Report Wrongly Claims to Provide Answers on Wisconsin School Choice Policies

BOULDER, CO (April 25, 2017) – A recent report from the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty attempts to compare student test score performance for the 2015-16 school year across Wisconsin’s public schools, charter schools, and private schools participating in one of the state’s voucher programs. Though it highlights important patterns in student test score performance, the report’s limited analyses fail to provide answers as to the relative effectiveness of school choice policies.

NEPC Review: Apples to Apples: The Definitive Look at School Test Scores in Milwaukee and Wisconsin

Reviewed_Report_Title
Apples to Apples: The Definitive Look at School Test Scores in Milwaukee and Wisconsin
Think Tank Name
Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty

The report reviewed here compares Wisconsin student test score performance for the 2015-16 school year across public schools, charter schools and private schools participating in one of the state’s voucher programs. Comparing a single year’s test scores across school sectors that serve different student populations is inherently problematic. The report uses linear regression models to attempt to adjust for these differences and make what the authors claim are “apples to apples” comparisons.

NEPC Director Kevin Welner Honored With American Educational Research Association Award

BOULDER, CO (April 24, 2017) – NEPC Director Kevin Welner has been awarded the 2017 American Educational Research Association’s Outstanding Public Communication of Education Research Award. The award honors scholars exemplary in their capacity to communicate important education research to the public, including education communities. It recognizes a scholar who has demonstrated the capacity to deepen the public’s understanding and appreciation of the value of education research in civic decision-making.

Report Dismisses Stratification While Claiming Benefits of Charter Schools

BOULDER, CO (April 13, 2017) – A new report by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) compares differences in approaches and demographics between and among charter school models and local “traditional public schools.” The report links varied models to stratified parental choices and then to correspondingly stratified student composition, concluding that these differences and stratification are either beneficial or benign.

NEPC Review: Differences by Design? Student Composition in Charter Schools with Different Academic Models

Reviewed_Report_Title
Differences by Design? Student Composition in Charter Schools with Different Academic Models
Think Tank Name
American Enterprise Institute
Think Tank Name
American Enterprise Institute

A report by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), Differences by Design?, compares differences in approaches and demographics between and among charter school models and local “traditional public schools.” Using three national data sets, the report effectively captures the national universe of charter schools. It empirically demonstrates that cream-skimming occurs and that charters segregate by income, special education, race and ethnicity, in that different demographic groups attend different types of charter schools.

Virtual Schools in the U.S. 2017

In the five years since the first NEPC Annual Report on Virtual Education was released in 2013, virtual education continues to be a focal point for policymakers. Proponents argue that virtual education can expand student choices and improve the efficiency of public education. In particular, full-time virtual schools (also sometimes referred to as virtual charter schools, virtual academies, online schools or cyber schools) have attracted a great deal of attention.

Virtual Schools Expand Despite Poor Performance, Lack of Research Support, and Inadequate Policies

BOULDER, CO (April 11, 2017) – Virtual Schools in the U.S. 2017, a three-part report released today by the National Education Policy Center, provides a detailed inventory of full-time virtual schools in the U.S. and their performance, an exhaustive review of the literature on virtual education and its implications for virtual school practices, and a detailed review and analysis of state-level policymaking related to virtual schools.

Report Promotes Reforms to Teacher Education Programs but Ignores Past Research and Present Context

BOULDER, CO (March 28, 2017) – A recent Bellwether Education Partners’ report begins with the reasonable assumption that in order to improve teacher quality, the field must first improve teacher preparation program design. It then asserts that teacher-education programs are “blindly swinging from one popular reform to the next” and that decades of input- and outcome-based research has failed to improve teacher education.

NEPC Review: A New Agenda: Research To Build a Better Teacher Preparation Program

Reviewed_Report_Title
A New Agenda: Research To Build a Better Teacher Preparation Program
Think Tank Name
Bellwether Education Partners
Think Tank Name
Bellwether Education Partners

Bellwether Education Partners’ report, A New Agenda, calls for a “rational” and “rigorous” research agenda for teacher education. Although the report’s rationale is not fully explicated, it asserts that programs are “blindly swinging from one popular reform to the next” and that decades of input- and outcome-based research has failed to improve teacher education. Instead, the report calls for “rapid cycle evaluations.” Regrettably, this depiction of past research includes mischaracterizations and also omits a wide swath of relevant literature about teacher education.

