Virtual School Meanderings

July 21, 2016

News from the NEPC: School Turnaround Report Fails to Meet Standard of Evidence

From Wednesday’s inbox…

Report relies on flawed, test-based strategies to define turnaround success.
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School Turnaround Report Fails to Meet Standard of Evidence

Key Review Takeaway: Report relies on flawed, test-based strategies to define turnaround success.
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BOULDER, CO (July 20, 2016) – A recent report from researchers at Public Impact claims to develop a helpful model for defining turnaround success, with metrics and cut scores that reach beyond student achievement tests to include indicators of engagement by students, parents and teachers; teacher and leader effectiveness; and short-term learning outcomes.

However, a review of the report concludes that, given the dearth of research evidence and sound methodological techniques incorporated into its analysis, as well as the omission of several rigorous, peer-reviewed studies that contradict the majority of its proposals, the report does not meet a minimal standard of evidence to support its claims.

University of California Berkeley professor Tina Trujillo and Texas State University professor Marialena Rivera reviewed Measuring School Turnaround Success for the Think Twice Think Tank Review Project at the National Education Policy Center, housed at the University of Colorado Boulder’s School of Education.

Trujillo and Rivera explain that, despite the report’s stated intentions, it focuses largely on standardized test scores. The result distracts attention and potential resources from schools’ other goals, including civic, social, emotional, and broader academic goals.

In the end, the report puts forth yet another proposal that encourages state leaders to continue over-relying on flawed, test-centered strategies. Policymakers and practitioners looking for guidance on measuring turnaround success will not find worthwhile recommendations. Instead, the reviewers conclude, they will encounter several unsubstantiated ones and others that are contradicted by solid peer-reviewed research.

Find Tina Trujillo and Marialena Rivera’s review at:
http://nepc.colorado.edu/thinktank/review-turnaround

Find Measuring School Turnaround Success, by Public Impact’s Cassie Lutterloh, Jeanette P. Cornier, & Bryan C. Hassel, published by WestEd’s Center on School Turnaround, at:
http://www.schoolturnaroundsupport.org/sites/default/files/resources/Measuring_School_Turnaround_Success.pdf

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC) Think Twice Think Tank Review Project (http://thinktankreview.org) provides the public, policymakers, and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. The project is made possible in part by support provided by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice:http://www.greatlakescenter.org

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), 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


Copyright © 2016 National Education Policy Center. All rights reserved.

July 20, 2016

Learning From The Federal Market-Based Reforms: Lessons For ESSA, Edited By Mathis And Trujillo, Is In Print!

I wanted to pass along information about this book again (see here and here earlier notices).

Dear Colleagues:

Our book, featuring your chapter, is now out!

As Larry Cuban put it, we have a “cast of all-star scholars” in this volume, and in Gloria Ladson-Billings words, we’ve “assembled some of the nation’s best minds” to examine the evidence on today’s market-based reforms as well as more promising, equitable ones. We are thrilled that we were able to include your excellent work.

[STUFF DELETED]

The timing of the book’s release is quite opportune, given that ESSA rules are being put together and state implementation plans are now being developed. However, we need your help to get the word out about the book so that its recommendations for more equitable, democratic reforms and policies can fall into the right hands.

Specifically, we ask that you help promote the book in the following ways:

  1. Forward this link to the publishers’ website to your scholarly and practitioner networks. Here, readers can purchase the book at a substantially reduced price of $30 per paperback or $70 per hardcover plus s/h thru7/31/17. The discount code to use at checkout is LFMBR30350.
  1. Post the book link on social media, including Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  1. [STUFF DELETED]

We both hope that this book can make an important contribution to the conversation and decision-making around ESSA and educational policy and reform more broadly. Thanks for helping us spread the word!

Cheers,

Bill and Tina

____________________________

William J. Mathis
Managing Director
National Education Policy Center
University of Colorado Boulder
nepc.colorado.edu
‘Like’ the NEPC on Facebook | Follow @NEPCTweet on Twitter

Tina M. Trujillo, Associate Professor
Graduate School of Education
3649 Tolman Hall
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720
510.642.6272 (phone)
510.642.4803 (fax)
Fellow, National Education Policy Center http://www.nepc.colorado.edu/
Faculty Director, Principal Leadership Institute http://principals.berkeley.edu/

Please note that I am a chapter author in this volume.

July 18, 2016

Announcing New NEPC Book (& Discount)!

Note that this came through on one of my networks…

Dear Fellows.

We are thrilled to let you know about our NEPC newest book, edited by Bill Mathis and Tina Trujillo, which has just been published.

Among the fantastic chapter authors are many of you: Michael Barbour, Steven Barnett, David Berliner, Patricia Burch, Carol Burris, Ben Kirshner, Christopher Lubienski, William Mathis, Gary Miron, Jeannie Oakes, Gary Orfield, Jennifer King Rice, Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, Janelle Scott, Tina Trujillo, Angela Valenzuela, Michelle Renee Valladares, and Kevin Welner.

