© 2006 Queue, Inc.
In This Issue:
SOME STATES' PRESCHOOL PROGRAMS EARN HIGH RATING
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.
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.
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: http://nieer.org/yearbook/pdf/yearbook.pdf
To receive a free printed copy of the 2005 State Preschool Yearbook, please e-mail your name and address to email@example.com
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AUTHORITATIVE ENGLISH STUDY ENDORSES PHONICS EDUCATION
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
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.
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
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.
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:
- High quality systematic phonic work should be taught discretely and
within a broad and rich curriculum, developing children's speaking and
- For most children, high quality
systematic work should start by the age of five. Phonics teaching
should be enjoyable in order to capture their interest, sustain
motivation and reinforce learning in imaginative ways;
Jim Rose said the following:
"The review confirms the importance of establishing high
quality, systematic phonic work as essential for beginner readers.
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
The report is available online: http://www.standards.dfes.gov.uk/rosereview/finalreport
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INSTRUCTIONAL FOCUS IN FIRST GRADE
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: http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2006/2006056.pdf
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FINDINGS FROM THE FIFTH-GRADE FOLLOW-UP OF THE EARLY CHILDHOOD LONGITUDINAL STUDY
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: http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2006/2006038.pdf
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STUDY OF EIGHTH-GRADE SCIENCE TEACHING
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.
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.
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:
Republic: Talking About Science: Students in eighth-grade science
lessons were held accountable for mastering challenging and often
theoretical science content through public display of their knowledge
in the form of whole-class discussions, opportunities to present their
work in front of the class, and oral quizzes on science content in
front of their peers.
- Japan: Making Connections
Between Ideas and Evidence: Lessons included fewer theoretical science
content ideas than the Czech lessons, but the content was presented in
conceptually coherent ways, with an emphasis on identifying patterns in
data and making connections among ideas and evidence. In an
inquiry-oriented, inductive approach, each idea was treated in depth,
with multiple sources of supporting evidence.
- Australia: Making Connections Between Ideas, Evidence, and Real-Life
Issues: Lessons were similar to Japanese lessons, using an
inquiry-oriented, inductive approach to support in-depth development of
a small number of basic science content ideas. However, in contrast
with Japanese lessons, Australian lessons supported the development of
science ideas with examples of real-life issues while also providing
multiple types of activities that had the potential to be interesting
and motivating to students (such as games, puzzles, role plays,
- The Netherlands: Learning
Science Independently: Science lessons emphasized science content in a
different way, holding students accountable for independent learning of
science ideas. Homework and independent seatwork were central features
of Dutch science lessons, and students frequently used the textbook and
generated written responses to questions (beyond one-word answers or
multiple choice). Homework was typically reviewed during whole-class
discussions, and students often kept track of a long-term set of
assignments, checking their work in a class answer book as they
- United States: Doing a
Variety of Activities: The instructional approach exposed students to a
variety of organizational structures, variety of content, and variety
of activities, but these features were not typically used to develop
content ideas in ways that would make the science content storyline
visible, coherent, and challenging for eighth-grade students. More than
a quarter of the U.S. lessons did not develop science content ideas at
all, but instead focused almost completely on carrying out activities.
Activities likely to engage and motivate students (such as games,
puzzles, role plays, dramatic demonstrations) commonly occurred in U.S.
science lessons, in contrast with all of the other countries except
To see the full report please go to: http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2006/2006017.pdf
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IS THERE A "QUALIFIED TEACHER" SHORTAGE?
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: http://www.educationnext.org/20062/26.html
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TIME TO UPGRADE, MODERNIZE TEACHING PROFESSION IS NOW
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
"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:
- Transforming Teacher Compensation.
Grades: B for effort, C+ for results. The Commission praises the
"considerable attention" given this piece of its agenda, especially in
states like Minnesota and cities like Denver and Houston-but calls for
far more innovation around the nation.
- Reinventing Teacher Preparation. Grades: C for effort, D for results.
With a few exceptions, the Commission is "deeply disappointed by the
state of teacher preparation and by leaders' failure to do anything
- Overhauling Licensing and Certification.
Grades: C for effort, C for results. Here, "the verdict is mixed"-with
heartening growth of alternative routes into teaching but too little
focus on raising meaningful standards.
- Strengthening Leadership and Support. Grades: D for effort, D for
results. Though some cities have "started moving the needle," giving
principals more authority to choose their teams and support teachers
with mentoring, far too many obstacles remain. And on-the-job training
and support for teachers remain largely inadequate.
