Latest Edu-Reads

As the charter school debate becomes increasingly partisan, Bellwether has a new report on autonomous schools, schools that occupy the middle ground between “traditional” and “charter.”

Brandon Lewis talks with Shaniola Arowolaju, a D.C. native and parent organizer, about how challenging it can be for parents to find the right school for their child.

“So for now, the thousands of minority parents relying on charter schools are on thin political ice, with indifference coming from the Republicans and hostility coming from the now-dominant wing of the Democratic Party.” That’s from Andy Rotherham and Richard Whitmire in The Hill on the deteriorating politics around charter schools.

Beth Hawkins interviews outgoing Louisiana schools chief John White.

Colleges that are part of the American Talent Initiative are on track to meet their collective goal of recruiting 50,000 more low- and middle-income students, but there are signs the gains are slowing. H/t to Goldie Blumenstyk.

The Urban Institute has a fun graphic on who would benefit from free college programs.

Mike Goldstein and Scott McCue on how they took the risk away from people wanting to become teachers: they guaranteed candidates a teaching job, and let students pay back their tuition after they graduated and found a job.

A big new CALDER paper looks at academic mobility. How much does a students’ relative performance in third grade predict how they will perform in later grades? The authors find quite large correlations (aka very little mobility) across six states. Moreover, the districts that see gains tend to help all of their students improve:

We also show that school districts exhibit statistically and economically significant variation in academic mobility. The predominant driver of cross-district variation in total academic mobility is absolute mobility, not relative (within district) mobility. That is, districts differ much more by whether they are effective in raising achievement throughout the entire distributions of their students than they do in their ability to improve lower-performing students’ relative ranks internally. Indeed, we do not find evidence of large differences across districts in relative mobility, which suggests that districts do not, in fact, differentially specialize in educating students at different achievement levels within their distributions (e.g., high versus low achievers).

–Guest post by Chad Aldeman 

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