The book, “Learning from the Federal Market-Based Reforms: Lessons for ESSA,” begins with the foundational purposes of education and then discusses test-based and market-based reforms, as well as important evidence-based reforms such as early education, de-tracking, adequate funding, and full service community schools. Particular attention is paid to the failure of NCLB to close opportunity gaps – its original purpose.

Throughout the book and through a variety of perspectives, the authors emphasize the vital necessity of addressing poverty, systemic segregation, and the unique needs of students. It makes the case that if our democracy is to thrive (or even to survive), we must redress the growing re-segregation and inequities in society as well as in the schools.

We think you’ll find that the book is comprehensive and will serve as a valuable and contemporary compendium for scholars and as a comprehensive research-based text for professors of educational policy. It can also serve as a much-needed resource as you work with your state’s policy-makers in maximizing the positive features in your state’s ESSA plan.

EARLY ORDER SAVINGS – You can purchase the book at a substantially reduced price from Information Age Publishing at http://www.infoagepub.com/products/Learning-from-the-Federal-Market%E2%80%90Based-Reforms: $30 per paperback or $70 per hardcover plus s/h. The code to use at checkout is LFMBR30350

The book will also be available as an eBook within the next 90 days from Google, Apple, and over 25 other online outlets.

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

Also note that I am one of the chapter authors of this volume (although I receive no financial gain from this book).

July 15, 2016

News from the NEPC: Shortcomings in “Efficiency Scores” and Logic Weaken Charter School Report

From Tuesday’s inbox…

Report’s claims of charter school efficiency not supported by evidence.
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Shortcomings in “Efficiency Scores” and Logic Weaken Charter School Report

Key Review Takeaway: Report’s claims of charter school efficiency not supported by evidence.
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BOULDER, CO (July 12, 2016) – A recent report from the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty concludes that the most efficient public schools in Milwaukee are charter schools that experience greater autonomy from the district. The report’s authors created “efficiency scores” for Milwaukee schools and, on the basis of those scores, draw conclusions about the relative efficiency of Milwaukee’s charter and traditional public schools.

Upon review, the bold claims about these relative efficiencies were found to be too weak to serve any useful function for policymakers.

University of Connecticut professor Casey Cobb reviewed Bang for the Buck: Which Public Schools in Milwaukee Produce the Best Outcome Per Dollar Spent?  for the Think Twice Think Tank Review Project at the National Education Policy Center, housed at the University of Colorado Boulder’s School of Education.

As Professor Cobb explains, the report includes two sets of scores. The first set was generated by dividing test scores in math and science by per-pupil funding. In a second analysis, “efficiency scores” were estimated for school types using a regression model that accounted for selected student demographic characteristics.

Five major problems arise from the report’s approach, Cobb finds. First, test scores do not comprehensively represent the purposes of schools. Second, the report does not address threats to the validity of its assumption that there is uniform financial accounting across schools and types. Third, the analytic description of the study is incomplete, making interpretation difficult. Fourth, “autonomy” is never really defined—it is just used as a loose term implying independence—so autonomous behavior is assumed by virtue of their charter status. The report then makes strong but unmeasured claims about the superior “efficiency” of charter schools based on their having this greater autonomy. Finally, while the report’s analysis controls for some school demographic characteristics, it does not appear to adjust for selection effects—effects that could prove fatal to their conclusions.

As a result of its manifold flaws, and because its conclusions are not supported by the evidence presented, Professor Cobb concludes that the report is of little if any use to policymakers.

Find Casey Cobb’s review at:
http://nepc.colorado.edu/thinktank/review-WILL

Find Bang for the Buck: Which Public Schools in Milwaukee Produce the Best Outcome Per Dollar Spent, by Will Flanders & CJ Szafir, published by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, at:
http://www.will-law.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Bang-for-the-Buck-FINAL.pdf

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC) Think Twice Think Tank Review Project (http://thinktankreview.org) provides the public, policymakers, and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. The project is made possible in part by support provided by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice:http://www.greatlakescenter.org

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), 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


Copyright © 2016 National Education Policy Center. All rights reserved.

July 12, 2016

Book Notice – Learning from the Federal Market‐Based Reforms: Lessons for ESSA

This showed up in my inbox this past week…

Hello and I hope all is well with you. I am writing to let you know that your book, “Learning from the Federal Market‐Based Reforms: Lessons for ESSA”, has been completed. It is currently available to order http://www.infoagepub.com/products/Learning-from-the-Federal-Market‐Based-Reforms  ,  and will be available to order on all major online retailer sites throughout the world within the next 60 days. Your title will be available as an eBook within the next 90 days on Google, Apple, as well as over 25 other online outlets. It has been a pleasure to work with you and your colleagues on this project and we would like to ask that if you or any of the contributors have any email lists (actual email addresses), conference attendee lists, SIG lists, network lists, and or personal lists that will assist us in effectively marketing this project and the series as a whole, to pass them along so we can spread the good news about your research. If there are any conferences that you would like IAP to have materials at to advertise your project, please let us know so our marketing department can reach out to those organizers.

