Sade Bonilla Awarded NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

May 15, 2018

Congratulations to Sade Bonilla for receiving 2018 National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship.

Sade Bonilla is a doctoral candidate studying the economics of education at Stanford University. She is an Institute of Education Sciences (IES) pre-doctoral fellow and recipient of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) Equity Inclusion fellowship. Her research focuses on K-12 education policy with an emphasis on high school to college transitions and career and technical education. Prior to her doctoral studies she was a Harvard Strategic Data Project (SDP) fellow with Albuquerque Public Schools. As a doctoral student she has prioritized conducting research through research-practitioner partnerships with school districts and states. Sade received a M.A. in Economics from Stanford University, an A.M. in Urban Education Policy and A.B in Public Policy and Education Studies from Brown University.

The Effects of Articulated Career Pathway Reforms for High School Students

The economic and social consequences of failing to obtain a high school diploma are stark. A new generation of CTE models emphasizing articulated career pathways are being pursued by states and localities nationwide in response to stagnating high school completion rates and low-college completion rates. This dissertation will couple descriptive evidence on the dispersion of these new CTE programs and their differential uptake by students with credibly causal evidence on how participation in such programs influences student transitions to college and the labor market. I will identify the causal effects of these programs on students through regression discontinuity (RD) and difference-in-difference (DD) designs that leverage credible quasi-random assignment to career pathways. My dissertation will also provide translational insights relevant to policymakers who may be considering adopting these CTE models (e.g., insights regarding cost-effectiveness and the available evidence on the challenges to a high-fidelity implementation). This work builds on important prior research that has articulated both theories of change and empirical evidence on earlier models of vocational education. These earlier studies, however, focus on vocational course taking and use methods that do not fully account for student selection. This work fills this gap by providing rigorous causal evidence on new career pathway models promulgated by local agencies nationwide.