Latest Edu-Reads

Six years ago, California shifted its school funding approach from categorical funding targeted to specific programs and populations, to a flexible approach granting districts significant autonomy in how they served English learners, youth in foster care, and students from low-income households. A new state audit concludes, “In general, we determined that the State’s approach… has not ensured that funding is benefiting students as intended.”

California is also considering making FAFSA completion a high school graduation requirement.

Senator Kamala Harris is introducing a bill this week to help expand before- and after-school programs at 500 low-income schools. Other candidates have similar proposals, but it’s a good idea to address a real need for working parents.

Aaron Churchill looks at Ohio’s progress compared to its long-term goals. So far, the state is mostly meeting its goals in English language arts, but it’s already behind in math, and it’s rate of growth will need to pick up markedly to meet its long-term goals.

This new study by Briana Ballis and Katelyn Heath found HUGE negative effects of special education enrollment targets in Texas. But Matt Barnum has an important caution about how to interpret those results:

But Ballis and Heath identify another potential cause. Texas policy at the time allowed students with disabilities to graduate high school without having passed an exit exam. That meant losing a special education label also raised the bar for earning a high school diploma. And since since finishing high school is a precondition to college enrollment, higher graduation standards could affect college enrollment, too.

Ballis and Heath found some evidence that points to the higher graduation bar being the main culprit. Students who lost their special education status didn’t see test scores fall, attendance rates decline, or their likelihood of repeating a grade increase. That’s surprising: if the loss of services translated to immediate academic struggles, you would expect to see changes in those metrics [emphasis added].

That doesn’t mean the harmful effects of the cap aren’t real. Those students really did have much lower odds of graduating. But the results don’t clearly show what effect the special education services were having.

Speaking of tales of caution, Mike Antonucci has a rundown of the what changed before and after the Chicago teacher strike.

“The nation is stuck with a bad deal on teacher salaries: salaries insufficient to attract new teachers who can fuel improved schools and yet not even high enough to satisfy current teachers.” Eric Hanushek on how we might strike a better deal on teacher pay.

And did you know counselor quality matters?

–Guest post by Chad Aldeman

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