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:
- Federal government. The U.S. Department of Education "should demand
that states make good on the spirit and letter of the No Child left
Behind law's promise to put a 'highly qualified' teacher in every
- States. Governors and other state
leaders should "give more responsibility to schools themselves for who
gets hired and fired," "recast how they approve teacher preparation
programs," and "encourage local innovation in teacher compensation."
- Local districts. Superintendents and school boards should, among other
things, "resist the pressure to continue paying teachers more money
across the board without any meaningful changes in the way those
increases are doled out," and "much more attention needs to be paid to
how teachers are hired, moving up timetables and eliminating transfer
rights on the basis of seniority."
- Universities. "University trustees should pressure the leadership of
their institutions to attend to teacher preparation reform and demand
an annual report on what the university is doing to put K-12 teaching
at the center of the university's mission."
- Businesses. Businesses should understand "that this is not merely a
cause to champion with rhetoric; there are concrete steps they can and
should take to help strengthen the quality of teaching in America's
The Commission's final report can be downloaded here:
Hard copies can be requested here:
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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MAJORITY OF SCHOOL LEADERS REPORT GAINS IN ACHIEVEMENT, BUT A NARROWER CURRICULUM FOCUS UNDER NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND
NCLB Affecting Everyday Lives of Students & Educators;
Greatest Impact in Urban Districts, According to New Report, Survey
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.
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.
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."
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.
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
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.
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
The Continuing Capacity Gap
- Teacher Quality: The proportion of
districts that said they are on track to have all of their academic
teachers highly qualified by the end of this school year was similarly
high across urban, suburban, and rural districts. Also, for the first
time this year, the report finds no significant difference in the
percentage of high-minority enrollment districts and lower-minority
enrollment districts reporting that all their teachers are highly
qualified. Still, a majority of district officials surveyed expressed
skepticism that the NCLB teacher requirements are improving the quality
- Tutoring & School Choice: The number of
students taking advantage of key NCLB accountability provisions has
changed little over the last few years, according to the report.
Currently about 20 percent of all eligible students participate in
tutoring programs under NCLB, while less than 2 percent of eligible
students are taking advantage of the NCLB choice option to change
- Goals for Student Proficiency: Several states and
districts question their ability to bring 100 percent of students to
the proficient level of achievement by 2014.
- Subjects Being
Reduced: One-third (33 percent) of school districts reported reducing
time for social studies "somewhat or to a great extent" to make time
for reading and math, while 29 percent said they had reduced time for
science and 22 percent for art and music.
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.
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
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
- The Department should provide
more information to the public about the process for considering state
changes to their accountability plans.
- 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.
- The Department of
Education should move swiftly to help states develop assessments for
certain students with disabilities, the so-called "gap children," using
- The Department and the Congress should provide more funding for the act in general.
- 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.
- The Department and the Congress should give states and school districts
sufficient authority and resources to monitor and evaluate supplemental
educational service providers.
- 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.
- 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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URBAN STUDENTS SURVEYED LEARNING AT THEIR SCHOOL
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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REPORT DOCUMENTS THE ISOLATION OF EDUCATIONAL SYSTEMS
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) has
released the report, The Whole Child in a Fractured World by Harold
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.
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: http://www.ascd.org/ASCD/pdf/fracturedworld.pdf
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ONLY 20% OF TEENS GET ENOUGH SLEEP
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.
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:
- Some 28 percent of high school students said they fell asleep in class
at least once a week. In addition, 22 percent dozed off doing homework
and 14 percent arrive late or miss school because they oversleep.
More than half of adolescent drivers—51 percent—have driven while drowsy in the past year.
Eighty percent of students who get the recommended amount of sleep are
achieving As and Bs in school, while those who get less sleep are more
likely to get lower grades.
More than one-quarter—28 percent—of adolescents say they're too tired to exercise.
Just 20 percent said they get nine hours of
sleep on school nights and 45 percent reported sleeping less than eight
Nearly all youngsters—97 percent—have at least one electronic
item in their bedroom, such as a television, computer, phone or music
device. Adolescents with four or more such items in their bedrooms are
much more likely than their peers to get an insufficient amount of
sleep at night. They are also almost twice as likely to fall asleep in
school and while doing homework, the Foundation reported.
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 KEY TO IDENTIFYING TEACHERS WHO PRODUCE LARGEST ACHIEVEMENT GAINS
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.
