Urban Wire New Voices in Public Policy Research
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The UI Academy for Public Policy Analysis and Research brings ten minority college students to the Urban Institute for a summer of policy seminars and skill-building in Washington. The Academy Fellows pick policy questions they consider important and design new empirical research to help answer these questions. This is the first installment in our New Voices series. Check back soon for more!

Bradley Pough: New Ideas on Why So Many Minority Students Get Labeled Learning Disabled

An increasingly prevalent problem in our country's public schools is the overrepresentation of minority students diagnosed with learning disabilities (LD). Nationally, African American students make up less than 15% of the total general education population, but over 20% of our schools' learning disabled population. While research documents this trend among Black, Latino, and Native American students across numerous localities, researchers still don’t agree on the factors behind this disparity. To read more, click here.

Marlene Castro: Redefining Achievement in Educational Accountability Systems

Since advocacy for accountability in education began, state and federal policy initiatives have used standards tests as a yardstick. From IQ tests to undergraduate and professional degree programs, standards tests have been used to measure ability and predict achievement. In recent years, standardized tests have been used to evaluate schools and their ability to teach. Critics of standardized testing measures have questioned their objectivity and reliability and their failure to account for the variety of background factors that affect student performance. To read more, click here.

Javier de Paz: Access to Academic Support Services for English Learners

In 2001, the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act was passed by Congress, including a provision that funded supplemental educational services in an effort to support the academic success of underserved English Learners. These supplemental educational services are provided outside of the regular school day—often during after school programs. Most after school programs targeting English Learners consist of activities related to academic support, enrichment, recreational and physical activities, and activities that promote family engagement in their children’s education. To read more, click here.