Education Research Report
April 2006
Copyright © 2006 Queue, Inc.

In This Issue:


"The State of Preschool: 2005 State Preschool Yearbook" was released by the National Institute for Early Education Research based at Rutgers University.  The report ranked all 50 states on access to, resources for, and quality of state preschool initiatives.

Only Arkansas met all 10 of NIEER's quality benchmarks, while five state programs achieved nine of the 10: Alabama, Illinois, North Carolina, Tennessee, and New Jersey. Six states rated an 8: Kentucky, Delaware, Georgia, Minnesota, South Carolina and Oklahoma.

Twenty-six states ranked lower, most scoring between 3 and 6.  Twelve states had no pre-K programs at all.

NIEER found that only one state, Oklahoma, offered preschool education to virtually all children at age 4 with over 90 percent enrolled in a state or federal program. Next highest in access was Georgia, where 67 percent of the 4-year-olds attended a public preschool program. Six of seven states serving more than 30 percent of their 4-year-olds in state pre-kindergarten were in the South:  Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia, Maryland, and South Carolina.

To see the full report, please go to:

To receive a free printed copy of the 2005 State Preschool Yearbook, please e-mail your name and address to

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The final report of the Rose Review of the Teaching of Early Reading, which sets out clearly how children should be taught to read, was released in England on March 20th. It strongly endorsed the phonics method of teaching reading.

Education Secretary Ruth Kelly welcomed the report. Kelly announced the English Government would be revising the statutory national curriculum to require phonics to be the prime approach used in teaching children to read.

The Rose report stresses that good teaching, attention to speaking and listening skills, and the systematic learning of phonics are crucial to raise standards, with early interventions to prevent children from falling behind.

Jim Rose's report makes clear that the Primary National Strategy, which promotes phonics teaching, has led to a substantial increase in standards since it was introduced in 1998.

Ruth Kelly said that the report would play a major part in guiding the renewal of the framework for teaching literacy, and the development of the Early Years Foundation Stage to ensure even more children are helped to read at an early stage.

Jim Rose's full report recommended that:
Jim Rose said the following:

"The review confirms the importance of establishing high quality, systematic phonic work as essential for beginner readers.

"At best our settings and schools embody the principles of such work within a language-rich curriculum that gives rise to high achievements in reading and writing. The challenge now is to ensure that in all settings and schools, the teaching and learning of early reading and writing in general, and phonic work in particular, measure up to this best practice."

The report is available online:

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A newly released report examines how often per week and how much time per day first-graders were instructed in subjects such as reading, mathematics, and science. The report also focuses in more detail on students' in-class work on reading and language arts. The major findings of the report are that more than 90 percent of first-graders received daily instruction in reading and mathematics, while the most common length of time spent per day on reading is more than 90 minutes and on mathematics is between 31 and 60 minutes. The most common reading or language arts activities used in first-grade classrooms were working on phonics and instruction in capitalization and punctuation.

To see the complete report, please go to:

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A newly released report highlights children's gains in reading and mathematics over their first six years of school, from the start of kindergarten to the time when most of the children are completing fifth grade. It also describes children's achievement in reading, mathematics, and science at the end of fifth grade. Comparisons are made in relation to children's sex, race/ethnicity, family characteristics (e.g., family type, poverty status, primary home language), the types of schools attended (i.e., public or private), and residential and school mobility.

While all children showed progress, learning gaps persisted. Certain family background variables were found to be associated with reading and mathematics achievement, such as poverty status and mother's highest level of education. Children living in poverty in all rounds of data collection scored lower in both reading and mathematics, on average, than students who moved into and out of poverty during the same period. Children whose mothers had not completed high school scored lower than children whose mothers had a bachelor's or higher degree. Boys were more likely than girls to score in the highest third of the distribution of mathematics achievement scores.

To see the complete report, please go to:

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A new report, released by the National Center for Education Statistics and the National Science Foundation, reveals distinct patterns of eighth-grade science teaching in Australia, the Czech Republic, Japan, the Netherlands, and the United States. These patterns were examined in a representative sample of 439 videotapes of eighth-grade science lessons from the participating countries.

What differentiated the four higher-achieving countries from the U.S. was their focus on science content. Although each of these countries had a unique approach, they all had strategies for engaging students with core science concepts and ideas. In U.S. lessons, content played a less central role and sometimes no role at all.

