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Jeff Bernstein

Charter Schools: A UFT Research Report | United Federation of Teachers - 0 views

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    "As charter school proponents go to Albany this week to plead their case, let's examine the realities behind their claims of stretched resources, unique student demand and stellar academic results."
Jeff Bernstein

Teachers' Working Conditions in Charters: How Different Are They? - Teacher Beat - Educ... - 0 views

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    "Teachers working in charters in an unnamed poor, rural Texas charter school district reported holding higher expectations of students and enjoying a more supportive teaching environment than colleagues who were working in traditional schools in the neighboring district.

    But the charter teachers had fewer opportunities for professional development and generally felt that the evaluation process was less fair, according to a new study that attempts to correct some of the problems with the existing research on differences between teachers in charters and traditional schools. "
Jeff Bernstein

New Volume About Teacher Evaluation and High-Stakes Testing Now Available | Diane Ravit... - 0 views

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    "A group of expert researchers have published a new collection of articles about teacher evaluation and high-stakes testing and their consequences.

    The collection appears online in the Teachers College Record. It is called "High-Stakes Teacher Evaluation: High Cost, Big Losses.""
Jeff Bernstein

Study: Charters Pose a Financial Threat to Already-Struggling School Districts - Matt P... - 0 views

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    "Municipal finance analysts at Moody's recently took a look at the impact of charter school growth on public finances, finding "while the vast majority of traditional public districts are managing through the rise of charter schools without a negative credit impact, a small but growing number face financial stress due to the movement of students to charters.""
Jeff Bernstein

Paying Economists by Hair Color? Thoughts on Masters Degrees & Teacher Compensation | S... - 0 views

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    "In previous posts, I've conveyed my distaste for the oft obsessively narrow thinking of the traditional labor economist when engaged in education policy research. I've picked on the assumption that greed and personal interest are necessarily the sole driving force of all human rational decision making. And I've picked on the obsession with narrow and circular validity tests. Yet still, sometimes, I see quotes from researchers I otherwise generally respect, that completely blow my mind.
    I gotta say, this quote from Tom Kane of Harvard regarding compensation for teachers holding masters degrees is right up there with the worst of them - most notably because it conveys such an obscenely narrow perspective of compensation policies (public or private sector) and broader complexities of labor market dynamics."
Jeff Bernstein

Distributional Effects of a School Voucher Program: Evidence from New York City - 0 views

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    "We use quantile treatment effects estimation to examine the consequences of a school voucher experiment across the distribution of student achievement. In 1997, the School Choice Scholarship Foundation granted $1,400 private school vouchers to a randomly-selected group of low-income New York City elementary school students. Prior research indicates that this program had no average effect on student achievement. If vouchers boost achievement at one part of the distribution and hurt achievement at another, zero or small mean effects may obscure theoretically important but offsetting program effects. Drawing upon prior research related to Catholic schools and school choice, we derive three hypotheses regarding the program's distributional consequences. Our analyses suggest that the program had no significant effect at any point in the skill distribution."
Jeff Bernstein

No Rich Child Left Behind - NYTimes.com - 0 views

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    "Here's a fact that may not surprise you: the children of the rich perform better in school, on average, than children from middle-class or poor families. Students growing up in richer families have better grades and higher standardized test scores, on average, than poorer students; they also have higher rates of participation in extracurricular activities and school leadership positions, higher graduation rates and higher rates of college enrollment and completion.

    Whether you think it deeply unjust, lamentable but inevitable, or obvious and unproblematic, this is hardly news. It is true in most societies and has been true in the United States for at least as long as we have thought to ask the question and had sufficient data to verify the answer.

    What is news is that in the United States over the last few decades these differences in educational success between high- and lower-income students have grown substantially."
Jeff Bernstein

Shanker Blog » The Arcane Rules That Drive Outcomes Under NCLB - 0 views

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    "A big part of successful policy making is unyielding attention to detail (an argument that regular readers of this blog hear often). Choices about design and implementation that may seem unimportant can play a substantial role in determining how policies play out in practice.

