Virtual School Meanderings

September 19, 2014

Eighth Annual NEPC Fellows Research Panels: What Do We Know, and What Should We Know, About Virtual Schools?

Today I am participating in the Eighth Annual NEPC Fellows Research Panels on the topic of “What Do We Know, and What Should We Know, About Virtual Schools?” with Luis Huerta, of Teachers College, Columbia University.  Below are my slides from the session.

September 18, 2014

News from the NEPC: **Fruit Not Yet Ready to Pick

From Tuesday’s inbox…

Research and analysis to inform education policy
and promote democratic deliberation
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Fruit Not Yet Ready
to Pick

Report’s recommendation of AppleTree charter preschool as a national model is premature without rigorous study

Contact:

William J. Mathis, (802) 383-0058, wmathis@sover.net

W. Steven Barnett, (848) 932-4350, sbarnett@nieer.org

URL for this press release: http://tinyurl.com/m29avxg

BOULDER, CO (September 16, 2014) – A recent report argues that a Washington, D.C., charter pre-school is particularly successful. The report then seeks to leverage that contention as strong support for a recommendation to open many more charter pre-schools nationwide, as an optional way to expand access to early education.

But a review of the report, written by experts on early childhood education, cautions that it fails to make the case that the D.C. charter under study is unusually effective – or that its charter status is the driving force for any success it may be having.

W. Steven Barnett and Cynthia E. Lamy, both of the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University, reviewed Seeds of Achievement: AppleTree’s Early Childhood D.C. Charter Schools, by Cara Stillings Candal and published by the Pioneer Institute. The review was undertaken for the Think Twice think tank review project, of the National Education Policy Center, which has published the review today. NEPC is housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education.

Barnett, an economist and Rutgers professor, is director of NIEER. Lamy is a developmental and educational psychologist and research fellow with NIEER, where her research focuses especially on children at risk of academic failure due to the many influences of poverty.

“While the AppleTree model may well be as effective as the Pioneer authors suggest, this report lacks rigorous evidence regarding the model’s development, implementation, cost and effectiveness,” write Barnett and Lamy in their review.

The report bases its argument for the program’s effectiveness on pre-tests and post-tests, but its lacks a comparison group as a control and is silent on whether the children enrolled in the program are representative of the larger local population or comparable to children enrolled in other preschool programs, the reviewers write.

“Sample sizes, attrition, and statistical methods are unreported, and no statistical tests of significance appear to have been conducted,” write Barnett and Lamy. Additionally, they observe, the report fails to demonstrate that any success at Appletree is attributable to its charter status.

By contrast, they point out, there already exist public-school-based preschool models shown through rigorous evidence to be highly effective.

“We will not know whether AppleTree can add to the preschool policy debates without more rigorous evaluation of the program and its effects,” they conclude.

Find the review by W. Steven Barnett and Cynthia Lamy on the NEPC website at:
http://nepc.colorado.edu/
thinktank/review-seeds-of-achievement
.
Find

Seeds of Achievement: AppleTree’s Early Childhood D.C. Charter Schools, published by the Pioneer Institute. On the web at:
http://pioneerinstitute.org/
download/seeds-of-achievement-appletrees-early-childhood-d-c-charter-schools/
.
The Think Twice think tank review project (http://thinktankreview.org) of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) provides the public, policymakers, and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. NEPC is housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education. The Think Twice think tank review project is made possible in part by support provided by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

The mission of the National Education Policy Center is to produce and disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. We are guided by the belief that the democratic governance of public education is strengthened when policies are based on sound evidence.  For more information on the NEPC, please visit http://nepc.colorado.edu/.

This review is also found on the GLC website at http://www.greatlakescenter.org/.

If you are not already subscribed to this newsletter and would like to receive it regularly, click
http://nepc.colorado.edu/ 
and then click the button in the upper right-hand corner that looks like this: 


The National Education Policy Center (NEPC) is housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education. Its mission is to produce and disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. We are guided by the belief that the democratic governance of public education is strengthened when policies are based on sound evidence.  For more information about the NEPC, please visit http://nepc.colorado.edu/.


 

Copyright © 2014 National Education Policy Center, All rights reserved.
You’re receiving this email because you have opted in at our website or sent a personal request to be included. Thank you.
Our mailing address is:

National Education Policy Center

School of Education, 249 UCB
University of Colorado

Boulder, CO 80309-0249

Add us to your address book

For all other communication with NEPC, write to nepc@colorado.edu.