Results highlight variations across the countries in how science lessons were organized, how the science content was developed for the students, and how the students participated in actively doing science work. The countries' approaches are summarized below:
To see the full report please go to:

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In the flurry of activity surrounding implementation of NCLB's student proficiency mandates, the federal requirement to have a "highly qualified" teacher in every classroom by 2005 seemed more like an impossible goal. The concern predated NCLB, of course; "Clinton Addresses U.S. Teacher Shortage" was a headline from August 2000. But NCLB's demand that all new teachers hold at least a baccalaureate degree or higher, be fully licensed, and have demonstrated subject-matter competence in the areas they teach surely heightened the anxiety. However, 2005 has come and gone and the highly qualified-teacher crisis never happened. Why not?

A new report analyzes the "shortage."  To read the full report, please go to:

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The Teaching Commission, the non-profit advocacy organization founded by former IBM chairman and CEO Louis V. Gerstner, Jr., has released a final report urging state and local leaders to go "far further, far faster" in transforming the teaching profession. The message comes as the Commission ends its work on schedule, three years after its inception.

"If teaching remains a second-rate profession, America's economy will be driven by second-rate skills," said Gerstner. "We can wake up today—or we can have a rude awakening sooner than we think."

In its final report, Teaching at Risk: Progress and Potholes, the Commission cites significant progress since 2003—but, due to the urgency of the challenge of improving America's skills in an increasingly competitive global economy, gives state, local and federal leaders disappointing grades for their work in four crucial areas:
In this new report, the Commission emphasizes the need for further action in each of the four policy categories initially spotlighted in its January 2004 report, Teaching at Risk: A Call to Action. Specifically, the new report urges the following leaders to take the following steps:
The Commission's final report can be downloaded here:

Hard copies can be requested here:

The Commission also released a companion report. It is a summary of recent state legislation in each of the four major areas identified in the Commission's initial report. That report, prepared by the National Conference on State Legislatures, can be downloaded here:

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NCLB Affecting Everyday Lives of Students & Educators;
Greatest Impact in Urban Districts, According to New Report, Survey

The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is having a greater impact on the everyday activities of schools and districts, including prompting districts to better align instruction and state standards and more effectively use test data to adjust teaching, according to a report from the Washington, D.C.–based Center on Education Policy, which is tracking federal, state and local implementation of the law. However, the Center also found that a majority of districts surveyed—71 percent—reported having reduced instructional time in at least one other subject to make more time for reading and mathematics, the topics tested for NCLB purposes.

The report is based on the most comprehensive national study of the impact of NCLB, and comprises an extensive body of original research and analysis, including a survey of education officials in 50 states, a nationally representative survey of 299 school districts, and in-depth case studies in 38 geographically diverse districts and 42 individual schools.

According to state and local officials surveyed, scores on state tests are rising in a large majority of states and school districts, and many school leaders cited NCLB requirements for adequate yearly progress (AYP) as an important factor in rising achievement, though far more credited school district policies and programs as important contributors to these gains. In addition, the vast majority of state and district officials say that the Act's focus on the academic performance of student subgroups is having a positive effect.

The report also notes that officials in several case study districts, as well as some district survey respondents, feel the law has escalated pressure on teachers to a stressful level and is negatively affecting staff morale in some schools.

"The effects of NCLB are complex, and this policy has both strengths and weaknesses," said Jack Jennings, president and CEO of the independent, nonpartisan CEP. "If anyone is looking for a simple judgment on NCLB, such as 'good' or 'bad,' they will not find it in this report."

The report, From the Capital to the Classroom: Year 4 of the No Child Left Behind Act, is the fourth in a series of annual reports to be issued through 2008 by CEP, and offers a long-term look at how the law's implementation is affecting states and school districts.

Urban districts appear to be experiencing the greatest effects of the law. According to the report, the majority (54 percent) of Title I schools identified for improvement nationwide are in urban districts—a disproportionate share because only 27 percent of Title I schools are located in urban districts. Altogether, 29 percent of urban Title I schools are in improvement, compared with 11 percent of suburban Title I schools and 6 percent of rural Title I schools. And 90 percent of the schools now in restructuring, the last stage of NCLB's sanctions, are located in urban districts. Moreover, a greater proportion of urban districts than suburban or rural districts have been identified for district improvement.

A combination of factors has led to this pronounced impact in urban districts, including the fact that many urban districts must demonstrate AYP for 6-10 student subgroups while some rural districts must show progress for only two, white and low-income students. In addition, urban districts tend to be larger, so they have many more schools that must make AYP than smaller districts do; they also enroll higher percentages of low-income students.

Nationwide, the number of schools identified for improvement under NCLB has remained steady, in part due to changes in federal and state rules for testing students and determining adequate yearly progress that have made it easier for some districts and schools to make AYP. The report also finds:
The Continuing Capacity Gap

The Center's survey again finds that the lack of capacity is the greatest NCLB-related challenge for most states and districts. In fact, nearly every state (47) cited providing assistance to all schools identified for improvement as their greatest challenge in implementing NCLB, while 42 states indicated that the size of the state education agency staff presented a serious or moderate challenge to NCLB implementation.