    A new paper, co-authored by Elizabeth Davidson, Randall Reback, Jonah Rockoff and Heather Schwartz, and presented at last month's annual conference of The Association for Education Finance and Policy, illustrates this principle vividly, and on a grand scale: With an analysis of outcomes in all 50 states during the early years of NCLB."
Jeff Bernstein

Hoxby & Avery: The Missing "One-Offs": The Hidden Supply of High-Achieving, Low Income ... - 0 views

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    "We show that the vast majority of very high-achieving students who are low-income do not apply to any selective college or university. This is despite the fact that selective institutions would often cost them less, owing to generous financial aid, than the resource poor two-year and non-selective four-year institutions to which they actually apply. Moreover, high-achieving, low-income students who do apply to selective institutions are admitted and graduate at high rates. We demonstrate that these low-income students' application behavior differs greatly from that of their high-income counterparts who have similar achievement. The latter group generally follows the advice to apply to a few "par" colleges, a few "reach" colleges, and a couple of "safety" schools. We separate the low-income, high-achieving students into those whose application behavior is similar to that of their high-income counterparts ("achievement-typical" behavior) and those whose apply to no selective institutions ("income-typical" behavior). We show that income-typical students do not come from families or neighborhoods that are more disadvantaged than those of achievement-typical students. However, in contrast to the achievement-typical students, the income-typical students come from districts too small to support selective public high schools, are not in a critical mass of fellow high achievers, and are unlikely to encounter a teacher or schoolmate from an older cohort who attended a selective college. We demonstrate that widely-used policies-college admissions staff recruiting, college campus visits, college access programs-are likely to be ineffective with income-typical students, and we suggest policies that will be effective must depend less on geographic concentration of high achievers."
Jeff Bernstein

Shanker Blog » A Controversial Consensus On KIPP Charter Schools - 0 views

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    "A recent Mathematica report on the performance of KIPP charter schools expands and elaborates on their prior analyses of these schools' (estimated) effects on average test scores and other outcomes (also here). These findings are important and interesting, and were covered extensively elsewhere.

    As is usually the case with KIPP, the results stirred the full spectrum of reactions. To over-generalize a bit, critics sometimes seem unwilling to acknowledge that KIPP's results are real no matter how well-documented they might be, whereas some proponents are quick to use KIPP to proclaim a triumph for the charter movement, one that can justify the expansion of charter sectors nationwide.

    Despite all this controversy, there may be more opportunity for agreement here than meets the eye. So, let's try to lay out a few reasonable conclusions and see if we might find some of that common ground."
Jeff Bernstein

What does the New York City Charter School Study from CREDO really tell us? | School Fi... - 1 views

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    "With the usual fanfare, we were all blessed last week with yet another study seeking to inform us all that charteryness in-and-of-itself is preferential over traditional public schooling - especially in NYC! In yet another template-based pissing match (charter vs. district) design study, the Stanford Center for Research on Educational Outcomes provided us with aggregate comparisons of the estimated academic growth of a two groups of students - one that attended NYC charter schools and one that attended NYC district schools. The students were "matched" on the basis of a relatively crude set of available data."
Jeff Bernstein

Shanker Blog » Living In The Tails Of The Rhetorical And Teacher Quality Dist... - 0 views

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    "A few weeks ago, Students First NY (SFNY) released a report, in which they presented a very simple analysis of the distribution of "unsatisfactory" teacher evaluation ratings ("U-ratings") across New York City schools in the 2011-12 school year.

    The report finds that U-ratings are distributed unequally. In particular, they are more common in schools with higher poverty, more minorities, and lower proficiency rates. Thus, the authors conclude, the students who are most in need of help are getting the worst teachers.

    There is good reason to believe that schools serving larger proportions of disadvantaged students have a tougher time attracting, developing and retaining good teachers, and there is evidence of this, even based on value-added estimates, which adjust for these characteristics (also see here). However, the assumptions upon which this Students First analysis is based are better seen as empirical questions, and, perhaps more importantly, the recommendations they offer are a rather crude, narrow manifestation of market-based reform principles."
Jeff Bernstein

The Educated Reporter: New Study Finds Early Predictors of Charter School Success - 0 views

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    "A charter school's performance in its first three years of operation is a solid predictor of the program's long-term chances of success, a new study by Stanford University researchers concludes.

    On Wednesday Stanford's Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) published Charter School Growth and Replication, which focuses on what can be learned from the track records of more than 1,300 independently managed public schools and nearly 170 Charter Management Organizations (CMOs). "
Jeff Bernstein

Charter schools that start bad stay bad, study finds - 0 views

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    "Charter schools that start out doing poorly aren't likely to improve, and charters that are successful from the beginning most often stay that way, according to a new study by researchers at Stanford University.

