Report on Career and Technical Education Presents Strong Empirical Analysis

BOULDER, CO (June 14, 2018) – Research has shown that, after controlling for the lower test scores on average of students who take Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses, high school CTE programs are associated with higher high school graduation rates, overall educational attainment, and earnings than students in academic programs whose previous test scores are similar. But the mechanism underlying this relationship is not clear.

NEPC Review: Hard Work and Soft Skills (American Enterprise Institute, April 2018)

Reviewed_Report_Title
Hard Work and Soft Skills: The Attitudes, Abilities, and Character of Students in Career and Technical Education
Think Tank Name
American Enterprise Institute
Think Tank Name
American Enterprise Institute

A study published by the American Enterprise Institute seeks to illuminate how students in career and technical education (CTE) programs demonstrate higher high school graduation rates, overall educational attainment, and earnings than students in academic programs whose previous test scores are similar. Although those students who take many CTE courses by 12th grade tend to have significantly lower test scores, this study finds that these students have higher noncognitive skills (e.g., attendance and homework time).

Latest NCTQ Report on Teacher Prep Programs Provides Another Example of Misleading, Confusing Analysis

BOULDER, CO (June 12, 2018) – The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) recently released its 2018 Teacher Prep Review. The report examines whether U.S. teacher preparation programs are aligned with NCTQ’s standards. This alignment, the report insists, will produce teachers “not only ready to achieve individual successes, but also [ready] to start a broader movement toward increased student learning and proficiency.”

NEPC Review: 2018 Teacher Prep Review (National Council on Teacher Quality, April 2018)

Reviewed_Report_Title
2018 Teacher Prep Review
Think Tank Name
National Council on Teacher Quality
Think Tank Name
National Council on Teacher Quality

NCTQ released its 2018 review of U.S. teacher preparation programs. Employing open-records requests and online searches, the report ranks 567 graduate teacher preparation programs, 129 alternative route programs, and 18 residencies on practice, knowledge and admissions. The report seeks to determine if the teacher preparation programs are aligned with NCTQ’s standards.

What Might Happen If School Vouchers and Privatization of Schools Were to Become Universal in the U.S.: Learning from a National Test Case—Chile

In contemporary education policy debates in the United States, school voucher programs and school privatization—the entry of many private for-profit corporations and nonprofit and other organizations into the education arena—are under the spotlight. Following in the footsteps of several prior administrations, the current federal administration is actively supporting vouchers and privatization as ways to expand school choice for American parents and students. Some state governments have followed suit. 

Lessons from Chile’s Universal Voucher System Can Inform U.S. Education Policy

BOULDER, CO (June 7, 2018) – The Trump administration is actively supporting vouchers to fund private school tuition, and some state governments have followed suit. The main goal of these choice programs is to expand alternatives to traditional public schools, especially for students who do not have access to a quality education. Additionally, supporters contend, such competition will motivate improvement in public schools.

Steps in the Right Direction for Post-ESSA Assessments

BOULDER, CO (June 5, 2018) – Federally mandated standardized testing (i.e., in core subject areas and certain grade levels), as an element of educational accountability, began in 2002 with the No Child Left Behind Act. With that step, large-scale assessments came to serve as one of the foundations of accountability-based systems and policies not only for districts, schools and students, but for teachers as well.

State-Level Assessments and Teacher Evaluation Systems after the Passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act: Some Steps in the Right Direction

Federally mandated standardized testing (i.e., in core subject areas and certain grade levels), as an element of educational accountability, began in 2002 with the No Child Left Behind Act. With that step, large-scale assessments came to serve as one of the foundations of accountability-based systems and policies not only for districts, schools and students, but for teachers as well.

NCTQ Recommendations for Improving Teacher Quality Have Little Basis in Research

BOULDER, CO (May 24, 2018) – 2018 State Teacher Policy Best Practices Guide, published by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), purports to offer examples of “leading state work” in 37 policy areas related to teacher quality. Its intent is to hold up these state policies as exemplars for other state policymakers to replicate.

NEPC Review: 2018 State Teacher Policy Best Practices Guide (National Council on Teacher Quality, March 2018)

Reviewed_Report_Title
2018 State Teacher Policy Best Practices Guide
Think Tank Name
National Council on Teacher Quality
Think Tank Name
National Council on Teacher Quality

A report from NCTQ begins with nine goals purportedly based on the “best available research evidence” about teacher quality. Yet neither this report nor its companion, which describes the original development of the goals, cites any research evidence. The report also uses the terms “teacher quality” and “teacher effectiveness” (on raising test scores) interchangeably. The report assumes reader buy-in to its goals, to its focus on test scores, and to its assumption that “great teachers” have an “outsize impact” on students’ learning and lives.

