Columnists

Reboot Foundation research questions the use of educational technology – Education Article

A Reboot Foundation report finds a negative tie between the use of tablets in school and fourth-grade reading scores. Photo: Tara García Mathewson/The Hechinger Report A mounting body of evidence indicates that technology in schools isn’t boosting student achievement as its proponents had hoped it would. The latest research comes from the Reboot Foundation, which released a study in June 2019 that shows a negative connection between a nation’s performance on international assessments and 15-year-olds’ self-reported use of technology in school.…

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Inside the Reardon-Hanushek clash on the achievement gap in education – Education Article

Measuring achievement gaps between rich and poor might seem like a straightforward exercise for education experts. Simply look up the test scores for rich kids and subtract the tests scores for poor kids. But despite this apparent simplicity, two prominent education researchers have arrived at different answers. Sean Reardon says that achievement gaps have grown a whopping 40 percent in the last 50 years. Eric Hanushek says they haven’t budged. Reardon, a sociologist, says the growing achievement gaps he has…

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If colleges want a diverse campus they need to amend admissions policies – Education Article

For those who seek higher education, access to a college is no longer an insurmountable problem. With more than 5,000 colleges and universities dotted across the United States, and the availability of online and distance learning, more students can find their way into a college classroom than ever before. Yet close inspection reveals that there is a big assumption in our everyday thinking about higher education that is riddled with faults: the idea that individuals choose the colleges they attend.…

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Charter schools in boston kept boosting student test scores after expansion – Education Article

Locations of charter middle schools in Boston. Source: “Can Successful Schools Replicate? Scaling Up Boston’s Charter School Sector,” Sarah Cohodes, Elizabeth Setren, and Christopher R. Walters, NBER Working Paper No. 25796 May 2019 Research sometimes shows that charter schools are better at raising student achievement than traditional public schools. But many charter schools get about the same results and sometimes charter schools do worse. Since charter schools are funded by public tax dollars, it’s important to have a way to…

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Students need a boost in wealth more than a boost in SAT scores – Education Article

Standardized tests that are used for the purposes of college admissions don’t predict for college success very well. Scores on the widely used SAT and ACT predict adequately only for grades earned in a student’s first year in college. And those scores are worse predictors for black and brown students. On the other hand, scores from the SAT and ACT tests are good proxies for the amount of wealth students are born into. Income tracks with test performance. The more…

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Third consecutive year in school spending increases marked a “full recovery” from the recession – Education Article

“In school finance, this is as exciting as it gets.” That’s how Stephen Cornman, a statistician inside the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, described official figures confirming a “full recovery” in education spending in 2015-16, seven years after the recession. The adjective “full” emphasizes that even in real dollars, after adjusting for inflation, more resources were pouring into prekindergarten through 12th grade classrooms across the country than before state and local governments started cutting spending in the…

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The promise of ‘restorative justice’ starts to falter under rigorous research – Education Article

In 2014, the Obama Administration jolted the education world with a report detailing unfair and racist school discipline practices across the country. Sixteen percent of all black students were being suspended, more than three times the rate of white students. Even preschoolers were being suspended at alarming rates. Other scholars produced research showing that the kind of zero-tolerance discipline then in vogue was hurting students’ long-term academic prospects and feeding the school-to-prison pipeline. Desperate for alternatives, many educators rapidly embraced…

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Students are supposed to read The Scarlet Letter, not wear it – Education Article

At the start of the 2018-19 school year, every student at Mingus Union High School in Cottonwood, Ariz. was issued a color-coded ID badge.* In the past, red badges denoted a student’s rank as an underclassman. Juniors and seniors wore gray badges. Beyond distinguishing between older and younger students, color coding provided a sense of progression, rank and seniority. However, last year the school decided to take a different direction in categorizing students. Mingus Union forced academically underperforming students to…

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Five years after Common Core, a mysterious spike in failure rate among NY high school students – Education Article

Five years after teaching to Common Core standards in New York State, 60 percent of English Language Learners failed the algebra Regents exam. They were part of a mysterious 13,000-student spike in the number of students failing the exam in 2017-18. Jackie Mader/The Hechinger Report Back in 2013, when New York was one of the first states in the nation to adopt Common Core standards and administer tougher tests, children’s test scores initially plummeted. Then, as teachers had time to…

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The problem with high-stakes testing and women in STEM – Education Article

In New York City, there’s a big debate over who should gain admittance to eight elite public high schools, including the well-known Stuyvesant High School and the Bronx High School of Science. Currently, Asian-American students score high enough on an entry exam to win a considerable majority of the seats. Mayor Bill de Blasio and a new school chancellor want to bring in more black and Latino students, who make up most of the city’s school population. This tension between demographics…

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Bold, progressive ideas, like quality Pre-K, aren’t unrealistic – Education Article

Universal pre-K, which was once considered a pipedream for liberal Democrats, is coming closer to reality — because predominantly white conservatives in the deep red state of Alabama have decided to dream along with liberals. After decades of lobbying by early childhood advocates, local businessmen agreed to fund individual programs and initiatives, and used their influence with the staunchly Republican legislature to increase state spending on pre-K in 2012 by $9 million, up 47 percent from the year before. In…

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