Federal and State Education Policy

Long-term educational consequences of secondary school vouchers: Evidence from administrative records in Colombia

Colombia's PACES program provided over 125,000 poor children with vouchers that covered the cost of private secondary school. The vouchers were renewable annually conditional on adequate academic progress. Since many vouchers were assigned by lottery, program effects can reliably be assessed by comparing lottery winners and losers. Estimates using administrative records suggest the PACES program increases secondary school completion rates by 15 to 20 percent.

Using experimental economics to measure the effects of a natural educational experiment on Altruism

Economic research examining how educational intervention programs affect primary and secondary schooling focuses largely on test scores although the interventions can affect many other outcomes. This paper examines how an educational intervention, avoucher program, affected students' altruism. The voucher program used a lottery to allocate scholarships among low-income applicant families with children in K-8th grade. By exploiting the lottery to identify the voucher effects, and using experimental economic methods, we measure the effects of the intervention on children's altruism.

The state role in teacher compensation

Policy makers have long been concerned with K–12 teachers’ compensation. Not only might increased teacher compensation purchase more skilled teachers, it might also influence how long teachers stay at their schools and in the teaching profession. Similarly, changes in the structure of teacher salary schedules may change the appeal of teaching even if average salaries remain the same. Much of the extant research on K–12 teacher salaries shows, to no great surprise, that teachers respond to salary changes (for examples, see Baugh and Stone 1982 and Murnane and Olsen 1989, 1990).

The state role in teacher professional development and education throughout teachers

Professional development and teacher education policies have the potential to greatly affect teachers' abilities to teach and, as a result, students' abilities to learn. States can play varied roles in the provision of teacher education and professional development. This policy brief summarizes states' policy approaches to teacher professional development and education throughout teachers' careers.

Recruiting effective math teachers: Evidence from New York city

For well over a decade school districts across the United States have struggled to recruit and retain effective mathematics teachers. In response to the need for qualified math teachers and the difficulty of directly recruiting individuals who have already completed the math content required for qualification, some districts, including Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and New York City, have developed alternative certification programs with a math immersion component to recruit otherwise well-qualified candidates who do not have undergraduate majors in math.

A federal foray into teacher certification: Assessing the Highly qualified teacher' provision of NCLB

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 required all students to be taught by “highly qualified” teachers by 2006. States had substantial flexibility in defining teacher standards and yet no State reached the goal of 100 percent highly qualified teachers (HQT) by the end of the 2005-2006 school year. Even before the first deadline past, the Federal government established a new deadline—the end of the 2006-07 school year.

Have assessment-based accountability reforms influenced the career decisions of teachers?

Assessment-based school accountability reforms have swept through the states, often including both new standardized tests for students and consequences for teachers, schools, and districts. Beginning with state level reforms that varied in strength and composition, school accountability has become more standardized with the passage at the national level of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). The expressed purpose of these reforms has been to promote educational achievement and reduce the disparity in educational opportunities between students.

California's teachers

In March 2007, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared that 2008 would be the "year of education" in California. A wise observer of the education policy system soon pointed out that the only certain implication of the governor's declaration was that 2007 would not be the year of education. This proved to be true, and—as it turned out—2008 was not the “Year of Education” either. Some progress has been made on discrete issues including the development of a student-level data system, but the daunting challenges facing California’s education system remain to be addressed.

The development of a teacher salary parcel tax: The quality teacher and education act in San Francisco

In June 2008, the voters of San Fran-cisco, with a 69.8 percent majority, approved a parcel tax authorizing San Francisco Uniἀed School District (SFUSD) to collect $198 per parcel of taxable property annually for 20 years. Ḁese revenues add up to over $500 per student per year1 and will be used to fund a general increase in teacher salaries, as well as a number of changes in teacher compensation and support for school improvement initiatives, such as technology and charter schools.

Alternative certification in the long run: Student achievement, teacher retention and the distribution of teacher quality in New York city

A large number of school districts still struggle to hire qualified teachers, especially in subjects such as special education, math and science. However, over the last ten years the landscape of teacher supply has been dramatically altered by the substitution of alternatively certified teachers for unlicensed teachers in many school districts (Feistritzer, 2008).