NEPC Review: School District Reform in Newark (National Bureau of Economic Research, October 2017) and Assessing the Impact of the Newark Education Reforms (Center for Education Policy Research, Harvard University, September 2017)

Think Tank Name
National Bureau of Economic Research
Think Tank Name 2
Center for Education Policy Research, Harvard University

In 2010, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced, with great fanfare, a $100 million challenge grant for the support of a series of reforms in Newark, NJ schools. The two reports reviewed here are the first attempt at a comprehensive assessment of the impact of the Zuckerberg donation on student achievement. As such, the reports, which were written by a team of economists, have garnered significant attention. The reviewers evaluate the reports and their potential contribution to education policy research.

New Initiative from Gates Has the Potential to Avoid Past Mistakes

BOULDER, CO (December 12, 2017) – In Might the New Gates Education Initiative Close Opportunity Gaps?, Professor Kevin Welner of the University of Colorado Boulder considers the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s newest effort, called “Networks for School Improvement.” Welner, who is Director of the National Education Policy Center, examines how this initiative can learn from the Foundation’s own past initiatives as well as from research evidence more generally.

Might the New Gates Education Initiative Close Opportunity Gaps?
elaine December 12, 2017

In this Policy Memo, Kevin Welner considers the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s newest effort, focused on “Networks for School Improvement,” and how the Foundation can learn from its own past initiatives as well as from research evidence more generally.

Lost Opportunity to Understand Ways to Retain and Attract Strong Teachers into High-Need Schools

BOULDER, CO (November 28, 2017) – Tackling Gaps in Access to Strong Teachers: What State Leaders Can Do, authored by Rachel Metz and Allison Rose Socol, and published by The Education Trust, draws on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) documents and state teacher equity plans to provide guidance to state leaders, including some sound advice—but with significant omissions.

NEPC Review: Tackling Gaps in Access to Strong Teachers: What State Leaders Can Do (The Education Trust, October 2017)

Reviewed_Report_Title
Tackling Gaps in Access to Strong Teachers: What State Leaders Can Do
Think Tank Name
The Education Trust

The Every Students Succeeds Act (ESSA) directs states and districts to identify equity gaps in students’ access to excellent educators and transformative school leaders. States are encouraged to use Title II funds strategically in order to identify and remedy these gaps. A new report from The Education Trust draws on ESSA documents and state teacher equity plans to provide guidance to state leaders, including some sound advice—but with significant omissions.

Indiana Survey Fails in Its Attempt to Inform School Choice Policy Discussions

BOULDER, CO (November 21, 2017) – Why Indiana Parents Choose: A Cross-Sector Survey of Parents’ Views in a Robust School Choice Environment, authored by Andrew D. Catt and Evan Rhinesmith and published by EdChoice, presents results from a survey of K-12 parents within and across the public and private sectors.

Jeanne Powers, Professor at Arizona State University, reviewed the report and found significant problems with both the methods used to conduct the survey and the data analysis.

NEPC Review: Why Indiana Parents Choose: A Cross-Sector Survey of Parents' Views in a Robust School Choice Environment (EdChoice, September 7 2017)

Reviewed_Report_Title
Why Indiana Parents Choose: A Cross-Sector Survey of Parents' Views in a Robust School Choice Environment
Think Tank Name
EdChoice

In this report, a school choice advocacy group presents results from its survey of K-12 parents within and across the public and private sectors. They report that parents are highly satisfied with voucher and tax credit scholarship programs and suggest that the findings support the expansion of school choice programs. However, these and other findings are consistent with research showing general parental satisfaction with their children’s schools.

NEPC Review: Teacher Absenteeism in Charter and Traditional Public Schools (Thomas B. Fordham Institute, September 2017)

Reviewed_Report_Title
Teacher Absenteeism in Charter and Traditional Public Schools
Think Tank Name
Thomas B. Fordham Institute

This report compares average rates of frequent teacher absence (more than 10 days) for teachers with and without union or union-like contracts in traditional public schools and charter schools. The study’s rationale is that such absences substantively harm students and cost taxpayers billions of dollars. It finds that teachers contractually allowed more absences are frequently absent more often than teachers allowed fewer absences.

Review Finds Valuable Analysis of School Closure Research

BOULDER, CO (October 24, 2017) – Lights Off: Practice and Impact of Closing Low-Performing Schools, authored by Chunping Han, Margaret E. Raymond, James L. Woodworth, Yohannes Negassi, W. Payton Richardson, and Will Snow, and released by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, provides an extensive analysis based on the most comprehensive dataset ever assembled for school closure research, including 1,522 low-performing schools that were closed across 26 states between 2006 and 2013.