Meanwhile, 37 states said that the adequacy of state funds to carry out NCLB duties was a serious or moderate challenge, while 34 said that the adequacy of federal funds presented a serious or moderate challenge. In addition, 33 states reported that funds have been inadequate to assist all schools identified for improvement, while 80 percent of school districts said they had costs for NCLB that were not covered by federal funds, such as costs for administering assessments, managing data, and providing professional development to help teachers meet the law's requirements.

The Center's 2005 report on NCLB made eight recommendations for improving the law, four of which were acted on at least partially by the U.S. Department of Education. The Center's current report includes a series of new recommendations for federal action, including:
  1. The Department should provide more information to the public about the process for considering state changes to their accountability plans.
  2. The Department should monitor and report on how confidence intervals, the safe harbor provision, and similar flexibility provisions are affecting the number of schools and districts making AYP.
  3. The Department of Education should move swiftly to help states develop assessments for certain students with disabilities, the so-called "gap children," using modified standards.
  4. The Department and the Congress should provide more funding for the act in general.
  5. The Department and the Congress should earmark more funding and provide other types of support to help strengthen states' and districts' capacity to assist schools identified for improvement.
  6. The Department and the Congress should give states and school districts sufficient authority and resources to monitor and evaluate supplemental educational service providers.
  7. The Secretary of Education should use her waiver authority to expand the pilot program that allows some districts to offer supplemental educational services instead of school choice in the first year of improvement and to wait until the second year of improvement to offer choice.
  8. The Secretary of Education should use her bully pulpit to signal that social studies, science, the arts, and other subjects beside reading and math are still a vital part of a balanced curriculum.
To read the case studies and the full report, please go to:

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NSBA's Council of Urban Boards of Education's (CUBE) new school climate report, Where We Learn, reveals that more than 70% of the urban students surveyed say they enjoy learning at their school, and the majority of those surveyed also feel safe at their school site and have the respect of their teachers. CUBE surveyed more than 32,000 students in 15 member districts to learn how students perceived their school environment. In this study, students indicated their perceptions in five areas: school safety; bullying; trust, respect and ethos of caring; racial self-concept; and general concept.

To see the full report, please go to:

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The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) has released the report, The Whole Child in a Fractured World by Harold "Bud" Hodgkinson.

The report documents the "splendid isolation of the U.S. educational system (or better yet, educational systems)," providing an overview of the complexity, the challenges, and the flaws in measuring efficacy. For example: The U.S. Department of Education contributes only 10 percent of total education spending, but it issues 90 percent of the regulations that schools must follow.

Among other issues, Hodgkinson analyzes how dropouts distort school and district reports, sometimes as much as 50%, and how some districts distort the data themselves.

To see the report:
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Only 20% of teens get the recommended 9 hours of shuteye on school nights and more than 1 in 4 report sleeping in class, according to a recent poll by the National Sleep Foundation. School-aged children and teens need at least 9 hours of sleep a day, according to the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research at the National Institutes of Health. But the Sleep Foundation's poll found that sixth graders were sleeping an average of 8.4 hours on school nights, while 12th graders sleep just 6.9 hours, two hours less than recommended. neaclear, a physician-strength skin care company touted by many as the ultimate anti-aging regimen, wants to give teens some simple, healthy advice—go to sleep.

In the competition between the natural tendency to stay up late and early school start times, a teen's sleep is what loses out. Sleep serves not only a restorative function for adolescents' bodies and brains, but it is also a key time when they process what they've learned during the day.

"Without enough sleep, a person has trouble focusing and responding quickly," says Dr. Sam Speron, surgeon and consumer advocate. "There is also growing evidence linking a chronic lack of sleep with an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and infections. Since neaclear's mission is to make the world a better place for everyone, they are urging all teens to go to sleep."

The Sleep Foundation poll interviewed 1,602 adult caregivers and their children aged 11 to 17. Among the findings:
According to the NIH, sleep needs vary from person to person and change throughout life. For example, newborns sleep 16 to 18 hours a day, children in preschool sleep 10 to 12 hours a day, and school-aged children and teens need at least 9 hours of sleep a day. Adults, including seniors, need 7 to 8 hours of sleep each day.

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Principals are very good at identifying teachers who produce the largest achievement gains in their schools, and also those who produce the smallest, according to a new study released by Education Next: A Journal of Opinion and Research.

