Virtual School Meanderings

November 22, 2021

Funding for students with disabilities

Note this think tank report review from the folks at the National Education Policy Center.

Inside Look

Great Lakes Center’s exclusive subscriber email featuring key points, information and social media content about reviews and research

Nov. 18, 2021READ IN BROWSER
Hello, Great Lakes Center subscriber:

A recent report claims charter schools, despite serving substantially fewer children with disabilities than traditional public schools, are shortchanged in funding for those children and funding in general.
The brief comes from the School Choice Demonstration Project at the University of Arkansas, which publishes research on education reform and school choice.

Read on to learn more.

Dr. Gretchen Dziadosz

Executive Director
Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice

REPORT REVIEWED

Bruce Baker of Rutgers University reviewed “Charter School Funding: Support for Students with Disabilities.”

WHAT THE REVIEWER FOUND

The School Choice Demonstration Project report argues charter schools need more funding for students with disabilities despite only serving a small portion of these students compared to traditional public schools.
The report acknowledges the differences in special education populations served by charter schools and public schools but ignores them when calculating estimates of funding gaps in special education. The authors then use the estimates to frame policy recommendations that would result in increased funding for charter schools for providing special education services.
Baker found the report ignores substantial differences in the classifications, needs and costs of children with disabilities in school districts versus charter schools, making false the claim that charter schools are underfunded in this area. Most notably, available data suggests students with disabilities who are enrolled in charter schools have less severe needs on average.
The report also cites flawed self-published evidence about a charter school funding gap that is false and ignores rigorous studies that contradict those findings, Baker found.
Baker ultimately concludes the report adds no value to the debate over the adequacy of general or special education funding of charter schools.
Read the full review on the Great Lakes Center website or on the National Education Policy Center website.

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE

If reports like this are accepted as fact, much-needed resources for public school students with disabilities could be re-allocated to charter schools, even though research shows these students are adequately funded and require less resources than those in public schools.

TALKING POINTS TO REMEMBER

  1. A report from the School Choice Demonstration project argues charter schools are shortchanged in comparison with public schools on funding for children with disabilities.
  1. The claim that charter schools need more funding in this area is false because they serve substantially less children with disabilities than charter schools, and the evidence used to make this claim is false.
  1. The report adds no value to the adequacy of general or special education funding of charter schools.

SOCIAL SHARES

Want to share this Think Twice Review with your social networks? We drafted some sample social media posts for your use.
A report from the School Choice Demonstration Project claims #charterschools are underfunded for students with disabilities, but a @NEPCtweet review finds this claim is false. Read more: A report from the School Choice Demonstration Project claims #charterschools are underfunded for students with disabilities, but a @NEPCtweet review finds this claim is false. Read more:
#Charterschools serve substantially fewer children with disabilities than public schools and are already adequately funded. More: #Charterschools serve substantially fewer children with disabilities than public schools and are already adequately funded. More:
A @NEPCtweet review found false claims in a report arguing that #charterschools need more funding for students with disabilities. A @NEPCtweet review found false claims in a report arguing that #charterschools need more funding for students with disabilities.
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Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center, provides the public, policymakers and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. The project is made possible by funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.
Copyright © 2019 Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you opted in via our website.

Our mailing address is:
Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice
PO Box 1263
East Lansing, MI 48826-1263

November 17, 2021

Report Presents a Simplistic, Ideological Solution to the Complex Issue of Private School Vouchers

Note this National Education Policy Center item.

November 16, 2021

Contact:
Michelle Renée Valladares: (720) 505-1958, michelle.valladares@colorado.edu

Report Presents a Simplistic, Ideological Solution to the Complex Issue of Private School Vouchers

An NEPC Review funded by the Great Lakes Center

Key Takeaway: Failing to engage with research in an honest and meaningful way, the report is an opinion essay disguised as a piece of policy research.

EAST LANSING, MI (November 16, 2021) – A recent report from the Manhattan Institute addresses the question of how private school voucher programs should be regulated, asking the important question of what accountability mechanisms will safeguard taxpayer dollars if private schools are to receive public funds.

Jack Schneider of University of Massachusetts Lowell reviewed Accountability and Private-School Choice. He found that it unfortunately offers only simplistic solutions grounded in assumptions and ideology rather than in research evidence.

The report advocates for relaxing accountability mechanisms that presently constrain some voucher programs, asserting that “more and better” private schools will participate in response, thereby benefitting students academically.

However, Professor Schneider explains, such claims are supported by a selective reading and intentional misreading of educational research. The report largely eschews peer-reviewed scholarship in favor of sympathetic policy reports, but it also draws on academic research chosen in highly selective fashion. In both instances, this use of research is designed to advance an ideologically motivated argument.

