Education

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.

Race, Gender and the Recession: Job Creation and Employment

Race, Gender and the Recession: Job Creation and Employment

C. Nicole Mason, Ph.D
05/01/2009

This report focuses on the effect of the recession and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) on economically marginalized communities. The Network highlights four key areas of impact for women of color and their families: job creation and employment, housing and social services, education, and tax cuts to individuals.

"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

Brecher, C., Brazill, C., Silver, D. & Weitzman, B.C.
01/01/2009

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.

Spending, Size, and Grade Span in K-8 Schools

Spending, Size, and Grade Span in K-8 Schools
Education Finance and Policy, 4(1): 60-88

Rubenstein, R. & Schwartz, A.E., Stiefel, L., Zabel, J.
01/01/2009

Reorganizing primary school grade spans is a tractable and relatively inexpensive school reform. However, assessing the effects of reorganization requires also examining other organizational changes that may accompany grade span reforms. Using data on New York City public schools from 1996 to 2002 and exploiting within-school variations, we examine relationships among grade span, spending, and size. We find that school grade span is associated with differences in school size, class size, and grade size, though generally not with spending and other resources. In addition, we find class size and grade size differences in the same grade level at schools with different configurations, suggesting that school grade span affects not only school size but also class size and grade size. We find few relationships, though, between grade span and school-level performance, pointing to the need to augment these analyses with pupil-level data. We conclude with implications for research and practice.

Immigration and Urban Schools: The Dynamics of Demographic Change in the Nation's Largest School District

Immigration and Urban Schools: The Dynamics of Demographic Change in the Nation's Largest School District
Education and Urban Society 41(3):  295-316.

O'Regan, K. & Ellen, I.G., Conger, D.
03/01/2008

The authors use a rich data set on New York City public elementary schools to explore how changes in immigrant representation have played out at the school level, providing a set of stylistic facts about the magnitude and nature of demographic changes in urban schools. They find that while the city experienced an overall increase in its immigrant representation over the 5 years studied, its elementary schools did not. Although the average school experienced little change during this period, a significant minority of schools saw sizable shifts. The change does not mirror the White flight and 'tipping' associated with desegregation but rather suggests a tendency to stabilize, with declines in immigrant enrollments concentrated in schools with larger immigrant populations at the outset. The authors also find that changes in the immigrant shares influence the composition of the school's students, and that overall school demographic changes do not mirror grade-level changes within schools.

Long-Term Associations of Homelessness with Children's Well-Being

Long-Term Associations of Homelessness with Children's Well-Being
American Behavioral Scientist, Feb 2008, Vol. 51 Issue 6, p789-809, 21p

Shinn, M., Schteingart, J.S., Williams, N.P., Carlin-Mathis, J., Bialo-Karagis, N.,Becker-Klein, R. & Weitzman, B.C.
02/01/2008

To analyze long-term consequences of homelessness, the authors compared 388 formerly homeless children 55 months after shelter entry with 382 housed peers, birth to 17, using mother- and child-reported health, mental health, community involvement, cognitive performance, and educational records. Both groups scored below cognitive and achievement norms. Small group differences favored housed 4- to 6-year-olds on cognition and 4- to 10-year-olds on mental health only. Child care and recent stressful events, which were high, were as or more important than prior homelessness. Only children living with mothers were included, potentially biasing results. Policy implications are discussed.

Durable Effects of Concentrated Disadvantage on Verbal Ability among African-American Children

Durable Effects of Concentrated Disadvantage on Verbal Ability among African-American Children
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2008, 105(3):845-852.

Sampson, R.J., P. Sharkey, and S. Raudenbush
01/22/2008

Disparities in verbal ability, a major predictor of later life outcomes, have generated widespread debate, but few studies have been able to isolate neighborhood-level causes in a developmentally and ecologically appropriate way. This study presents longitudinal evidence from a large-scale study of >2,000 children ages 6 –12 living in Chicago, along with their caretakers, who were followed wherever they moved in the U.S. for up to 7 years. AfricanAmerican children are exposed in such disproportionate numbers to concentrated disadvantage that white and Latino children cannot be reliably compared, calling into question traditional research strategies assuming common points of overlap in ecological risk. We therefore focus on trajectories of verbal ability among African-American children, extending recently developed counterfactual methods for time-varying causes and outcomes to adjust for a wide range of predictors of selection into and out of neighborhoods. The results indicate that living in a severely disadvantaged neighborhood reduces the later verbal ability of black children on average by  4 points, a magnitude that rivals missing a year or more of schooling.

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