Harvard University's Brian Jacob and Brigham Young University's Lars Lefgren found that principals do a good job of assessing overall teacher effectiveness and are especially adept at identifying those teachers who are in the top or bottom groups based on how much students are learning in their classes.

As interest in linking teachers' salaries directly to student achievement grows in states across the nation, Jacob and Lefgren see an important role for principals to play in determining merit pay. The evidence in their research suggests that merit-pay programs that focus on the highest- and lowest-performing teachers should be based in part on evaluations by principals.

Jacob and Lefgren surveyed all 13 elementary school principals in a midsized school district in the western United States. The principals assessed 202 teachers in grades 2 through 6. They were asked to provide a rating of overall teacher effectiveness and to judge ten specific teacher characteristics, including dedication and work ethic, classroom management, parent satisfaction, and ability to improve math and reading achievement.

The researchers looked at the principals' overall ratings of teachers and examined how different qualities in the teachers were valued. They compared a principal's assessment of how effective a teacher is at raising student achievement in reading or math with the actual ability of the teacher to do so as measured by his or her value-added.

In addition to helping identify the best and the worst teachers, Jacob and Lefgren found that principals' ratings of teachers—both overall ratings and ratings of a teacher's ability to improve achievement—were effective predictors of future achievement gains by their students.

To find out more about Jacob's and Lefgren's research read "When Principals Rate Teachers":

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A new study by the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University (CRP) shows how the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is being changed through a series of negotiations between the U.S. Department of Education and individual states.

This study reports that Department officials have been approving changes in how states implement NCLB by negotiating changes individually with each state. The authors contend that this process of making compromises with individual states has altered the meaning of accountability since no two states are now subject to the same requirements.

According to Gail Sunderman, the report's author, "These changes are a response to the growing political opposition we are seeing in states and the increasing number of schools and districts that are being identified as needing improvement. Rather than deal systematically with the problems in the law, the Department of Education has adopted a political strategy to changing NCLB. But this also suggests that the law is not working very well."

The report traces the growing opposition to the law among states and shows how these changes reduce the number of schools and districts identified for improvement. "The problem with this approach is that it does not affect all schools equally," says Sunderman.

Since many high performing schools and districts are labeled as failing under NCLB, this has become a political issue. Some changes have a differential impact that is unrelated to educational achievement. For example, changes some states have negotiated in how districts are held accountable under NCLB reduce the number of districts identified for improvement, but these changes primarily benefit those districts serving more white than minority students.

Professor Gary Orfield, Director of the Civil Rights Project, believes that these glaring inconsistencies produce cynicism about the demands of the law and undermine the parts of the law that have the greatest potential for reducing educational inequalities.

"The effort to paper over the defects of the law's limited and unrealistic accountability scheme has failed," he says, "and threatens the entire effort unless Congress and the Administration admit the problems and work together with educators to devise means that will produce serious reforms and genuine gains."

Among the changes approved by the U.S. Department of Education are a number of statistical techniques that states can use to calculate "adequate yearly progress" (AYP), which the authors demonstrate are only making it more difficult to understand what accountability means and obscure the ability of schools to show improvement in student performance.

The findings make clear that NCLB must be amended in significant ways, but that the ad hoc approach adopted by the Department of Education is only making matters worse. The authors recommend that policymakers revisit some of the basic assumptions that NCLB is based upon and include educators in the process to develop a systematic approach to revising the law.

A full report in PDF format may be downloaded at:

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"Racial Transformation and the Changing Nature of Segregation" addresses the changing patterns of segregation in the American public school system for the past four decades.

In large measure, landmark Supreme Court decisions in the last decade have steadily eroded the progress in educational integration made in the past thirty years. More than 50 years after the milestone court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which reversed the policy of racial segregation in schools, our nation's public school enrollment is undergoing a striking transformation. Author Gary Orfield commented:

"Anyone who thinks that the Supreme Court does not make a difference should look at the quarter century of decline in the segregation of Southern schools though the late l980s, the continual, year-by-year growth in segregation since the Court authorized ending desegregation plans in 1991, as well as the impact of the Court's 5–4 decision against city-suburban desegregation in 1974."

Geographically, the most dramatic trends in resegregation are seen in the South and the Border states for black students and increasing segregation for Latinos in the West. From 1991–2003, the number of black students attending majority nonwhite schools rose sharply across all regions. In the South, this percentage increased from 61% to 71%. Latinos constitute the largest minority and are increasingly segregated in regions where they are concentrated. Asians are the least segregated group of students and are most likely to attend multiracial schools.

"What the country needs now," according to author Orfield, "is a new recognition that our success as a nation depends on equal opportunity for all students and for preparing all groups of Americans to live in an extremely multiracial society that will have no racial majority and is risking its future when it confines its growing populations to separate and unequal schools."

