Virtual School Meanderings

June 18, 2021

Universal Pre-K

Note this item from the folks at the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

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June 17, 2021READ IN BROWSER
Hello, Great Lakes Center subscriber:

Universal Pre-K programs are having a moment, thanks in large part to President Biden’s advocacy for significant expansion. In recent history, early childhood program expansion has enjoyed bipartisan support in many states. The Manhattan Institute recently published “The Drawbacks of Universal Pre-K: A review of the Evidence.” We commissioned W. Steven Barnett, senior co-director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University, to review the Manhattan report.
Read on to learn what Barnett found.

Dr. Gretchen Dziadosz

Executive Director
Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice

SUMMARY

  • Research shows public investments in early childcare and education can produce significant benefits including increased maternal employment, family earnings, improved child well-being, school readiness and a host of later educational, social and economic outcomes.
  • Because of omissions of research and unjustified assumptions, the Manhattan report is a misleading and inadequate policy guide.
  • The title of the Manhattan report is misleading as it specifies only universal Pre-K, but the actual brief also reviews evidence on means-tested programs as well. Mean-tested programs use family income to determine eligibility.
  • The policy recommendations in the Manhattan brief are too simplistic given the complexity of early childhood care and education.
  • The brief’s assertion that highly disadvantaged children benefit most from high-quality early childhood education is supported by research.
  • Universal programs with high quality early childhood education may be better than means-test programs at enrolling disadvantaged children while benefitting other children.
  • If universal subsidies for cheap childcare are substituted for investments in high-quality Pre-K, the promised benefits will not materialize.
Read the full review on the Great Lakes Center website or on the National Education Policy Center website.

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE

There are many likely benefits to American children and families from expansion of high-quality early childhood education programs. However, achieving the benefits of universal early education is not done through simplistic recommendations or political pandering. It is vital that we to take a wide look at policy recommendations on universal early education based on a non-biased, non-political, look at the research.

TALKING POINTS TO REMEMBER

  1. The Manhattan Institute on Universal Pre-K brief makes critical omissions and assumptions that cause it to be misleading and inadequate as a guide for policymakers.
  1. Simply subsidizing low-quality childcare without investing in high quality early childhood education will mean that the promised benefits of universal Pre-K will not materialize.
  1. The Manhattan report makes several unwarranted assertions that short-term benefits are ignorable, that cognitive benefits are unimportant, and that women’s employment should not be a consideration.
  1. The Manhattan report espouses direct payments to parents but provides no evidence of any positive effect on child development.

SOCIAL SHARES

Want to share this Think Twice Review with your social networks? We drafted some sample social media posts for your use.
A new brief recommends rolling back coverage of existing #preschool education programs, but its recommendations are too simplistic and skewed. #universalprek #earlychildhood #manhattaninstitute Read more: A new brief recommends rolling back coverage of existing #preschool education programs, but its recommendations are too simplistic and skewed. #universalprek #earlychildhood #manhattaninstitute Read more:
A @NEPCtweet review found a brief on #UniversalPreK ignored existing research and is misleading for policymakers. #earlychildhood #manhattaninstitute A @NEPCtweet review found a brief on #UniversalPreK ignored existing research and is misleading for policymakers. #earlychildhood #manhattaninstitute
Policymakers proposing to expand access to #preschool should assure that programs are quality. #universalpreK #earlychildhood #manhattaninstitute Policymakers proposing to expand access to #preschool should assure that programs are quality. #universalpreK #earlychildhood #manhattaninstitute
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Michael, people are recommending your work

Filed under: virtual school — Michael K. Barbour @ 6:03 am
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An item from one of my open scholarship networks.