Education Interview of the Month: Greg Smith Interviews Michael Barbour and Bryan Mann on Virtual Schools

Lewis and Clark College Emeritus Professor of Education Gregory A. Smith interviews Michael Barbour of Touro University California, and Bryan Mann of the University of Alabama. Greg, Michael and Bryan discuss the current research regarding virtual schools.

Report’s Comparisons of Charter School versus Public School Productivity Suffer From Lack of Clarity and Validity

BOULDER, CO (May 10, 2018) – Bigger Bang, Fewer Bucks?: The Productivity of Public Charter Schools in Eight U.S. Cities, published by the University of Arkansas Department of Education Reform, contends that charter schools produce more achievement per dollar invested, as compared to public schools.

Professor Julian Vasquez Heilig of California State University Sacramento reviewed the report and identified a variety of methodological choices made by the authors that threaten the validity of the results. 

NEPC Review: Bigger Bang, Fewer Bucks? (University of Arkansas Department of Education Reform, February 2018)

Reviewed_Report_Title
Bigger Bang, Fewer Bucks?: The Productivity of Public Charter Schools in Eight U.S. Cities
Think Tank Name
University of Arkansas Department of Education Reform
Think Tank Name
University of Arkansas Department of Education Reform

A report released by the University of Arkansas Department of Education Reform contends that charter schools produce more achievement per dollar invested, as compared to public schools. This newest report is focused on city-level analyses in eight US cities (Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Houston, Indianapolis, New York City, San Antonio, and Washington D.C.) and uses cost effectiveness and Return on Investment (ROI) ratios. It concludes that charter schools deliver a weighted average of an additional 4.34 NAEP reading points and 4.73 NAEP math points per $1000 invested.

Teacher Prep Programs for Early Childhood Education Explored in Two Useful Reports

BOULDER, CO (May 8, 2018) – It Takes a Community: Leveraging Community College Capacity to Transform the Early Childhood Workforce, published by the Bellwether Education Partners, and Pre-K Teachers and Bachelor’s Degrees: Envisioning Equitable Access to High-Quality Preparation Program, published by New America and Bellwether, both examine the current state of early childhood education (ECE) teacher preparation programs at the community college and university levels.

NEPC Review: It Takes a Community (Bellwether Education Partners, February 2018) and Pre-K Teachers and Bachelor's Degrees (New America and Bellwether Education Partners, February 2018)

Reviewed_Report_Title
It Takes a Community: Leveraging Community College Capacity to Transform the Early Childhood Workforce and Pre-K Teachers
Think Tank Name
Bellwether Education Partners
Bellwether Education Partners and New America
Think Tank Name
Bellwether Education Partners
Think Tank Name 2
New America and Bellwether Education Partners

Reports from Bellwether and New America each review the current state of early childhood education (ECE) teacher preparation programs at the community college and university levels. Both raise awareness about the challenges facing the ECE workforce and educational institutions in dealing with the recent policy push to increase the required educational credentials for pre-K teachers.

New Report Tries to Move the Goalposts for School Choice

BOULDER, CO (May 3, 2018) – Do Impacts on Test Scores Even Matter?, published by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), examines whether student achievement scores on math and English language arts tests align with “long-run” attainment outcomes such as high school graduation rates, college enrollment, and college graduation rates. It concludes that the impacts of school choice programs on test scores are not strongly associated with such attainment outcomes, which are presented as more positive. Thus, the report argues, we should no longer focus on measures of learning. 

NEPC Review: Do Impacts on Test Scores Even Matter? (American Enterprise Institute, March 2018)

Reviewed_Report_Title
Do Impacts on Test Scores Even Matter? Lessons from Long-Run Outcomes in School Choice Research: Attainment Versus Achievement Impacts and Rethinking How to Evaluate School Choice Programs
Think Tank Name
American Enterprise Institute

A report from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), Do Impacts on Test Scores Even Matter? Lessons from Long-Run Outcomes in School Choice Research, examines whether student achievement scores on math and English language arts tests align with “long-run” attainment outcomes such as high school graduation rates, college enrollment, and college graduation rates. Drawing on a systematic review of the literature, it concludes that the impacts of school choice programs on test scores are not well connected to such attainment outcomes, which are presented as more positive.

Full-Time Virtual and Blended Schools: Enrollment, Student Characteristics, and Performance

This sixth NEPC Annual Report on Virtual Education provides a detailed overview and inventory of full-time virtual schools and blended learning, or hybrid, schools. Full-time virtual schools deliver all curriculum and instruction via the Internet and electronic communication, usually asynchronously with students at home and teachers at a remote location. Blended schools combine virtual instruction with traditional face-to-face instruction in classrooms.

