In Time Walter Isaacson turns-in the most straightforward and sensible argument for national education standards that you’re likely to read. He doesn’t argue for standards as a cure-all but does point out that they’d rationalize the system in some powerful ways that can help with real improvement.
Tom Vander Ark has an interesting new paper out on the role of private capital in education reform (pdf). And Mario Morino has a broad essay on innovation. Both are must-reads as they share the theme that public, private, and philanthropic cooperation is required to solve the big challenges the country faces today in education, energy, health care, and the environment.
Also, in the DMN Sandy Kress points out that the data on teacher satisfaction belies some of the doom and gloom you hear. There is a new NGA policy brief on charter schools (pdf). Very good stuff, implicitly shows how far behind the curve some states are.