Virtual School Meanderings

April 20, 2015

News from the NEPC: Mis-measuring Education Policy Influence

From this past Thursday’s inbox…

Research and analysis to inform education policy
and promote democratic deliberation
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Mis-measuring Education Policy Influence

Despite potential of new methods to measure the impact of education advocacy groups, report using them comes up short 

Contact:

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

Robin Rogers, (347) 989-7869,Robin.Rogers@qc.cuny.edu

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

BOULDER, CO (April 16, 2015) — A recent Brookings Institution report seeks to measure the impact of advocacy groups on education reform policy. A review of that report published today finds that while it uses research methods that might be useful, the report’s shortcomings dictate that neither those methods nor the report’s conclusions should be accepted without additional research.

Robin Rogers and Sara Goldrick-Rab reviewed the report, Measuring and Understanding Education Advocacy, for the Think Twice think tank review project. The review is published by the National Education Policy Center, housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education.

Professor Rogers teaches Sociology at Queens College and the City University of New York Graduate Center. Her research focuses on politics, policy, and philanthropy. Professor Goldrick-Rob teaches Educational Policy Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is founding director of the Wisconsin HOPE Lab, the nation’s only translational research laboratory focused on college affordability.

Measuring and Understanding Education Advocacy, written for Brookings by Grover J. (Russ) Whitehurst and others, offers two newer tools for measuring the impact of advocacy groups on education reform policy: Surveys with Placebo (SwP), designed to measure more accurately the influence of advocacy groups, and Critical Path Analysis (CPA), to identify which tactics were successful in influencing reform. The report contends that coordination among advocacy groups strengthens their impact and that the perceived impact of advocacy groups tracks closely with policy outcomes.

Rogers and Goldrick-Rab conclude that the two methodologies might have potential for education policy research. They point out, however, that both “are more limited than the report acknowledges.”

The reviewers explain that “the research is a small case study of three states, with a low response rate for the SwP and CPA based on advocacy groups’ self-reported tactics.”

The report, they add, lacks enough information about responses to the Surveys with Placebo or about the selection of the advocacy groups. This undermines that ability of the report’s readers to adequately assess either usefulness of its methods or validity of its conclusions.

“Finally, there is not a strong connection between the evidence presented in the report and its conclusions,” Rogers and Goldrick-Rab conclude. “We therefore caution against adoption of the methods or reliance on the conclusions presented in this report without significant further research.”

Find the review by Robin
Rogers and Sara Goldrick-
Rab on the NEPC website at:
http://nepc.colorado.edu/
thinktank/review-
measuring-education-
advocacy

Find Measuring and Understanding Education Advocacy, by Grover J.
(Russ) Whitehurst and
published by the Brookings Institution, on the web at:
http://www.brookings.edu/
research/reports/2015/
03/04-education-advocacy-whitehurst
.

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.greatlakes
center.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.
This email was sent to mkbarbour@gmail.com
National Education Policy Center · School of Education, 249 UCB · University of Colorado · Boulder, CO 80309-0249 · USA

April 17, 2015

If You’re Available At 4pm On Sunday…

As the the 2015 annual meeting of the American Education Research Association begins today, I wanted to share this AERA event from Sunday…

… in Chicago, please come to the special, interactive session that launches the 2016 Annual Meeting theme emphasizing “public scholarship” (see attached). Jeannie Oakes, Michelle Renee and I invited NEPC Fellow David Garcia, should-be-an-NEPC-Fellow Linda Darling-Hammond, and he-really-wishes-he-were-an-NEPC-Fellow Rick Hess to help us get started thinking about the world of public scholarship. Please spread the word!

I’m looking forward to seeing a bunch of you there, and in Chicago more generally.

Cheers, k

Kevin G. Welner
Professor and Director
National Education Policy Center
http://nepc.colorado.edu
School of Education
University of Colorado Boulder
(303) 492-8370
‘Like’ the NEPC on Facebook | Follow @NEPCtweet on Twitter

Attachment: 2015 Session Flyer

April 14, 2015

News from the NEPC: Camouflaged Cost-Cutting

From yesterday’s inbox…

Research and analysis to inform education policy
and promote democratic deliberation
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Camouflaged
Cost-Cutting

Review finds proposal to pay ‘best’ teachers more if they accept larger classes misreads or ignores the evidence 

Contact:

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

Patricia H. Hinchey, (570)-479-1794,phinchey@psu.edu

URL for this press release: http://tinyurl.com/oz5b5onBOULDER, CO (April 13, 2015) — A recent report from Georgetown University’s Edunomics Lab proposes paying bonuses to the “best” teachers in a district if they teach more students. Yet the report misreads or ignores well-established evidence on class size as well as on teacher assessment, pay and job satisfaction, according to a new review published today.

Paying the Best Teachers More to Teach More Students was reviewed for the Think Twice think tank review project by Patricia H. Hinchey, a professor of education at Penn State University. The review is published by the National Education Policy Center, housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education.

