May 2014

Princeton undergraduate finds no improvement in student performance at California charter schools after converting to blended learning

Many schools across the country are experimenting with blended learning, where students are taught by a combination of computers and human teachers, but it is such a new phenomenon that there is little empirical evidence to prove that students learn more this way. One Princeton undergraduate looked at the test scores of 35 California schools […]

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Study shows that high-tech schools run into budget troubles and cut tech spending

Preliminary findings from a two-year study of new charter schools that were given extra funds to combine computer-based learning with teacher instruction  show that schools quickly ran into budget shortfalls and pulled back on their technology plans. The study was written by the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington and published […]

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Are schools more segregated than in the 50s? What does the data say?

Conventional wisdom in education circles is that school segregation is worse today than before the Supreme Court ruled in 1954 that separate schools for whites and blacks were unconstitutional. Many in media are citing statistics from a May 2014 report from the Civil Rights Project at UCLA. Slate’s Jamelle Bouie wrote that it shows, “minority students […]

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Poor parents: Federal data show more parents going into more debt to send kids to college

The most recent data on how Americans pay for college show that parents are taking on more of the debt burden for their kids. In 1999 about 13 percent of parents took out PLUS loans. The average loan amount was $19,700 in inflation-adjusted dollars. By 2011, the numbers had increased to 21 percent of parents […]

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Why are the scores of the nation’s top high school seniors stagnant?

On May 7, 2014 I argued that the stagnation of U.S. high school seniors’ test scores can’t be blamed on demographic changes because the scores of top students, the 90th percentile, have been flat too. Fredrik deBoer wrote on his website that we should never be surprised by stagnant performance at the top because “there are […]

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Researchers give failing marks to national effort to measure good teaching

School systems around the country are trying to use objective, quantifiable measures to identify which are the good teachers and which are the bad ones. One popular approach used in New York, Chicago and other cities, is to calculate a value-added performance measure (VAM). Essentially, you create a model that begins by calculating how much […]

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Education majors going out of favor

NPR’s Planet Money posted a wonderful graphic, tracking the popularity of various undergraduate majors. I wish I had thought to do this from basic data in the Digest of Education Statistics. Planet Money immediately pointed out the decline in education as an undergraduate major. The education degree saw a dramatic decline, falling from 21 percent […]

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Preschool spending declined across the nation by $190 million in 2012-13

Just as the Obama administration and lefty mayors like New York City’s Bill de Blasio are calling for universal pre-kindergarten programs, the National Center for Education Statistics released a report, “The State of Preschool 2013,” May 8, 2014 showing that preschool spending is on the decline across the country. “Federal Government and Total expenditures from […]

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Connecticut and Arkansas show unusual gains on test of high school seniors; Massachusetts shows sharp decline

I previously wrote about the woeful stagnation among U.S. high school seniors on a national reading and math test whose 2013 results were released May 7, 2014. But two bright spots are in Arkansas and Connecticut. Both state’s high school seniors showed a notably large 4 point increase on their math test and even larger […]

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High school wasteland: Demographic changes do not explain test-score stagnation among U.S. high school seniors

The National Assessment of Educational Progress, run by the U.S. Department of Education, is the only test that is administered in schools across every state in the nation. Fourth and eighth graders across the country have shown meaningful progress on it since the early 1990s, especially in math. The 2013 results in these younger grades […]

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