News

  • October 28, 2019

    The first rigorous evaluation of one of the larger programs came out in October 2019 and found some promising results. Stanford University researchers studied a special class expressly for black teenage boys in Oakland, California, called the Manhood Development Program. They found that black boys were less likely to drop out of high school if the class was offered at their school compared to black boys at schools where it wasn’t offered. In a high school with 60 black boys in ninth grade, only three students dropped out, on average, instead of five students in schools that didn’t offer the course.

  • October 21, 2019

    A new study led by Thomas S. Dee, a professor at Stanford Graduate School of Education (GSE), provides the first evidence that access to the program significantly reduced the number of black males who dropped out of high school. The study found smaller reductions in the number of black females who dropped out as well, suggesting a possible spillover effect.

    “Many historically marginalized students experience schools as highly alienating spaces,” said Dee. “The targeted design of this program, and the evidence of its impact, challenges us to radically reconsider how we think about promoting equity in education.”

  • October 20, 2019

    The study — written by the University of Virginia’s James H. Wyckoff and Stanford University’s Thomas S. Dee — suggests that incentives of the variety that the District used “can substantially improve the measured performance of the teaching workforce.”

  • October 18, 2019

    When we look at our data, there's no school district in the United States out of the thousands and thousands that has even moderately high segregation that doesn't have a large achievement gap.

  • October 17, 2019

    Students of color are suspended at disproportionately higher rates than white students and, on average, perform more poorly on standardized tests. But no peer-reviewed nationwide research has documented a link between the two disparities—until now.

    “Prior research has suggested that achievement gaps and discipline gaps may be two sides of the same coin,” says Francis Pearman, an assistant professor at Stanford University Graduate School of Education and lead author of the study in AERA Open. “This is the first study to document this relationship at the national level.”

  • October 17, 2019
  • October 16, 2019
  • October 16, 2019

    A new Stanford-led study finds that an increase in either the discipline gap or the academic achievement gap between black and white students in the United States predicts a jump in the other. Similarly, as one gap narrows, so does the other.   

    “Prior research has suggested that achievement gaps and discipline gaps may be two sides of the same coin,” said Francis Pearman, an assistant professor at Stanford Graduate School of Education and lead author of the study. “This is the first study to document this relationship at the national level.”

  • September 25, 2019
  • September 25, 2019

    Earlier this week, Stanford University sociologist Sean Reardon and some colleagues released a report using massive amounts of test-score data to investigate the effects of modern-day racial segregation. After Southern schools were desegregated in the wake of Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, test-score gaps between black and white students decreased. But with the decline of court-ordered integration, racial segregation in schools returned and has remained at high levels since the 1980s. The question the study set out to investigate is: does racial segregation still matter?

    The answer, Reardon and his colleagues say, is yes. School systems that are more segregated have larger achievement gaps, and “their gaps grow faster during elementary and middle schools than in less segregated ones.” But it’s not because of race per se. The real problem, the researchers conclude, is poverty.

  • September 24, 2019
  • September 23, 2019

    Here’s a tale of three cities: Atlanta, New York and Detroit.

    In all three cities, there is a high degree of racial segregation in the schools. White students go to schools with relatively few black and Hispanic students. Black and Hispanic students attend schools that don’t have many white students. When Sean Reardon, a sociologist at Stanford University, measures the racial isolation in a quantitative way, he finds that the schools in the three cities are “equally racially segregated.”

    But the poverty rates in the schools are very different. In Atlanta, blacks students go to schools with very high poverty rates. The students in these schools tend to come from families whose income is low enough that the children qualify for free or reduced priced lunches, a federal measure of poverty. The white students in Atlanta tend to go to schools with very low poverty rates. In New York City, Reardon finds the same pattern but not to the same extreme. Meanwhile, in Detroit, this pattern isn’t true at all. White and black students attend different schools, but the poverty levels are high in both white and black schools.

  • September 23, 2019

    “Racial segregation appears to be harmful because it concentrates minority students in high-poverty schools, which are, on average, less effective than lower-poverty schools,” concluded the paper by academics, led by Sean F. Reardon, professor of poverty and inequality in education and senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.

    The study examined scores from hundreds of millions of tests over the last decade by students in thousands of school districts. Researchers found a “very strong link” between racial school segregation and academic achievement gaps. Every school district with “even moderately high” segregation had a large achievement gap, they found.

  • September 23, 2019

    Fifty years ago, communities across America began efforts to make school districts more racially integrated, believing it would ease racial disparities in students’ educational opportunities. But new evidence shows that while racial segregation within a district is a very strong predictor of achievement gaps, school poverty – not the racial composition of schools – accounts for this effect.

    In other words, racial segregation remains a major source of educational inequality, but this is because racial segregation almost always concentrates black and Hispanic students in high-poverty schools, according to new research led by Sean Reardon, a professor at Stanford Graduate School of Education (GSE).

    “The only school districts in the U.S. where racial achievement gaps are even moderately small are those where there is little or no segregation. Every moderately or highly segregated district has large racial achievement gaps,” said Reardon, the Professor of Poverty and Inequality at Stanford GSE. “But it’s not the racial composition of the schools that matters. What matters is when black or Hispanic students are concentrated in high-poverty schools in a district.”

  • September 12, 2019

    Stanford education professor Eric Bettinger has shown that one easy way to boost college attendance or planning for postsecondary education is to simplify the complex processes surrounding financial aid and college savings funds. In particular, he has found that:

    • High school seniors whose families received help completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and information about tuition costs for local universities were more likely to complete two years of college. (Data was collected three years after the assistance was provided.)
    • Parents who received information about tax-advantaged 529 college savings plans and the required opening deposit of $50 were 22 percent more likely to open an account and 7 percent more likely to enroll in automatic monthly contributions.
  • September 06, 2019

    Stanford education professor Michael Kirst was a leading architect of California’s new accountability system based on multiple measures and the California School Dashboard that represents visually how schools are doing on numerous indicators. Kirst, a close advisor on education to Gov. Jerry Brown for several decades, was president of the State Board of Education when Brown became governor in 2010,  and occupied a similar position during Brown’s first term as governor in the 1970s. Kirst has argued strongly against trying to rate a school or school district on a single measure. John Fensterwald and Louis Freedberg talked with Kirst to get his views on why he is opposed to a single rating.

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