Reports & Research

Updated: September 18, 2017

 

U.C. Davis study...

UC Davis Researcher: Ethnic Diversity in Schools May Be Good for Grades

Early adolescents’ grades were higher when they socialized with peers from other ethnicities, according to the findings of a University of California, Davis, study that looked at the lunching habits of more than 800 sixth-graders in three states.

The findings suggest that schools might look for ways to provide cross-ethnic interaction among students – outside of lunch – to take advantage of ethnic diversity, researchers said. “The great part about these findings is that the results were just as true for white students as ethnic minority students (African American, Asian, Latino/a, and multiethnic),” said Adrienne Nishina, associate professor in the Department of Human Ecology and study co-author.

Even white and Asian students, who had significantly higher GPAs than members of other ethnic groups, appeared to benefit from daily cross-ethnic interactions, the study found...

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Attendance Works analysis report...

Almost 10,000 Public Schools Reporting 30% of Students Are Chronically Absent

There are almost 10,000 public schools across the United States – or 11 percent of the total – at which chronic student absence rates affect 30 percent or more of their students, a new analysis shows.

The problem is almost as challenging at another 10,000 schools where 20-to-29 percent of the students are chronically absent. At such high levels, all students in the classroom are affected when teachers have to deal with the churn of sporadic attendance.

The analysis, released September 1 by Attendance Works and the Everyone Graduates Center, found that overall, more than 7 million students nationwide are chronically absent from school. Chronic absence is defined as missing so much school for any reason – including excused, unexcused or suspensions – that students are in trouble academically...

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Center for Public Education report...

Study Finds Public Schools Offer the Broadest Range of Educational Choices

A new report – “Busting the Myth of ‘one-size-fits all’ Public Education,” – from the Center for Public Education (CPE) found an abundance of choice in public schools, both in program offerings and school selection. CPE is the research tank for the National School Boards Association (NSBA). The report comes at an opportune time with the increasing focus in Washington, D.C. and state capitals on educational choice.

“Extraordinary activities and approaches occur in public schools every day because school boards and school leaders continually devise and employ innovative approaches to help students succeed,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director & CEO of the National School Boards Association. “The constant effort to enhance public education has produced an amazing array of learning opportunities spanning course selection, learning styles, and choice of school.”

Public schools are not the monolith critics of public education make them out to be. CPE found that the broadest range of educational and extracurricular options exists in public schools...

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Rand Corporation study...

Shifting School Start Times Could Contribute $83 Billion to Economy Within a Decade

On August 30, the RAND Corporation and RAND Europe released the first-ever, state-by-state analysis (in 47 states) of the economic implications of a shift in school start times in the U.S., showing that a nationwide move to 8:30 a.m. could contribute $83 billion to the U.S. economy within a decade.

Even after just two years, the study projects a national economic gain of $8.6 billion, which would already outweigh the costs per student from delaying school start times to 8:30 a.m. The costs per student are largely due to transportation, such as rescheduling bus routes and times, which would be affected by the school start time change.

The study used a novel macroeconomic model to project gains to the U.S. economy over 15 years from 2017, with this being around $140 billion by the end of the time period. On average, this corresponds to an annual gain of about $9.3 billion each year, which is roughly the annual revenue of Major League Baseball...

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Research Triangle International report...

Report Shows Eligibility for CSU at an All-Time High, with Latino and African American Students Making Largest Gains

The percentage of high school graduates eligible for California State University (CSU) admission has risen steadily during the past two decades, moving from 29.6 percent in 1996 to an all-time high of 40.8 percent in 2015, with African American and Latino students making the largest gains, according to a recent report by Research Triangle International (RTI).

During the period of the study (1996 to 2015), the eligibility rate of African American students and Latino students for CSU and UC more than doubled.

Overall, eligibility for admission to the University of California (UC) system also increased from 11.1 percent to 13.9 percent.

The change in eligibility, in addition to California’s growing population, translates into a massive increase in the number of students who qualify for postsecondary education in California...

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Northwestern University report...

Study Examines Link Between Academic Performance and Violence in High-Crime Communities

Numerous studies have shown a relationship between high-crime communities and the academic performance of children who live within them.

Now, new Northwestern University research suggests sleep disruption following violent incidents and increased amounts of the stress hormone cortisol offer a biological explanation for why children who live in neighborhoods with higher rates of violent crime struggle more in school.

“Both sleep and cortisol are connected to the ability to learn and perform academic tasks,” said study lead author Jenni Heissel, who recently received her Ph.D. in human development and social policy from the School of Education and Social Policy. “Our study identifies a pathway by which violent crime may get under the skin to affect academic performance.”...

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Brookings report...

Report: Schools’ Ability to Close Achievement Gap Varies Dramatically

Researchers and policymakers alike often compare the success of students between school districts. But a new Brookings report by David Figlio and Krzysztof Karbownik indicates that school quality can vary greatly between schools in the same district.

Focusing on schools where both advantaged and disadvantaged students perform well could be key to crafting better policy, they write.

Figlio, an economist and professor of human development and social policy, is the director of the Institute for Policy Research and the Orrington Lunt Professor of Education and Social Policy. Karbownik is an IPR research associate.

The report’s Executive Summary says:

Recent research demonstrates that the test score gap between relatively advantaged and relatively disadvantaged students is much higher in some school districts than it is in other districts...

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Center for American Progress brief...

New Issue Brief Examines Historical Link Between Vouchers, Segregation

On the heels of proposals from Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, and President Donald Trump to create the first nationwide federal voucher program while slashing funds for public schools and loosening civil rights protections, a new issue brief from the Center for American Progress explores the historical link between private school vouchers and segregationist policies in the United States. The impacts of voucher programs put in place to avoid desegregation still reverberate in the U.S. education system today.

The issue brief centers on the extreme measures taken by Prince Edward County, Virginia, who shut down their public schools for five years rather than desegregate the public schools after the landmark Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decisions...

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Rice, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin researchers report...

Research examines link between poverty, school readiness:
More Children Living in High-Poverty Neighborhoods Following Great Recession

More children are living in high-poverty neighborhoods following the Great Recession – a troubling shift because children in these neighborhoods are a year behind academically, according to new research from researchers at Rice University, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Wisconsin.

“Family Poverty and Neighborhood Poverty: Links With Children’s School Readiness Before and After the Great Recession” examines how neighborhood and family poverty predict children’s academic skills and classroom behavior when they start school, and whether associations have changed over a period of 12 years that included the 2008 recession. The researchers used data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study and examined cohorts of kindergarteners from across the U.S. in 1998 and 2010...

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Northwestern University report...

Biological Anthropologists Say Playing in the Dirt as Kids Makes Chronic Disease Less Likely Later in Life

Northwestern University anthropologist Thom McDade realized early in his career that a lab was not the best place to study human development. As a young anthropologist, he traveled to the islands of Samoa, the deserts of Kenya and the rainforests of Bolivia to understand how kids grow up around the world. It was through these experiences that he made key observations that helped set the path of his research career.

"Obviously, the way kids grow up in these places is socially, ecologically and culturally different from the way kids grow up in the U.S., but there's more to it," McDade says. "As we develop, no matter where we are, we literally embody information from our environment."...

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