  • We also ask that you please consider adopting this title for at least two semesters.  This will help to increase the citation levels, as well as increase sales.
  • If you have your students order directly from IAP we will offer a 20% discount off the list price, if you provide us with your student roster ahead of time.
  • All contributing authors and editors are entitled to a 50% discount off the list price of the book, and may take advantage of this discount at any time by using the following promo code at checkout on our site: [removed] (case sensitive, no spaces)
  • Also attached are copies of the promotional flyer and postcard for your use, and distribution of any kind. You may also request complimentary printed copies of these items at any time.

Please be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter so you can always stay up to date on the latest news from IAP.

Like us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/IAP-Information-Age-Publishing/85008047497
Follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/Infoagepub 

Thank you again and we look forward to working with you on your next project.

Regards,

Angela Vale
IAP – Information Age Publishing, Inc.
PO Box 79049
Charlotte, NC 28271-7047

Phone: 704-752-9125
Fax: 704-752-9113
Email: angela@infoagepub.com
Web: www.infoagepub.com

Attachments:

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Please note that I am a chapter author in this volume.

Learning from the Federal Market‐Based Reforms

Lessons for ESSA

Edited by:
William J. Mathis, University of Colorado, Boulder
Tina M. Trujillo, University of California, Berkeley

A volume in the series: The National Education Policy Center Series. Editor(s): Kevin G. Welner, University of Colorado – Boulder. Alex Molnar, Arizona State University.

Published 2016

Over the past twenty years, educational policy has been characterized by top‐down, market‐focused policies combined with a push toward privatization and school choice. The new Every Student Succeeds Act continues along this path, though with decision‐making authority now shifted toward the states. These market‐based reforms have often been touted as the most promising response to the challenges of poverty and educational disenfranchisement. But has this approach been successful? Has learning improved? Have historically low‐scoring schools “turned around” or have the reforms had little effect? Have these narrow conceptions of schooling harmed the civic and social purposes of education in a democracy?

This book presents the evidence. Drawing on the work of the nation’s most prominent researchers, the book explores the major elements of these reforms, as well as the social, political, and educational contexts in which they take place. It examines the evidence supporting the most common school improvement strategies: school choice; reconstitutions, or massive personnel changes; and school closures. From there, it presents the research findings cutting across these strategies by addressing the evidence on test score trends, teacher evaluation, “miracle” schools, the Common Core State Standards, school choice, the newly emerging school improvement industry, and re‐segregation, among others.

The weight of the evidence indisputably shows little success and no promise for these reforms. Thus, the authors counsel strongly against continuing these failed policies. The book concludes with a review of more promising avenues for educational reform, including the necessity of broader societal investments for combatting poverty and adverse social conditions. While schools cannot single‐handedly overcome societal inequalities, important work can take place within the public school system, with evidence‐based interventions such as early childhood education, detracking, adequate funding and full‐service community schools—all intended to renew our nation’s commitment to democracy and equal educational opportunity.

CONTENTS
Foreword, Jeannie Oakes. SECTION I: INTRODUCTION: THE FOUNDATIONS OF MARKET BASED REFORM, Purposes of Education: The Language of Schooling, Mike Rose. The Political Context, Janelle Scott. Historical Evolution of Test‐Based Reforms, Harvey Kantor and Robert Lowe. Predictable Failure of Test‐Based Accountability, Heinrich Mintrop and Gail Sunderman.SECTION II: TEST‐BASED SANCTIONS: WHAT THE EVIDENCE SAYS, Transformation & Reconstitution, Betty Malen and Jennifer King Rice.Turnarounds, Tina Trujillo and Michelle Valladares. Restart/Conversion, Gary Miron and Jessica Urschel. Closures, Ben Kirshner, Erica Van Steenis, Kristen Pozzoboni, and Matthew Gaertner. SECTION III: FALSE PROMISES, Miracle School Myth, P. L. Thomas. Has Test‐Based Accountability Worked? Committee on Incentives and Test‐Based Accountability in Public Education(Michael Hout & Stuart Elliott, Eds.). The Effectiveness of Test‐Based Reforms. Kevin Welner and William Mathis. Value Added Models: Teacher, Principal and School Evaluations, American Statistical Association. The Problems with the Common Core, Stan Karp. Reform and Re‐Segregation,Gary Orfield. English Language Learners. Angela Valenzuela and Brendan Maxcy. Racial Disproportionality: Discipline, Anne Gregory, Russell Skiba, and Pedro Noguera. School Choice, Christopher Lubienski and Sarah Theule Lubienski. The Privatization Industry, Patricia Burch and Jahni Smith. Virtual Education, Michael Barbour. SECTION IV: EFFECTIVE REFORMS, Addressing Poverty, David Berliner. Racial Segregation & Achievement, Richard Rothstein. Adequate Funding, Michael Rebell. Early Childhood Education,Steven Barnett. De‐Tracking, Kevin Welner and Carol Corbett Burris. Class Size, Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach. School–Community Partnerships, Linda Valli, Amanda Stefanski, and Reuben Jacobson. Community Organizing for Grassroots Support, Mark Warren. Teacher Education, Audrey Amrein‐Beardsley, Joshua Barnett, and Tirupalavanam Ganesh. SECTION V: CONCLUSION.

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