Report Mistakenly Suggests Easy Path for Improving Teacher Quality Through Higher Admissions Standards

BOULDER, CO (March 23, 2017) – A recent report from the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) advocates for a higher bar for entry into teacher preparation programs. The NCTQ report suggests, based on a review of GPA and SAT/ACT requirements at 221 institutions in 25 states, that boosting entry requirements would significantly improve teacher quality in the U.S. It argues that this higher bar should be set by states, by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), and by the higher-education institutions themselves.

Review of Within Our Grasp: Achieving Higher Admissions Standards in Teacher Prep

Reviewed_Report_Title
Within Our Grasp: Achieving Higher Admissions Standards in Teacher Prep
Think Tank Name
National Council on Teacher Quality
Think Tank Name
National Council on Teacher Quality

Based on a review of GPA and SAT/ACT requirements at 221 institutions in 25 states, a new report from the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) recommends that states, institutions of higher education, and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) maintain or establish a higher bar for entry into teacher preparation programs. The NCTQ report suggests that boosting teacher candidate entry requirements in ways they advocate would significantly improve teacher quality in the U.S..

What We Can Learn from the Massachusetts Ballot Question Campaign on Charter School Expansion

In the November 2016 election, voters in Massachusetts decisively defeated a referendum that would have significantly increased the number of charter schools in the state. This campaign holds lessons about the fault lines of the charter school debate, and about how the public may be willing to respond to the Trump administration’s likely expansion efforts.

Review of Reimagining Learning: A Big Bet on the Future of American Education

Reviewed_Report_Title
Reimagining Learning: A Big Bet on the Future of American Education
Reviewed Report Link
Think Tank Name
NewSchools Venture Fund
Think Tank Name
NewSchools Venture Fund

Philanthropic involvement in K-12 education is growing, and it increasingly shapes the direction of reforms pursued throughout the country. A recent report from the NewSchools Venture Fund offers a thought experiment on how philanthropists can make a “big bet” over the next decade on innovative schools—a broad category that generally includes schools with a high degree of education technology use and so-called personalized approaches to learning that likely utilize digital platforms.

Strategic Education Philanthropy Plan Offers Recommendations but Fails to Address Serious Concerns

BOULDER, CO (March 7, 2017) – Philanthropic involvement in K-12 education has grown into a powerful force shaping the direction of reforms pursued throughout the country. A recent report from the NewSchools Venture Fund offers a thought experiment on how philanthropists can dramatically shape education reform by making a “big bet” over the next decade on what they term “innovative schools."

Center for American Progress Receives NEPC’s 2016 Bunkum Award for Shoddy Research

BOULDER, CO (February 23, 2017) – The 89th Academy Awards will be celebrated this weekend, which means it’s also time to announce the winner of the 2016 National Education Policy Center Bunkum Award. We invite you to enjoy our 11th annual tongue-in-cheek salute to the most egregiously shoddy think tank report reviewed in 2016.

Bunkum Award 2016

The National Education Policy Center is pleased to announce the winner of the 2016 Bunkum Award, recognizing the think tank whose reviewed work best captures the true spirit of bunkum.

Watch the 2016 Bunkum Award Ceremony:

 

Imbalanced Report Partially Explores Teacher Evaluation Reform

BOULDER, CO (February 21, 2017) – In response to pressure from the Obama administration, many states adopted policies linking teacher evaluations to student performance on standardized tests and other measured outcomes. However, the newly enacted Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) seems to mark a federal deprioritization of teacher evaluation reform.

A new report from Bellwether Education Partners seeks to influence states’ decisions about possible revisions to teacher evaluation policies, but its conclusions are often underdeveloped or unsubstantiated.

Review of For Good Measure? Teacher Evaluation Policy in the ESSA Era

Reviewed_Report_Title
For Good Measure? Teacher Evaluation Policy in the ESSA Era
Think Tank Name
Bellwether Education Partners
Think Tank Name
Bellwether Education Partners

Although teacher evaluation reform has rapidly expanded across the U.S. in recent years, the newly enacted Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) seems to mark a federal deprioritization of teacher evaluation reform. This may in turn prompt states to consider changes to their evaluation systems. A new report from Bellwether Education Partners, For Good Measure? Teacher Evaluation Policy in the ESSA Era, argues for the maintenance of key elements of high-stakes teacher evaluation, including the use of student outcomes to evaluate teachers and a heavy focus on accountability.

