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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This report tracks the lifetime earnings of men born in the U.S. between 1940 and 1974, focusing on how earnings differences by educational attainment, age, and year of birth have evolved. Both annual and lifetime earnings inequality increased dramatically for men born in the mid-1950s onward. That increase reflects both absolute earnings gains to highly educated workers (especially those with more than a four-year college degree) and absolute earnings losses to less educated workers. Earnings inequality also increases substantially among those with the same level of educational attainment, complicating standard assumptions about the lifetime value of a college degree.
In the 1990s and early 2000s, the Department of Housing and Urban Development sponsored two major experiments to test whether housing choice vouchers propelled low-income households into greater economic security, the Moving to Opportunity for Fair Housing program (MTO) and the Welfare to Work Voucher program (WTW). Using data from these programs, this study examines differences in residential location and employment outcomes between voucher recipients with access to automobiles and those without. Overall, the findings underscore the positive role of automobiles in outcomes for housing voucher participants.
As part of the Bloomberg administration’s focus on young children, New York City reorganized its system of contracted child care through EarlyLearn NYC. This program braided funding from child care, Head Start, and state universal prekindergarten to improve access and continuity for low-income children and their families. EarlyLearn NYC has implemented higher program quality standards and redistributed contracts across the city to increase the supply of care in targeted, high-need neighborhoods. This brief is one in a series examining selected social service initiatives undertaken during the Bloomberg administration.
Community health workers (CHWs) can help to achieve the goals of the Affordable Care Act—better health, better care, and lower costs. CHWs are typically laypeople whose close connections with a community enable them to win trust and improve health and health services for those they serve. However, challenges with financing structures, workforce training, and service organization can hinder the expansion of the CHW workforce. This paper highlights the roles played by CHWs, assesses evidence of their achievements, describes the increasing opportunities for them under health care reform, and considers productive next steps for growing the CHW workforce.
Health reform has created a watershed moment for community health workers (CHWs). Both coverage expansions and a new focus on creating value in health care offer new opportunities for CHWs. This paper assesses existing impediments to and enablers of the expansion of CHW employment. It catalogues how the ACA and other health reform efforts affect prospects for sustainable employment for CHWs. It also looks at workforce issues, insurance enrollment needs, affordability and accessibility of services, and changes in approaches to public health and prevention. The paper concludes by highlighting particular promising opportunities for CHWs in both public and private sectors.