New Study Adds to Overwhelming Evidence That Virtual Schools Are Not Working as Claimed

BOULDER, CO (May 1, 2018) – NEPC’s Sixth Annual Report on Virtual Education, Full-Time Virtual and Blended Schools: Enrollment, Student Characteristics, and Performance, provides a detailed overview and inventory of full-time virtual schools and of blended learning schools, including student demographics, state-specific school performance ratings, and—where data are available—an analysis of school performance measures.

NEPC’s April Education Interview of the Month Podcast Explores Teacher Accountability

BOULDER, CO (April 17, 2018) – In April’s NEPC Education Interview of the MonthGreg Smith discusses teacher accountability with Marilyn Cochran-Smith, Cawthorne Professor of Teacher Education for Urban Schools and Director of the Doctoral Program in Curriculum and Instruction at the Lynch School of Education, Boston College.

NEPC Review: Charter Schools and the Achievement Gap

Reviewed_Report_Title
Charter Schools and the Achievement Gap
Think Tank Name
Brookings Institution
Think Tank Name
Brookings Institution

A report, Charter Schools and the Achievement Gap, finds that, though charter schools on average perform no better than traditional public schools, urban “no-excuses” charter schools—which often use intensive discipline to enforce order—demonstrate promising results. It recommends that these schools and their practices be widely replicated within and outside of the charter school sector. We find three major flaws with this conclusion.

Report Recommends Expanding No-Excuses Charter Practices but Does Not Recognize or Address Limits and Potential Problems

BOULDER, CO (April 10, 2018) – Charter Schools and the Achievement Gap, published by The Future of Children, associated with the Brookings Institution and Princeton University, finds that, though charter schools on average perform no better than traditional public schools, urban “no-excuses” charter schools—which often use intensive discipline to enforce order—demonstrate promising results.

Facebook’s Business Model Threatens Everyone – Especially Student Users

BOULDER, CO (April 6, 2018) - In yesterday’s Washington Post Answer Sheet, Alex Molnar and Faith Boninger, Co-Directors of NEPC’s Commercialism in Education Unit, explored the invasive data mining and third-party targeting of users that is inherent in Facebook’s business model and that led NEPC to delete its Facebook account and remove Facebook from the NEPC website. 

National Education Policy Center Deletes Its Facebook Account and Calls for Strict Data Protections Plus Public Regulation and Oversight of Digital Platforms

BOULDER, CO (March 27, 2018) - The National Education Policy Center (NEPC) will delete its Facebook account on Wednesday March 28. We have already removed social sharing via Facebook from the NEPC website and our other communication tools.

National Education Policy Center Deletes Its Facebook Account and Calls for Strict Data Protections Plus Public Regulation and Oversight of Digital Platforms

Key Takeaway: Facebook’s benefits are overwhelmed by problems inherent in its business model, its failure to safeguard personal information, and its lack of transparency and accountability. 

Find Documents:

Press Release: http://nepc.info/node/9115

Report Offers a Narrow, Conflict-Based View of District Leadership

BOULDER, CO (March 6, 2018) – Unlocking Potential: How Political Skill Can Maximize Superintendent Effectiveness, published by the Center on Reinventing Public Education, focuses on the political power of the position of school superintendent and how that power can and should be harnessed.

William J. Mathis of the University of Colorado Boulder reviewed the report and found it to be lacking in substance due to the absence of a knowledge base in the research literature and a lack of experience.

NEPC Review: Unlocking Potential: How Political Skill Can Maximize Superintendent Effectiveness (Center on Reinventing Public Education, January 2018)

Reviewed_Report_Title
Unlocking Potential: How Political Skill Can Maximize Superintendent Effectiveness
Think Tank Name
Center on Reinventing Public Education
Think Tank Name
Center on Reinventing Public Education

This report offers political advice to school superintendents. The authors draw solely on a collection of anecdotes from superintendents of large urban districts to offer a narrative replete with maxims, aphorisms, and pithy advice. Superintending is, in their view, a continuous string of almost unavoidable conflicts, so the reader is led through internal groups (central office, school board, unions, teachers and principals) and external groups (foundations, businesses and state politicians) and advised on how to cultivate support and deal with opponents.

NEPC Review: Evaluation of the Teacher Incentive Fund: Final Report on Implementation and Impact of Pay-for-Performance Across Four Years (Institute of Education Sciences, December 2017)

Reviewed_Report_Title
Evaluation of the Teacher Incentive Fund: Final Report on Implementation and Impact of Pay-for-Performance Across Four Years (Institute of Education Sciences, December 2017)
Think Tank Name
Institute of Education Sciences

This review examines a report evaluating four years of implementation of the 2010 Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) to determine whether pay-for-performance (PFP) bonuses to teachers and principals improve student achievement. The report notes that the goal of PFP is to motivate improved educator performance and to attract and retain more effective teachers, thereby increasing student achievement.

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