20 years after Massachusetts (often lauded as a leader in education policy) passed the Education Reform Act of 1993, Citizens for Public Schools, an OTL ally, took a long hard look at the results of that law to find the state still has a ways to go toward ensure equity and opportunity for all Massachusetts students. [Executive summary available below. Download the full report here.]
Proponents of charter schools and charter expansion consistently overlook serious issues with how these schools can selectively shape their student enrollment. A report from the National Education Policy Center describes 12 practices that charter schools use to push out or discourage enrollment of students with special needs, those with low test scores, English learners, or students in poverty.
The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) has tracked preschool enrollment and funding data in the country for over a decade. Its latest annual "State of Preschool" report presents an alarming set of "firsts" in the 2011-2012 school year: Enrollment in state-funded pre-K programs has stagnated after a decade of growth, and average funding per child has decreased below $4,000 for the first time since NIEER began collecting the data. The report also gives an overview of program quality standards in each state, such as teacher specialized training, class size and the availability of screenings for health supports and other services. The report documents how recent policy changes might affect those standards in subsequent years.
Since its launch two years ago, Michelle Rhee's StudentsFirst advocacy group has pushed the type "no excuses" and accountability-focus education policies that Rhee implemented during her time as the Chancellor of D.C. Public Schools. While her methods have been thoroughly debunked, this report from New Yorkers for Great Public Schools takes a look at the ineffectiveness of StudentsFirst as an advocacy group.
While student enrollment in Massachusetts public schools is growing more diverse, the state's public schools are becoming increasingly segregated along race and class lines. The inequality of educational opportunities and outcomes is compounded when, as is usually the case, racially segregated schools are also schools of concentrated poverty. This report explores two decades of school segregation trends in the state and provides recommendations for policymakers and advocates.
Top-down pressure from federal education policies such as Race to the Top and No Child Left Behind, bolstered by organized advocacy efforts, is making a popular set of market-oriented education “reforms” look more like the new status quo than real reform. Reformers assert that test-based teacher evaluation, increased access to charter schools, and the closure of “failing” and under-enrolled schools will boost at-risk students’ achievement and narrow longstanding race- and income-based achievement gaps. This new report from the Broader, Bolder Approach to Education examines these assertions by comparing the impacts of these reforms in three large urban school districts – Washington, D.C., New York City, and Chicago – with student and school outcomes over the same period in other large, high-poverty urban districts. The report finds that the reforms deliver few benefits, often harm the students they purport to help, and divert attention from a set of other, less visible policies with more promise to weaken the link between poverty and low educational attainment.
A new report from UCLA's Civil Right Project is a one stop shop for all the school discipline data advocates or organizers needto fight the overuse of out-of-school suspensions. Out of School & Off Track uses data from over 26,000 U.S. middle and high schools for the 2009-2010 academic year and breaks it down by district, race, gender, elementary/secondary school level, English language learners, and disability status.
In the past five years, Arkansas has been deliberately and successfully moving toward a juvenile justice system that relies less on confinement and more on holistic, community-based approaches that effectively engage youth in constructive life choices. This report describes Arkansas's success in juvenile justice reform to date and summarizes the steps still needed to best serve Arkansas youth and their communities.
Despite the research showing that early learning and after-school programs help close the achievement gap by ensuring children are prepared to start school and continue to achieve once they're there, this report from NY OTL ally Campaign for Children shows how funding instability for these programs could lead to their collapse. Thousands of students from low-income families stand to lose these vital opportunities that represent a key resource in a support-based education reform model.