When you read Bruce Baker’s work, you hear a fresh and thoughtful voice in the education debates.

I wish that President Obama was listening to him instead of the number-crunchers now in control of the U.S. Department of Education.

Bruce Baker is a social scientist at Rutgers University who specializes in statistical analysis of school data. Unlike many others who do the same, he was a teacher in public and private schools before he became an academic. So he has a depth of knowledge and understanding and empathy that many others in his field lack.

In his latest blog, he reviews some of the truly terrible reform ideas of the day.

One is the 65% solution, the idea that legislatures should mandate what must be spent on instruction. It sounds so appealing, this notion that money will be spent in classrooms and not on bureaucrats. As Baker explains, the idea was cooked up by Republicans who needed a good idea, but it doesn’t work. What is really interesting is how carefully messaged the program was. It made budget cutters look like reformers.

Another is weighted student funding, which sounds good on the surface as all these ideas do until they are implemented.

And a third is the parent trigger, now in the news, which allows and encourages a bare majority of parents to seize control of their school. Baker calls this “mob rule.”

If you want to know the other two, read Bruce Baker.

Diane