ideas Education for

July 2010 | Featured Idea North Carolina’s Segregated Schools

10 Ideas for Education
July 2010

National Director Hilary Doe National Network Coordinator Tarsi Dunlop Lead Strategist for Education Kirsten Hill Managing Editor Gracye Cheng

The Roosevelt Institute Campus Network 455 Massachusetts Ave NW Suite 650 Washington, DC 20001
Copyright © 2010 by the Roosevelt Institute. All rights reserved. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors. They do not express the views or opinions of the Roosevelt Institute, its officers, or its directors.




Congratulations to Grayson Cooper, author of Brown v. Board of Education 55 Years Later: North Carolina’s Charter Schools Nominee for Policy of the Year

Requiring New Jersey High Schools to Report Alternative Education Data Casey Maliszewski Holistic School Assessment through Comprehensive Evaluations Danielle Collins Creating Meaningful Teacher Evaluations in New York State Maddy Joseph Brown v. Board of Education 55 Years Later: North Carolina’s Charter Schools Grayson Cooper A Path to Licensure for Special Education Assistants Anna Peterson Closing the Reading Gap: Educating Teachers in Student Home Dialects Joelle Gamble Universal, State-Regulated Pre-Kindergarten Education Elena Malkov Funding Arts Programs in Low-Performing Schools through USPS Fundraising Stamps Erika K. Solanki and Shah-Rukh Paracha Increasing Access to Information Networks for Community College Students Nathan Maton and Leslie Faylor Expanding the Growth Model Testing Pilot Program Aaron Goldstein Roosevelt Review Preview: Refugee Policy - Implications for the Admission of Iraqi Refugees Adina Appelbaum

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Inside the Issue

p Letter from Washington
e are pleased and proud to present the second edition of the 10 Ideas Series. Comprised of six journals, these articles represent the best of our student policy work across the country. Throughout the past year, our national policy strategists have supported hundreds of students chapters stretching from New England and Michigan to California and Georgia. As a peer-to-peer network, our student strategy team is unlike any other - they are both friends and mentors, strategists and promoters. Instead of waiting for their ideas to be approved in Washington, our Washington team looks to the field for our most innovative policies - and it is the student network that votes on the best proposals of the year. Within this volume, you will find a variety of ideas in motion. Some are new proposals being spread for the first time; others have already gained traction in their local community, as our campus chapters work to enact their policies today. Some will rise to higher prominence in the months ahead, gathering momentum as the idea is adopted throughout our national network of 8000 members. A few will be adopted by state legislatures and city councils; some make it all the way to Capitol Hill. A year ago, one Colorado student published an idea about improving remote access to health care via unused television waves; the state of California is now working with him to make that idea a reality. A pair of students in Chicago postulated that their school could start a revolving loan fund for energy efficient building and development; they now help administer such a fund at Northwestern. Whether intensely localized or built for the nation at large, these ideas all have the potential to become realities. We look forward to what comes next for these authors - and if you can be a part of that change, we hope you’ll join us. Sincerely, Tarsi Dunlop National Network Coordinator


Strategist’s Note P
he United States is struggling to educate the next generation. Budget cuts are forcing massive layoffs, reduction of vital programs, enlarged class sizes, and tuition increases. Current policies and practices are simultaneously limiting access to educational opportunities and creating environments that are not conducive to learning. As students, we know this must change. The Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network’s Education Policy Center provides students with the tools and support they need to play an active role in education policy. Through engagement with local and national education systems, students are offered a voice in the reform process and are empowered not only to conduct research, but also to reflect on and share their personal experiences with education. Students are the true experts in the realm of education. As students, we have a unique perspective: not only are we often directly impacted by the policies that are implemented, but as active participants in these education systems, we are able to research, collaborate, and rally with other students, both sharing our ideas and actively promoting reform. Education policy issues resonate with us, because as students we’ve been there, are there, or are soon going to be there. Our proximity to the issues and unified identity as students generates a passion that has fostered the creation of an abundance of progressive policy ideas and projects at Roosevelt chapters across the nation. From the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s work to start a local charter school to Wesleyan University’s efforts to strengthen university-public school partnerships, Roosevelters are engaging themselves with their local communities as they work hard to improve educational experiences for current and future generations of students. With the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act on the horizon, now is a critical time for the Millennials to step up and impact education reforms. In these ten policy proposals, students have tackled key areas outlined in the U.S. Department of Education’s A Blueprint for Reform, suggesting innovative solutions for improving assessments, enhancing teacher quality, closing achievement gaps, and better preparing students for college and careers. As Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said, “We may not be able to prepare the future for our children, but we can at least prepare our children for the future.” These 10 Ideas for Education are an exciting step in that direction. Kirsten Hill Lead Strategist, Education