Insofar as that is the case, the report merely repeats well-worn dogmatic positions. Accordingly, it neither advances what we know about the challenge of regulating private schools subsidized by vouchers nor offers useful information for policy decisions.

Find the review, by Jack Schneider, at:
https://www.greatlakescenter.org

Find Accountability and Private-School Choice, written by Nicole Stelle Garnett and published by the Manhattan Institute, at:
https://media4.manhattan-institute.org/sites/default/files/MI-Garnett-AccountabilityPrivateSchoolChoice-v3.pdf

NEPC Reviews (http://thinktankreview.org) provide the public, policymakers, and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. NEPC Reviews are made possible in part by support provided by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice: https://www.greatlakescenter.org

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), a university research center housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Visit us at: http://nepc.colorado.edu/

About The Great Lakes Center
The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice is to support and disseminate high quality research and reviews of research for the purpose of informing education policy and to develop research-based resources for use by those who advocate for education reform. Visit the Great Lakes Center Web Site at: https://www.greatlakescenter.org. Follow us on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/greatlakescent. Find us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/GreatLakesCenter.

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 Friend on Facebook

 Follow on Twitter

The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice is to support and disseminate high quality research and reviews of research for the purpose of informing education policy and to develop research-based resources for use by those who advocate for education reform.

Visit the Great Lakes Center website at https://www.greatlakescenter.org/

November 9, 2021

Report About Education Savings Accounts Asserts Small Taxpayer Savings but Sidesteps Larger Policy Questions

An important item from our colleagues at the National Education Policy Center.

November 9, 2021

Contact:
Michelle Renée Valladares: (720) 505-1958, michelle.valladares@colorado.edu
Bruce D. Baker: (848) 932-0698, bruce.baker@gse.rutgers.edu

Report About Education Savings Accounts Asserts Small Taxpayer Savings but Sidesteps Larger Policy Questions

An NEPC Review funded by the Great Lakes Center

Key Takeaway: Report’s claims about the price tag of a proposed ESA program avoid larger fiscal and outcome questions.

EAST LANSING, MI (November 9, 2021) – A recent report from the Manhattan Institute promotes Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) by presenting a scenario whereby taxpayer expense would fall if the program motivated families to move children from public schools funded by the state to private schools funded primarily by families.

Bruce Baker of Rutgers University reviewed Education Savings Accounts: How ESAs Can Promote Educational Freedom for New York Families, and found it to provide little useful guidance on the broader question of whether an ESA policy is warranted or would be good policy for New York State’s children or taxpayers.

ESAs are a form of vouchers, and the report is based on a set of assumptions concerning an ESA policy whereby the voucher would have a face value that is considerably less than the amount of taxpayer spending for a public school student. The report assumes that, even with this lower amount of spending, the ESA subsidy would work to entice families to switch from public to private schools-rather than merely subsidize those already attending private schools-thereby generating the taxpayer savings.

Again because the ESAs would be funded at the relatively lower amount, compared to the cost of educating a child in a public school, the report estimates that even a small share of families participating in the program would reduce taxpayer expense by between $159 million and $301 million. However, Professor Baker notes that these purported benefits would amount to estimated short-run net fiscal benefits of between 0.21% and 0.39% of the state’s annual public school spending.

The report also fails to note a large body of recent, rigorous research demonstrating that similar private school choice, or “voucher,” programs have had significant negative effects on student outcomes.

In addition, the report overstates short-term reductions that local districts can achieve, neglects increased transition costs in the public schools, and sidesteps potential long-term harm to adequate funding for those public schools.

Thus, Professor Baker concludes, while the report provides a reasonable framework and set of assumptions for establishing ESAs, it provides little or no useful guidance on the broader question of whether an ESA policy is warranted at all.

Find the review, by Bruce D. Baker, at:
https://www.greatlakescenter.org

Find Education Savings Accounts: How ESAs Can Promote Educational Freedom for New York Families, written by Martin F. Lueken and published by the Manhattan Institute, at:
https://media4.manhattan-institute.org/sites/default/files/MI-Lueken-ESA-fiscal-brief-v2.pdf

NEPC Reviews (http://thinktankreview.org) provide the public, policymakers, and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. NEPC Reviews are made possible in part by support provided by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice: https://www.greatlakescenter.org

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), a university research center housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Visit us at: http://nepc.colorado.edu/

About The Great Lakes Center
The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice is to support and disseminate high quality research and reviews of research for the purpose of informing education policy and to develop research-based resources for use by those who advocate for education reform. Visit the Great Lakes Center Web Site at: https://www.greatlakescenter.org. Follow us on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/greatlakescent. Find us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/GreatLakesCenter.