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
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.
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
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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HARVARD RESEARCH SHOWS HOW THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION IS CHANGING
THE MEANING OF "NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND" THROUGH NEGOTIATED DEALS WITH
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.
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.
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
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
"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."
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.
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
A full report in PDF format may be downloaded at:
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NEW REPORT ADDRESSES RESEGREGATION OF AMERICAN PUBLIC SCHOOLS
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:
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."
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.
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."
the 1990s, the percentage of students of every race in multiracial
groups has increased. Segregation is no longer black and white but
- Attendance in multiracial
schools vary by region: more than half of black and Asian students
attend these schools in the West and about two fifths of Latino
students attend these schools in the Border region.
- States where the largest shares of students attend multiracial schools
include the three largest states-California, Texas, and Florida-and one
state in which the Latino population seems to be exploding-Nevada.
- While South and Border regions are resegregating, black students in the
South and Border states still have among the highest levels of exposure
to white students.
- More than three quarters of intensely segregated schools are also high poverty schools.
- Nationally, Asians are more likely than students of other races to
attend multiracial schools. Conversely, white students are the least
likely to attend these schools.
- Despite an increase in diversity, white students remain the most isolated group.
A full report in PDF format may be downloaded at:
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RETHINKING LICENSES FOR SCHOOL LEADERS
A new report asks two fundamental questions:
the licenses that states require of school principals encompass the
knowledge and skills those principals need to promote student learning?
not, what kind of policy framework would help decision-makers,
educators, and others rethink principal licenses and the school
leadership they support?
licensure content for principals in all 50 states plus the District of
Columbia. Based on that in-depth investigation, they reached the
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
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.
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?
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.
licensure well means tackling licenses in the larger context of school
leadership development. Three issues in particular shape any attempt to
rethink principal licenses:
- The myth of the "super
principal," that can-do person who is able to accomplish with ease what
many would regard as an untenable set of demands. Piling school
leadership expectations onto lone individuals has not resulted so far
in school systems that serve all children well.
distinction between entry-level skills and expertise. Licensing, by
design, represents only entry-level knowledge and skills, a level
sufficient to keep the public from harm. It does not indicate that a
principal is able to tackle the occupation's thorniest problems. The
hardest and most consequential tasks require expertise beyond the
license and a concerted effort to develop it.
difference between "practice" and "leadership." Licenses govern
practice. They represent knowledge and skills needed to carry out
technical tasks. Leadership, however, is a social task, driving change
and movement in organizations. No one licenses leadership. Leaders
emerge after organizations make substantial investments in their
training, scrutinize their promise, and build on the right mix of
personal attributes. If learning expectations demand true leadership at
the school level, then states must set out consciously to develop it or
to recognize it from whatever quarter it appears.
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:
- Does the license protect the public from harm
- Does the license adequately represent knowledge and skill
upon which the public may rely and the profession may depend
- Does the license demand a test or similar performance demonstration
that fairly and effectively separates qualified from unqualified
- Does the license direct practitioners to keep their skills sharp and their knowledge current
- Does the license ensure fair access to the job
- Is there a rational basis for licensing variations across states, or
do the differences merely add complexity or inhibit mobility
- Do states treat licenses in isolation or do they coordinate them with
other policy or professional mechanisms that promote expertise and
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).
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:
- 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
- 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
- It promotes leadership development through
specialized leadership training that includes policy and professional
- 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: http://www.crpe.org/pubs/pdf/WhenLearningCounts_Adams.pdf
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HOMESCHOOLING IN THE UNITED STATES
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
To see an Executive Summary of this report and/or the full report, please go to:
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ENDING THE BLAME GAME ON EDUCATIONAL INEQUITY: A STUDY OF "HIGH FLYING" SCHOOLS AND NCLB
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
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
- methodological assumptions, the number high-flying schools is significantly smaller than the number reported in those studies;
(2) The numbers in these reports are being misused
- in a way that that understates the significance of, and need to address, socioeconomic disadvantages; and
(3) These reports fail to directly address the vast amount of evidence
- that inequity in educational outcomes is primarily due to students' social and economic disadvantages.
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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TALL MEN GET BETTER EDUCATION?