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With 194 new reads, your technical report was the most read research item from your institution
Understanding Pandemic Pedagogy: Differences Between Emergency Remote, Remote, and Online Teaching
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Improving the K-12 Online Course Design Review Process: Experts Weigh in on iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Courses

June 16, 2021

Report Uses Weak Data and Methods to Promote School Choice

Note this item from the folks at the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

June 15, 2021

Contact:
Michelle Renée Valladares: (720) 505-1958, michelle.valladares@colorado.edu
T. Jameson Brewer: (678) 910-2744, Jameson.Brewer@ung.edu

Report Uses Weak Data and Methods to Promote School Choice

An NEPC Review funded by the Great Lakes Center

Key Takeaway: Methodological flaws and inattention to the larger research base on school choice lead to the authors’ preferred conclusions.

EAST LANSING, MI (June 15, 2021) – A recent brief from the School Choice Demonstration Project at the University of Arkansas is being used by voucher advocates to argue that increasing school choice can spur broad test score improvements.

However, 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?, and found significant methodological weaknesses and flaws that render the report useless for guiding policy.

The report ranks states based on their expansion of market-oriented school policies such as vouchers, charters, homeschooling, and inter-district choice. It then constructs a regression model using this “education freedom” ranking along with per-pupil spending and student/teacher ratio, and using each state’s combined math plus reading NAEP scores as the dependent variable.

This creative approach yields an unexpected negative relationship between higher spending and the combined NAEP levels. The student/teacher ratio variable does show the expected inverse relationship to outcomes (the more students per teacher, the lower NAEP scores). Oddly, while the two variables-spending and student/teacher ratio-would be expected to be highly correlated, the study does not explore or address this concern by, for example, exploring alternative modeling choices.

The report’s main finding is that, after controlling for spending, student/teacher ratio, household income, and percent White students, the model shows a positive correlation between “freedom” and these scores (as well as NAEP score gains since 2003). While repeatedly stating that their data and methods “cannot establish conclusively whether education freedom caused those changes,” the authors also repeatedly trumpet the association teased out by their model and urge policymakers to embrace school choice policies. Readers are ultimately informed of the “reality” that “[s]chool choice has its best chance to influence NAEP scores and gains across an entire state by delivering competitive pressure to district-run public schools.”

Professors Brewer and Malin point out, however, that the report’s data and methods can, at best, suggest a relationship that should then be examined using a stronger research design. They also explain that the report, by ignoring relevant peer-reviewed research that has found negative consequences of school choice reforms, does not engage meaningfully with the larger body of research. Indeed, the reviewers identify significant methodological flaws that cast doubt on the report’s findings. Major faults include issues related to independent variable construction, the use of an unusually combined dependent variable, and the inclusion of a student group that is untested via the NAEP.

Moreover, the methodology fails to scrutinize dubious findings emerging from their models-particularly with regard to spending on education. Instead, the report uses such findings to buttress its concluding claim that a package of school choice reforms is desirable and beneficial.

These shortcomings undermine the report’s conclusions and render the study, as currently presented, useless for purposes of guiding policymaking.

Find the review, by T. Jameson Brewer and Joel Malin, at:
https://www.greatlakescenter.org

Find Education Freedom and Student Achievement: Is More School Choice Associated with Higher State-Level Performance on the NAEP?, written by Patrick J. Wolf, Jay P. Greene, Matthew Ladner, and James D. Paul and published by the School Choice Demonstration Project at the University of Arkansas, at:
https://cpb-us-e1.wpmucdn.com/wordpressua.uark.edu/dist/9/544/files/2018/10/education-freedom-and-naep-scores.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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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/

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[PDF] Special Education Teachers Share Their Crisis Teaching Experiences

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June 15, 2021

AERA Highlights: AERA Celebrates Pride Month, Nominating Committee Seeks Recommendations for 2022 Elected Officers, and more!

A newsletter from the folks at the American Educational Research Association.

Click here to view this email in your browser.
June 2021
 

AERA News

AERA Q&A

Research Policy and Funding News

AERA Calls

AERA Editor Calls

AERA Report Discount

Notable New Report
Beyond AERA

In Memoriam

AERA in the News

AERA News

AERA Celebrates Pride Month

AERA proudly supports diversity and inclusion and is committed to advancing empirical evidence to inform practices and policies that support LGBTQ individuals in educational settings. Our LGBTQ resource page provides access to AERA-published journal articles, publications, fact sheets, and other materials of use to researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and others with a commitment to LGBTQ education issues. This page will be updated with additional resources during June 2021.

