Virtual School Meanderings

March 10, 2015

News from the NEPC: Virtual Schools Remain Unproven

From the inbox this morning…

Research and analysis to inform education policy
and promote democratic deliberation
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Virtual Schools Remain Unproven

NEPC scholars produce annual examination of online education

Contact:

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

URL for this press release: http://tinyurl.com/qyrbxh4

BOULDER, CO (March 10, 2015) — The third edition of the National Education Policy Center’s annual report on virtual schools finds that while online schools continue to proliferate, there continues to be  little evidence of their effectiveness. The limited evidence in hand indicates that virtual schools lag behind traditional public schools.

Virtual Schools in the U.S. 2015: Politics, Performance, Policy, and Research Evidence, edited by University of Colorado Boulder professor Alex Molnar and published today,  consists of three major sections on policy issues, research findings and descriptive information on the nation’s virtual schools.

“The NEPC reports contribute to the existing evidence and discourse on virtual education by providing an objective analysis of the evolution and performance of full-time, publicly funded K-12 virtual schools,” Molnar points out.

As previous editions of the report have found, the 2015 analysis concludes that “Claims made in support of expanding virtual education are largely unsupported by high quality research evidence.” While lawmakers in some states have made attempts to provide greater oversight on the virtual school industry those efforts have not been especially successful. Moreover, the report observes, such actions as policymakers have attempted do not appear to be well informed by research evidence.

The first section of the report, by Luis Huerta of Columbia University’s Teachers College and Sheryl Shafer, includes a comprehensive survey of virtual school legislation introduced in the states in 2014. Additionally, Huerta and Shafer consider a range of policy issues that remain unresolved. These include how to ensure that teachers who provide online instruction have appropriate training and development for the distinctive characteristics of the online classroom setting, and how to more closely guard against profiteering by private for-profit companies.

The second section, by Michael Barbour of Sacred Heart University, surveys the research literature on virtual education and ponders the fact that “more than twenty years after the first virtual schools began, there continues to be a dearth of empirical, longitudinal research to guide the practice and policy of virtual schooling.”

The third section, by Gary Miron of Western Michigan University and Charisse Gulosino of the University of Memphis, takes stock of the country’s virtual schooling operations, with analyses that examine the demographics of virtual school students as well as the virtual schools’ outcomes where measures such as Adequate Yearly Progress and graduations rates are concerned – metrics increasingly used to judge  conventional public schools in the name of accountability. On measures of student achievement and general educational outcomes, they write, “full-time virtual schools continued to lag significantly behind traditional brick-and-mortar schools.”

Find a copy of the NEPC report Virtual Schools in the U.S. 2015: Politics, Performance, Policy, and Research Evidence online athttp://nepc.colorado.edu/
publication/virtual-schools-annual-2015
.

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 NEPC, please visit http://nepc.colorado.edu/.

This report is made possible in part by the support of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice (GLC).  For more information about GLC, visithttp://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 © 2015 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.

March 4, 2015

News From The NEPC: **BUNKUM AWARDS, 2014

Note that between blogging all of the conference session, and trying to clear out my inbox from the travel backlog, today will likely be a heavy blogging day (like I expect some 12+ entries today)!

From yesterday’s inbox…

I should note that the University of Arkansas Department of Education Reform received two of these awards, and – I quote from the award details – “For these stunningly incompetent analyses, the University of Arkansas’ Department of Education Reform has thoroughly earned the 2014 Bunkum Grand Prize for shoddy research.”  But I don’t suppose that should surprise anyone when you have a College of Education department created by the Walton Foundation that is staffed by very few folks actually trained in the field of education.

To quote what one of the leaders in that department said to me at AERA last year, an endowed chair no less, “You don’t have kids, so you don’t know anything about K-12 education.”  I guess I wasted all of that money on a B.Ed., an M.Ed., a Ph.D., an undergraduate certificate in adult education and graduate certificates in university teaching and qualitative inquiry.  That was just nine years wasted!  Apparently all I needed to do was have sex, wait nine months, and then I’d be an expert on K-12 education!!!

Research and analysis to inform education policy
and promote democratic deliberation
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NEPC Announces Bunkum Awards
for 2014

Top prizes for shoddy research conferred upon this year’s winners 

Contact:

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

URL for this press release:  http://tinyurl.com/oh8xnwe

BOULDER, CO (March 3, 2015) — Just one week after the Oscars and with Emmys and Pulitzers still to come, the National Education Policy Center steps up to announce those most coveted of all: the 9th annual Bunkum Awards for exceptionally egregious education research.Once again, The Bunkums recognize the unsung brilliance of the purveyors of expertly authored education advocacy and erroneous evidence. Bunkum winners have set new standards for shameless shilling of discredited yet diverting distractions.This year’s awards announcement, available on the NEPC website, is hosted by Dr. David Berliner, the Regents’ Professor Emeritus and former dean of the College of Education at Arizona State University. Berliner, who debuted last year as our Bunkum host, is a member of the National Academy of Education and the International Academy of Education, a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, a past president of the American Educational Research Association, and a widely recognized scholar of educational psychology and policy.

The prizes are:

  • The Class Size Reductio ad Absurdum Award
  • The What the World Needs Now is Choice Sweet Choice Awards
  • The Back-Tracking via CTE Award
  • The It’s Never Too Early to Revise History Award

and for the Grand Prize, last, and certainly least,

  • The Fractured Fraction Award for Using Erroneous Numerators and Denominators to Get Predetermined Results Award

Find out who won, see the 2014 Bunkums Awards video presentation, read the award descriptions, see the Bunkum-worthy reports, and read the reviews of those reports for the National Education Policy Center’s Think Twice think tank review project, all by going to http://nepc.colorado.edu/think-tank/bunkum-awards/2014.