Requiring New Jersey High Schools to Report Alternative Education Data
Casey Maliszewski, Mount Holyoke College In combating the dropout crisis, New Jersey should collect annual alternative education program data from schools to help evaluate alternative programs. There are no laws in New Jersey requiring schools to have alternative programs for students who are at high risk for dropping out of high school, yet many schools use alternative programs as a dropout prevention strategy.1 Apart from regularly collected data and special education data, there is no state reporting required on alternative education programs. Without systematic and separate data collection, there is no way to tell if the alternative education programs are effective, which programs are working best for which types of students, and which programs may need adjustments to better serve students. Key Facts New Jersey’s Department of Edu• The Alliance for Excellent Education estimates cation should collect annual data that New Jersey had 15,573 high school dropon alternative education programs. outs in 2008.2 This information would be collect• If all high school dropouts graduated, they ed from a staff representative of would have had a proejcted additional lifetime the school’s alternative program income of $5,088,980,000.3 and would be categorized into • Many high schools in New Jersey use alternafour data areas: a) program speciftive education programs as a high school dropout prevention strategy.4 ic information, including the type • New Jersey schools are not required to submit of students served by the program information about alternative education proand program characteristics, b) engrams to the state separately from regular and trance criteria, c) exit criteria, and special education data (except if the school is d) outcomes, including including classified as an alternative education school).5 how many students: 1) are served, ii) have made academic progress, iii) have graduated, and iv) have been reintegrated a traditional program and/or classroom. To reduce development costs, New Jersey can utilize existing models of alternative education data collection, such as a survey done by the National Center for Educational Statistics in 2002 and surveys implemented in Indiana, Oregon, and California.4 Analysis Other states that have implemented such data collection systems have had great success. Indiana collects data annually from schools, including individualized education plan progress for each student, dropout rates, graduation rates, and information from surveys administered to students and teachers about their opinions of the programs. From this information, state officials are able to see the results of each school’s program.5 Using a “risk index,” the state is also able to calculate how many students were prevented from dropping out or being expelled from school because of alternative education programs.6 They use all of this data to evaluate policy, propose state legisla8

tion, and set and assess state goals pertaining to alternative education. Requiring schools to submit data on alternative education programs will benefit New Jersey and serve a number of purposes. First, it will allow the New Jersey Department of Education to ensure that alternative programs are following the New Jersey administrative code 6A:16-9.2, which establishes criteria schools must follow if they choose to implement an alternative program.7 Secondly, requiring schools to report information will better facilitate alternative program evaluations within each individual school district. Third, if data is collected and shared on a regular basis, schools will be able to share best practices, resulting in higher quality programs. When alternative education is developed to its maximum potential, more students will stay in school and graduate. Talking Points • Without systematic and separate data Next Steps collection, there is no way to tell if the New Jersey should first create an exploralternative education programs are atory committee or commission to make working, which programs are workdecisions on an alternative education proing best for which types of students, gram data collection process, including and which programs may need adjustboth the framework of data required from ments. schools and the technological process for • Collecting annual data will ensure acschools to submit the information. After countability with alternative programs and help schools learn about best the process is developed, the New Jersey practices within the state. Board of Education should develop an administrative code that calls for schools to submit this information annually. Once the code is established, schools will be able to submit information to the Department of Education, providing a rich source of data for educators and policymakers alike. Endnotes
1. Casey Maliszewski, “Alternative Education in New Jersey High Schools: Policy and Practice. Survey from New Jersey High Schools.” 2010 Mount Holyoke College: South Hadley, MA. 2. Alliance for Excellent Education. 2009. The High Cost of Dropouts in America. http://www.all4ed.org/ files/HighCost.pdf. (accessed January 30, 2010). 3. Ibid. 4. Casey Maliszewski, “Alternative Education in New Jersey High Schools: Policy and Practice. Survey from New Jersey High Schools.” 5. New Jersey Department of Education. 2009. DOE Data. http://www.state.nj.us/education/data/. (accessed March 25, 2010). 6. National Center for Educational Statistics. 2002. District Survey of Public Alternative Education Program and Schools. Department of Education: Washington, DC. 7. Indiana Department of Education. 2009. Alternative Education 2007-2008 Summary Report. http:// www.doe.in.gov/alted/pdf/alted_0708-summary_report.pdf. (accessed January 15, 2010). 8. Sue Foxx. Interview. Dec. 4, 2009. 9. New Jersey Department of Education. 2009. New Jersey Administrative Code. http://www.state.nj.us/ education/code/current/. (Accessed January 20, 2010).


