Education

Do Small Schools Improve Performance in Large, Urban Districts? Causal Evidence from New York City

Do Small Schools Improve Performance in Large, Urban Districts? Causal Evidence from New York City
Journal of Urban Economics, 77: 27-40

Schwartz, A. E., Stiefel, L., & Wiswall, M.
04/10/2013

We evaluate the effectiveness of small high school reform in the country's largest school district, New York City. Using a rich administrative datasest for multiple cohorts of students and distance between student residence and school to instrument for endogenous school selection, we find substantial heterogeneity in school effects: newly created small schools have positive effects of graduation and some other educational outcomes while older small schools do not. Importantly, we show that ignoring this source of treatment effect heterogeneity by assuming a common small school effect yields a misleading zero effect of small school attendance.

Non-academic factors associated with dropping out of high school: Adolescent problem behaviors

Non-academic factors associated with dropping out of high school: Adolescent problem behaviors
Journal of the Society for Social Work Research. Vol. 4, No. 2 (2013) (pp. 58-75).

Hawkins, R. L., Jaccard, J., & Needle, E.
04/02/2013

This study uses a social capital and collective socialization lens to examine nonacademic factors in middle school that predict students’ failure to complete high school, and focuses on youth who engage in adolescent problem behaviors of smoking cigarettes, sexual intercourse, delinquency, marijuana use, and alcohol use. Our area of interest was the extent to which these variables were predictive of dropping out of high school measured 6 years later and beyond the traditional variables of school performance and school engagement, which are the target of many dropout prevention programs. Analyses use data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to follow a nationally representative sample of children from middle school through the end of the high-school years. Results indicate that engaging in regular smoking and sexual activity during middle-school years predict high-school dropout independent of school performance during middle school. Acts of delinquency during middle school in the context of poverty (i.e., mothers’ receipt of welfare was proxy for poverty) are also predictive of high-school dropout. These findings suggest the importance of factors that reach beyond school performance and school engagement as possible targets for dropout prevention programs.

Beyond Black: Diversity among Black Immigrant Students in New York City Public Schools

Beyond Black: Diversity among Black Immigrant Students in New York City Public Schools
Randy Capps and Michael Fix, editors, Young Children of Black Immigrants in America: Changing Flows, Changing Faces. Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute: 299-331

Doucet, F., Schwartz, A. E., & Debraggio, E.
12/14/2012

The child population in the United States is rapidly changing and diversifying — in large part because of immigration. Today, nearly one in four US children under the age of 18 is the child of an immigrant. While research has focused on the largest of these groups (Latinos and Asians), far less academic attention has been paid to the changing Black child population, with the children of Black immigrants representing an increasing share of the US Black child population.

To better understand a unique segment of the child population, chapters in this interdisciplinary volume examine the health, well-being, school readiness, and academic achievement of children in Black immigrant families (most with parents from Africa and the Caribbean).

The volume explores the migration and settlement experiences of Black immigrants to the United States, focusing on contextual factors such as family circumstances, parenting behaviors, social supports, and school climate that influence outcomes during early childhood and the elementary and middle-school years.  Many of its findings hold important policy implications for education, health care, child care, early childhood development, immigrant integration, and refugee assistance.

The Effect of Local Violence on Children’s Attention and Impulse Control

The Effect of Local Violence on Children’s Attention and Impulse Control
American Journal of Public Health, December 2012, 102(12), 102:2287-2293. 10.2105/AJPH.2012.300789

Sharkey, P., N. Strayer, A. Papachristos, and C. Raver
12/01/2012

Objectives: We examined whether the burden of violence in a child’s community environment alters the child’s behavior and functioning in the classroom setting. 

Methods: To identify the effects of local violence, we exploited variation in the timing of local homicides, based on data from the Chicago Police Department, relative to the timing of interview assessments conducted as part of a randomized controlled trial conducted with preschoolers in Head Start programs from 2004–2006, the Chicago School Readiness Project. We compared children’s scores when exposed to recent local violence with scores when no recent violence had occurred to identify causal effects.

Results: When children were assessed within a week of a homicide that occurred near their home, they exhibited lower levels of attention and impulse control and lower preacademic skills. The analysis showed strong positive effects of local violence on parental distress, providing suggestive evidence that parental responses may be a likely pathway by which local violence affects young children.

Conclusions: Exposure to homicide generates acute psychological distress among caregivers and impairs children’s self-regulatory behavior and cognitive functioning.

Learn and Let Learn: Supporting Learning Communities for Innovation and Impact

Learn and Let Learn: Supporting Learning Communities for Innovation and Impact
RCLA and Grantmakers for Effective Organizations Guide; November 2012

Research Center for Leadership in Action and Scaling What Works
11/06/2012

This guide from RCLA and Grantmakers for Effective Organizations explores the power of learning communities to build connections and knowledge to increase organizations’ community impact. Based on six case studies, the guide explains ways grantmakers can strategically support these efforts as well as key elements for designing learning communities, executing for success and extending the learning.

Do Federally Assisted Households Have Access to High Performing Public Schools?

Do Federally Assisted Households Have Access to High Performing Public Schools?
Poverty & Race Research Action Council

Ellen, Ingrid Gould and Horn, Keren Mertens.
11/01/2012

A family’s housing unit provides more than simply shelter. It also provides a set of neighborhood amenities and a package of local public services, including, most critically, a local school. Yet housing and education policymakers rarely coordinate their efforts, and there has been little examination of the schools that voucher holders or other assisted households actually reach. In this project we describe the elementary schools nearest to households receiving four different forms of housing assistance in the country as a whole, in each of the 50 states, and in the 100 largest metropolitan areas.We compare the characteristics of these schools to those accessible to other comparable households. We pay particular attention to whether voucher holders are able to reach neighborhoods with higher performing schools than other low-income households in the same geographic area.