September 11, 2014

News from the NEPC: **Pipeline Problems

Also from Tuesday’s inbox…

Research and analysis to inform education policy
and promote democratic deliberation
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Pipeline Problems

NEPC Review finds two recent reports overreach in recommendations to improve recruiting of school principals

Contact:

William J. Mathis, (802) 383-0058, wmathis@sover.net

Arnold Danzig, (408) 924-3722, arnold.danzig@sjsu.edu

URL for this press release: http://tinyurl.com/ku76dm8

BOULDER, CO (September 9, 2014) – Two recent reports that recommend implementing measures intended to recruit and retain more effective school principals offer some sensible discussion of the working conditions principals face – but both reports then recommend remedies that go beyond the research evidence, according to a new review released today.

Arnold Danzig, a professor of education and director of the EdD program in educational leadership at San José State University, reviewed the two reports for the Think Twice think tank review project of the National Education Policy Center, housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education.

The reports under review are Lacking Leaders: The Challenges of Principal Recruitment, Selection, and Placement, published by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, and Great Principals at Scale: Creating District Conditions that Enable All Principals to be Effective, jointly published by The Bush Institute and New Leaders.

Lacking Leaders attributes a paucity of superior candidates for principalship to ineffective hiring practices. It recommends greater autonomy in staffing decisions, increased district-level collaboration, and better pay – as much as $100,000 annually above current principal salary levels – to attract the best candidates. “No research in the report, however, justifies the size of the salary recommendation or demonstrates salary as the most important factor influencing principal recruitment, selection, or retention,” Danzig points out in his review.

Great Principals recommends better school and district alignment of goals and strategies, along with district-provided support structures and greater local autonomy for principals.

Danzig notes that “while both reports focus on the principal as the primary source of leadership in schools, neither considers other important sources of leadership.” Also, while both reports suggest that potential principals might be recruited from workplaces other than schools where the same skills are in demand, that suggestion “underestimates the human context of teaching and learning.”

Because of such limitations, the recommendations sections of the two reports are not particularly useful, even though the reports do a good job introducing issues around principal working conditions, Danzig concludes.

Find Arnold Danzig’s review on the NEPC website at: http://nepc.colorado.edu/
thinktank/review-
principals-pipeline


Find
Lacking Leaders: The Challenges of Principal Recruitment, Selection, and Placement, published by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, on the web at:
http://edexcellence.net/
publications/lacking-leaders-
the-challenges-of-principal-recruitment-selection-and-placement
.

Find Great Principals at Scale:  Creating District Conditions that Enable All Principals to be Effective, published by The Bush Institute and New Leaders, on the web at: http://www.bushcenter.org/
alliance-reform-education-leadership/great-principals-scale
.

The Think Twice think tank review project (http://thinktankreview.org) of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) provides the public, policymakers, and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. NEPC is housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education.

The mission of the National Education Policy Center is to produce and disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. We are guided by the belief that the democratic governance of public education is strengthened when policies are based on sound evidence.  For more information on the NEPC, please visit http://nepc.colorado.edu/.

If you are not already subscribed to this newsletter and would like to receive it regularly, click
http://nepc.colorado.edu/
and then click the button in the upper right-hand corner that looks like this: 


The National Education Policy Center (NEPC) is housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education. Its mission is to produce and disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. We are guided by the belief that the democratic governance of public education is strengthened when policies are based on sound evidence.  For more information about the NEPC, please visit http://nepc.colorado.edu/.


 

Copyright © 2014 National Education Policy Center, All rights reserved.
You’re receiving this email because you have opted in at our website or sent a personal request to be included. Thank you.
Our mailing address is:

National Education Policy Center

School of Education, 249 UCB
University of Colorado

Boulder, CO 80309-0249

Add us to your address book

 For all other communication with NEPC, write to nepc@colorado.edu.

August 20, 2014

News from the NEPC: **Charter School Productivity Report Lacks Validity

From yesterday’s inbox…

Research and analysis to inform education policy
and promote democratic deliberation
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Charter School Productivity Report Lacks Validity

Review points out inaccurate use of NAEP results and questionable calculations for spending data 

Contact:

William J. Mathis, (802) 383-0058, wmathis@sover.net

Gene V Glass, (480) 294-1120, gene.glass@asu.edu

URL for this press release: http://tinyurl.com/n6ydf2e

BOULDER, CO (August 19, 2014) A recent report from the University of Arkansas Department of Education Reform (DER) on charter school productivity asserts charter schools are more effective in producing achievement on standardized tests and are also less costly per pupil than traditional public schools. A new review released today finds the report’s claims suffer from multiple sources of invalidity, rendering the report useless.