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 Friend on Facebook

 Follow on Twitter

The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice is to support and disseminate high quality research and reviews of research for the purpose of informing education policy and to develop research-based resources for use by those who advocate for education reform.

Visit the Great Lakes Center website at https://www.greatlakescenter.org/

November 5, 2021

New book sheds light on how charter schools control access

An important item from our colleagues at the National Education Policy Center.

Inside Look

Great Lakes Center’s exclusive subscriber email featuring key points, information and social media content about reviews and research

Nov. 4, 2021READ IN BROWSER
Hello, Great Lakes Center subscriber:
Even though charter schools insist that they are open to all students, the truth is much more complicated. Education policy researchers have written a new book about how charter schools are often not as accessible as they claim to be.
Read on to learn more.

Dr. Gretchen Dziadosz
Executive Director
Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice 

SUMMARY

Wagma Mommandi and Kevin Welner, two premier education researchers, wrote “School’s Choice: How Charter Schools Control Access and Shape Enrollment,” which examines how charter schools gatekeep student access. The book explores practices that can undermine equity in admissions.
Access is a central point in debates about charter schools. The book describes how charter schools are often incentivized to gatekeep access. The authors identify 13 different practices around charter school access. They follow up with policy recommendations for legislators and policy-makers. The practices are:
  1. Location games: Nearby students are more likely to enroll—especially since many charter schools do not offer transportation.
  1. Niching:Charters often have a special focus — such as Montessori education or academic rigor. This can be beneficial, but the adoption of a niche or special focus has created a signaling system that filters out some students as it attracts others.
  1. Narrowcasting: The message of advertising and the audience for that marketing can powerfully shape who applies to a charter school.
  1. Hoop scheming: Charters typically run their own application processes, and these processes can be either streamlined or difficult. Mommandi and Welner identify hoops that can be especially cumbersome for certain families, including forcing parents to apply in person during the workday, adopting lengthy and burdensome applications that require students to write multiple essays, requesting proof of U.S. citizenship, requiring applicants with disabilities to document their needs prior to enrollment, and administering entrance or placement exams.
  1. Steering the wheel: Conversations with staff can send a strong signal that certain children are — or are not — welcome at a school. For example, research suggests that charters are more likely to ignore requests for information from parents who inquire about how the school would serve students with disabilities.
  1. Conditioning enrollment:Even families who make it past the application process may find their students screened out during the enrollment process. Some charters, for example, have refused to accept students who had not taken certain courses, failed to maintain a minimum GPA, or were under suspension or expulsion at the time of application.
  1. Assigning parent homework: Charters may discourage certain families from applying by, for example, requiring parents to volunteer a certain amount of time at the school, or pay money in lieu of volunteering.
  1. Denying services: Charters can steer away or push out many students by simply failing to offer the services they need. In this way, charters can avoid enrolling or retaining students who are more expensive to educate because they have disabilities or need assistance learning English.
  1. Counseling out:Even students who make it past the twin barriers of application and enrollment may find themselves (and their parents) advised that it’s time to leave a charter school.
  1. Pass interference:Charters may use grade retention and threats of such retention to push lower-achieving students back to the district-run neighborhood school.
  1. Aggressive disciplining: So-called “no excuses” charters “sweat the small stuff,” imposing harsh discipline measures even for minor infractions such as chewing gum or failing to persistently look at the teacher during class. Charters may also be more likely to adopt zero tolerance policies that mandate suspension or expulsion for certain offenses—regardless of the context. This aggressive discipline can push out unwanted students.
  1. No backfilling:Traditional public schools typically accept all the students who walk through their doors, even if those students arrive midyear or don’t enroll at the lowest grade level offered — e.g. a junior who enrolls at a high school that serves grades 9-12. Transfer students often face a transition period as they get used to a new environment, so when charters don’t backfill — when they restrict their admissions to those who enroll at the beginning of the year or at a certain grade level — they shift the burdens of transiency to other schools. Also, when combined with practices that push and counsel students out if their behavior or grades don’t meet certain standards, a no-backfilling policy can lead to a situation in which the upper grades of a school are increasingly high-performing as all their struggling peers have left.
  1. Pricing out the public: Many charters have imposed burdensome fines and fees that are unaffordable for lower-income families. For instance, a Texas charter, in violation of state law, sent families a letter stating they were required to pay $100 a child or $200 per family to reserve a spot for fall in the building. Another charter required parents to invest in the company that built the school.

READ MORE

  1. The Civil Rights Project at UCLA argues that charter schools have been a political success but have failed on civil rights.
  1. The New York Times published a series on education in the U.S., showing that children have lost because of the emphasis on charter schools, especially during the DeVos era.
  1. The Brookings Institution identified three examples of how charters limit access.