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A study of 950,000
Swedish men has shown that taller men
get a better education, a researcher said.
to be published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, could
short people are discriminated against as they are expected to be low
achievers, said researcher Finn Rasmussen at Sweden's Karolinska
probability of achieving higher education in later life increases
height," said the study.
male conscripts into the Swedish army born between 1950 and 1975 and
education for up to 27 years after their height was measured at the age
taller than 194 cm (6 ft 4 in) were two to three times more likely to
higher education when compared with men shorter than 165 cm," it added.
variables into the study such as social background or intelligence, as
by IQ, altered the outcome slightly, but a clear link between height
educational attainment remained, the research said.
scientists did not draw conclusions, but Rasmussen said it could be
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
people or attitudes to what people can perform."
STUDENTS STUCK IN
report "Real Impact: Student Opinions for a Change" is divided into
two major sets of findings. The first set describes our nation's
tech-savvy students and the various ways in which they use computers
Internet. The second outlines students' frustrations with our nation's
text-dominated schools, as well as students' ideas for how adult
policy and school designers could better meet their needs.
full report, click here: http://www.educationevolving.org/studentvoices/pdf/tech_savy_students.pdf
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STUDY SHOWS EDUCATIONAL
ACHIEVEMENT GENDER GAP GROWING—BOYS FALLING BEHIND
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.
differences in mathematics achievement have been small and fluctuated
between 1990 and 2003. At the secondary school level, the gap in the
Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading achievement grew from
points in 1992 to 16 points in 2002, with males performing lower than
Females entering college baccalaureate programs were more likely than
male counterparts to graduate within six years. In 2001, the overall
participation rate of females in adult education was higher than that
male peers (53 percent vs. 46 percent).
Other findings are that:
are less likely to repeat a grade or to drop out of high school.
based on gender in math and science course-taking appear to be
high school seniors tend to have higher educational aspirations than
have made substantial progress at the graduate level overall, but they
earn fewer than half of the degrees in many fields.
"It is clear that girls are taking education very
seriously and that they have made tremendous strides," said U.S.
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
boys the support to succeed academically."
To download or view the report, please click here
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THE TESTING INDUSTRY IN THE NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND ERA
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
"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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NEW U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION STUDY FINDS STRONG LINK BETWEEN CHALLENGING STUDIES AND DEGREE COMPLETION
Study Finds Students with Rigorous Academics in High School More Likely to Complete Bachelor's Degree
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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.
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.
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."
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.
CHARTER SCHOOL STUDENTS LOWER PERFORMING
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.
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: http://www.ncspe.org/publications_files/RAND_WR306.pdf
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Curriculum Changes Require Action by Policymakers and Educators
HIGH SCHOOL READING NOT CHALLENGING ENOUGH, SAYS ACT
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Relationships—Interactions among ideas or characters in the text are subtle, involved, or deeply embedded.
- Richness—The text possesses a sizable amount of highly sophisticated
information conveyed through data or literary devices.
- Structure—The text is organized in ways that are elaborate and sometimes unconventional.
- Style—The author's tone and use of language are often intricate.
- Vocabulary—The author's choice of words is demanding and highly context-dependent.
- Purpose—The author's intent in writing the text is implicit and sometimes ambiguous.
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:
- Strengthen reading instruction in all high school courses by
incorporating complex reading materials into course content.
- Revise state standards so that they both explicitly define reading
expectations across the high school curriculum and incorporate
increasingly complex texts into the English, mathematics, science, and
social studies courses in grades 9 through 12.
- Make targeted interventions to help students who have fallen
behind in their reading skills.Provide high school teachers with
guidance and support to incorporate
the kinds of complex text materials into their courses that are most
likely to increase students' readiness for college-level reading.
- Strengthen high school assessments so that they align with improved
state standards and high school instruction across the curriculum.
To see the full report, please go to: http://www.act.org/path/policy/pdf/reading_report.pdf
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PRIMARY PROGRESS, SECONDARY CHALLENGE: A STATE-BY-STATE LOOK AT STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT PATTERNS
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
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
"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:
- Overall achievement gains
were most consistent in the elementary grades, where math achievement
increased in 29 of 32 states examined, and reading achievement
increased in 27 of 31 states. Math achievement declined in one state,
reading achievement in three.
- In middle school math, 29
states improved overall achievement while one lost ground and one saw
no change. The picture in middle school reading, however, is less
positive. Overall reading achievement increased in only 20 of 31 states
examined, while achievement declined in six states and did not change
in five others.
- High school math results
increased in 20 of 23 states and decreased in only two. High school
reading results increased in 17 of 24 states and decreased in
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
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
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
Visit the link below to access the report:
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