The Edunomics report is written by Marguerite Roza and Amanda Warco. It proposes that districts pay the top 25 percent of their teachers a bonus for accepting up to three more students in existing classes. The drawback of the resulting larger classes would, the report asserts, be offset by the benefit of having more students enrolled with more effective teachers.

Professor Hinchey, however, points out that the report cites no evidence for that assumption. It bases its projected outcomes on data about average class sizes, which obscures the impact “on thousands of teachers and students in already overcrowded classrooms,” she adds. Further, the proposed bonus system similarly ignores the evidence that teacher salaries overall “are too low to recruit and retain sufficient numbers of talented faculty, especially in high-needs schools” – a problem that the authors’ proposal is unlikely to remedy.

Further, the report ignores “the well-documented and crucial technical problem with identifying high-performing teachers,” misrepresents the evidence on the effect of class size on student learning, and ignores established findings on teacher pay, attitudes, and job satisfaction.

The new report is one of many responses over the years to criticisms that “single-salary” pay scales under-compensate great teachers and over-compensate inept teachers. Yet, “rather than a practical response to known issues with single-salary pay scales, the proposal appears to be primarily a scheme to reduce the teaching force,” Hinchey concludes. “The report is superficial and misleading, and the plan it proposes has no value as a nationwide model.”

Find Pat Hinchey’s review on the NEPC website at:
http://nepc.colorado.edu/
thinktank/review-paying-best-teachers
.
Find

Paying the Best Teachers More to Teach More Students, by Marguerite Roza and Amanda Warco and published by the Edunomics Lab at Georgetown University, on the web at:
http://edunomicslab.org/
wp-content/uploads/2015/02/
PayBestTeachersMore_FINAL.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.
This email was sent to mkbarbour@gmail.com
National Education Policy Center · School of Education, 249 UCB · University of Colorado · Boulder, CO 80309-0249 · USA

April 10, 2015

News from the NEPC: Privacy Laws Inadequate to Protect Student Data

From yesterday’s inbox…

Research and analysis to inform education policy
and promote democratic deliberation
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Privacy Laws Inadequate to Protect Student Data from Advertisers, Others

NEPC releases 17th annual report on schoolhouse commercialism trends

Contact:

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

Faith Boninger, (480) 390-6736, fboninger@gmail.com

Alex Molnar, (480) 797-7261, nepc.molnar@gmail.com

URL for this press release:
http://tinyurl.com/mmq4vw5

BOULDER, CO (April 9, 2015) —  The computer technology that enables school districts to aggregate, collate, analyze and store massive amounts of student information – and the heavy reliance on private contractors to help manage that information collection, analysis and storage – pose significant concerns about the privacy rights of students, a new report released today shows.
While state and federal lawmakers have sought to expand the privacy rights of students and their families in the collection and dissemination of personal data collected by and for schools, those efforts have been piecemeal, incomplete, and often inadequate, the report suggests.

Those conclusions are among the findings of the 17th Annual Report on Schoolhouse Commercializing Trends, On The Block: Student Data and Privacy in the Digital Age. The report, by Alex Molnar and Faith Boninger, is published by the National Education Policy Center, housed at the University of Colorado Boulder.

In a new educational environment that emphasizes the computerization of student data and work, questions over how long information is held, who has the right to see it, and how students and their families might correct errors and inaccuracies it contains, are far from resolved and have become “critical policy issues,” the authors write.

In particular, Molnar and Boninger note the ease with which schools themselves may become vehicles for subjecting children to increased marketing efforts. Of special concern are “anonymized” meta-data that can be used to market to students and their families, and the increased time that students are encouraged to spend working online. When children enter the Internet environment, even if they enter from a responsible site with a transparent privacy policy, they are quickly exposed to other commercial sites that may be less concerned about their privacy.

“The hard truth,” Molnar and Boninger contend, is that “when schools send children into the open online environment, they are in reality often offering up these children to be tracked for the purpose of serving them ads for products that algorithms predict they will want to buy.”

Their report concludes with recommendations that lawmakers look to comprehensive guidelines in the Electronic Privacy Information Center’s Student Privacy Bill of Rights to help shape stronger privacy protections for students and their families. They also recommend the development of stronger policies to address “not only the privacy of student educational records but also the wide variety of student data (including anonymized data that may now be collected and shared)” – with particular attention to the commercial use of such data.

Additionally, the authors write, as policymakers engage this issue, they need to place the burden of protection of student data “not only on schools and districts but also on any private vendors with access to student data.”

“This would align the interests of all parties, public and private, in protecting student privacy,” Molnar and Boninger write.

Find On the Block: Student Data and Privacy in the Digital Age, The Seventeenth Annual Report on Schoolhouse Commercializing Trends–2013-2014, by Alex Molnar and Faith Boninger, on the web at:  http://nepc.colorado.edu/
publication/schoolhouse-commercialism-2014

The mission of theNational 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 visithttp://nepc.colorado.edu/.

Funding for the Annual Reports on Schoolhouse Commercialism is provided in part by Consumers Union.

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 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.
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