Key Findings:
A full report in PDF format may be downloaded at:

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A new report asks two fundamental questions:
  1. Do the licenses that states require of school principals encompass the knowledge and skills those principals need to promote student learning?
  2. If not, what kind of policy framework would help decision-makers, educators, and others rethink principal licenses and the school leadership they support?
Investigators examined licensure content for principals in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia. Based on that in-depth investigation, they reached the following conclusions.

Licenses don't reflect a learning focus. No state has crafted licensing policies that reflect a coherent learning-focused school leadership agenda. On the contrary, licenses run between two extremes: a reliance on individual characteristics, such as background checks or academic degrees, that signal nothing about the purposes or practice of the principalship, and lists of knowledge and skill requirements whose scope and depth don't clearly sum to a meaningful definition of the job. Neither approach represents a set of qualifications on which the public may rely or the profession may depend. In an era of standards and accountability, this omission stands out.

Licensing requirements are unbalanced across states and misaligned with today's ambitions for school leaders. Thirty-five states rely either primarily or exclusively on the individual-focused licensing requirements we just mentioned. In the latter case, state licensing policies fail to specify any knowledge and skill requirements for school principals. Meanwhile, 10 states base principal licenses primarily on generic organizational knowledge and skills, such as problem analysis, communication, oversight, and resource management.

Six states base principal licenses primarily on learning-focused knowledge and skills. Twenty-eight others include some learning-focused content in their licensing requirements but rely more on non-learning criteria. Thus, while two-thirds of the states include some learning-focused content in their licensing requirements, inclusion of that content seldom amounts to a coherent policy focus or plan. Even when states include it, the learning-focused content is narrow in scope. For instance, only five states—Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, New Mexico, and Oklahoma—include learning-focused content in all five categories of the leadership-for-learning variables we included in this report, encompassing knowledge and skills related to academic programs, students, teachers, schools, and communities.

In addition to the variation in policy focus (across individual, organizational, and learning content), licensing demands also vary in terms of sheer numbers, ranging from 1 regulatory requirement (Hawaii) to 435 (Arkansas).

These findings are troublesome because academic results lag behind accountability expectations, achievement gaps persist, and accountability sanctions loom ever larger. At the same time that accountability raises the bar for learning-focused knowledge and skills among principals, the magnitude of the learning challenge for students signals the need for practices beyond the boundaries of business as usual. How, then, can states develop school leaders who can do this job? And what role can licensing play in securing the principals that schools need?

Licenses form the foundation of school leadership development. Rethinking principal licenses is an important first step in promoting leadership for learning. Licenses are an important policy tool, regulating who may become a principal and signaling the qualifications the public may expect in its school leaders. Licenses are a broadly applied tool, in use by all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and thus are able to influence practice widely. However, as our findings suggest, licenses also are a problematic tool, one not in sync with the demands of school leadership. They rest on assumptions about who can practice effectively and about the nature of school leadership itself that need to be re-examined in light of the learning challenges states now confront.

Doing licensure well means tackling licenses in the larger context of school leadership development. Three issues in particular shape any attempt to rethink principal licenses:
Doing licensure well, then, begins by challenging traditional licenses. A short list of overarching questions captures the most important elements of licensing and forms a basis for affirming or altering the licenses states promulgate:
Doing licensure well also requires a balanced framework that's able to link licenses with the duties and demands of the principalship. The framework we constructed for this analysis includes three categories: individual-focused elements (personal character, education, experience, skill assessment, and prior certifications), organizational-focused elements (strategic, social performance, technology utilization, and constituency management knowledge and skills), and learning-focused elements (knowledge and skills regarding educational programs, students, teachers, schools, and community outreach, the heart of the leadership-for-learning ambition).

Finally, leadership for learning requires more than a license. It needs a policy framework that makes coherent linkages among the standards, goals, and policy targets that define licensure's purpose and the practice it enables; then situates licensure within broader school leadership development strategies that account for differences between entry-level and expert practice, the problematic reliance on "super principals," and the need for change-oriented school leadership. We call this framework Licensing-Plus, and it affects practitioners in four stages:
  1. It (re)structures the license itself to include a background check, academic degree, specification of required knowledge and skills, and a test of knowledge and skills that is open to all candidates regardless of background.
  2. It provides for the development of expertise through focused continuing education tied to required knowledge and skills; voluntary, postlicensure certifications in specialized areas of school leadership; and distributed leadership roles.
  3. It promotes leadership development through specialized leadership training that includes policy and professional opportunities.
  4. It promotes effective licensing policies by using research to align licensing provisions, principal knowledge and skills, and school performance.
Licensing-Plus raises the prospect that school principals will be upstanding, educated, qualified, administratively competent, on target, possessed of the right know-how, and able to handle their job in any school or district that beckons; that is, it raises the prospect that principals will match what reasonable citizens might demand in school leaders. In short, when student learning matters, states must view principal licenses as tools to promote learning. Tackling new demands for school leadership requires that states rethink principal licenses in ways that move the profession toward the learning-focused school leadership the nation now demands.