Holistic School Assessment Through Comprehensive Evaluations
Danielle Collins, Tufts University Public schools should be comprehensively evaluated by teams of educational experts, with funding available to meet specific goals defined by evaluators and school stakeholders, in order to boost under-achieving schools and provide a system of fair school assessment. Data collected since the 2003 implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) suggests that the standardized testing model of school assessment has done little to improve national educational standards, and might be detrimental to educational progress in some respects. Schools should adopt more holistic models to assess students, including examination of student work, interviews with students and parents and incremental improvement of the school environment. School assessment centered in evaluation of classroom teaching and student output allows educators to develop improvement plans tailored to meet the needs of each school, avoiding the pitfalls of the standardized testing model.
• During the 2006-2007 school year, 30% of schools failed to make “adequate yearly progress” and experienced punitive action.1 • In 2009, one-third of states were found to have lowered their standards in order to avoid harsh penalties stipulated under the policy.2 • Current legislation requires learning disabled students and nonEnglish speakers to meet the same standards as other students being assessed.3

Key Facts

The federal government and individual states should adopt a more holistic and comprehensive school assessment program as an alternative, or supplement, to using standardized test scores to determine school funding.4 This model of school evaluation should be based on successful school assessment programs, including those enacted in Rhode Island and the United Kingdom(UK). In Rhode Island, schools are assessed using the School Accountability for Learning and Teaching (SALT) program. A school improvement team analyzes the school’s status based on standardized tests and surveys of parents, teachers and students. The team of educational experts then drafts an improvement plan for the school with a set of specific goals. Every five years, the SALT team visits the school to assess its progress. Schools that have failed to make progress or meet stated goals are referred to a special intervention program called Progressive Support and Intervention. The inspectorate system currently in place in the UK provides another model. The Office for Standards in Education contracts with private firms to provide inspectors. These school inspectors are typically retired teachers and principals, and they assess the school in a comprehensive way by interviewing students and teachers, observing classroom teaching, and examining student work.5 This system of assessment paints a more holistic picture of the school environment and enables schools to make individualized progress tailored to the needs of the student population. It also bypasses some 10

of the pitfalls of the standardized testing model, including narrowed curriculum and lowered standards.

Analysis The government should adopt a model of school assessment that combines the SALT program and the inspectorate system. These models offer numerous advantages, including greater community involvement and input, and individualized progress plans tailored to each school. A team of retired educators will conduct in-depth, holistic assessments of schools every five years. In addition to evaluating test scores and academic proficiency, the team will look at building conditions, school climate, and students’ physical, social and emotional health. In conjunction with other stakeholders such as parents and school officials, the team will draft a school improvement plan to be enacted over a five-year period. The individualized nature of this program makes it less likely that schools will be unable to meet goals, because school officials will shape those goals to a large degree based on their current needs and resources available. Schools that do fail to meet their goals will be subject to closer scrutiny and more frequent visits to determine the cause of the problem, and to set more realistic goals. Next Steps The next step in enacting this policy is to design a pilot program to be implemented in one school district, preferably a district with high ethnic and socio-economic diversity. A good place to begin implementing more holistic methods of school assessment would be in Rhode Island, where constituents and educators are familiar with the SALT program. School districts currently using SALT begin collecting data on the effectiveness of the program; from there, other school districts around the country can choose to implement the model and tailor it to the needs of their district. Rather than dropping NCLB immediately, the federal government should allocate additional funding for faceto-face, team based assessments and slowly transition towards reducing or eliminating standardized tests. Endnotes
1. “NCLB.” US Department of Education, 06 11 2008. Web. 14 May 2010. <http://ed.gov/nclb/accountability/ results/progress/nation.html>. 2. Sam Dillon, “Federal Researchers Find Lower Standards in Schools.” The New York Times. http://www. nytimes.com/2009/10/30/education/30educ.html?_r=1 (accessed November 15, 2009). 3. Mark Jewell, “No Child Left Behind: “Implications for Special Education Students and Students with Limited English Proficiency.” New Horizons for Learning. Washington State Office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction, n.d. Web. 15 November 2009. <http://www.newhorizons.org/spneeds/ improvement/jewell.htm>. 4. Jay Matthews, “Class Struggle - An Intriguing Alternative to No Child Left Behind.” Washington Post. http://voices.washingtonpost.com/class-struggle/2009/05/an_intriguing_alternative_to_n.html (accessed November 15, 2009). 5. Jay Matthews, “Class Struggle - An Intriguing Alternative to No Child Left Behind.”

• Under current legislation school curriculum is narrowed and teachers forced to cut enriching material, such as arts and sciences. • Teams of school inspectors will be able to look at the entire school environment and promote goal-oriented, individualized progress.

Talking Points


Creating Meaningful Teacher Evaluations In New York State
Maddy Joseph, Columbia University New York State should reform its guidelines for teacher evaluations to require districts to make effectiveness as an instructor – as measured by observations and measures of student learning – the central criterion of evaluations. Teacher quality is the most important contributing factor to student achievement. A student who learns from a teacher in the top 25% of the teaching pool will learn, on average, one-third more material than a student who learns from a teacher in the bottom 25%.1 To improve teacher quality, it is important that districts use meaningful teacher evaluations that identify and measure instructional effectiveness. Key Facts