Gene V Glass, Regents’ Professor Emeritus at Arizona State University, reviewed The Productivity of Public Charter Schools for the Think Twice think tank review project of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC).

The report uses findings from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and “revenues received” to support its claim that charter schools spend less per pupil than traditional public schools and produce achievement as good as or superior to that of traditional public schools.

In his review, however, Glass points out that  the report inaccurately employs NAEP test results, and that its calculation of expenditures in charter and traditional public schools relies on questionable data. The report, meanwhile, also discounts the fact that demographic differences between the two sectors are highly correlated with NAEP performance. In short, Glass says, “The sector with the higher percentage of poor pupils scores lower on the NAEP test.”

Taken together, the report’s flaws leave readers with little evidence on which to base any valid conclusions, Glass concludes. He predicts, however, that despite its many shortcomings, charter school supporters will attempt to use the findings to advocate expanded funding for charter schools. In that respect, he writes, “The report continues a program of advocacy research that will be cited by supporters of the charter school movement.”

Find Gene V Glass’s review on the NEPC website at:
http://nepc.colorado.edu/
thinktank/review-
productivity-public-charter
Find

The Productivity of Charter Schools on the web:
http://www.uaedreform.org/
the-productivity-of-public-charter-schools/
.
The Think Twice think tank review project (http://thinktankreview.org) of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) provides the public, policymakers, and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. NEPC is housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education. The Think Twice think tank review project is made possible in part by support provided by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

The mission of the National Education Policy Center is to produce and disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. We are guided by the belief that the democratic governance of public education is strengthened when policies are based on sound evidence.  For more information on the NEPC, please visit http://nepc.colorado.edu/.

This review is also found on the GLC website at http://www.greatlakescenter.org/.

If you are not already subscribed to this newsletter and would like to receive it regularly, click
http://nepc.colorado.edu/
and then click the button in the upper right-hand corner that looks like this: 


The National Education Policy Center (NEPC) is housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education. Its mission is to produce and disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. We are guided by the belief that the democratic governance of public education is strengthened when policies are based on sound evidence.  For more information about the NEPC, please visit http://nepc.colorado.edu/.


 

Copyright © 2014 National Education Policy Center, All rights reserved.
You’re receiving this email because you have opted in at our website or sent a personal request to be included. Thank you.
Our mailing address is:

National Education Policy Center

School of Education, 249 UCB
University of Colorado

Boulder, CO 80309-0249

Add us to your address book

 

For all other communication with NEPC, write to nepc@colorado.edu.

July 14, 2014

Reviews/Summaries of Virtual Schools in the U.S. 2014: Politics, Performance, Policy, and Research Evidence

Filed under: Academic Achievement,Alex Molnar,Brian Horvitz,Charisse Gulosino,Columbia University,Connections Academies,Connections Academy,Curriculum,cyber school,Edison Schools,education,Education Management Organization,EMO,Gary Mirion,high school,Insight Schools,Jennifer Rice King,K12,K12 Inc.,Kaplan Virtual Education,learning coach,Leona Group LLC.,Luis Huerta,Michael K. Barbour,Mosaica Inc.,National Education Policy Center,NEPC,Policy/Regulation,Public Schools,report,research,Research Methodology,Roads Education Organization,Sacred Heart University,Sheryl Rankin Shafer,Teachers College,technology,University of Maryland,virtual school,Western Michigan University,Western Washington University,White Hat Management — Michael Barbour @ 1:41 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Since these came across my desk a little while ago, I wanted to pass them on to my readership…

Basically, someone over at the International Center for Home Education Research Reviews reviewed (as they called it, but it is more of a summary) each of the three sections of the Virtual Schools in the U.S. 2014: Politics, Performance, Policy, and Research Evidence published by the National Education Policy Center that I contributed to (note Part 2 is my section).

Anyway, just wanted to pass this along…

Note I have used the same tags used by the author(s) of these reviews, along with my own that I have used for this report in the past on this blog.

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