Virtual School Meanderings

May 20, 2022

“Grow Your Own” Programs Can Build Equity in Local Schools and Communities, Explains New Policy Brief

A “Think Twice” review of a think tank report from the folks at the National Education Policy Center.

May 19, 2022

Contact:

Michelle Renée Valladares: (720) 505-1958, michelle.valladares@colorado.edu
Conra D. Gist: cdgist@uh.edu

“Grow Your Own” Programs Can Build Equity in Local Schools and Communities, Explains New Policy Brief

Key Takeaway: Grow Your Own programs must also focus on improving retention of new teachers by considering how the teaching and learning needs of BIPOC teachers evolve as they progress along the teacher development continuum.

EAST LANSING, MI (May 19, 2022) – Grow your own (GYO) programs are designed to recruit, prepare, and place community members as teachers in local schools. They do this through partnerships between educator preparation programs, school districts or local educational agencies, and community-based organizations. The nation is currently seeing new and thoughtful uses of the approach.

Particularly intriguing are models with an explicit commitment to advancing justice and equity in teacher development, which can be leveraged to open doors to the profession for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) teachers with roots in, and understanding of, the community. These models are examined in a new NEPC policy brief from Conra D. Gist of the University of Houston, titled Grow Your Own” Programs: Examining Potential and Pitfalls for a New Generation of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Community Teachers.

The recent increase of federal, state, and district GYO initiatives to recruit community teachers is timely, signaling a new era of GYO program development in the 21st century. However, Professor Gist cautions, despite the enthusiasm about the potential of GYO programs to advance educational equity for BIPOC students, research on BIPOC educators has generally offered a cautionary note for any teacher development program that focuses too much on recruitment—without equally responsive preparation and strategic retention structures.

For programs to improve retention of new teachers, they must consider how the teaching and learning needs of BIPOC teachers evolve as they progress along the teacher development continuum. Even if programs evidence some upticks in teacher retention, a shortsighted approach to teacher development may leave these teachers without the guidance and resources needed to enhance their students’ learning. To help policymakers avoid these pitfalls, Professor Gist considers historical lessons from past community teacher development initiatives as well as emerging research.

Professor Gist concludes by sharing recommendations for GYO program designers, policymakers, and researchers. The recommendations will help ensure that new GYO programs are crafted in ways that prepare and sustain BIPOC community teachers.

Find “Grow Your Own” Programs: Examining Potential and Pitfalls for a New Generation of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Community Teachersby Conra D. Gist, at:
https://www.greatlakescenter.org

This policy brief was made possible in part by the support of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice (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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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/

May 13, 2022

Report doesn’t use all the facts on rental housing and educational opportunity

A “Think Twice” review of a think tank report 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

May 12, 2022READ IN BROWSER
Hello, Great Lakes Center subscriber:

Politicians have struggled for years to make equitable educational opportunities less associated with the areas where families can afford to live. More than 70% of children in the U.S. attend their local school, and these schools vary widely in the types of opportunities they offer children.
A recent report from the Bellwether Education Partners attempts to examine the availability of low-income rental units in school districts to understand whether districts in the largest 200 metropolitan areas are accessible to families in poverty. However, a review of the report found it has significant shortcomings that limit its usefulness to policymakers.

Read on to learn more.

Maddie Fennell

Executive Director
Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice

REPORT REVIEWED

Erica Frankenberg of Pennsylvania State University reviewed “Priced Out of Public Schools: District Lines, Housing Access, and Inequitable Educational Options,” a report from the Bellwether Education Partners.

WHAT THE REVIEWER FOUND

The report from the Bellwether Education Partners finds nearly 500 examples of borders between two very different types of school districts: those that are the most and the least “accessible” based on the cost of rental housing. The borders between these districts are designated as barriers by the report’s authors. The report attempts to analyze the relationship between the cost of rental housing and educational opportunity and finds more than a thousand school districts to be inaccessible to low-income households. These inaccessible districts offer greater educational opportunity.
After describing the problem, the report recommends a combination of education policies as solutions, including expanding school choice and affordable housing opportunities.
There are several limitations and concerns with the study and report, Frankenberg found. Firstly, the report’s approach doesn’t use existing federal housing policy guidance and research. Also, the report doesn’t consider the effects of race, which are central to understanding a historic lack of affordability.
These issues, as well as the report’s lack of clarity about its methodology and the fact that it overlooks boundaries that exist within districts make it unlikely that the report identified the barriers to high-quality schools.
Though the relationship between housing and educational opportunity is an important topic, the report’s flaws substantially limit its usefulness for informing school policy.

