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Jeanne M. Powers

Arizona State University

Dr. Powers is a sociologist and an Associate Professor in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. Her research focuses on school choice, accountability policies, school finance litigation, and school segregation. Her book, Charter Schools:  Reform Imagery, Reform Reality, was published in June 2009 by Palgrave Macmillan. Dr. Powers is currently the Lead Editor of Education Policy Analysis Archives (EPAA), an open access peer-reviewed scholarly journal.

Email Jeanne Powers at: jeanne.powers@asu.edu

NEPC Publications

NEPC Review: From Surviving to Thriving: K-12 Choice and Opportunity for Rural Texas Students and Teachers (The Heritage Foundation, August 2023)

Matthew Ladner and Jason Bedrick
From Surviving to Thriving: K-12 Choice and Opportunity for Rural Texas Students and Teachers

A Heritage Foundation report claims increased competition has improved academic achievement in Arizona’s rural public schools and that similar policies will be good for rural Texas. However, this report overstates the similarities between Arizona and Texas, ignores relevant research literature, and presents simplistic and inaccurate analyses to support its claims. By addressing a narrow set of possible benefits of school choice, it also overlooks issues related to fiscal impacts for district schools, segregation, and exclusionary practices for students who require specialized services in schools. The report is an exercise in advocacy for expanding school choice policies, and its usefulness as a guide for policy and practice is minimal.

Suggested Citation: Potterton, A.U., Rogers, A., & Powers, J.M. (2023). NEPC review: From surviving to thriving: K-12 choice and opportunity for rural Texas students and teachers. Boulder, CO: National Education Policy Center. Retrieved [date] from http://nepc.colorado.edu/review/rural-choice

rural choice thumbnail

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

Andrew C. Catt and Evan Rhinesmith
Why Indiana Parents Choose: A Cross-Sector Survey of Parents' Views in a Robust School Choice Environment

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. One underemphasized finding is that substantial proportions of public school families—the largest constituency of K-12 parents in Indiana—did not participate in private school choice programs because they are happy with their current schools and want to support public schools. The survey and analysis fall short in four ways. First, three incompatible data collection methods were used to collect small samples of non-representative groups of Indiana parents. Second, the statistical analyses are too weak to draw clear conclusions. Third, while organized like a conventional research study, the report appears to be designed to advance an agenda rather than provide substantive answers to important policy questions. Finally, the report provides little new information about parents’ experiences with their children’s schools. Thus, the report does not add to our knowledge about school choice in Indiana or provide much useful information about public support for school choice programs.

NEPC Review: No Excuses Charter Schools: A Meta-Analysis of the Experimental Evidence (University of Arkansas Department of Education Reform, December 2014)

Albert Cheng, Collin Hitt, Brian Kisida, & Jonathan N. Mill
No Excuses Charter Schools: A Meta-Analysis of the Experimental Evidence

The working paper reviewed here seeks to assess the extent to which “No Excuses” charter schools raise student achievement in English language arts and math and thereby close the achievement gap. The paper defines such schools as having: a) high academic standards, b) strict disciplinary codes, c) extended instructional time, and d) targeted supports for low-performing students. From their meta-analysis of 10 quasi-experimental studies , the authors concluded students who attended No Excuses charter schools had average achievement gains of 0.16 standard deviations in English language arts and 0.25 in mathematics. While conceding that charter schools with lotteries and No Excuses charter schools are not representative of all charter schools, the authors did not address whether or how students who apply to lottery charter schools might not be representative of all charter school students. They also did not address the possible relevance of student attrition for the individual studies’ findings and their own analysis. As a result, the claim that No Excuses schools can close the achievement gap substantially overstates their findings. Moreover, the report’s relatively small sample of schools concentrated in Northeast Coast cities suggests the current research base is too limited to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of No Excuses charter schools.