Effectiveness as an instructor – the ability to implement lessons that help students’ progress – is at the heart of a teacher’s responsibilities. New York State should mandate that districts make instructional effectiveness the main criterion in professional performance review plans. Three measures should constitute the determination of instructional effectiveness. First, teachers should be observed annually. Second, observers should be required to consider measures of student achievement that indicate student progress towards state learning standards. Finally, the state must allow and encourage evaluations to be tied to personnel decisions. According to a 2008 report by the National Council on Teacher Quality, which made similar recommendations about teacher evaluation reform, only Florida mandated observation, use of student data, and an emphasis on instructional effectiveness.5 Many individual districts, however, including New York City and Washington, DC, have programs or pilots that include comprehensive evaluations. Evaluations increase the effectiveness of individual teachers by providing them with feedback about the effectiveness of their teaching methods and about ways to improve. Evaluations can improve the overall effectiveness of the teaching force when tied to personnel decisions such as hiring, firing, and granting tenure. New York State’s current teacher evaluation requirements create a barrier to raising student achievement. Instructional effectiveness is not one of the criteria required in yearly evaluations, nor is an annual observation mandated. Though teachers are evaluated on their use of student data to shape instruction, districts are in fact forbid12

• A student who learns from a teacher in the top 25% of the teaching pool will learn on average three months more material than a student who learns from a teacher in the bottom 25%. That is one-third more material.2 • In 2008, only 15 states required an objective measure of student learning to be an element of a teacher’s yearly evaluation, and only four states mandated that student progress be the main criterion for evaluation.3 • 26% of teachers saw their last evaluation as “useful and effective.”4

den from using student test data in tenure determinations.6 Analysis State expenditures should be restricted to developing programs and monitoring district programs’ effectiveness. Individual districts must invest in professional development to train observers and provide targeted support for teachers. If the program were implemented using expert evaluators like those in DC’s IMPACT program, the costs would be higher.

• Reform New York’s teacher evaluation requirements as a step towards increasing overall teacher quality in the state. • Create a meaningful measure of instructional effectiveness that can be used in employment decisions and allow officials and administrators to identify excellence and address struggling teachers.

Talking Points

Meaningful teacher evaluations would be a powerful tool for principals facing retention and dismissal decisions, and could help districts correct the gross inequality in teacher assignment between affluent and high-poverty schools that accounts for as much as one-third of the achievement gap. Next Steps An appeal should be made to the legislature to pass these reforms. The current administration is moving to tie teacher evaluations and student achievement more closely together. New York, which did not receive Race to theTop grants in round one, can improve its chances of receiving future federal funding by requiring teachers to provide evidence of student learning and improvement over the course of the school year. Endnotes
1. Reagen Miller and Robin Chait, “Teacher Turnover, Tenure Policies, and the Distribution of Teacher Quality: Can High-Poverty Schools Catch a Break?” Center for American Progress. http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2008/12/pdf/teacher_attrition.pdf. 2. Miller and Chait, “Teacher Turnover, Tenure Policies, and the and the Distribution of Teacher Quality: Can High-Poverty Schools Catch a Break?” 3. National Council on Teacher Quality, State Teacher Policy Yearbook, National Council on Teacher Quality, http://www.nctq.org/stpy08/reports/stpy_newyork.pdf. 4. Ann Duffett, Steve Farkas, Andrew J. Rotherham, Elena Silva, “Waiting to be Won Over: Teachers Speak on the Profession, Unions, and Reform,” Education Sector, http://www.educationsector.org/usr_doc/ WaitingToBeWonOver.pdf 5. National Council on Teacher Quality, State Teacher Policy Yearbook, National Council on Teacher Quality, http://www.nctq.org/stpy08/reports/stpy_newyork.pdf. 6. New York State, “General School Requirements,” New York State Department of Education, http:// www.emsc.nysed.gov/part100/pages/1002.html.


Brown v. Board of Education 55 Years Later: North Carolina’s Charter Schools
Grayson Cooper, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Reduce racial segregation and the black-white achievement gap in North Carolina by creating a performance-based capital funding structure encouraging the establishment and expansion of successful charter schools. The innovation associated with charter schools has the potential to be hugely beneficial to education; however, this innovation also makes such schools inherently risky. To minimize the negative impacts on schools systems that may arise from a charter school’s innovation, the ability to fail and be reprimanded is crucial. Current legislation that prevents charter schools from receiving capital funds minimizes the fiscal impact of failure, but limits schools’ potential by restricting resources. To limit risk, capital funding for charter schools should be contingent upon the growth and diversity that they exhibit, with subsequent years of success resulting in greater access to monies for capital projects. Schools underperforming in measures of student growth or demographic representation are to be warned by the charter-granting agency, and if their performance fails to exceed that of the traditional public schools, they should be closed.
• The North Carolina Charter Schools Program increases racial segregation and the black-white achievement gap.1 • One of the six primary goals of the Race to the Top Fund is to reduce the Achievement Gap.2 • Two of the nineteen primary selection criteria for the Race to the Top Fund address charter school accountability and increasing charter school supply.3 North Carolina’s strategic plan for Race to the Top fails to address these issues.4

