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Education Reform / NCLB

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Evaluation of Community-Wide Interventions (Research Brief)
Austin Nichols

Random-assignment experiments are the gold standard for assessing the impact of a policy or program for good reason, but they are not always a good option. For place-based initiatives, spillover effects and other factors make random assignment studies inappropriate. There are other methods, some of which use propensity score reweighting, that can credibly estimate impacts for these programs.

Posted to Web: July 03, 2013Publication Date: July 03, 2013

Young Children of Immigrants and the Path to Educational Success: Key Themes from an Urban Institute Roundtable (Research Report)
Olivia Golden, Karina Fortuny

The growing presence of young children of immigrants is changing the demographic makeup of classrooms, yet debates about early education and school reform often do not mention them. As high-quality education for all becomes a prominent policy and political goal, key questions remain unanswered about whether schools and early childhood programs are addressing their needs. This paper summarizes the Urban Institute's 2010 roundtable "Young Children of Immigrants and the Path to Educational Success" discussion, which focused on the specific needs of young children of immigrants.

Posted to Web: April 27, 2011Publication Date: April 22, 2011

Stepping Stones: Principal Career Paths and School Outcomes (Research Report)
Tara Beteille, Demetra Kalogrides, Susanna Loeb

Principals tend to prefer working in schools with higher-achieving students from more advantaged socioeconomic backgrounds. Principals often use schools with many poor or low-achieving students as stepping stones to what they view as more desirable assignments. District leadership can also exacerbate principal turnover by implementing policies aimed at improving low-performing schools such as rotating school leaders. Using longitudinal data from one large urban school district we find principal turnover is detrimental to school performance. Frequent turnover results in lower teacher retention and lower student achievement gains, which are particularly detrimental to students in high-poverty and failing schools.

Posted to Web: April 01, 2011Publication Date: March 22, 2011

Students and Teachers Fare Better Under Effectiveness-Based Teacher Layoffs, Studies Find (Press Release)

Faced with budget shortfalls, states and localities are considering cuts to K-12 education, including reductions in teaching staff. Consequently, governors, lawmakers, and school officials are taking a second look at seniority provisions in their collective bargaining agreements and weighing the costs and benefits of the prevailing system under which the last hired is typically the first fired.

Posted to Web: March 08, 2011Publication Date: March 08, 2011

A New Vision to Increase the Academic Achievement for English Language Learners and Immigrant Students (Research Report)
Kathleen Leos, Lisa Saavedra

This paper analyzes the challenges and opportunities posed by today's education reform debate for the early education and language learning of immigrant, limited English proficient, and English language learner students 3 to 8 years old. Because of the close connections between the preschool and early elementary years, the paper addresses children who attend early childhood and kindergarten-through-3rd-grade education programs throughout the United States. The analysis focuses on provisions in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (reauthorized as the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001), and other relevant legislation and Supreme Court decisions.

Posted to Web: December 02, 2010Publication Date: December 01, 2010

Scaling the Digital Divide: Home Computer Technology and Student Achievement (CALDER Working Paper)
Jacob Vigdor, Helen Ladd

Does differential access to computer technology at home compound the educational disparities between the rich and the poor? Authors examine the arrival of broadband service in North Carolina between 2000 and 2005, using data on the state's public school students and earlier surveys documenting broad racial and socioeconomic gaps in home computer access and use. The introduction of home computer technology is associated with modest but statistically significant and persistent negative impacts on student math and reading test scores, thus broadening math and reading achievement gaps. They conclude that home computer technology is put to more productive use in households with more effective parental monitoring.

Posted to Web: August 10, 2010Publication Date: June 01, 2010

Principal Time-Use and School Effectiveness (CALDER Working Paper)
Susanna Loeb, Additional Authors

To better understand the work lives of principals, this study uses observational time-use data for all high school principals in Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Authors examine the relationship between the time principals spent on different types of activities and school outcomes including student achievement, teacher and parent assessments of the school, and teacher satisfaction. Time spent on Organization Management activities is associated with positive school outcomes, such as student test score gains and positive teacher and parent assessments of the instructional climate, whereas Day-to-Day Instruction activities are marginally or not at all related to improvements in student performance and often have a negative relationship with teacher and parent assessments. A single-minded focus on principals as instructional leaders operationalized through direct contact with teachers may be detrimental if it forsakes the important role of principals as organizational leaders.

Posted to Web: August 09, 2010Publication Date: December 01, 2009

Principal Preferences and the Unequal Distribution of Principals across Schools (CALDER Working Paper)
Eileen Horng, Demetra Kalogrides, Susanna Loeb

This study uses longitudinal data from one large school district - Miami-Dade County Public Schools, to investigate the distribution of principals across schools. Schools serving many low-income, non-white, and low-achieving students have principals with less experience, less education, and who attended less selective colleges. This distribution of principals is partially driven by the initial match of first-time principals to schools at the beginning of their careers and is exacerbated by systematic attrition and transfer away from these schools. Supplementing the data with surveys of principals, the authors find principals' stated preferences for school characteristics mirror observed distribution and transfer patterns. Principals prefer to work in easier to serve schools with favorable working conditions which also tend to be schools with fewer poor, minority and/or low-achieving students.

Posted to Web: August 09, 2010Publication Date: December 01, 2009

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