SOCIAL SHARES

Want to share this Think Twice Review with your social networks? We drafted some sample social media posts for your use.
#Charterschools insist they are open to all students, but the truth is more complicated. A new book sheds light on how charter schools restrict access. #schoolchoice #charters #Charterschools insist they are open to all students, but the truth is more complicated. A new book sheds light on how charter schools restrict access. #schoolchoice #charters
Education policy researchers have written a new book on how charter schools are not as accessible as they say they are. #schoolchoice #charters #charterschools Read more: Education policy researchers have written a new book on how charter schools are not as accessible as they say they are. #schoolchoice #charters #charterschools Read more:
#Charterschools restrict access in multiple ways, even though they insist they are open to all students. #schoolchoice #charters Read more: #Charterschools restrict access in multiple ways, even though they insist they are open to all students. #schoolchoice #charters Read more:
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Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center, provides the public, policymakers and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. The project is made possible by funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.
Copyright © 2019 Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you opted in via our website.

Our mailing address is:
Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice
PO Box 1263
East Lansing, MI 48826-1263

October 22, 2021

School choice reforms

An important review of a think tank policy report by the National Education Policy Center.

Inside Look

Great Lakes Center’s exclusive subscriber email featuring key points, information and social media content about reviews and research

Oct. 21, 2021READ IN BROWSER
Hello, Great Lakes Center subscriber:

Research has shown that increasing school choice is not a broad indicator of improved student test scores. However, a recent brief from the School Choice Demonstration Project at the University of Arkansas is being used by voucher advocates to make that very argument. A review of its brief found flaws in research methods and biases that led to the School Choice Demonstration Project’s preferred conclusions.
Read on to learn more.

Dr. Gretchen Dziadosz

Executive Director
Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice

REPORT REVIEWED

T. Jameson Brewer of the University of North Georgia and Joel Malin of Miami University reviewed “Education Freedom and Student Achievement: Is More School Choice Associated with Higher State-Level Performance on the NAEP?” The authors found weaknesses in the report’s methods and other flaws that make it of little, if any, use to policymakers.

WHAT THE REVIEWER FOUND

The report from the School Choice Demonstration Project ranks states based on their expansion of policies such as vouchers, charters, homeschooling and school choice. The authors then compare this so-called “education freedom” to National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) levels. They find a positive correlation between “freedom” and the test scores, so they hint at a causal relationship between the two.
As a result, the authors conclude that increasing school choice will cause broad test score improvements. The report ignores existing research demonstrating negative consequences of school choice reforms. Its methods are also flawed, so its findings should be closely examined.
In their review, Brewer and Malin find the relationship between test score improvements and school choice should be examined with a stronger research design.
The research methods also do not properly scrutinize the findings reached by their own models, particularly on education spending. The report uses its findings to support its own claim that school choice reforms would be beneficial. The research behind the report fails to prove this point.
Read the full review on the Great Lakes Center website or on the National Education Policy Center website.

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE

Using flawed methodology and ignoring other, more reputable research, the authors from School Choice Demonstration Project make claims about how school choice reforms would be beneficial, but these claims are not backed up. If policymakers were to use this report to make policy change, resources could be taken away from public schools to support school choice reforms, despite the fact such reforms have not caused sweeping test score improvements.

TALKING POINTS TO REMEMBER

  1. A report from the School Choice Demonstration Project examining school choice’s impact on student test scores is being used by school voucher advocates to argue for expansion of school choice reforms.
  1. The report claims school choice is an indicator of improved student test scores, but other more reputable research contradicts this assessment.
  1. A review by the National Education Policy Center found the report has flaws in its research methods and biases that render it useless for policymakers.

SOCIAL SHARES

Want to share this Think Twice Review with your social networks? We drafted some sample social media posts for your use.
A report from the School Choice Demonstration Project is being used to argue for #schoolchoice reforms, but it ignores important research that disputes its findings. A report from the School Choice Demonstration Project is being used to argue for #schoolchoice reforms, but it ignores important research that disputes its findings.
A review by @NEPCtweet shows a report being used to argue for #schoolchoice reforms uses flawed methodology and ignores more reputable research to make its claims. A review by @NEPCtweet shows a report being used to argue for #schoolchoice reforms uses flawed methodology and ignores more reputable research to make its claims.
A report claims #schoolchoice is an indicator of improved student test scores, but existing reputable research contradicts this assessment. A report claims #schoolchoice is an indicator of improved student test scores, but existing reputable research contradicts this assessment.
Follow Us
Facebook
Twitter
Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center, provides the public, policymakers and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. The project is made possible by funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.
Copyright © 2019 Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you opted in via our website.

Our mailing address is:
Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice
PO Box 1263
East Lansing, MI 48826-1263

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