Key Facts

Although Brown v. Board of Education eliminated de jure racial segregation of public schools in 1954, de facto racial segregation is still present in North Carolina’s charter schools. A student enrolled in a charter school in North Carolina is more than 2.5 times as likely to be enrolled in a racially segregated school than a student in a traditional school.5 In this context, racially segregating schools are defined to deviate from the area demographics by more than 20% the cutoff typically employed by court ordered desegregation. The resulting racial isolation reduces black student achievement and contributes to a widening achievement gap.6 In these charter schools, students as a whole experience .16 standard deviations less annual growth in math compared with their previous performance in a traditional public school. This growth disparity is even greater for black students.7 Expansion of charter schools, which is highly emphasized by the Race to the Top Fund,8 is one of North Carolina’s greatest weaknesses in consideration for this grant. North Carolina’s strategy for its Race to the Top application essentially ignores charter school development.9 Currently, North Carolina’s charter schools do not have access to capital funds and are limited to a maximum of 100 schools, a ceiling that has already been reached. To be eligible for future federal funds in the expanded Race to the Top Fund, 14

including $400 million for 2011, North Carolina will need to further examine the structure and funding model for charter schools and make significant changes.10 Moving forward with charter school reform in North Carolina requires accountability in terms of student improvement across all subgroups identified in the No Child Left Behind Act. Additionally, successful reform is dependent upon charter schools enrolling Talking Points student populations representative of the • A current lawsuit alleges that the area in which the charter school is located.
capital projects in North Carolina Analysis Charter Schools is unconstitutional.11 The proposed guidelines reward high per• Academics are only one area in which forming charter schools with capital funds, parents select a school for their and close low performing charters. They children. Other major factors include would also increase state support of charschool racial composition, school ter schools that demonstrate exceptional location and assessment strategies.12 As a result, some freedom of choice outcomes by giving them the same fundmodels for school desegregation ing as traditional public schools. Additionhave been ruled unconstitutional (see ally, these guidelines will ensure that failing Green v. County School Board of charter schools will have a minimal fiscal New Kent County). impact on other public schools. Ultimately this model encourages responsible growth of charter schools, and will allow North Carolina to eliminate the current cap. Consequently, this new legislation would make North Carolina eligible for future Race to the Top funds, and greatly improve school quality for students. absence of governmental funding for

Next Steps This proposal could be achieved by any of several avenues. It could be reached as a settlement to the current lawsuit identifying the lack of capital funding for charter schools as unconstitutional.13 Alternatively, the state legislature could propose a bill that extends these powers to the State Board of Education in an effort to not only increase charter school access, quality, and equity but also to enhance North Carolina’s future competitiveness in Race to the Top. Endnotes
1. Robert Bifulco and Helen Ladd, “School choice, racial segregation, and test score gaps: Evidence from North Carolina’s charter school program.” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. 26(1), (2007), 31. 2. Arne Ducan, “Race to the Top Fund.” Washington, D.C.: (2009). http://www.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister/proprule/2009-3/072909d. html. (Accessed 23 April 2010). 3. Ibid. 4. N.C. Department of Public Instruction, “NC Race to the Top Proposal.” Raleigh, NC. 2009. http://www.ncpublicschools.org/docs/principalsarchive/resources/nov10webinar.ppt. (Accessed 23 April 2010). 5. Robert Bifulco and Helen Ladd, “School choice, racial segregation, and test score gaps: Evidence from North Carolina’s charter school program.” 6. Shelley Brown-Jeffy, “The Race Gap in High School Reading Achievement: Why School Racial Composition Still Matters. Race, Gender, & Class.” (2006). 13(3/4), 268. 7. Robert Bifulco and Helen Ladd, “School choice, racial segregation, and test score gaps: Evidence from North Carolina’s charter school program.” 8. Arne Ducan, “Race to the Top Fund.” 9. N.C. Department of Public Instruction, “NC Race to the Top Proposal.” 10. Arne Duncan, “Race to the Top.” http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/funding.html. (Accessed 14 July 2010). 11. General Court of Justice, 24 Sess. (2009). http://www.courthousenews.com/2009/10/09/Charter%20schools.pdf. (Accessed 23 April 2010). 12. Robert Bifulco and Helen Ladd, “School choice, racial segregation, and test score gaps: Evidence from North Carolina’s charter school program.” 13. General Court of Justice, 24 Sess.