 

In brief, we find that assisted households as a whole are more likely to live near low-performing schools than other households. Surprisingly, Housing Choice Voucher holders do not generally live near higher performing schools than households receiving other forms of housing assistance, even though the voucher program was created, in part, to help low-income households reach a broader range of neighborhoods and schools. While voucher holders typically live near schools that are higher performing than those nearest to public housing tenants, they also typically live near schools that are slightly lower performing than those nearest to households living in Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) and Projectbased Section 8 developments and lower performing than those nearest to other poor households.

Feasibility of implementing rapid oral fluid HIV testing in an urban university dental clinic: a qualitative study

Feasibility of implementing rapid oral fluid HIV testing in an urban university dental clinic: a qualitative study
BMC Oral Health 2012, 12(11). 10.1186/1472-6831-12-11

Hutchinson, M.K., N. Van Devanter, J. Phelan, D. Malamud, A. Vernillo, J. Combellick, and D. Shelley
05/09/2012

Background

More than 1 million individuals in the U.S. are infected with HIV; approximately 20% of whom do not know they are infected. Early diagnosis of HIV infection results in earlier access to treatment and reductions in HIV transmission. In 2006, the CDC recommended that health care providers offer routine HIV screening to all adolescent and adult patients, regardless of community seroprevalence or patient lifestyle. Dental providers are uniquely positioned to implement these recommendations using rapid oral fluid HIV screening technology. However, thus far, uptake into dental practice has been very limited.

 

Methods

The study utilized a qualitative descriptive approach with convenience samples of dental faculty and students. Six in-depth one-on-one interviews were conducted with dental faculty and three focus groups were conducted with fifteen dental students.

 

Results

Results were fairly consistent and indicated relatively high levels of acceptability. Barriers and facilitators of oral fluid HIV screening were identified in four primary areas: scope of practice/practice enhancement, skills/knowledge/training, patient service/patient reactions and logistical issues.

 

Conclusions

Oral fluid HIV screening was described as having benefits for patients, dental practitioners and the public good. Many of the barriers to implementation that were identified in the study could be addressed through training and interdisciplinary collaborations.

Is severity of obesity associated with diagnosis or health education practices?

Is severity of obesity associated with diagnosis or health education practices?
Int J Obes (Lond). 2012 Jan 24. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2012.1. 

Leventer-Roberts M, Patel A and Leonardo Trasande.
01/24/2012

OBJECTIVE:
To assess the association of the severity of obesity with diagnosis and health education, and to identify any differences within demographic or other subgroups.
DESIGN:
Clinician visits for 2-18 year olds from the 2005-2008 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey were combined. Descriptive, bivariate and multivariate analyses were used to compare diagnosis of obesity and health education (nutrition, exercise and weight reduction) across elevated body mass index (BMI) groups (overweight, obese and extreme or very obese, defined as >120% of the 95th percentile for age and gender), patient socio-demographic characteristics, physician specialty and type of visit (well child visits (WCV) versus non-well child visits (non-WCV).
RESULTS:
A total of 17 808 visits had a calculated BMI, of which 5.8% were extremely obese, 13% were obese and 15.2% were overweight, with the highest percentages among older children, blacks and Hispanics. Diagnosis and weight reduction education were higher among children with an extreme BMI. Nutrition and exercise education were not correlated with severity of obesity. Race, ethnicity or gender biases were not identified. Severity of obesity was significantly associated with presentation to a non-WCV rather than a WCV.
CONCLUSION:
Extremely obese children have higher, but still insufficient, rates of diagnosis and health education. Nutrition and exercise education are not prevalent throughout all age groups. Providers may be relying inconsistently and insufficiently on visual cues to drive their obesity prevention practices. Furthermore, lower rates of diagnosis and education at non-WCV may result in a missed opportunity to prevent comorbidities. This is of particular concern as overweight children are less likely to be seen at WCV than non-WCV.International Journal of Obesity advance online publication, 24 January 2012; doi:10.1038/ijo.2012.1.

 

The Long-Term Effects of Military Conscription on Mortality: Estimates From the Vietnam-Era Draft Lottery

The Long-Term Effects of Military Conscription on Mortality: Estimates From the Vietnam-Era Draft Lottery
Demography

Conley, Dalton and Jennifer Heerwig.
01/01/2012

Research on the effects of Vietnam military service suggests that Vietnam veterans experienced significantly higher mortality than the civilian population at large. These results, however, may be biased by nonrandom selection into the military if unobserved background differences between veterans and nonveterans affect mortality directly. To generate unbiased estimates of exposure to conscription on mortality, the present study compares the observed proportion of draft-eligible male decedents born 1950–1952 to the (1) expected proportion of draft-eligible male decedents given Vietnam draft-eligibility cutoffs; and (2) observed proportion of draft-eligible decedent women. The results demonstrate no effect of draft exposure on mortality, including for cause-specific death rates. When we examine population subgroups—including splits by race, educational attainment, nativity, and marital status—we find weak evidence for an interaction between education and draft eligibility. This interaction works in the opposite direction of putative education-enhancing, mortality-reducing effects of conscription that have, in the past, led to concern about a potential exclusion restriction violation in instrumental variable (IV) regression models. We suggest that previous research, which has shown that Vietnam-era veterans experienced significantly higher mortality than nonveterans, might be biased by nonrandom selection into the military and should be further investigated.

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