AERA Nominating Committee Seeks Recommendations for 2022 Elected Officers: Deadline September 1

The AERA Nominating Committee seeks recommendations of candidates for AERA-wide offices. Each year, the committee advances a slate of nominations for president-elect and two member-at-large positions. Read more

AERA 2021 Virtual Research Learning Series to Offer Four Courses in June and July—Register Now

Four courses in the six-part AERA 2021 Virtual Research Learning Series are being offered over the next month. Read More

AERA-ICPSR-NSF PEERS to Hold Workshop on Shaping Critical Data Science for a Diverse World, July 15—Register Now

The AERA-ICPSR PEERS Data Hub will hold a no-fee workshop on “ICQCM: Shaping Critical Data Science for a Diverse World” on July 15, 1:00 pm–4:00 pm ET. The workshop will broadcast live on Zoom. Read More

AERA Announces 2021–22 Minority Dissertation Fellows

AERA has announced the recipients of the 2021–22 AERA Minority Dissertation Fellowship in Education Research. This highly selective program, designed for members of racial and ethnic groups historically underrepresented in education research, offers dissertation fellowships to minority graduate students and provides mentoring and guidance toward the completion of their doctoral studies.

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AERA
 is pleased to offer a program of six engaging virtual professional development
 courses focused on topics in quantitative and qualitative research methods as
 well as strategies for scholars to increase writing productivity.
The series runs
 June 2–July 8.
Six engaging professional development courses focused on topics in quantitative and qualitative research methods as well as strategies for scholars to increase writing productivity.
AERA Q&A

Outgoing NCES Commissioner James “Lynn” Woodworth Reflects on His Term

James “Lynn” Woodworth began his term as commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics at the Institute of Education Sciences in March 2018. Read more

Research Policy and Funding News

Office for Civil Rights Calls for Comments on Nondiscriminatory Administration of School Discipline

On June 4, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights issued a Request for Information asking members of the public to submit written comments on the administration of school discipline in schools serving students in pre-K through 12th grade. Read more

Full Budget Request from President Biden Proposes Significant Boosts for Education Research

On May 28, the Biden administration released its full proposal to fund the federal government in its FY 2022 budget request. Read More

NSF EHR Advisory Committee Considers Racial Equity in STEM, Renaming of Directorate

On May 26–27, the National Science Foundation Education and Human Resources Advisory Committee held its spring meeting.

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IES Invites Applications for New Awards for FY 2022 for the Education Research and Special Education Research Grant Programs

On June 10, the Federal Register published an announcement of forthcoming FY 2022 requests for applications from the National Center for Education Research and National Center for Special Education Research.

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AERA Calls
AERA Editor Calls
AERA Report Discount
During Pride Month, AERA is offering a 50 percent discount on LGBTQ Issues in Education: Advancing a Research Agenda, which examines the current state of the knowledge on LGBTQ issues in education and addresses future research directions.

 

Notable New Report
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development has released OECD Digital Education Outlook 2021: Pushing the Frontiers with Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and Robots, which explores how digital technology and smart technologies based on artificial intelligence, learning analytics, and robotics might transform education.
Beyond AERA
Visit the Beyond AERA webpage for professional advancement opportunities from other organizations, including calls for papers and submissions, meetings and conferences, and other activities.

 

In Memoriam

AERA members who have recently passed away

S. Jay Samuels, 91, died on December 12, 2020. He retired from the Department of Educational Psychology in the University of Minnesota’s College of Education and Human Development in 2013.

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AERA in the News

Recent media coverage of AERA and AERA-published research

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AERA Highlights is published by the American Educational Research Association monthly to inform members and others interested in education research about the latest news and developments in AERA and in the field.

Editor: Felice J. Levine

Managing Editors: Tony Pals and John Neikirk

Contributors: Stephanie McGee, Audrey Poe, Christy Talbot, George Wimberly, and Martha Yager

 

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