A Path to Licensure for Special Education Assistants
Anna Peterson, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill To increase the quality of special education and the pool of well-qualified special education teachers, North Carolina should develop a scholarship program to encourage special education assistants to pursue a bachelor’s degree and become licensed teachers. Through a program similar to Teacher Education and Compensation Helps (TEACH) Early Childhood, special education assistants employed in North Carolina public schools will have the opportunity to apply for scholarships to cover the costs of attending an accredited college. Scholarship recipients will continue working as special education assistants as they make progress toward their degree, incorporating what they learn into their educational practices. Unlike those in the TEACH program, these scholarship recipients will have a clear goal: a bachelor’s degree in education and a license to teach in North Carolina public schools. Once they complete the program, these special educators will be promising new teachers with extensive experience and dedication to their field, helping to fill North Carolina’s growing and unmet need for special education teachers. Since the Child Care Teacher Key Facts Education and Compensation • TEACH Early Childhood has improved the educaProgram began in 1990, thoution of more than 14,000 childcare workers and can sands of childcare providers be replicated for special education assistants.1 • Education requirements for special education have received scholarships to assistants vary by school district, but assistants take classes in early childhood working at Title I schools must have an associate’s 4 education and development. degree, two years of college, or pass a qualifying Piloted in central North Caroexam, while fully licensed teachers must have at lina by the Child Care Services least a bachelor’s degree.2 Association, the program be• In 2007, North Carolina public schools employed came known as TEACH Early more than 8,700 special education assistants. More Childhood. The program prothan 1,000 of these assistants did not meet IDEA vides scholarships for childcare standards for qualification.3 workers to take classes at a local community college or university and subsidizes wage increases for the participants to reward increased education even if scholars do not complete a degree. The TEACH program, implemented in 20 other states, has been successful in increasing the education of childcare workers, and consequently, improving the educational quality of childcare programs.5 Analysis The success of TEACH Early Childhood can be replicated and expanded through a program that offers scholarships to special education assistants. Similar to TEACH Early Childhood, scholarship recipients will improve their education, however this program will go beyond simply taking classes. Scholarship recipients will be required to stay on 16

track to earn a bachelor’s degree and qualify for teacher licensure, eventually enabling them to change jobs. This part of the program, which extends far beyond TEACH Early Childhood, will help decrease the teacher shortage and encourage the hiring of in-state teachers. Unlike many teacher scholarship Talking Points programs, this program will tar• The Office of Postsecondary Education of the get potential teachers who have Department of Education has labeled North already demonstrated a comCarolina a “Teacher Shortage Area” in the field of special education.8 mitment to the field of special • Traditional teacher education programs have not education. By building on that produced enough special education teachers to prior classroom experience, this meet the nation’s growing need.9 program will produce dedicated • Retention rates for special educators are lowest and qualified teachers and help in the first two years of a teacher’s career. By to improve the quality of special encouraging committed special education assiseducation programs.6 The school tants to become licensed teachers, North Carodistricts in Wake, Durham, and lina can lower this rate of teacher attrition.10 Orange counties in North Carolina serve a large number of special education students and would benefit from more licensed teachers in this field of education. Just as early childhood-focused non-profit organizations provided the first funding for TEACH Early Childhood, non-profits serving disabled populations may make contributions to begin a program of this sort. The North Carolina General Assembly provided funding to TEACH within a few years of its creation and could do the same for this program. Additionally, the program would be eligible for federal education grants through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.7 Endnotes
1. Child Care Services Association. The T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Project. 2006. http://www.childcareservices.org/ps/teach.html 2. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Teacher Assistants.” Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition. http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos153.htm 3. Office of Special Education Programs & U.S. Department of Education. “Part B Personnel,” Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Data, https://www.ideadata.org/PartBPersonnel.asp 4. Child Care Services Association. The T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Project. 5. Miller, Joyce Ann, and Tania Bogatova. 2009. “Quality improvements in the early care and education workforce: Outcomes and impact of the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Project.” Evaluation & Program Planning 32, no. 3: 257-277. 6. Brownell, Mary T., et al. “Special Education Teacher Supply and Teacher Quality: The Problems, The Solutions.” Focus on Exceptional Children 35, no. 2 (October 2002). 7. U.S. Department of Education. Building the Legacy: IDEA 2004. 2009. http://idea.ed.gov/explore/ home 8. U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education Policy & Budget Development Staff. Teacher Shortage Areas nationwide listing for the years 1990-91 through 2009-10. March 2009. 9. McLeskey, James, Naomi C. Tyler, and Susan Saunders Flippin. “The Supply of and Demand for Special Education Teachers: A Review of Research Regarding the Chronic Shortage of Special Education Teachers.” Journal of Special Education 38, no. 1 (Spring 2004): 5-21. 10. Brownell, Mary T., et al. “Special Education Teacher Supply and Teacher Quality: The Problems, The Solutions.”