Read the full review on the Great Lakes Center website or on the National Education Policy Center website.

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE

The report’s recommendation to increase school choice could further inequality unless policies are carefully thought out and address racial and economic equity. Unless the full extent of the issue is examined and incorporated into policy, policymakers could make the educational inequities larger for low-income students and students of color.

TALKING POINTS TO REMEMBER

  1. A report from the Bellwether Education Partners attempts to analyze the relationship between the cost of rental housing and educational opportunity.
  1. The report doesn’t use existing guidance and research and doesn’t consider racial inequities.
  1. Though the subject material is important, the report’s flaws limit its usefulness for informing school policy.

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 @bellwethered attempts to analyze the relationship between costs of #rentalhousing and educational opportunity but doesn’t consider existing guidance. Read the review: A report from @bellwethered attempts to analyze the relationship between costs of #rentalhousing and educational opportunity but doesn’t consider existing guidance. Read the review:
Many children attend their local school, and these schools vary widely in the educational opportunities they offer. A report tries to analyze this relationship but doesn’t consider race. Read more: Many children attend their local school, and these schools vary widely in the educational opportunities they offer. A report tries to analyze this relationship but doesn’t consider race. Read more:
A review from @nepctweet finds a @bellwethered report fails to consider existing guidance and race as a factor in the relationship between costs of rental housing and educational opportunity. A review from @nepctweet finds a @bellwethered report fails to consider existing guidance and race as a factor in the relationship between costs of rental housing and educational opportunity.
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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.
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Our mailing address is:
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PO Box 1263
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May 11, 2022

Summit Charter Organization Continues to Make Unjustified Claims

A “Think Twice” review of a think tank report from the folks at the National Education Policy Center.

May 10, 2022

Contact:
Michelle Renée Valladares: (720) 505-1958, michelle.valladares@colorado.edu
Audrey Amrein-Beardsley: (602) 561-4731, audrey.beardsley@asu.edu

Summit Charter Organization Continues to Make Unjustified Claims

An NEPC Review funded by the Great Lakes Center

Key Takeaway: A variety of methodological issues undermines the validity of report’s findings.

EAST LANSING, MI (May 10, 2022) – Summit Public Schools, a charter school organization operating schools in California and Oregon, published Pathways to Success: Exploring the Long-Term Outcomes of Alumni from Summit Public Schools in September 2021, detailing the success of its graduates. A review by Audrey Amrein-Beardsley of Arizona State University examines these questionable assertions made about the performance and life satisfaction of Summit graduates.

The report claims that Summit alumni graduated from college at nearly double the national average and self-reported high levels of well-being, fulfillment, and workplace satisfaction. It also reports that alumni from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds now make more than $60,000 per year on average working full time. However, Professor Amrein-Beardsley explains, low survey response rates and incomplete or inaccurate methodology prevent these claims from being justified.

Although the report professes to be conducted for internal purposes, Summit also distributed an accompanying press release that announced its findings to a broader audience, making the report’s claims of potential interest to policymakers, practitioners, and the public.

However, Professor Amrein-Beardsley concludes that although the study may provide some information useful to Summit’s internal decision-making, its serious methodological issues (e.g., survey research methods, response rates, sample bias, sample representativeness, and uses of comparative data) prevent it from having any implications for practice or policymaking in general.

For further information about Summit Public Schools, please refer to the NEPC’s June 2020 research brief, Big Claims, Little Evidence, Lots of Money: The Reality Behind the Summit Learning Program and the Push to Adopt Digital Personalized Learning Platforms.

Find the review, by Audrey Amrein-Beardsley, at:
https://www.greatlakescenter.org

Find Pathways to Success: Exploring the Long-Term Outcomes of Alumni from Summit Public Schools, written by Anum Ali Mohammed and Adam Black and published by Summit Public Schools, at:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1LU81FTmr4ZkZzkAzCPZrVurjfmpJcgHn/view

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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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/

May 4, 2022

Report Promoting a ‘Money Follows the Child’ Funding System Lacks Rigorous Analysis

A “Think Twice” review of a think tank report from the folks at the National Education Policy Center.

May 3, 2022

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

Report Promoting a ‘Money Follows the Child’ Funding System Lacks Rigorous Analysis

An NEPC Review funded by the Great Lakes Center

Key Takeaway: Report’s conclusions based on a selective review of literature and false assumptions.

