Education

School Cost Accounting: What Do We Know and How Do We Get There?

School Cost Accounting: What Do We Know and How Do We Get There?
Public Performance & Management Review, 35 (1): 29-53.

Denison, Dwight, William Hartman, Leanna Stiefel and Michele Deegan
01/01/2011

This paper describes a model for assessing and reporting schoollevel resources. State and local decision-makers have been seeking ways to obtain such information for more than a decade, but there is as yet no easy, accessible way to do so and no way to satisfy both internal and external users of the information. The model, based on case studies in Pennsylvania (with successful replication in New York), resolves many of the issues. The seven principles that guide the model are explained, challenges in developing school-level reports are generalized, and resolutions to the challenges in three states are compared. The conclusion draws out implications for the future of regularly collected school resource data.

The Effect of Immigrant Communities on Foreign-Born Student Achievement

The Effect of Immigrant Communities on Foreign-Born Student Achievement
International Migration Review, 45(3):675-701

Conger, Dylan, Leanna Stiefel, and Amy Ellen Schwartz
01/01/2011

This paper explores the effect of the human capital characteristics of co-ethnic immigrant communities on foreign-born students’ math achievement. We use data on New York City public school foreign-born students from 39 countries merged with census data on the characteristics of the immigrant household heads in the city from each nation of origin and estimate regressions of student achievement on co-ethnic immigrant community characteristics, controlling for student and school attributes. We find that the income and size of the co-ethnic immigrant community has no effect on immigrant student achievement, while the percent of college graduates may have a small positive effect. In addition, children in highly English proficient immigrant communities test slightly lower than children from less proficient communities. The results suggest that there may be some protective factors associated with immigrant community members’ education levels and use of native languages.

The Path Not Taken: How Does School Organization Affect 8th Grade Achievement?

The Path Not Taken: How Does School Organization Affect 8th Grade Achievement?
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 33 (3): 293-317

Schwartz, Amy Ellen, Leanna Stiefel, Ross Rubenstein, and Jeffrey Zabel
01/01/2011

Although rearranging school organizational features is a popular school reform, little research exists to inform policymakers about how grade spans affect achievement. This article examines how grade spans and the school transitions that students make between fourth and eighth grade shape student performance in eighth grade. The authors estimate the impact of grade span paths on eighth grade performance, controlling for school and student characteristics and correcting for attrition bias and quality of original school. They find that students moving from K-4 to 5-8 schools outperform students on other paths. Results suggest four possible explanations for the findings- the number and timing of school changes, the size of within-school cohorts, and the stability of peer cohorts.

What Do AEFA Members Say? Summary of Results of an Education Finance and Policy Survey

What Do AEFA Members Say? Summary of Results of an Education Finance and Policy Survey
Education Finance and Policy, 6 (2): 267-292

Stiefel, Amy Ellen Schwartz and Anne Rotenberg
01/01/2011

In the spring of 2008 the authors surveyed members of the American Education Finance Association (AEFA) to gain insight into their views on education policy issues. The results summarize opinions of this broad group of education researchers and practitioners, providing AEFA members and education leaders with access to views that may be helpful as they consider policies to analyze or pursue. This article reports the results in six areas of current policy interest. How should education aid be distributed? Is school choice a good thing? Does school finance reform work? What has accountability wrought? Can school policies close the black-white achievement gap? And how should teachers be compensated? Our findings identify areas of substantial agreement as well as areas where there is disagreement. For example, there is considerable agreement that state and federal governments should provide additional funding for disadvantaged students but disagreement on how to measure school finance adequacy.

A School-Randomized Clinical Trial of an Integrated Social-Emotional Learning and Literacy Intervention: Impacts on Third-Grade Outcomes

A School-Randomized Clinical Trial of an Integrated Social-Emotional Learning and Literacy Intervention: Impacts on Third-Grade Outcomes
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 78(6): 829-842