Closing the Reading Gap: Educating Teachers in Student Home Dialects
Joelle Gamble, University of California Los Angeles The gap between the reading and writing scores of students from non-Standard English linguistic backgrounds and Standard English students is widening. Due to the complex language and dialect diversity among Los Angeles students, teachers should be trained in the basic grammatical and phonetic structures of students’ home dialects. Back in 1979, a US Circuit Judge ruled in the case of Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School Children v. Ann Arbor School District that the school system failed to take students’ home dialects into account and that this led to a lowering of students’ reading abilities. Since then, several in-the-classroom studies have proven that inclusion of students’ home dialects in reading and writing curriculums can increase ability to learn Standard English, thus improving performance in reading and writing.4 Key Facts

• For the 2007-2008 school year, only 28 % of African American students in the Los Angeles area achieved an advanced proficiency in reading and writing.1 • For the same year, 25 % of Latino students, 32 % Pacific Islander, and 58 % of non-Latino white students achieved % advanced proficiency in reading and writing.2 • Under NCLB, schools that do not meet their targets for student assessment scores face harsher sanctions that can include staff dismissals and closings.3

English as a Second Language (ESL) students in metropolitan, under-served communities are performing significantly lower on standardized tests in reading and writing than their white counterparts.5 In the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), African American, Hispanic/Latino and Pacific Islander students consistently represent a lower portion of advanced reading and writing high school students.6 Basic training in the grammatical and phonetic structures of students’ home dialects will enable LAUSD teachers to apply this knowledge to Standard English reading and writing curricula, improving performance of ESL students on reading and writing assessments. Numerous plans have been proposed to heighten the academic performance of minority students, the most recent of which is the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001. This act included measures to provide federal funding for schools promoting the success of students on skill assessment exams, based on the standards set by each individual state. Reports suggest that NCLB has not been an effective method of closing the education gap between ESL and white students.7 As a result, many school districts with ESL students are not prioritized in the funding allocation process. The Obama administration is proposing a new method for allocating funds and promoting academic progress in America’s schools. In addition to eliminating the 2014 deadline for academic progress standards set under NCLB, the administration plans to acknowledge progressing schools and providing funding to failing schools.8 As many failing 18

schools have a disproportionate share of minority students, this funding can in part be put towards the development and implementation of home dialect training programs, which will improve ESL students’ performance in reading and writing. Analysis In Chicago, a professor tested a new method for Standard English writing among her students. Students performed contrastive analyses between AAVE (African American Vernacular English) and Standard English. Those who participated showed a 59 percent reduction in the use of AAVE in Standard English settings. In contrast, those who studied with traditional methods, which did not incorporate their home dialect, showed an 8.5 percent increase of improper use of Standard English in formal writing assignments.9 Teachers who understand the structure of students’ home dialects will be able to incorporate these structures into reading and writing curricula, thereby increasing students’ ability to properly use Standard English in the classroom and on assessment tests.

• Studies have shown that many students speak a dialect of English entitled AAVE, which has phonetic and grammatical rules and structures different from Standard English.10 • Trials have proven that even moderate training and incorporation of home dialects into current curriculums will help enable historically low-scoring students to learn the Standard English necessary for college and the professional world.11 • Training teachers in students’ home dialects is a simple way to modify reading and writing curricula to allow more ESL students to learn professional Standard English.

Talking Points

Next Steps Los Angeles School Districts can begin to educate teachers in student home dialects through brief conferences or trainings before the start of the school year. Using existing infrastructure that provides leadership and training to teachers and administrators would be the simplest way to jumpstart this process. For example, the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools already has structures designed to provide resources for its teachers, and similar structures exist throughout the system. Teacher training in student home dialects can be incorporated into most major metropolitan areas with large minority populations and historically widening reading and writing gaps. Endnotes
1. Nation’s Report Card,“White, Black, Hispanic, and Asian/Pacific Islander fourth-graders scored higher in 2007 than in 1992.” National Assessment for Educational Progress. (http://nationsreportcard.gov/reading_2007/r0009.asp). (Accessed 14 July 2010). 2. Nation’s Report Card, 3. Sam Dillon, “Obama to seek sweeping change in ‘No Child Law’.” New York Times, January 31, 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/01/education/01child.html?ref=todayspaper. (accessed January 31, 2010) 4. Evelyn Freeman, “The Ann Arbor decision: The importance of teachers’ attitudes toward language.” The Elementary School Journal 83, no. 1 (1982): 40-47 5. Nation’s Report Card. http://nationsreportcard.gov/reading_2007/r0009.asp 6. Nation’s Report Card. http://nationsreportcard.gov/reading_2007/r0009.asp 7. Sam Dillon, “Obama to seek sweeping change in ‘No Child Law’.” 8. Sam Dillon, “Obama to seek sweeping change in ‘No Child Law’.” 9. Taylor, Hanni. “Black English and Biadialectalism.” New York: Peter Lang, 1989 10. Public Broadcasting Netwrk. “African American Varities-African American Vernacular English.” Do You Speak American?. http://www.pbs.org/speak/seatosea/americanvarieties/AAVE/ebonics/ (accessed November 30, 2009) 11. Taylor, “Black English and Biadialectalism.”


