The Urban Institute conducts interdisciplinary studies that explore critical intersections between schools, families, communities, and the workplace. Drawing upon expertise and perspectives from across our research centers, the Education Policy Cluster coordinates studies focused on family and neighborhood factors that influence school performance and educational success, the potential of alternative school improvement and reform initiatives, the effectiveness of both K–12 and post-secondary systems in preparing young people for careers, strategies for helping at-risk youth stay and succeed in school, and school financing mechanisms.
In addition, the Urban Institute has conducted research on issues that have been central to education policy, including school and teacher assessment, and evaluation of specific reforms.
Education Policy Cluster
Contributing Scholars: Akiva Liberman, Kim Rueben, Austin Nichols, John Roman, Sue Popkin, Peter Tatian, Mike Pergamit, Bob Lerman, Marla McDaniel, Megan Cahill, Erwin de Leon, Gina Adams, Kathryn Pettit, Caroline Ratcliffe, Signe-Mary McKernan, Maria Enchautegui, Elsa Falkenburger, Lauren Eyster, Demetra Smith Nightengale, Sara Edelstein, Julia Isaacs, Megan Gallagher, Zach McDade, Heather Hahn, Gene Steuerle, Tracy Vericker, Pamela Loprest, Josh Mitchell, Mary Cunningham, Genevieve Kenney, Elaine Maag, Heather Sandstrom, Kelly Devers
Publications on Education
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Postsecondary education leads to significant financial benefits for most students, and average earnings premiums have grown over time. However, there is considerable variation in outcomes across individuals, types of credentials, occupations, and geographical locations. This brief discusses some of the different ways the financial benefits of higher education can be measured and documents the high average payoff to college degrees. It emphasizes the importance of recognizing that this high payoff does not eliminate disappointing outcomes for some individuals, while highlighting the fact that focusing on recent college graduates leads to under-estimation of the returns.
The Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG) Program, established by the Affordable Care Act of 2010, funds training programs in high-demand healthcare professions, targeted to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients and other low-income individuals. In 2010, the Administration for Children and Families of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded 32 HPOG grantees in 23 states with five-year grants. This Annual Report provides an overview of HPOG grantees, characteristics of participants, activities in which participants were engaged, training and employment outcomes, and how grantee programs continued to evolve in the second year of the program.
Promise Neighborhood implementation grantees are required to set and submit baselines, actual performance data, and targets for each GPRA indicator and for all five years of the grant. While grantees were required to address targets in their applications, these targets were set before the Guidance Document was released and before complete baseline data was available at each site. This continuing guidance identifies several data sources, considerations, and methods sites may consider when setting targets. The submission of final baselines and targets is the first part of the Promise Neighborhood Data Plan required of all implementation grantees.
This brief explores the education and employment outcomes of disconnected low-income men in 2008–10. These men have lower education levels than higher-income men. Among low-income men, Hispanics are less likely than African Americans and whites to complete high school. Low-income men are more likely to be unemployed and underemployed; African Americans are the most likely to be unemployed. Education and employment rates for low-income men vary considerably by metropolitan area.
The Urban Institute, with funding from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, US Department of Health and Human Services, convened a symposium to explore the state of knowledge on disconnected low-income men and promising strategies for improving their well-being, focusing particularly on men of color. The participants included ethnographers and other qualitative researchers, social service providers, foundation program officers, and federal government staff. The candid insights offered enriched understanding of the complex problems faced by low-income men, the programs currently serving their needs, and some of the issues about which more study is needed.