News

  • 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.

  • September 06, 2019

    MIP network member Benjamin Domingue is an Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University. He is interested in how student outcomes are leveraged to inform our understanding of student learning, teacher performance, and the efficacy of other programs. He has a particular interest in the technical issues that make it challenging to draw simple inferences from such student outcomes. Another strand of research focuses on the integration of genetic data into social science research. He is particularly interested in understanding the genetic architecture of educational attainment and the way in which schools can and do moderate the association between genes and educational attainment. Domingue received his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

  • September 04, 2019

    A Stanford University study has concluded that a controversial tenth-grade MCAS essay question that many students and teachers derided as racist hurt the performance of a small number of black students, state officials announced Friday, prompting them to take the unusual step of waiving the passing score for a limited number of students

  • August 28, 2019

    Stanford’s Eric Bettinger and his research team found that students who won a lottery for a voucher in Colombia were 17% more likely to complete high school on time than students who lost the lottery. The study, released in July, used a method of random assignment to compare apples to apples. So it isn’t because of selection bias that lottery winners earned 8% more than lottery losers by the time they turned 33. It’s because their parents were allowed to choose schools that were better fits for their children.

  • August 26, 2019

    The 1993 movie "Groundhog Day" has become an enduring classic partly because of an engaging plot line in which the protagonist has repeated opportunities to make better decisions. In early-childhood education, state and local stakeholders currently have a compelling "Groundhog Day" opportunity of their own. Versions of the controversial accountability reforms that have become commonplace in K-12 schools over the last 30 years have recently and quietly spread throughout the early-childhood sector. These recent reforms present a fresh new chance to get it right and to avoid the missteps that have ...

  • August 02, 2019

    “We can’t depend upon pre-K to cure a K-12 system that’s not working for poor families,” she said on Thursday. “We can’t put the blame on children who are placed in low performing schools and then just say that they weren’t ready. If we really care about children from low-income families and the schools that serve them, we’ve got to take a bigger view.”

  • July 17, 2019

    "Racial intolerance (and outright racism) seems on the rise, and white-black income and wealth disparities remain very large and have not narrowed in decades. So there is little reason to expect much decline in racial segregation in the near future, particularly given the lack of policy interest in addressing it. Economic segregation likewise shows no sign of declining. So I am currently pessimistic, given today’s political and economic winds, but am more hopeful about the long arc of the future, which I think will ultimately bend toward equality and fairness." Sean Reardon

  • July 08, 2019

    When local police partnered with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to enforce immigration laws, the number of Hispanic students plummeted, a study finds.

    More than 300,000 Hispanic students have been displaced from K-12 schools in communities where local police have forged partnerships with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers to better enforce immigration laws, according to a new study from researchers at Stanford University.

  • July 05, 2019

    Stanford’s Reardon points out that one reason that the racial and ethnic gaps in Berkeley are so high is that white students on average are doing exceptionally well, not that black and Latino students are doing exceptionally poorly, at least compared to their peers in other school districts.

    In that sense, Berkeley is not that dissimilar to other communities which are also home to world-class universities, like Palo Alto, Chapel Hill and Evanston, IL, where achievement gaps are also very large.

    “Some of it is that white families in those places tend to have higher incomes and education levels than black and Hispanic families, who have fewer socioeconomic resources to use to provide educational opportunities for their children such as high-quality preschool,” Reardon said.

  • June 28, 2019
  • June 17, 2019
  • June 06, 2019

    Lawmakers sometimes cut education budgets in the hope of forcing schools to become more efficient. Given the difficulty of measuring the effects of education spending on test scores, it can be hard to know whether this is as bad an idea as, at first glance, it might seem to be. Yet America ran a large, albeit unintended, experiment along these lines in 2007-09, when school budgets were cut during the recession. What happened to the pupils?

  • June 03, 2019

    Culturally relevant curriculum can increase motivation and engagement, says Thomas Dee, a Stanford education professor. When San Francisco piloted a ninth-grade ethnic-studies course, students had better attendance, scored 1.4 points higher in their GPAs, and went on to earn 23 more credits in high school than a comparison group of academically similar students who took traditional social studies, Professor Dee and Emily Penner of the University of California, Irvine, found in a study. California is now considering taking the ethnic studies class statewide.

  • May 15, 2019

    The War on Drugs locked up thousands of black men, and a new study finds that it may have also locked many out of the college classroom—and all the benefits that come with a college degree.

    There was a time when black men’s college enrollment was gaining ground, as compared to white men’s. From 1980 to 1985, college enrollment among black men ages 18 to 24 grew slightly faster than it did for their white peers.

  • April 18, 2019

    Thomas Dee, a Barnett Family professor of education at Stanford University, argued it’s equally beneficial to lower class sizes in the later grades, because it improves certain skills, such as students’ motivation to learn and their engagement in lessons, all of which leads to graduation.

    Prof. Dee and his colleague researched the effects of class sizes in the middle-school years, and found that exposure to smaller classes in Grade 8 led to improvements in student engagement that were still detectable, though smaller, two years later. He acknowledged it was an expensive venture, but he said his research found “there’s still quite a reasonable and positive return on those investments.”

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