• June 05, 2012

    There has been considerable discussion about the advantages of benchmarking the performance of American students in various states and localities to international tests. In simplest terms, this is something we should support because it would provide new and important information to both states and localities. This new information would also provide added impetus to the imperative to improve our schools.
    The U.S. is in the throes of developing new standards and new tests of student performance, actions that reflect a general dissatisfaction with the level of student achievement. Much of this movement is hooked to a focus on better preparing students for college and work – a focus partly emanating from the consensus opinion that we must improve our human capital if we are to be internationally competitive.
    But the available (and prospective) information on student performance is extraordinarily hard to interpret.

  • June 01, 2012

    It’s no surprise that Americans spend a large share of their incomes to live in the best neighborhoods they can afford. And increasingly our neighbors’ bank accounts are looking more and more like our own.

    In 1970 two-thirds of families lived in middle-income neighborhoods; by 2008 only 43 percent of families lived in such neighborhoods. At the same time, the percentage of families who lived in predominantly poor or predominantly affluent neighborhoods increased by more than 60 percent. By 2008 nearly one in three families in U.S. metropolitan areas lived in neighborhoods at the extremes of the local income spectrum.

  • June 01, 2012

    Congratulations to CEPA graduates! We wish them the best of luck in all of their future endeavors.

    • Nicole Arshan, Research Analyst, SRI International
    • Kendra Bischoff, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Cornell University
    • Anna Chmielewski, Postdoctoral Research Associate, College of Education, Michigan State University
    • Heather Hough, Policy Fellow, PPIC (Public Policy Institute of California)
    • Maria Perez, Assistant Professor of Policy Analysis, Evans School of Public Affairs, University of Washington
    • Kristopher Proctor, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Criminology, Avila University
  • May 30, 2012

  • May 16, 2012

    Five years ago, Stanford's Institute for Research on Educational Policy and Practice (IREPP) released a landmark report on the state of education in California called "Getting Down to Facts." That project, led by education Professor Susanna Loeb, examined the state's K-12 educational finance and governance systems. The project concluded that the state's education system could not make significant improvements without increased spending on schools and a comprehensive policy overhaul. 

    This month another Stanford research center, Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE), issued a progress report evaluating the last five years and looking ahead to the future. The Stanford News Service spoke with PACE's executive director, Professor David Plank, about the improvements made and the challenges that remain.

  • May 07, 2012

    Analysis: More Minnesota students relying on free and reduced lunches. So should schools focus their resources on the racial achievement gap or the income gap? Stanford University sociologist Sean Reardon would argue for the income gap. "We've focused a lot on race and I think it's important to keep paying attention to, but I would like to see us increase the amount of attention we're paying to the socio-economic achievement gaps because they're big, they're growing, and they have huge implications for the future workforce and the health of the economy," he said.

  • May 03, 2012

    Five years after a team of researchers at Stanford University issued a massive study of California's public schools, concluding that the system needed much more money but also major reforms, a followup report from the University of California says there's been a lot of talk but not much progress.

    In fact, the new study says, school spending has dropped sharply, largely due to recession and state budget deficits, while politicians and educators discuss structural reforms but haven't been very successful in making them.

  • May 02, 2012

    As part of their 50th anniversary celebration, MIT Press has selected 50 influential articles published by them since 1969. "Teacher layoffs: An empirical illustration of seniority v. measures of effectiveness" by Donald Boyd, Hamilton Lankford, Susanna Loeb, and James Wyckoff is one of these selected few.

  • May 01, 2012

    If we fail to reform K-12 schools, we will have slow growth and more income inequality.
    Over the past half century, countries with higher math and science skills have grown faster than those with lower-skilled populations. In the chart nearby, we compare GDP-per-capita growth rates between 1960 and 2000 with achievement results on international math assessment tests. The countries include almost all of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries plus a number of developing countries. What stands out is that all the countries follow a nearly straight line that slopes upward—as scores rise, so does economic growth. Peru, South Africa and the Philippines are at the bottom; Singapore and Taiwan, the top.

  • April 25, 2012

    Last week's Capitol Hill briefing by three national experts -- Sean Reardon from Stanford University, Peter Edelman of the Georgetown Law Center, and David Sciarra from the Education Law Center in Newark -- brought the realities of poverty's impact on education into stark relief. Mr. Reardon cited findings from his chapter in the recent Russell Sage compendium Whither Opportunity to demonstrate that our record and growing income gaps, combined with a tattered social safety net, fundamentally threaten the American Dream. Current U.S. education policies compound, rather than alleviate, these massive income disparities, putting equality of opportunity even further out of reach for large numbers of low-income American students.

  • April 23, 2012

    From Bill Gates to Arnie Duncan to Michelle Rhee, there's a lot of talk these days about what to do with our nation's teachers: Evaluate effectiveness. Raise salaries. Get rid of tenure. What we hear less about is keeping teachers in the classroom long enough to make a difference for their students. Teaching is at serious risk of becoming nothing more than a short-term, public service opportunity.

  • April 19, 2012

    In much the same way career coaches help executives reflect on their job performance and goals, student coaches talk with freshmen about studying, financial challenges, family issues, and long-term planning. Eric Bettinger, an associate professor at Stanford University’s School of Education, compared the academic records of more than 13,500 students; half had received coaching and half hadn’t. He found that freshmen in the coached group were 15 percent more likely to still be in school 18 to 24 months later. Coaches “actually call the student and aggressively go after them, rather than expecting the students to come to a service,” Bettinger says. “The information the coach brings into that conversation is pretty dramatic.”

  • March 27, 2012

    For the last 50 years, test scores between high-income and low-income children has grown by about 40 percent, according to a study published last year by Sean Reardon, associate professor of education at Stanford University. That gap is nearly twice the size of the achievement gap by student ethnicity, Reardon found.

  • March 26, 2012

    Partnering with 20 school agencies — representing school districts and organizations which oversee clusters of charter schools — Google is in the process of running a pilot program called the Google Talent Academy. Noting issues with keeping quality employees, the program aims to help senior school staff rethink the way they manage their staff. Led by Google’s people operations department, what they call human resources, teams of school officials are taught tactics for finding, training and keeping the right employees. Each organization is also given a $20,000 grant to implement one of the lessons. Among the pilot program’s participants is the Summit Public Schools, which currently oversees four charter high schools located in Redwood City and San Jose.

  • March 26, 2012

    In theory, teacher turnover could have either a positive or negative impact on students. On one hand, teacher turnover might produce better matches between schools and teachers and result in fresh perspectives. On the other hand, high teacher turnover could decrease student-teacher trust and interrupt institutional knowledge creation.

  • March 21, 2012

    When teachers leave schools, overall morale appears to suffer enough that student achievement declines—both for those taught by the departed teachers and by students whose teachers stayed put, concludes a study recently presented at a conference held by the Center for Longitudinal Data in Education Research. The impact of teacher turnover is one of the teacher-quality topics that's been hard for researchers to get their arms around. The phenomenon of high rates of teacher turnover has certainly been proven to occur in high-poverty schools more than low-poverty ones. The eminently logical assumption has been that such turnover harms student achievement.