State of Education, State Policy Report Card 2013

StudentsFirst launched its 50-State & DC Policy Report Card on January 9th during a panel hosted by
the American Enterprise Institute and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute in Washington, D.C.

Eric Lerum, the Vice President of National Policy, presented the StudentsFirst State Policy Report Card on the panel with former Florida Commissioner of Education and Executive Director of Chiefs for Change Dr. Eric Smith, State Superintendent Tom Luna of Idaho and national education experts Dr. Rick Hess, Michael Petrilli, and Ulrich Boser. The panel served as the platform for the national launch of the StudentsFirst Policy Report Card and is sparking a national dialogue on education policy reform at state and local levels. The panelists responded to the report card, provided unique insight, and discussed the future of education reform and how to bridge the divide between policy and practice. This event illuminated multiple approaches to systemic reform in education and will serve as a background for future reform discussions in state legislatures across the country. The State Policy Report Card was created exclusively by StudentsFirst.

Live tweets used the hashtag #SFsprc which trended nationally during the event.

Michael J. Petrilli
| Executive Vice President, Thomas B. Fordham Institute

Mike Petrilli is one of the nation's foremost education analysts. As executive vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, he oversees the organization's research projects and publications and contributes to the Flypaper Blog and weekly Education Gadfly Newsletter. He is also a research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and Executive Editor of Education Next, where he writes a regular column on technology and media, as well as feature-length articles. Petrilli has published opinion pieces in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal and appears regularly on NBC Nightly News, ABC World News Tonight, CNN, and Fox. He's been a guest on several National Public Radio programs, including All Things Considered, Talk of the Nation, and the Diane Rehm Show. He is author, with Frederick M. Hess, of No Child Left Behind: A Primer and The Diverse School Dilemma: A Parent's Guide to Socioeconomically Mixed Public Schools. Previously Petrilli was an official in the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Innovation and Improvement and a vice president at K12.com. He started his career as a teacher at the Joy Outdoor Education Center in Clarksville, Ohio, and holds a Bachelor's degree in Honors Political Science from the University of Michigan. He lives with his wife Meghan and sons Nico and Leandro in Bethesda, Maryland.


Ulrich Boser | Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress

Ulrich Boser is a Senior Fellow at American Progress, where he analyzes education, criminal justice, and other social policy issues. Prior to joining the Center, Boser was a contributing editor for U.S. News & World Report, special projects director for the Washington Post Express, and research director for Education Week newspaper. His writings have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, and Smithsonian. Boser has written a number of influential reports. His study of school spending included the first-ever attempt to evaluate the productivity of almost every major school district in the country. Hundreds of media outlets covered the release of the report, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Associated Press. Boser also serves as research director of Leaders and Laggards, a joint project of the Center for American Progress, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Rick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute that evaluates state systems of education. Boser's work has received various awards and citations. He has been an Arthur F. Burns fellow, won the National Award For Education Reporting, and been dubbed a "writer to watch" by Washingtonian magazine. He is also the author of the national best-selling criminal justice book, The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World's Largest Unsolved Art Theft. Boser has served as a commentator on social policy issues for many media outlets, including CNN, National Public Radio, and The New York Times. Boser graduated with honors from Dartmouth College and lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife and two daughters.

Frederick M. Hess | Director of Education Policy Studies, AEI

An educator, political scientist and author, Frederick M. Hess studies K-12 and higher education issues. His books include The Same Thing Over and Over, Education Unbound, Common Sense School Reform, Revolution at the Margins, and Spinning Wheels. He is also the author of the upcoming highly anticipated book Cage-busting Leadership and author of the popular Education Week Blog, Rick Hess Straight Up. Hess's work has appeared in scholarly and popular outlets such as Teachers College Record, Harvard Education Review, Social Science Quarterly, Urban Affairs Review, American Politics Quarterly, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Phi Delta Kappan, Educational Leadership, U.S. News & World Report, National Affairs, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Atlantic and National Review. He has edited widely cited volumes on education philanthropy, school costs and productivity, the impact of education research, and No Child Left Behind. Hess serves as executive editor of Education Next, as lead faculty member for the Rice Education Entrepreneurship Program, and on the review boards for the Broad Prize in Urban Education and the Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools. He also serves on the boards of directors of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, 4.0 SCHOOLS, and the American Board for the Certification of Teaching Excellence. A former high school social studies teacher, he has taught at the University of Virginia, the University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University, Rice University and Harvard University. He holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in Government, as well as an M.Ed. in Teaching and Curriculum, from Harvard University.

Eric Lerum | Vice President of National Policy, StudentsFirst

Eric Lerum has been working on public education reform issues for the past decade. He served most recently as Chief of Staff to the Deputy Mayor for Education for the District of Columbia, playing a lead role in school reform efforts, including the mayoral takeover of the school system and the successful Race to the Top application. A 2003 graduate of the Washington College of Law, Eric has served as the Legislative Counsel to the Committee on Education, Libraries, and Recreation of the D.C. Council and as a policy analyst for the DC Board of Education. Eric developed his interests in public education and youth justice while in law school, where he served as a Fellow in the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project and taught constitutional literacy to high school students. Eric grew up in Ohio, attended The Ohio State University and holds a J.D. from American University Washington College of Law.

Tom Luna | Superintendent of Public Instruction, State of Idaho

Tom Luna Tom Luna was sworn into a second term as Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction on January 7, 2011. Since first taking office, Tom has worked diligently to raise student achievement by creating a customer-driven public education system that meets the needs of all students and ensures that every student will graduate from high school prepared to live, work and succeed in the 21st century. Since taking office, he has worked closely with Idaho's Governor to reform Idaho's education system to raise academic achievement for all students. When Tom was first elected, in 2007, just 26 percent of Idaho schools met the state's high academic goals, known as Adequate Yearly Progress. By 2010, 62 percent of schools met AYP. Idaho led the nation in the increase in the number of schools making AYP.

Before becoming Idaho's Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom had a successful career in business spanning more than 25 years. Tom first got involved in the state's education system by serving on the Nampa School Board for seven years, including three years as chairman. Tom served as a senior advisor to U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige from 2003 to 2005. Tom has served as President of the Council of Chief State School Officers and serves on the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees The Nation's Report Card. (Photo & Biography courtesy of the Idaho Department of Education website.)

Eric Smith | Executive Director, Chiefs for Change; Fmr. Florida Commissioner of Education

Eric Smith served as Florida Commissioner of Education from 2007-2011. He began his career in Florida more than 30 years ago as a classroom teacher. His commitment to affecting positive change in education led him to several administrative positions in Florida school districts and eventually to 16 years of serving as a district superintendent in Virginia, North Carolina, and Maryland. Smith also served as Senior Vice President for College Readiness of the College Board and was responsible for leading the EXCELerator project. He received an undergraduate degree from Colorado State University, a master's degree from the University of Central Florida in Orlando and a doctorate from the University of Florida in Gainesville.