Latest Edu-Reads

Kris Amundson on why you should never try a new hairstyle on your wedding day… and other thoughts from the Iowa caucus debacle.

Alex Spurrier on what to think about President’s Trump’s education proposals in his State of the Union.

Aaron Garth Smith takes a look at open enrollment policies. It strikes me that open enrollment might be the low-hanging fruit of the school choice debate.

Testing opt-ins? There’s been a 60 percent increase in Advanced Placement participation rates over the last decade, with especially strong growth for black and Hispanic students. Catherine Gewertz has 7 key takeways from the latest results.

“Students of all racial/ethnic groups learn more from teachers with high grading standards, and these standards tend to be higher in schools serving more advantaged students.” That’s the main conclusion from a new study by Seth Gershenson looking at the importance of teacher expectations.

Finally, Conor Williams has a balanced take about the recent RAND study on community schools in NYC:

–Guest post by Chad Aldeman 

Latest Edu-Reads

Conor Williams has a moving tribute to Courtney Everts Mykytyn, the founder of Integrated Schools.

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 

Weekend Edu-Reads

Hotel California? Mike Antonucci tracks down the laborious process it would take for a California teacher to drop out of their union.

“Centralizing and decentralizing education governance is a popular American pastime.” Jason Weeby on the latest machinations in Chicago.

Bonnie O’Keefe in Governing on state innovations in assessment policy.

Conor Williams goes inside Washington, DC’s pre-k program.

AEI and Third Way map out the common ground on accountability in higher education.

This McKinsey report on robots  the future of work is interesting and has some important implications for equity, politics, and the education sector.

Do Georgia’s K-12 teachers deserve the same retirement choices as their peers in higher ed? I say yes.

–Guest post by Chad Aldeman 

Weekend Edu-Reads

Jason Weeby on school boards, charter schools, and democratic control of schools. Ashley Jochim’s response is also worth checking out.

Josh Mitchell and Michelle Hackman take a look at the Kalamazoo Promise program for the Wall Street Journal. The entire piece is worth your time, but this graph really tells the story:

Ashley LiBetti interviews Kelly Riling, the manager of the AppleTree Early Learning Teacher Residency program in Washington, D.C. Unlike other residency programs, they make it work…  and offer residents a salary with benefits!

Matt Kraft, John Papay, and Olivia Chi look at teacher development through the lens of teacher performance ratings from principals. Like with value-added, teachers tend to improve over time, but the most promising early-career teachers make even faster improvements.

Conor Williams neatly summed up this week’s Democratic debates. With respect to education, “Precisely zero of the current Democratic candidates for that party’s presidential nomination believe that public education is the primary cause of American inequality.”

–Guest post by Chad Aldeman 

Eduwonk Is Fishing… Plus Teacher Turnover, Diversity, Benefits, TEACH Grants, and the Peter Principle

Andy Rotherham has gone fishin’ for the summer, but in the meantime he’s given me the keys to the blog. I can’t match his wit or his knowledge of fishing, but I’ll try to keep it lively around here. Here’s what I’ve been reading lately:

New JOLTS data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show, once again, that public education has some of the lowest turnover rates of any sector in our economy.

Kudos to NPR for sticking with this story on TEACH Grants.

Max Marchitello and Dr. Liso Grillo on how Howard University identifies diverse teacher candidates.

Cass Sunstein argues high school students applying to college are subject to excessive or unnecessary “sludge.”

Paul Bruno with data on health care costs in California schools. Short version: They’re rising much faster than other types of education spending, especially teacher salaries. Read the full report here or EdSource op-ed here.

Speaking of benefits, PDK published a good piece recently from James Shuls, Colin Hitt, and Robert Costrell on how teacher pension plans can exacerbate school finance inequities.

As we head into campaign season, Conor Williams asks what’s the best way to spend billions of dollars of new money to improve outcomes for low-income students. Is it teacher salary increases, or something else?

Alex Tabarrok on a new study on the “Peter Principle,” the idea that people keep getting promoted up the ladder until they’re no longer good at their job. There are implications here for the education field, particularly in how to think about keeping great teachers in the classroom.

Mocktail bars?

–Guest post by Chad Aldeman