Limitations in Methodology Mar Report on School Turnarounds

BOULDER, CO (February 14, 2017) – A new report from the Center on Reinventing Public Education states its goals as strengthening the evidence base on state-initiated turnarounds and providing guidance to help states use turnaround strategies more effectively. But given multiple methodological limitations, the report fails to elevate either the research base or the policy discourse.

Review of Measures of Last Resort: Assessing Strategies for State-Initiated Turnarounds

Reviewed_Report_Title
Measures of Last Resort: Assessing Strategies for State-Initiated Turnarounds
Think Tank Name
Center on Reinventing Public Education
Think Tank Name
Center on Reinventing Public Education

The stated goal of this report is to strengthen the evidence base on state-initiated turnarounds and to provide guidance to help states use turnaround strategies more effectively. The report draws on multiple sources of information to develop a conceptual framework and profile of state-initiated turnaround strategies, to array the evidence on the effectiveness of turnaround initiatives, and to identify key elements of a successful turnaround strategy. However, given multiple methodological limitations, the report fails to elevate either the research base or the policy discourse.

NEPC Launches Third Year of Schools of Opportunity Recognition Project: Public High Schools Encouraged to Apply

Key Takeaway: 2017 Schools of Opportunity Application NOW OPEN. Applications due May 1, 2017.

Find Documents:
Press Release
: http://nepc.info/node/8450

Contact:
Kevin Welner
: (303) 492-8370, kevin.welner@colorado.edu
Adam York: (303) 735-5290, adam.j.york@colorado.edu

NEPC Launches Third Year of Schools of Opportunity Recognition Project: Public High Schools Encouraged to Apply

BOULDER, CO (January 30, 2017) - The 2017 Schools of Opportunity application cycle launched today at www.SchoolsofOpportunity.org. Building on the success of the past two years, the National Education Policy Center at CU Boulder will again recognize public high schools that are creating remarkable opportunities to learn for all their students. The application deadline is May 1, 2017.

Focusing State Accountability Systems More on High Achievers May Backfire

BOULDER, CO (January 26, 2017) – Two recent reports from the Fordham Institute address the question of the impact of state accountability systems on “high achievers,” referred to in the reports as “students who have already crossed the proficiency threshold.” Both reports assert that states are not adequately attending to the needs of these students and that state accountability systems under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) should be redesigned in order to incentivize districts to address those needs.

Review of High Stakes for High Achievers and High Stakes for High Schoolers

Reviewed_Report_Title
High Stakes for High Achievers and High Stakes for High Schoolers
Think Tank Name
Thomas B. Fordham Institute
Think Tank Name
Thomas B. Fordham Institute
Think Tank Name 2
Thomas B. Fordham Institute

Two recent reports from the Fordham Institute address the question of the impact of state accountability systems on “high achievers,” referred to in the reports as “students who have already crossed the proficiency threshold.” Both reports argue that this group is being neglected educationally, and they advocate for accountability systems to be redesigned to attend to the needs of high-achieving students. Both reports also recommend that states use a “performance index,” as opposed to proficiency rates, to measure school achievement.

Bunkum Award 2016

The National Education Policy Center is pleased to announce the winner of the 2016 Bunkum Award, recognizing the think tank whose reviewed work best captures the true spirit of bunkum.

Watch the 2016 Bunkum Award Ceremony:

 

2016 Bunkum Award Honoree:

Year
Think Tank Name
Center for American Progress

The 2016​ Bunkum Award for shoddy research goes to the Center for American Progress (CAP) for Lessons From State Performance on NAEP: Why Some High-Poverty Students Score Better than Others, authored by Ulrich Boser and Catherine Brown. 

Declaration of Principles on Public Education, Democracy, and the Role of Federal Government

In this Declaration, deans of colleges and schools of education across the United States call on federal leaders to do more to improve public education.  They offer four guiding principles: (i) uphold the role of public schools as a central institution in the strengthening of our democracy; (ii) protect the human and civil rights of all children and youth, especially those from historically marginalized communities; (iii) develop and implement policies, laws, and reform initiatives by building on a democratic vision for public education and on sound educational research; and (iv) support an

Public Education, Democracy, and the Role of the Federal Government: A Declaration of Principles

BOULDER, CO (January 13, 2017) – As the nation watches this month’s transition to a new administration and a new Congress, a growing alliance of deans of colleges and schools of education across the country is urging a fundamental reconsideration of the problems and possibilities that surround America’s public schools.