NEPC Review: Lights Off: Practice and Impact of Closing Low-Performing Schools (CREDO, August 2017)

Reviewed_Report_Title
Lights Off: Practice and Impact of Closing Low-Performing Schools
Think Tank Name
Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO)

This report provides an extensive analysis based on the most comprehensive dataset ever assembled for school closure research, including 1,522 low-performing schools that were closed across 26 states between 2006 and 2013. The report finds that even when holding constant academic performance, schools were more likely to be closed if they enrolled higher proportions of minority and low-income students.

Education Interview of the Month: Greg Smith Interviews Alyssa Hadley Dunn on Viral Teacher Resignation Letters

Lewis and Clark College Emeritus Professor of Education Gregory A. Smith interviews Michigan State University Professor Alyssa Hadley Dunn about what can be learned from teachers’ resignation letters about working conditions in contemporary American schools.

NEPC Review: Charter School Funding: Inequity in New York City (University of Arkansas, August 2017)

Reviewed_Report_Title
Charter School Funding: Inequity in New York City
Think Tank Name
University of Arkansas

A report by researchers at the University of Arkansas concludes that charter schools in New York City are not fairly funded, in comparison to district schools. The report asserts that this inequity is especially big for charter schools that are not co-located in public schools; and describes expenditure patterns across schools that show no clear differences between charter schools and district schools. This review of the report raises several concerns. Perhaps most importantly, the report simply does not attempt a rigorous comparison across schools.

Simplistic Report on New York City Charter School Funding

BOULDER, CO (October 11, 2017) – Charter School Funding: Inequity in New York City, authored by Larry D. Maloney and Patrick J. Wolf, and released by the University of Arkansas, concludes that charter schools in New York City are not fairly funded, in comparison to district schools. The report asserts that this inequity is especially big for charter schools that are not co-located in public schools.

Wisconsin Statewide Parental Choice Program Likely to Exacerbate School Funding Inequity

BOULDER, CO (October 5, 2017) – In 2013, Wisconsin’s legislature added a statewide voucher program to its longstanding Milwaukee voucher program and a newly enacted voucher program in Racine. The state expanded the statewide program in 2015 and changed the funding mechanism of the program so that its cost was borne by local school districts. The program is already distributing tens of millions of dollars to pay private school tuition across the state, and, because of Wisconsin’s school funding system, its fiscal impact is not evenly distributed across Wisconsin’s public schools.

Assessing the Fiscal Impact of Wisconsin's Statewide Voucher Program
elaine October 5, 2017

In 2013, Wisconsin’s legislature added a statewide voucher program to the existing voucher programs in Milwaukee and Racine. The state expanded the statewide program in 2015 and changed the funding mechanism of the program so that its cost was borne by local school districts. The program is already distributing tens of millions of dollars to pay private school tuition across the state, and, because of Wisconsin’s school funding system, its fiscal impact is not evenly distributed across Wisconsin’s public schools.

Education Interview of the Month: Greg Smith Interviews Faith Boninger on Student Privacy

Lewis and Clark College Emeritus Professor of Education Gregory A. Smith interviews Faith Boninger on student privacy issues. Boninger is a Research Associate at the University of Colorado Boulder and co-author of Asleep at the Switch, Schoolhouse Commercialism, Student Privacy, and the Failure of Policymaking

NEPC Review: Charter Management Organizations 2017

Reviewed_Report_Title
Charter Management Organizations 2017
Think Tank Name
Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO)

The Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) assessed the impact of different types of charter school-operating organizations on student outcomes in 24 states, plus New York City and Washington, D.C. The study finds that students in charter schools display slightly greater gains in performance than their peers in traditional public schools, especially students in charter schools operated by certain types of organizations. CREDO’s distinctions between organization types are, however, arbitrary and unsupported by other research in the field.

CREDO Report Fails to Build Upon Prior Research in Creating Charter School Classification System

BOULDER, CO (September 7, 2017) – Charter Management Organizations 2017, written by James Woodworth, Margaret Raymond, Chunping Han, Yohannes Negassi, W. Payton Richardson, and Will Snow, and released by Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO), assessed the impact of different types of charter school-operating organizations on student outcomes in 24 states, plus New York City and Washington, D.C.

Our Children Deserve Better: A Call to Resist Washington’s Dangerous Vision for U.S. Education

Building on the Declaration of Principles that was released in January of this year, the Education Deans for Justice and Equity (EDJE), in partnership with the National Education Policy Center, have prepared a new statement.

