Bellwether’s most-read blog posts and reports from 2019.
Matthew Yglesias summarizes new research suggesting that air filters could have an extraordinarily large effect on student achievement.
Louisiana schools chief John White is stepping down in March after eight years in the role. White has a number of accomplishments to be proud of–I’m partial to their highly-rated ESSA plan and their impressive gains in FAFSA completion rates–or Lauren Camera has a rundown of improvements under White’s watch:
Louisiana boasted a graduation rate of 81% in 2018, graduating more students than ever before and up from 72% in 2012, the year White was appointed – an increase that translates to about 5,000 students. More students also enrolled in college in 2018 than ever before, with more than 25,000 pursuing a postsecondary education.
Also since 2012, the number of students earning Advanced Placement credits increased by more than 3,800, or 167%, according to state records. And nearly 5,000 more students earned a college-going score of at least 18 on the ACT colleges admissions test.
Even on the National Assessment of Education Progress, an assessment of math and reading among fourth- and eighth-graders in the U.S. that’s showed stagnant and sometimes decreased achievement since 2015, the Bayou State has bright spots: Louisiana ranked No. 1 in the nation in 2019 for improvement in eighth grade math, the state’s pace of improvement since 2009 in all subjects exceeds national trends and it ranks among the top 10 for improvement over the last decade in all four subject-grade assessments.
Here’s an important new working paper on School Improvement Grants (SIG) from Min Sung, Alec Kennedy, and Susanna Loeb. Looking at two entire states (Washington and North Carolina) and two cities (San Francisco and an anonymous “Beachfront County”), they found large gains in reading and math achievement and high school graduation rates. Those gains grew over time, continued after the funding dried up, and were as large or larger for low-income students and students of color.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that the narrative that SIG “didn’t work” is wrong or at least incomplete. The better question now is not “did SIG work?” but rather “why did it produce results in some places and not others?”
Jill Barshay has a cool story about how John Jay College improved its graduation rates by focusing extra attention on seniors who were otherwise at risk of dropping out.
Now that it’s 2020, will people stop using the, “By 2020, 65 percent of all jobs will require postsecondary education” statistic? Note that over time some people have simplified the stat to say, “65 percent will have a college degree,” but the original source for the statistic, a 2013 report from the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, included any “postsecondary education and training beyond high school.” As I noted on Twitter, we actually made it! As of November 2019, 68 percent of all employed civilians had attended at least some college.
If you like your apples sweet, juicy, and crunchy, I recommend trying the new Cosmic Crisp. Background story here.
–Guest post by Chad Aldeman