EAST LANSING, MI (May 3, 2022) – In recent years, supporters of school choice have promoted school finance reforms sometimes called “backpack funding,” but also called “money follows the child” or “student-based budgeting.” Whatever the term used, the idea is facilitate choice by attaching a funded amount to each student, with that payment following the students to their chosen schools.

A recent version of this proposal is found in a new report from the Mackinac Center, which provides a six-part recommendation for changes to Michigan’s current approach to financing public and charter schools. The report’s overarching theme, which is examined in a new review, is to move toward a system where more funding follows the student to either public, charter, or private schools—or to other service providers.

Bruce Baker of Rutgers University reviewed From School Aid to Student Aid: Modernizing K-12 Funding in Michigan, and found it to provide some useful, albeit insufficiently researched, guidance on shifting categorical funding into core funding and modifying the state’s approach to financing programs for children with disabilities.

Yet Professor Baker also describes how the report mischaracterizes literature on whether school finance reforms matter for school quality, and on the benefits of school district consolidation. The report also fails to recognize the various factors that affect the costs of providing children equal educational opportunity. Further, it largely ignores the realities and constraints of how schools and school systems work and how annual budget planning and resource allocation work toward efficiently providing high-quality educational services to children, regardless of sector or location.

Accordingly, Professor Baker concludes, key elements of the report and its proposals are built on false promises and assumptions and are not helpful for policymakers.

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

Find From School Aid to Student Aid: Modernizing K-12 Funding in Michigan, written by Ben DeGrow and published by the Mackinac Center, at:
https://www.mackinac.org/S2022-01

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

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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/

April 29, 2022

School finance reform

A “Think Twice” review of a think tank report 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

April 28, 2022READ IN BROWSER
Hello, Great Lakes Center subscriber:

There is a growing number of state policymakers and education leaders in the U.S. who are leveraging school finance reform to make systemwide improvements, as in recent years researchers have agreed that targeted educational spending improves long-term student outcomes. Several states are examining their school finance policies and considering reforms.
A policy brief from the Beacon Center of Tennessee describes the state’s K-12 finance formula and makes recommendations for reforming it. However, a review of the policy brief shows there is limited, if any, evidence to support its findings. Further, several recent studies present findings contradictory to the policy brief.

Read on to learn more.

Maddie Fennell

Executive Director
Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice

REPORT REVIEWED

Professor David S. Knight of the University of Washington reviewed “The Basic Education Program: How the Volunteer State’s Education Funding Formula Doesn’t Make the Grade.”

WHAT THE REVIEWER FOUND

Beacon Center of Tennessee, in the policy brief, argues that the state should replace its “resource-based” formula with a “student-based” one that resembles the approach used in other states.
The brief’s main arguments include:
  • Resource-based funding models prioritize resource allocation over the needs of students.
  • Student-based funding models are more equitable, efficient and transparent.
  • Imposing spending regulations to control the percentage of funds allocated to instruction, student support and administration would improve student outcomes.

Knight found that there is little research exploring these issues and there is a need for more research before sweeping policy changes like the Beacon Center’s are implemented. Knight concludes that the brief is valid in its call for equity and transparency but doesn’t provide enough actionable information. The report should be read with caution and examine materials that provide nuanced perspectives.

Read the full review on the Great Lakes Center website or on the National Education Policy Center website.

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE

The Beacon Center’s key recommendations aren’t supported by research, and various recent studies contradict its findings. Lawmakers would need to pair the report with research analyzing real data before reforming a state’s school finance system, which could have long term and detrimental effects on learning outcomes.

TALKING POINTS TO REMEMBER

  1. A policy brief from the Beacon Center of Tennessee makes recommendations for reforming the state’s K-12 finance formula.
  1. While it’s an important topic for lawmakers to consider, there is little, if any, evidence to support the brief’s findings.
  1. The report should be read with caution and be paired with real data analysis.

SOCIAL SHARES

Want to share this Think Twice Review with your social networks? We drafted some sample social media posts for your use.
A policy brief from @beaconTN makes recommendations for reforming Tennessee’s K-12 finance formula, but the brief should be read with caution. Read more: A policy brief from @beaconTN makes recommendations for reforming Tennessee’s K-12 finance formula, but the brief should be read with caution. Read more:
Lawmakers should examine data that provides nuanced perspectives when considering #SchoolFinanceReform. Lawmakers should examine data that provides nuanced perspectives when considering #SchoolFinanceReform.
Targeted education spending improves #LearningOutcomes for student, but lawmakers should consider all of the research when considering school finance reforms. Targeted education spending improves #LearningOutcomes for student, but lawmakers should consider all of the research when considering school finance reforms.
Follow Us
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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
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