The Education Policy Center conducts research on education reforms involving accountability and the new increased flexibility in using federal funds. Researchers in the Center also partner with other Urban Institute Centers to explore connections between schools and housing affordability, neighborhood revitalization, immigrant integration, children’s well-being, crime, and work-readiness.
In the 2010-2011 school year, 2,500 high school students were chronically truant in District of Columbia Public Schools; at four schools over half of the students were chronically truant. High school truancy rates were moderately related to poverty and crime in students' residential neighborhoods and to violence near school. But the absenteeism of students in eighth grade was the strongest predictor of high school truancy rates. Focusing on middle school attendance issues may therefore be the most effective means of lowering high school truancy rates.
A key measure of success of state prekindergarten initiatives is their ability to reach and serve children who are likely to face challenges in school. This study adds to our understanding of the challenges faced by immigrant children and families in Chicago, Illinois, by focusing on the extent to which families from smaller immigrant communities - particularly Pakistani, Nigerian, Vietnamese, Polish, and Haitian families-face barriers in accessing the Illinois prekindergarten program. Based on focus groups with parents and interviews with prekindergarten providers, this study finds a number of barriers, including lack of knowledge, language barriers, and logistical challenges around enrollment.
Smaller immigrant communities can face barriers to participating in prekindergarten programs, in particular lack of knowledge about the program, language barriers and enrollment logistics. Community-based organizations working with these communities can support outreach efforts and play a role in overcoming all of these barriers. This study presents findings from focus groups of a number of community-based organizations working with smaller immigrant populations in the Chicago metro area, and identifies a number of strategies that could be employed to support prekindergarten participation among immigrant families.
State prekindergarten initiatives can only succeed if they actually reach at-risk children. This brief summarizes findings from two studies around prekindergarten access for smaller immigrant populations. One study examines the extent to which Pakistani, Nigerian, Vietnamese, Polish, and Haitian families face barriers in accessing the Illinois prekindergarten program; it finds barriers such as lack of knowledge of the program, language barriers, and enrollment challenges. The second presents findings from focus groups of community-based organizations serving smaller immigrant populations in the Chicago metro area, and identifies a number of strategies that could be employed to support prekindergarten participation among immigrant families.
How has the recession and its resulting family instability impacted children’s residential and school mobility? Officials from housing, homeless, and school programs discussed the full spectrum of residential mobility in two recent Urban Institute roundtables: from chronic mobility, eviction, and foreclosure to doubled-up households and homelessness. Attendees explored programs and policies to reduce residential and student mobility, as well as brainstormed new ways for different organizations to work together. The discussion centered on examples of school districts, government agencies, and nonprofit housing counseling agencies working together to mitigate the negative effects of mobility.
High rates of truancy at some DC schools are receiving considerable attention. The Family Court cannot realistically be a primary response to the chronic truancy of thousands of chronically truant high-school students, Senior Fellow Akiva Liberman of the Justice Policy Center told the City Council. Liberman commented that family-based interventions for 9th graders may be necessary but insufficient to reduce truancy without simultaneously improving the attendance norms at high-truancy schools. Reducing absenteeism before high school may be the most effective way to reduce high school truancy.
During the Great Recession immigrants lost more employment, relative to their initial employment level, than U.S.-born workers. During the Recovery immigrants gained more employment than U.S-born workers. The employment gains of immigrants during the recovery spread among all educational groups except those with no high school diploma. Among U.S.-born workers, only those with Bachelor's degree or more gained employment. By mid-2012, the employment of both immigrants and U.S.-born workers were still below the pre-recession level.
This evaluation of the Case Management Partnership Initiative (CPMI) found that the program successfully linked high-need families with services designed to prevent truancy. The truancy prevention program, implemented at Anacostia and Ballou High Schools in 2011-2012, links chronically truant ninth graders and their families to social services and case management, and includes weekly interagency case management meetings. While the evaluation found that the program was implemented as intended, it is unclear whether the program's efforts impacted truancy among participants. Nonetheless, CMPI remains a promising platform for additional program experimentation, including possible modifications to timing, eligibility criteria, and program components.
An evaluation of the Truancy Court Diversion Program (TCDP) found that despite significant implementation challenges, parent-child communication and youths' attitudes towards school both improved. A voluntary program for middle school students at risk for chronic truancy, TCDP involves judicially-led sessions that address student attitudes combined with case management and service referrals to address family-level attendance barriers. The evaluation found that families of truant youth had high levels of need and were successfully connected to services. The evaluation suggests that the program should be formalized and better supported through dedicated resources and support from school administration prior to expansion.
Consider especially the big three items driving upward the budget deficits: growth in health costs,
growth in retirement costs, and the tax cuts that keep passing our bills and related interest costs onto
future generations. One simply can't balance the long-term budget without dealing with these three.
Yet both Obama and Romney remain largely silent about what we might have to give up in these
arenas for years to come.