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 visithttp://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 © 2015 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.

March 3, 2015

News From The NEPC: **Announcing The Forthcoming Announcement of the 2014 Bunkum Awards

I’m a bit delayed in posting this one, but this showed up in my inbox yesterday.  Tomorrow morning I’ll post the actual announcement (which arrived earlier today).

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Terrible Think Tanks to Triumph
on Trophy Tuesday

Keep Your Eyes Peeled for Kudos:

Announcing the forthcoming announcement
of this year’s Bunkum Awards

BOULDER, CO (March 2, 2015) – The tuxedos and gowns are back from the dry cleaner, fresh bulbs are in the searchlights, and we’ve vacuumed the red carpet and notified Robin Roberts and Don Lemon.In just 24 hours, you’ll have a front row ticket to the National Education Policy Center’s gala presentation of the BUNKUM AWARDS, our annual recognition of superlatively shoddy educational “research.”

Host David Berliner returns from last year’s glorious debut to emcee the ceremony and announce the winners of the coveted awards. No word on whether he’ll emerge from backstage in his tighty whiteys.
Watch for our announcement Tuesday morning, March 3!

National Education Policy Center: Research and analysis to inform education policy and promote democratic deliberation (and to hand out occasional awards)

 

February 24, 2015

News from the NEPC: Charter Schools: Separating Fact & Fiction

From yesterday’s inbox…

Research and analysis to inform education policy
and promote democratic deliberation
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Charter School Research: Separating Fact & Fiction

Researchers describe the evidence
on key charter school issues in 
reviewing a recent think tank report 

Contact:

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

Gary Miron, garmiron@gmail.com

Kevin G Welner, (303) 492-8370welner@colorado.edu

URL for this press release: http://tinyurl.com/nq59k4v

BOULDER, CO (February 23, 2015) — A new analysis from the National Education Policy Center released today examines a variety of claims made about charter schools and offers a comprehensive roundup of what research evidence has actually shown about these schools and their role as a vehicle for education reform.

The analysis is by Gary Miron of Western Michigan University as well as William Mathis and Kevin Welner, both of the University of Colorado Boulder. It was written for the Think Twice think tank review project of the NEPC. The project and the NEPC are housed at CU Boulder’s School of Education.

Miron is a veteran analyst of the growth and performance of charter schools nationally. Mathis is managing director and Welner is director of the NEPC.

The analysis is grounded in a review of a report issued last August by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, Separating Fact & Fiction: What You Need to Know about Charter Schools. The original report lists 21 criticisms of charter schools, labeling them as “myths” and attempting to rebut them.

The NEPC review considers these criticisms and responses, using them to frame a research-based, item-by-item overview of the issues.

One overarching finding of the NEPC review is that, notwithstanding its title, the NAPCS report at best muddies the distinction between fact and fiction and at worst perpetuates certain fictions as fact and certain facts as fiction.

“Unfortunately, in addressing 21 ‘myths,’ it embraces fiction whenever useful to push advocacy goals, thus perpetuating its own myths and fictions about charter schools,” says Miron.

While offering an evidence-based response toSeparating Fact & Fiction, the NEPC review also provides in a single document a wide range of research sources and summary findings that researchers, policymakers, and interested citizens may find helpful in continuing discussions and debate over the merits of charter schools.

The review “provides a useful opportunity to walk through the various claims and succinctly address each,” says Mathis. Those include evidence concerning whether charter schools are equitably financed; the qualifications of charter school teachers relative to those at traditional public schools; and topics including student selection demographics, academic outcomes, segregation, and innovation.

“While the NAPCS report itself may provide only sound-bite fodder for advocates,” the authors conclude, “we hope that the two documents combined—report plus review—offer an overview of issues that does advance comprehensive understanding.”

Find the review by Gary Miron, William Mathis, and Kevin Welner on the NEPC website at:
http://nepc.colorado.edu/
thinktank/review-separating-fact-and-fiction
.

Find Separating Fact & Fiction: What You Need to Know about Charter Schools,published by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, on the web at:
http://www.publiccharters.org/
wp-content/uploads/
2014/08/Separating-Fact-from-Fiction.pdf
.

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 visithttp://nepc.colorado.edu/.

This review is also found on the GLC website athttp://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 © 2015 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.

February 14, 2015

Please Sign ASAP The Open Letter About Testing And ESEA

From Friday’s inbox…

*** Invitation to sign another open letter by February 20thhttp://bit.ly/1uHBt5g ***

Dear Friends and Colleagues—Thank you for supporting the CARE-ED open letter about the proposed federal teacher preparation regulations.  I am writing to you about another opportunity to speak collectively as researchers about proposed federal policy, namely, the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

I hope by now that you’ve seen the excellent NEPC policy memo by Kevin Welner and Bill Mathis on “Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act: Time to Move Beyond Test-Focused Policies” (http://tinyurl.com/l687zl5).  ESEA is being revised RIGHT NOW in Congress, and we have a short window to speak loudly and collectively about the problems with test-focused “reforms” by drawing on sound research and the expertise of researchers.

Educational researchers from across the United States are joining together to endorse the NEPC policy memo in an Open Letter to Congress and the Obama Administration: http://bit.ly/1uHBt5g
By February 20th, please consider adding your name to the hundreds who have already signed, and please help to spread the word.  Soon after February 20th, everyone who signed will receive a pdf of the finalized letter, with suggestions for sending to your legislators and other next steps to continue to raise awareness and engage in democratic decision-making.
In solidarity,
Kevin Kumashiro
Dean and Professor, School of Education
University of San Francisco (www.usfca.edu/soe)​
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