Jones, S.M., Brown, J.L, Hoglund, W.L.G., & J.L. Aber.
12/01/2010

Objective: To report experimental impacts of a universal, integrated school-based intervention in social–emotional learning and literacy development on change over 1 school year in 3rd-grade children's social–emotional, behavioral, and academic outcomes. Method: This study employed a school-randomized, experimental design and included 942 3rd-grade children (49% boys; 45.6% Hispanic/Latino, 41.1% Black/African American, 4.7% non-Hispanic White, and 8.6% other racial/ethnic groups, including Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American) in 18 New York City public elementary schools. Data on children's social–cognitive processes (e.g., hostile attribution biases), behavioral symptomatology (e.g., conduct problems), and literacy skills and academic achievement (e.g., reading achievement) were collected in the fall and spring of 1 school year. Results: There were main effects of the 4Rs Program after 1 year on only 2 of the 13 outcomes examined. These include children's self-reports of hostile attributional biases (Cohen's d = 0.20) and depression ( d = 0.24). As expected based on program and developmental theory, there were impacts of the intervention for those children identified by teachers at baseline with the highest levels of aggression ( d = 0.32–0.59) on 4 other outcomes: children's self-reports of aggressive fantasies, teacher reports of academic skills, reading achievement scaled scores, and children's attendance. Conclusions: This report of effects of the 4Rs intervention on individual children across domains of functioning after 1 school year represents an important first step in establishing a better understanding of what is achievable by a schoolwide intervention such as the 4Rs in its earliest stages of unfolding. The first-year impacts, combined with our knowledge of sustained and expanded effects after a second year, provide evidence that this intervention may be initiating positive developmental cascades both in the general population of students and among those at highest behavioral risk.

The American Single Mother

The American Single Mother

Women of Color Policy Network
10/01/2010

Across race and age groups, education is the single greatest predictor of single-motherhood in America. This policy brief offers a profile of the American single woman mother, contemporary population trends, and the economic security of this growing demographic. See also our full report "At Ropes End: Single Women Mothers, Wealth and Asset Accumulation in the United States.

Understanding the Political Context of "New " Policy Issues: The Use of the Advocacy Coalition Framework in the Case of Expanded After-School Programs

Understanding the Political Context of "New " Policy Issues: The Use of the Advocacy Coalition Framework in the Case of Expanded After-School Programs
Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 20(2): 335-355

Brecher C, Brazill C, Weitzman BC, and D Silver.
04/01/2010

This article uses the Advocacy Coalition Framework to identify the stakeholders and their coalitions in the arena of after-school policy, which drew much new attention beginning in the early 1990s in many American cities. Using evidence from case studies in five cities, we show how the framework can be extended beyond stakeholder analysis to include identification of core and secondary value conflicts and of opportunities for policy analysis to help strengthen coalitions and pressures for change. Coalitions in each of the cities differ over core values relating to the purposes of after-school programs (academics versus “fun”), but policy analysts can promote common goals by developing options to deal with the secondary conflicts over the relative importance of facilities versus program content, the modes of collaboration between public schools and community based organizations, and the incentives for public school teachers to engage in staffing after-school programs.

Improving Classroom Quality: Teacher Influences and Experimental Impacts of the 4Rs Program

Improving Classroom Quality: Teacher Influences and Experimental Impacts of the 4Rs Program
Journal of Educational Psychology, 102(1), 153-167

Brown, J.L., Jones, S.M., LaRusso, M.D., & J.L. Aber.
02/01/2010

This study capitalizes on recent advances in the reliable and valid measurement of classroom-level social processes known to influence children's social–emotional and academic development and addresses a number of limitations in our current understanding of teacher- and intervention-related impacts on elementary school classroom processes. A cluster randomized controlled trial design was employed to (a) examine whether teacher social–emotional functioning forecasts differences in the quality of 3rd-grade classrooms, (b) test the experimental impact of a school-based social–emotional learning and literacy intervention on the quality of classroom processes controlling for teacher social–emotional functioning, and (c) examine whether intervention impacts on classroom quality are moderated by these teacher-related factors. Results indicated (a) positive effects of teachers' perceived emotional ability on classroom quality; (b) positive effects of the 4Rs Program on overall classroom quality, net of teacher social–emotional functioning indicators; and (c) intervention effects that are robust to differences in these teacher factors. These findings support and extend recent research examining intervention-induced changes in classroom-level social processes fundamental to positive youth development.

Mission Matters: The Cost of Small High Schools Revisited

Mission Matters: The Cost of Small High Schools Revisited
Economics of Education Review,

Stiefel, L., Schwartz, A.E., Iatarola, P. & Chellman, C.
10/01/2009

With the financial support of several large foundations and the federal government, creating small schools has become a prominent high school reform strategy in many large American cities. While some research supports this strategy, little research assesses the relative costs of these smaller schools. We use data on over 200 New York City high schools, from 1996 through 2003, to estimate school cost functions relating per pupil expenditures to school size, controlling for school output and quality, student characteristics, and school organization. We find that the structure of costs differs across schools depending upon mission-comprehensive or themed. At their current levels of outputs, themed schools minimize per pupil costs at smaller enrollments than comprehensive schools, but these optimally sized themed schools also cost more per pupil than optimally sized comprehensive schools. We also find that both themed and comprehensive high schools at actual sizes are smaller than their optimal sizes.

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