Our Children Deserve Better details the values that underlie our vision for education in a democratic society: protecting and nurturing our children, empowering educators, and investing in public schools.

Strong Collaborative Relationships for Strong Community Schools
elaine August 31, 2017

Community schools have gained attention as mechanisms to bring about equitable access to high-quality educational resources, extended learning time and opportunities, integrated student supports, and collaborative engaging relationships with parents and communities. In order to effectively create conditions that provide equitable access to such resources, community school leaders need to employ specific strategies and collaborative practices for the implementation of such strategies can support their efficacy.

Community Schools Need Strong Community Relationships

BOULDER, CO (August 31, 2017) – Community schools have gained attention as an effective means of implementing reforms such as extended learning time, high-quality learning opportunities, and integrated student supports. A new NEPC Policy Memo argues that community school leaders should employ specific strategies and collaborative practices that help ensure that the benefits of such reforms are shared equitably.

Accurately Estimating the Cost of Subsidizing Public School Students Switching to Private Schools

BOULDER, CO (August 24, 2017) – The Tax-Credit Scholarship Audit: Do Publicly Funded Private School Choice Programs Save Money?, authored by Martin F. Lueken and released by EdChoice, asserts that tax credit scholarship programs, that distribute scholarships to students via Scholarship Tuition Organizations (STOs), have saved state treasuries between $1.7 and $3.4 billion dollars since 1998.

NEPC Review: The Tax-Credit Scholarship Audit: Do Publicly Funded Private School Choice Programs Save Money? (EdChoice, October 2016)

Reviewed_Report_Title
The Tax-Credit Scholarship Audit: Do Publicly Funded Private School Choice Programs Save Money?
Think Tank Name
EdChoice

This report asserts that tax credit scholarship programs, that distribute scholarships to students via Scholarship Tuition Organizations (STOs), have saved state treasuries between $1.7 and $3.4 billion dollars since 1998. The report argues that these programs are able to realize fiscal savings as a result of students leaving public schools and entering private schools (defined as “switchers”).

Asleep at the Switch: Schoolhouse Commercialism, Student Privacy, and the Failure of Policymaking

Digital technologies used in schools are increasingly being harnessed to amplify corporate marketing and profit-making and extend the reach of commercializing activities into every aspect of students’ school lives. In addition to the long-standing goal of providing brand exposure, marketing through education technology now routinely engages students in activities that facilitate the collection of valuable personal data and that socialize students to accept relentless monitoring and surveillance as normal.

NEPC Review: Back to the Staffing Surge: The Great Teacher Salary Stagnation and the Decades-Long Employment Growth in American Public Schools

Reviewed_Report_Title
Back to the Staffing Surge: The Great Teacher Salary Stagnation and the Decades-Long Employment Growth in American Public Schools
Think Tank Name
EdChoice

A report from EdChoice documents two staffing trends in public schools. After a temporary pause during the Great Recession, school staffing in the U.S. resumed an upward trajectory, and hiring tilted toward non-teaching personnel as compared to teachers. The report concludes that staffing growth outpaces enrollment growth and that there has been no corresponding increase in student performance. The report then recommends increasing teacher pay, at the expense of non-teaching staff, and school choice.

Virtual Schools in Five Key States Show Growth but Poor Performance

BOULDER, CO (June 27, 2017) – Over the past five years, the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) has produced an annual report called Virtual Schools in the U.S.: Politics, Performance, Policy, and Research Evidence. These reports provide an impartial analysis of the evolution of full-time, publicly funded K-12 virtual and blended schools by examining the policy issues raised by available evidence. They also assess the research evidence that bears on K-12 virtual teaching and learning, and they analyze the growth and performance of such virtual and blended schools.

NEPC Review: Renewing Our Cities and CPR Scholarships

Reviewed_Report_Title
Renewing Our Cities and CPR Scholarships
Think Tank Name
EdChoice
Think Tank Name 2
American Enterprise Institute

Two reports contend that the introduction of school choice can promote economic development in economically distressed urban areas. The first report, published by EdChoice, presents a case study of a charter school that has, according to the report, contributed to the economic development of the city of Santa Ana, California.

School Choice Erroneously Proposed as Way to Promote Economic Development

BOULDER, CO (June 20, 2017) – EdChoice and the American Enterprise Institute each recently released a report contending that the introduction of school choice can promote economic development in economically distressed urban areas. The first report presents a case study of a charter school that has, according to the report, contributed to the economic development of the city of Santa Ana, California.

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