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.

Worthwhile Report on Parent Contributions to School Finance

BOULDER, CO (June 15, 2017) – While inequalities in school funding resulting from governmental funding systems have long been a source of concern to education researchers and policymakers, a recent report from the Center for American Progress examines a source of educational inequality that receives less attention: private fundraising by parents.

Hidden Money: The Outsized Role of Parent Contributions in School Finance was reviewed by Maia Cucchiara of Temple University.

NEPC Review: Hidden Money: The Outsized Role of Parent Contributions in School Finance

Reviewed_Report_Title
Hidden Money: The Outsized Role of Parent Contributions in School Finance
Think Tank Name
Center for American Progress
Think Tank Name
Center for American Progress

While inequalities in school funding resulting from state and local policies have long been a source of concern to education researchers and policymakers, a report from the Center for American Progress examines a source of educational inequality that receives less attention: private fundraising by parents. It focuses on the 50 Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) that raised the most money in 2013-2014, with two main findings. First, the PTAs raising large amounts were located in schools and districts with low rates of student poverty.

Report Fails to Muster Evidence to Support School Improvement Strategies that Remove Democratic Control

BOULDER, CO (June 13, 2017) – A recent report offers a how-to guide for reform advocates interested in removing communities’ democratic control over their schools. The report explains how these reformers can influence states to use the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Title I school improvement funds to support a specific set of reforms: charter schools, state-initiated turnarounds, and appointment of an individual with full authority over districts or schools.

NEPC Review: Leveraging ESSA to Support Quality-School Growth

Reviewed_Report_Title
Leveraging ESSA to Support Quality-School Growth
Think Tank Name
Thomas B. Fordham Institute
Education Cities
Think Tank Name
Thomas B. Fordham Institute and Education Cities

A report offers a how-to guide for reform advocates interested in removing communities’ democratic control over their schools. The report explains how these reformers can influence states to use the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Title I school improvement funds to support a specific set of reforms: charter schools, state-initiated turnarounds, and appointment of an individual with plenipotentiary authority over districts or schools.

How “Law and Order” Policies Inflict Violence on Students of Color, and What We Can Do About It

BOULDER, CO (June 8, 2017) – Over the past decade, a series of publicized, tragic shootings has highlighted the reality that Black, Latinx, and Native American youth are more likely to be killed or injured as a result of routine interactions with police. At the same time, the harmful effects of zero-tolerance discipline policies in schools have been documented in research and in journalistic accounts.

Law and Order in School and Society: How Discipline and Policing Policies Harm Students of Color, and What We Can Do About It

Systemic violence and disparate school discipline policies hinder equitable, just, and safe schooling. They also restrict access to social opportunities and civil liberties. Research shows that schooling contexts and social policies set up the conditions for young people of color to experience violence in regularized, systematic, and destructive ways. This policy report centers on questions of race and disparate racial impacts.

Community Schools Show Promise as School Improvement Strategy

Washington, DC (June 5, 2017) - Community schools can be a successful strategy for improving schools under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), according to a report released today by the National Education Policy Center and the Learning Policy Institute. The report, Community Schools: An Evidence-Based Strategy for Equitable School Improvement, reveals that community schools, an increasingly popular school improvement strategy, are strongly supported by research evidence, as required by ESSA.

Community Schools: An Evidence-Based Strategy for Equitable School Improvement

This brief examines the research on community schools, with two primary emphases. First, it explores whether the 2015 federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) opens the possibility of investing in well-designed community schools to meet the educational needs of low-achieving students in high-poverty schools. And second, it provides support to school, district, and state leaders as they consider, propose, or implement a community school intervention in schools targeted for comprehensive support.

Attempt to Refute Suspension's Harmful Academic Impact Falls Flat

BOULDER, CO (June 1, 2017) – A new report from the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas examines the association between out-of-school suspensions and student test scores. The findings and conclusions presented in the “working paper,” however, lack validity on multiple grounds.

Understanding a Vicious Cycle: Do Out-of-School Suspensions Impact Student Test Scores? was reviewed by Brea L. Perry of Indiana University and Daniel Losen of the University of California Los Angeles.

NEPC Review: Understanding a Vicious Cycle: Do Out-of-School Suspensions Impact Student Test Scores?

Reviewed_Report_Title
Understanding a Vicious Cycle: Do Out-of-School Suspensions Impact Student Test Scores?
Think Tank Name
The University of Arkansas Department of Education Reform

A report from the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas examines the association between out-of-school suspensions and student test scores. Using dynamic and multilevel regression modeling of six years of school records from all K-12 public schools in Arkansas, the paper purports to estimate a causal relationship between exclusionary discipline and academic performance. It concludes, in contrast to prior work, that the number of days of suspension a student receives has a positive relationship to math and language arts test scores.

Examination of New York City Charter School Success Misses the Mark

BOULDER, CO (May 9, 2017) – In recent years, the nation has seen a debate regarding the effectiveness of charter schools and their impact on the larger school systems in which they operate. A recent Manhattan Institute report explores the question of whether or to what extent the performance of New York City (NYC) charter schools is explained by “cream-skimming,” or drawing a group of students from public schools who are disproportionately motivated and academically accomplished.

NEPC Review: New York Charter Schools Outperform Traditional Selective Public Schools: More Evidence that Cream-Skimming is Not Driving Charters’ Success

Reviewed_Report_Title
New York Charter Schools Outperform Traditional Selective Public Schools: More Evidence that Cream-Skimming is Not Driving Charters’ Success
Think Tank Name
Manhattan Institute

A common argument leveled against charter schools is that they attract the most motivated and intelligent students from already struggling public schools. Marcus Winters seeks to examine this claim, known as “cream-skimming,” by comparing the performance of New York City’s (NYC) charter middle schools with a set of traditional selective public middle schools, which admit students on the basis of prior performance.

Report on Federal Policy Regarding Transgender Youth Ignores Transgender Youth

BOULDER, CO (May 2, 2017) – Over the past two or three years, a great deal of attention has been given to transgender issues. In the United States, the transgender population includes an estimated 150,000 transgender youth. A Heritage Foundation report argues that Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 does not require schools to protect these youth from discrimination on the basis of gender identity. The report also fails to provide any insight into actual gender identity policies in schools.

NEPC Review: Gender Identity Policies in Schools: What Congress, the Courts, and the Trump Administration Should Do

Reviewed_Report_Title
Gender Identity Policies in Schools: What Congress, the Courts, and the Trump Administration Should Do
Think Tank Name
Heritage Foundation

This recent Heritage Foundation report argues that Title IX does not require schools to protect students from discrimination on the basis of gender identity. It criticizes the Obama Administration for issuing guidance and enforcing Title IX to protect transgender students, and it urges the Trump Administration and courts to keep gender identity protections out of federal laws. Oddly, transgender youth are at the center of, and yet somehow go wholly unexamined in, this report on gender identity policy.

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