the DoED might also "provide modest funding and technical assistance to help demographically similar states work together to improve their public education systems."

Brian Jacob is the Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Education Policy, Professor of Economics, and Professor of Education at the University of Michigan. He is co-director of the Ford School's Education Policy Initiative (EPI), which engages in applied, policy-relevant education research designed to help improve overall educational achievement and outcomes.