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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

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Insights on Instability and Children's Development: Commentaries from Practitioners, Policymakers, and Researchers (Commentary)
Gina Adams

Concern is growing about the damage that instability can do to children's healthy development. However it has emerged separately across different domains, with little focus on the pervasive and interconnected nature of the issue or on possible cross-cutting policy solutions. In November 2013, the Urban Institute convened policymakers, practitioners, and researchers to discuss the implications of instability for children's development, as well as what we know, need to learn, and need to do across research, policy, and practice. This paper contains essays from some of the meeting participants; a companion report includes the insights from the conference.

Posted to Web: July 22, 2014Publication Date: July 22, 2014

Exploring Instability and Children's Well-Being: Insights from a Dialogue among Practitioners, Policymakers and Researchers (Research Report)
Gina Adams, Lisa Dubay

Concern is growing about the damage that instability can do to children's healthy development. However it has emerged separately across different domains, with little focus on the pervasive and interconnected nature of the issue or on possible cross-cutting policy solutions. This report presents the insights gleaned from a November 2013 convening of policymakers, practitioners, and researchers about the implications of stability and instability for children's development, as well as what we know, what we need to learn, and what we need to do across research, policy, and practice. A companion report includes essays from some of the meeting participants.

Posted to Web: July 22, 2014Publication Date: July 22, 2014

From Cradle to Career: The Multiple Challenges Facing Immigrant Families in Langley Park Promise Neighborhood (Research Report)
Molly M. Scott, Graham MacDonald, Juan Collazos, Ben Levinger, Eliza Leighton, Jamila Ball

With estimates predicting that immigrants and their children will account for most of U.S. population growth over the next 4 decades, it is critical to understand how to build ladders of opportunity for these families. This report is a complete assessment of the needs of Langley Park, an immigrant neighborhood outside Washington, DC. Langley Park families are resilient but experience substantial hardships that may stall the progress of subsequent generations. At six crucial life transitions, children lag behind on indicators of future success. Fortunately, the data pinpoint not only the gaps, but also opportunities for change.

Posted to Web: June 23, 2014Publication Date: June 23, 2014

Executive Summary: How Will Teachers Fare in Rhode Island's New Hybrid Pension Plan? (Summary)
Richard W. Johnson, Barbara Butrica, Owen Haaga, Benjamin G. Southgate

Hybrid retirement plans that combine defined benefit pensions with 401(k) type, defined contribution accounts can play important roles in the reform of public-sector pensions. Summarizing results from our longer report, this brief shows that most public school teachers in Rhode Island will earn more retirement income from the state’s new hybrid plan than they would have earned in the former stand-alone defined benefit plan. However, teachers with at least 25 years of completed service, who account for only one-quarter of the total employed by the state, will fare worse in the hybrid plan.

Posted to Web: May 30, 2014Publication Date: May 30, 2014

How Will Rhode Island's New Hybrid Pension Plan Affect Teachers? (Research Report)
Richard W. Johnson, Barbara Butrica, Owen Haaga, Benjamin G. Southgate

In 2011 Rhode Island replaced the stand-alone defined benefit pension plan it provided to state employees with a hybrid plan that reduced the defined benefit component and added a 401(k)-type, defined contribution component. Although controversial, the new hybrid plan will boost retirement incomes for most of the state’s public school teachers. Our simulations show that two-thirds of newly hired teachers will earn more retirement benefits under the hybrid plan they would have earned under the old plan. Defined contribution plans—the dominant employer-sponsored retirement plan in the private sector—can play an important role in the reform of public-sector pensions.

Posted to Web: May 30, 2014Publication Date: May 30, 2014

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