See the full report:

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This report describes the characteristics of homeschooled students and their families. In 2003, 31 percent of homeschooled children had parents who cited concern about the environment of other schools, such as safety, drugs, or negative peer pressure, as the most important reason for homeschooling. Thirty percent had parents who said the most important reason was to provide religious or moral instruction, and 16 percent of homeschooled students had parents who said dissatisfaction with the academic instruction available at other schools was the most important reason.

To see an Executive Summary of this report and/or the full report, please go to:

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One of the central purposes of public education is to provide opportunities for all children to learn and excel. Unfortunately, while gaps in educational outcomes have indeed improved substantially over the past half-century, poor and minority students are still well behind their more advantaged counterparts. There is also evidence that the positive trend has reversed course—that educational outcomes are now becoming even more inequitable.

Recent policy studies by the Education Trust and the Heritage Foundation have tried to identify "high-flying" schools—schools that help students reach very high levels of achievement, despite significant disadvantages. This report by Douglas N. Harris of Florida State University demonstrates three major problems with the findings of these reports.

(1)  Due to questionable
(2)  The numbers in these reports are being misused
(3)  These reports fail to directly address the vast amount of evidence
It is therefore recommended that: 1. Policy makers continue the recent focus on measurable student outcomes, such as test scores, but redesign policies to hold educators accountable only for those factors within their control; 2. Policy makers take a comprehensive approach to school improvement that starts in schools but extends into homes and communities, and addresses basic disadvantages caused by poverty; and 3. All educational stakeholders acknowledge that educational inequity is caused by problems in both schools and communities—and avoid trying to blame the problem on schools alone.

To see Ending the Blame Game on Educational Inequity: A Study of "High Flying" Schools and NCLB, please go to:

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A study of 950,000 Swedish men has shown that taller men get a better education, a researcher said. The study, to be published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, could suggest short people are discriminated against as they are expected to be low achievers, said researcher Finn Rasmussen at Sweden's Karolinska Institute.
"The probability of achieving higher education in later life increases linearly with height," said the study. It looked at male conscripts into the Swedish army born between 1950 and 1975 and their education for up to 27 years after their height was measured at the age of 18.
"Men taller than 194 cm (6 ft 4 in) were two to three times more likely to obtain a higher education when compared with men shorter than 165 cm," it added.
Feeding variables into the study such as social background or intelligence, as measured by IQ, altered the outcome slightly, but a clear link between height and educational attainment remained, the research said.
The scientists did not draw conclusions, but Rasmussen said it could be something to do with social attitudes.  "We do not know if people have negative attitudes to[wards] short people. It is possible that there could something in society about the expectations of people or attitudes to what people can perform."

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Education/Evolving's report "Real Impact: Student Opinions for a Change" is divided into two major sets of findings. The first set describes our nation's increasingly tech-savvy students and the various ways in which they use computers and the Internet. The second outlines students' frustrations with our nation's still text-dominated schools, as well as students' ideas for how adult education policy and school designers could better meet their needs.

To see full report, click here:

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The large academic achievement gap between males and females is growing significantly decreased, according to a new study by the U.S. Department of Education.
In elementary school, female fourth graders outperformed their male peers in reading (2003) and writing (2002) assessments. Gender differences in mathematics achievement have been small and fluctuated slightly between 1990 and 2003. At the secondary school level, the gap in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading achievement grew from ten points in 1992 to 16 points in 2002, with males performing lower than females. Females entering college baccalaureate programs were more likely than their male counterparts to graduate within six years. In 2001, the overall participation rate of females in adult education was higher than that of their male peers (53 percent vs. 46 percent).  Other findings are that:
"It is clear that girls are taking education very seriously and that they have made tremendous strides," said U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige. "The issue now is that boys seem to be falling behind. We need to spend some time researching the problem so that we can give boys the support to succeed academically."
To download or view the report, please click here:

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State standards and standardized tests have become dominant forces in American public schooling. For most of its history, public education in the U.S. was a local matter, with local schools and school systems setting their own educational priorities. But in the wake of mounting evidence that the preparation most students received from public schools wouldn't suffice in a postindustrial economy, and with the conscience of the nation having been transformed by the civil rights movement, policymakers began to pursue a new paradigm, one that sought to establish statewide public school standards and hold local educators accountable if their students fell short of these standards. Standardized tests, used to measure student performance against the new state expectations, are the linchpin of this strategy of standards-based reform.

