The Rush Back Toward Career Pathways

I missed this Liz Bowie story on Maryland’s effort to scale up career and technical education. Bowie does a nice job balancing the tensions and trade-offs, and lots of people I respect are behind the Maryland plan, but this still makes me nervous:

At the end of the 10th grade, students would have to qualify for the career or academic paths by passing a test or some other measure that showed they were prepared for basic, entry-level college classes. The Kirwan plan estimates about 65% of students in the state would meet that bar by 2030, boosted by other parts of the education package, such as more pre-kindergarten and intensive support for students at schools with high poverty rates.

Is this just another form of tracking? Even assuming everything goes as planned, what happens to the 35 percent who don’t meet the bar for either pathway?

I’m working on a paper on this very topic right now, and we’re finding that states aren’t paying close enough attention to determine whether their college and career pathways are equally rigorous and accessible for all students. We’ll have more to say on this soon!

–Guest post by Chad Aldeman

High School Rankings Are Incomplete

The Urban Institute has a new paper seeking better ways to identify high schools that are producing positive outcomes for historically underserved students. Using data from Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Virginia, they find that, “…school quality is not a monolith. Schools that see gains on one metric do not necessarily see gains across other metrics.”

They find that test score gains and college enrollment rates have a correlation of just 0.13. They conclude, “schools that are good at raising test scores are not necessarily the same schools that are good at preparing students to enroll in college.”

This is a topic near and dear to my heart. Back in 2015, I published a similar paper looking at the overlap of high school metrics in Tennessee. The traditional metrics that states use to assess high school quality–test scores and graduation rates–are insufficient to answer the harder questions of whether high schools are preparing students to be successful in college or careers.

–Guest post by Chad Aldeman

Latest Edu-News

The edTPA is “a high-stakes assessment that’s expensive, discriminates against people of color, is vulnerable to cheating, and forces schools to teach to the test.” That’s Mike Antonucci summarizing this article by Madeline Will about new research on edTPA… Oh, and the edTPA is also not a great predictor of teacher effectiveness. But other than that…

Justin Trinidad interviews Felicia Butts, the Director of Teacher Residencies at Chicago Public Schools, about their bilingual teacher residency program.

When a traditional school district is losing the competition for students to… other traditional school districts. It’s weird how the word “charter” doesn’t appear in the piece at all!

“whether they’re GreatSchools’ ratings, state ratings, or anything else, let’s make them as accurate and nuanced as possible—but let’s also focus on ensuring they are truly useful and accessible to all families.” That’s David Keeling from EdNavigator about how the families they work with interact with school ratings.

Here’s your regular reminder that colleges determine what “college-ready” means.

A new study finds that housing vouchers boosted math and reading scores in New York City.

Billions of dollars are at stake. There will be only one champion. I’m talking, of course, about the FAFSA Fast Break challenge.

After multiple pauses, Congress has finally agreed to kill the “Cadillac Tax” on high-cost health care plans. This was one of the key funding provisions of the original Affordable Care Act. As I noted back in July, the Cadillac Tax was meant to address a particularly bad incentive baked into our tax policies:

I’d rather Americans didn’t have our health care benefits tied to our employers at all, but we’ve created a particularly weird incentive by not taxing employer spending on health care. That creates a system where the people using health care have little reason to help control health care costs. And, in the long run, employers spend more and more on benefits at the expense of salaries and wages. That’s bad for efficiency, bad for budgets, and, ultimately, bad for workers.

–Guest post by Chad Aldeman