Review of Better Evidence, Better Choices, Better Schools

Reviewed_Report_Title
Better Evidence, Better Choices, Better Schools: State Supports for Evidence-Based School Improvement and the Every Student Succeeds Act
Think Tank Name
Center for American Progress
Knowledge Alliance
Think Tank Name
Center for American Progress and the Knowledge Alliance

Better Evidence, Better Choices, Better Schools, a recent report from the Center for American Progress and the Knowledge Alliance, focuses on the evidence-based research provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). ESSA provisions ask districts and schools to consider various sources of evidence, make judgments about the strength and reliability of that evidence, and use that evidence to justify their choices of interventions.

University of Arkansas Researchers Recycle Debunked Voucher Claims Regarding Crime Reduction

BOULDER, CO (January 4, 2017) – A new report from the University of Arkansas Department of Education Reform claims that Texas voucher legislation would reduce crime and thereby save the state a cumulative $194 million by the end of 2035. This claim is not warranted and has, in fact, already been discredited.

Report Represents False Choice Between Integration and High-Quality Schools

BOULDER, CO (December 19, 2016) – A recent report from the Brookings Institution assumes a tension between policies that address school segregation and policies aimed at improving achievement for students of color. The report argues that school segregation has remained flat for decades and also argues that students of color have lower achievement because of their disproportionate exposure to low-income students.

Review of Segregation, Race, and Charter Schools: What Do We Know?

Reviewed_Report_Title
Segregation, Race, and Charter Schools: What Do We Know?
Think Tank Name
Brookings Institution
Think Tank Name
Brookings Institution

Noting the nation’s renewed attention to remedying school segregation, Segregation, Race, and Charter Schools presents evidence about the extent of school segregation and its relationship with improving student achievement for students of color. The report argues that school segregation has remained flat for decades and also argues that the nation would be wise to instead attend to improving the quality of schools that students of color and low-income students attend. It points to some urban charter schools as exemplars of this latter approach.

Lessons from NCLB for the Every Student Succeeds Act

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) replaced the No Child Left Behind Act with great fanfare and enthusiasm. Granting more power to states and curbing what was seen as federal overreach was well received. However, the new legislation maintains a predominately test-based accountability system with a federal mandate for interventions in well over five thousand public schools every year. In this policy brief, the authors offer recommendations for state policymakers on both broad and focused ESSA implementation issues.

ESSA: Learning from the Past

BOULDER, CO (November 17, 2016) – Motivated out of strong concerns about the shortcomings and federal overreach of the No Child Left Behind law, supporters of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) enthusiastically embraced it as a suitable replacement. Yet, the new legislation maintains a predominately test-based accountability system with a federal mandate for interventions in well over five thousand public schools every year.

NEPC Statement on Violence and Intimidation in Schools and Communities

BOULDER, CO (November 11, 2016) - In the lead-up to this year’s election and in its aftermath there are widespread reports of violence and intimidation against people because of their race, religion, language, nationality, perceived immigration status, disability, gender, sexual orientation or political affiliation. We at the National Education Policy Center, housed at the University of Colorado Boulder, deplore these acts.

Making the Most of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) – Helping States Focus on School Equity, Quality and Climate

BOULDER, CO (November 15, 2016) – As staff in state departments of education across the U.S. diligently review and revise their accountability systems to meet the new requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), they have opportunities to promote equity and positive school climate.

Review of Squeezing the Public School Districts: The Fiscal Effects of Eliminating the Louisiana Scholarship Program and The Fiscal Effect of Eliminating The Louisiana Scholarship Program On State Education (University of Arkansas)

Reviewed_Report_Title
Squeezing the Public School Districts: The Fiscal Effects of Eliminating the Louisiana Scholarship Program
Think Tank Name
University of Arkansas Department of Education Reform
Think Tank Name
University of Arkansas Department of Education Reform
Think Tank Name 2
University of Arkansas Department of Education Reform

Two new papers from researchers at the University of Arkansas predict the budgetary consequences of terminating the Louisiana Scholarship Program (LSP), a voucher program that funds over 7,100 Louisiana students to attend private schools. Using an economic model, the papers offer several different scenarios and then conclude that terminating the LSP would increase the costs statewide and do so in almost all districts in the state. The papers’ findings are reasonable but do not make a fully convincing case that the state will incur extra expenditures without the LSP.

Subscribe to