"Margins of Error" reveals how factors such as the scale of standardized testing required by NCLB, competitive pressures in the testing industry, tight regulatory deadlines, a dearth of testing experts, and lax state oversight are resulting in tests that in many states undermine NCLB's pursuit of higher academic standards. The report provides recommendations for both state and federal policymakers to strengthen the nation's testing infrastructure.

To see the full  report, "Margins of Error: The Testing Industry in the No Child Left Behind Era," please go to:

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Study Finds Students with Rigorous Academics in High School More Likely to Complete Bachelor's Degree

Completing academically challenging course work in high school dramatically increases the likelihood of a student earning a bachelor's degree, according to a new U.S. Department of Education study released today. The study, "The Toolbox Revisited: Paths to Degree Completion From High School Through College," found that the academic intensity of a high school curriculum is the strongest indicator of postsecondary degree completion, regardless of a student's major course of study.

"Students who enter college should be ready for college-level work. And it's the job of high schools and middle schools to prepare them for it," said U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings. "The president's proposed American Competitiveness Initiative would promote stronger instruction in key subjects such as math and science. As the scientific data in this study show, strengthening curriculum now will pay dividends well into the future."

The President's American Competitiveness Initiative would support rigorous instruction in math, science, and foreign languages in the early grades and more challenging course work in high school. "Math Now" programs, which aim to give younger students solid instruction in math, as well as increased incentives for high school students to take Advanced Placement courses, will ensure that the nation's students are better prepared to complete college and compete in a global workplace.

"The Toolbox Revisited" studies the High School Class of 1992 as it moved from high school to higher education and includes comparisons to a previous report, "Answers in the Tool Box," which followed the High School Class of 1982 from high school through college. Both national longitudinal studies had similar findings.

"This new data empirically confirms what educators already know: Challenging high school course work prepares students for the much tougher challenges that lie ahead," said Secretary Spellings. "It also helps colleges and universities by reducing the need for costly remedial education. The American Competitiveness Initiative is an educational win-win."

Through high school and college transcripts, the study examines students who attended a four-year college at any time, including students who started out in community colleges. The data on which the study is based cover a period of eight and a half years for degree completion—from high school graduation in spring 1992 until December 2000. It is based on data from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988.

The Toolbox Revisited is available at: and will be available in hard copy on Feb. 28 for free through ED Pubs at

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Charter school critics argue that charter success might be illusory. Many believe that charter schools are simply recruiting the best students from traditional public schools and that charter schools may further stratify an already racially stratified system.

A new report finds that finds that students in both California and Texas who move to charter schools are on average lower performing than other students at the public schools they leave. This performance gap is largest for African-American students.

The report also finds that African-American students are more likely to move to charter schools than white students. Moreover, they tend to move to charter schools with a higher percentage of African-American students. These charter schools are even more racially concentrated than the public schools they leave.

To see the full report, please go to:

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Curriculum Changes Require Action by Policymakers and Educators

A new report by ACT calls for major changes in high school reading standards and instruction. The report, entitled "Reading Between the Lines," concludes that too many American high school students are graduating without the reading skills they'll need to succeed in college and in workforce training programs.

ACT research shows the clear benefits experienced by students who are ready for college-level reading: They are more likely to enroll in college in the fall following high school graduation, earn higher grades in college social science courses, earn higher first-year college grade point averages, and return to the same college for a second year in higher proportions than do students who are not ready for college-level reading.

ACT's findings suggest the ability to read complex texts is the clearest differentiator between students who are more likely to be ready for college-level reading and those who are less likely to be ready. Unfortunately, the majority of states don't define the types of reading materials to which high school students in each specific grade should be exposed, and not a single state defines what complex texts are. All of the state standards are silent on this matter.

Only about half (51%) of the nearly 1.2 million 2005 high school graduates who took the ACT college admission and placement exam met the College Readiness Benchmark for reading on the exam, the lowest level in more than a decade. Students who reach or exceed the benchmark are likely ready to handle the reading requirements for typical credit-bearing first-year college social science courses. The percentage of students prepared for college-level reading peaked at 55 percent in 1999 and has declined since.

ACT's findings suggest that many high school teachers are not incorporating higher-level reading materials—the types of texts that students will encounter in college and in the workforce—into their classes.

In addition, even where reading is included in the high school curriculum, low teacher expectations can hamper students' ability to master complex reading skills, according to the ACT report. The results of ACT's National Curriculum Survey, completed by thousands of high school teachers across the country in 2003, suggest that high school teachers are more likely to teach higher-order critical reading skills to classes of students they perceive to be college-bound than to classes of students they assume are not going to college.