    The report, done by Stanford's Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) and funded by the Robertson Foundation, also found that charter management organizations on average do not do a "dramatically better" job than traditional public schools or charter schools that are individually managed."
Jeff Bernstein

Shanker Blog » A Few Points About The Instability Of Value-Added Estimates - 0 views

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    "...there are a few points about the stability of value-added (or lack thereof) that are frequently ignored or downplayed in our public discourse. All of them are pretty basic and have been noted many times elsewhere, but it might be useful to discuss them very briefly. Three in particular stand out."
Jeff Bernstein

What we did - and didn't - learn from education research in 2012 - 0 views

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    "School reformers this year had something of a banner year, moving ahead with key initiatives such as using standardized test scores to evaluate teachers, expanding charter schools and establishing voucher programs that permitted the use of public funds to be used to pay religious school tuition. But is any of this grounded in research? Here's a look at the year in ed research from Matthew Di Carlo, senior fellow at the non-profit Albert Shanker Institute, located in Washington, D.C. This post originally appeared on the institute's blog."
Jeff Bernstein

Fiscal Impacts of Charter Schools: Lessons From New York - 0 views

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    "Given the budgetary strain that school districts have been facing in recent years and the impetus to increase the number of charter schools, concerns about the fiscal impacts of charter schools are more salient than ever. However, very little research has addressed this issue. Using the city school districts of Albany and Buffalo in New York, this brief addresses this gap in the literature by demonstrating how fiscal impacts on local school districts can be estimated and offering a way to conceptualize fiscal impacts that is useful for framing charter school policy objectives. We find that charter schools have had negative fiscal impacts on these two school districts, and argue that there are two reasons for these impacts. First, operating two systems of public schools under separate governance arrangements can create excess costs. Second, charter school financing policies can distribute resources to or away from districts. We argue that charter schools policies should seek to minimize any avoidable excess costs created by charter schools and ensure that the burden of any unavoidable excess costs is equitably distributed across traditional public schools, charter schools, and the state. We offer concrete policy recommendations that may help to achieve these objectives."
Jeff Bernstein

Evaluating Teachers and Schools Using Student Growth Models - 0 views

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    Interest in Student Growth Modeling (SGM) and Value Added Modeling (VAM) arises from educators concerned with measuring the effectiveness of teaching and other school activities through changes in student performance as a companion and perhaps even an alternative to status. Several formal statistical models have been proposed for year-to-year growth and these fall into at least three clusters: simple change (e.g., differences on a vertical scale), residualized change (e.g., simple linear or quantile regression techniques), and value tables  (varying salience of different achievement level outcomes across two years). Several of these methods have been implemented by states and districts.  This paper reviews relevant literature and reports results of a data-based comparison of six basic SGM models that may permit aggregating across teachers or schools to provide evaluative information.  Our investigation raises some issues that may compromise current efforts to implement VAM in teacher and school evaluations and makes suggestions for both practice and research based on the results.
Jeff Bernstein

Student Selection, Attrition, and Replacement in KIPP Middle Schools - 0 views

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    Recent quasi-experimental and experimental studies have found that KIPP middle schools-part of a nationwide network of charter schools-have large, positive impacts on academic achievement. In light of these findings,  skeptics have  asked whether KIPP schools benefit from unusually selective student attrition and replacement patterns. We investigate this question using longitudinal, student-level data covering 19 KIPP middle schools. On average, we find that  KIPP schools generally admit students who are disadvantaged in ways similar to their peers in local public schools. Rates of exit from KIPP schools are typically no different than rates at nearby district schools, and students exiting KIPP schools have characteristics similar to those of students exiting local district schools. To replace students who exit through attrition, KIPP schools admit a substantial number of new students in grade 6 but admit fewer students in grades 7 and 8 than do nearby public schools. Unlike local district schools, KIPP's late entrants also tend to have higher prior achievement levels and fewer males than the rest of the KIPP student body. Although it is difficult to gauge the size of any resulting peer effects at KIPP, the  existing peer effects  literature indicates  that the range of possibilities is limited. Overall, we find that KIPP's impacts do not appear to be explained by advantages in the prior achievement of KIPP students, even when attrition and replacement throughout the middle school years are taken into account.
Jeff Bernstein

Selecting Growth Measures for School and Teacher Evaluations - 0 views

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    The specifics of how growth models should be constructed and used to evaluate schools and teachers is a topic of lively policy debate in states and school districts nationwide. In this paper we take up the question of model choice and examine three competing approaches. The first approach, reflected in the popular student growth percentiles (SGPs) framework, eschews all controls for student covariates and schooling environments. The second approach, typically associated with value-added models (VAMs), controls for student background characteristics and aims to identify the causal effects of schools and teachers. The third approach, also VAM-based, fully levels the playing field so that the correlation between school- and teacher-level growth measures and student demographics is essentially zero. We argue that the third approach is the most desirable for use in educational evaluation systems. Our case rests on personnel economics, incentive-design theory, and the potential role that growth measures can play in improving instruction in K-12 schools
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