ACT's findings further reveal that reading skills often fail to develop as expected during the high school years. Results from ACT's EXPLORE and PLAN assessments indicate that a greater percentage of 8th- and 10th-grade students are on target to be ready for college-level reading than the percentage who are actually ready when they graduate from high school. This suggests that students are not continuing to develop their reading skills in the final two years of high school.

ACT research suggests that reading is a skill important to college success in all academic areas, not just in social science courses. The data show that students who are college-ready in reading are also significantly more likely to be college-ready in English, math, and science than those who are not college-ready in reading.

The ACT report defines the types of materials that need to be included in all high school courses in English, math, social studies, and science and provides a number of sample reading passages that illustrate the six essential features of complex texts. These six features, which can be abbreviated to "RSVP," are:
The ACT report also offers a number of recommendations to educators and policymakers on how to help to increase the numbers of high school graduates who are ready for college-level reading, including:
To see the full report, please go to:

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One year after the nation's governors pledged to improve American high schools, most states have made progress in raising achievement in the elementary grades, but secondary schools still struggle to close gaps between poor and minority students and their white and more affluent peers, according to a report by the Education Trust.

The report, "Primary Progress, Secondary Challenge: A State-by-State Look at Student Achievement Patterns," examines state assessment results in reading and math between 2003 and 2005 and finds that progress in raising achievement and closing gaps continues to be strongest in the elementary grades. Overall achievement in middle and high school has improved somewhat. But, four years after enactment of the No Child Left Behind law, there is still too little progress in narrowing gaps between groups in the secondary grades. The Latino-White gap in math achievement at the high school level, for instance, widened or stayed the same in as many states as it narrowed.

"There's enormous evidence from elementary grades that when we focus on raising achievement and closing gaps, we can get the job done," said Kati Haycock, director of the Education Trust. "But the fact remains that we've still got a lot to do to fix high schools so that they work for all kids, not just a select few."

"We have got to maintain momentum in the elementary grades, while dramatically ratcheting up the rate of improvement in our high schools," she said.

The report highlights strategies already underway at some high schools that are seeing success in raising achievement for previously low-performing students. They include: improving literacy instruction, assigning all students to challenging courses, and focusing on students' needs to drive teacher assignment and support.

The analysis also raises questions about the rigor of state tests and standards, putting a spotlight on the huge disparities in student performance on state tests and on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Just 29 percent of the nation's eighth graders demonstrate proficiency in reading and math on federal NAEP assessments. But most states report much higher proficiency rates on their own tests. The report provides a 50-state look at student performance on both tests.

Among the report's key findings:
While important, overall trends do not tell the whole story. To ensure that all students meet grade-level standards, schools must increase achievement for all students while accelerating gains for poor and minority children who are often the furthest behind. Many states are meeting this goal in the elementary grades, but the results in middle and high school are disturbing.

The Latino-White gap, for example, saw much less progress in the middle and high school grades. In middle school reading, the gap narrowed in just 17 of 29 states, widened in seven states and stayed the same in five. In high school math, gaps stayed the same or widened in 10 states and narrowed in an equal number. The African American-White gap on high school math assessments narrowed in 12 states, but widened or stayed the same in eight states.

"The goal here is to help those students who are the furthest behind catch up, while increasing achievement for all students. That's how we close the achievement gap," Haycock said.  "Fortunately, a growing body of research is available to help educators do just that. We know what best prepares young people to succeed in the classroom and, ultimately, in their lives beyond school. High schools need to be reorganized around student needs, not adult convenience." 

Daria Hall, senior policy analyst at the Education Trust and the report's principal author said: "These findings are cause for optimism and concern—optimism because most states are raising achievement and closing gaps in the elementary grades. But we are deeply concerned because the gains aren't extending into our secondary schools."

Visit the link below to access the report:

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Queue, Inc. offers free previews to public schools of its state-specific and generic test preparation workbooks.  Queue publishes test prep books in many different subjects, including Mathematics, Reading Comprehension, Language Arts, Editing and Revising, and Composition for, in many states, Grades K–high school.  In some states, Practice Tests in Math and/or Language Arts are currently available.
Queue also offers workbooks in Literature, Science, History, Government, Health, and ESL.  Only samples of student workbooks are available for preview.
For further information on Queue, Inc., and our product line, visit  To order free previews, please visit

or call: 800-232-2224
or fax: 800-775-2729
or e-mail:
or write: Queue, Inc., 1 Controls Dr., Shelton, CT 06484

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