Universal, State-Regulated Pre-Kindergarten Education
Elena Malkov, Wheaton College Providing federally funded and state regulated pre-kindergarten education to all American children between the ages of three and five will generate a wide variety of educational, economic, and social benefits. Studies show that when children receive a quality pre-kindergarten education, it provides numerous benefits to American society. For instance, the crime rate among members of pre-k programs is lower than that of non-members.1 In a study done on the participants of the Chicago-Parent Center Prekindergarten Program, only 16.9% had been arrested by the age of 18, as opposed to 25.1% of non-participants.2 Additionally, participants in pre-k programs have an even lower rate of teen pregnancy.3 Aside from these societal benefits, pre-k programs actively prepare children for the education system. Therefore, they require fewer expenses at the K-12 level due to a reduced need for special education courses, as well as resulting in fewer instances of grade failure. Though the benefits of pre-k are vast, the Key Facts current set-up is disorganized and unco• 39 states and DC currently offer ordinated. While 39 states and the District state-funded programs.4 of Columbia offer state-funded pre-k pro• Only 6 states provide support for grams, only Florida, Georgia, and Oklahoma pre-k programs through their formuoffer such programs universally. Only six las for school funding.5 states provide monetary support for pre-k • Florida, Georgia and Oklahoma are currently the only states that offer programs through their formulas for school pre-k to all four year olds.6 funding, and only 18 states and DC require • Only 18 states and DC require BA pre-k teachers to hold BA degrees. Furtherdegrees for pre-k teachers.7 more, pre-k programs are generated by a variety of private and public agencies, which means all programs are set up with differing systems and standards. Lack of standardization has lead to inefficient use of funding, as well as unsystematic management. Current programs lack standardized curricula and education prerequisites for teachers, creating programs that provide only limited benefits for the same costs.8 The first research and exploration of pre-k programs began in the 1960s. In 1965, Lawrence J. Schweinhart and David Weikart initiated a study in Ypsilanti, Michigan called the Perry Preschool Project. The study found that participants of the pre-k program had a higher rate of graduation and employment, and a lower rate of teen pregnancy than their peers. The study greatly contributed to the rise in popularity of Head Start, a pre-k program also created in 1965.9 Though Head Start has produced some satisfactory results, it is not an optimum pre-k program. Created mostly to help at-risk children transition to the school environment, it alone does not necessarily provide all the aforementioned benefits. A state-run program available to all different types of children would be more all encompassing and beneficial.10 20

Analysis While creating a pre-k program can be expensive at first – the investment per child can range from four to fifteen thousand dollars – the returns are even greater.11 One study shows that each child who goes through a pre-k program will save their school district from $2,600 to $4,400 over their K-12 experience, as there is a dramatic decrease in grade repetition, need for special education courses, teacher turnover and a variety of other costly factors.12 Additional financial benefits come from increased work productivity among pre-k graduates, as well as higher income.13 States should create pre-kindergarten educational programs with statewide curricula and an education requirement for program teachers (such as a bachelor’s degree in education or another subject). Funding for pre-kindergarten education should come from both the national and state level. Regulations regarding programs, teaching requirements and curricula should be addressed by state legislature. Members of federal and state Congress should work with advocacy groups such as Pre-K Now, a sub-group of the Pew Center on the States, to refine regulations and funding of pre-kindergarten programs. Next Steps Though the initiative to create regulated and all-encompassing Talking Points • Although funding exists for early childhood edupre-k programs should come cation programs, it is often used inefficiently due primarily at the state level, sevto lack of proficient program management.15 eral federal funding opportuni• Due to the large variety of pre-k programs such ties are already in place for their as Head Start and faith-based centers, no one set commencement. The American of regulations and requirements is applied, which Recovery and Reinvestment Act results in a lack of a standardized curriculum or an (ARRA) has pledged $2.1 billion education prerequisite for teachers. to Head Start and Early Head Start programs, $53.6 billion to stabilize early childhood, elementary and secondary education, as well as $27.2 billion to other education programs. Pre-k programs must work in tandem with strong school programs to take complete effect, therefore, federal funding may additionally be used to reform the current public school system in a way that promotes and builds on the foundation set by pre-k programs. Endnotes
1. Albert Wat, “Dollars and Sense: A Review of Economic Analyses of Pre-K” (Washington DC: Pre-K Now, 2007), 17. 2. Robert B. Lynch, Enriching Children, Enriching the Nation (Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute, 2007), 32. 3. Wat, 16. 4. “School Readiness: A federal agenda in support of pre-kindergarten education” (Washington, DC: Pre-K Now), 3. 5. Ibid 4. 6. Ibid 6. 7. Ibid 4. 8. Ibid 2-6. 9. Constance Holden, “Head Start enters adulthood (Head Start program evaluated after 25 years of operation” (Science, 1990). 10. Ibid. 11. Wat 5, 15. 12. Wat 17. 13. Wat 20. 14. “Leadership Matters: Governors’ Pre-K Proposals Fiscal Year 2010” (Washington, DC: Pre-K Now, 2009), 12. 15. Ibid 5. 16. Ibid 5.


Funding Arts Programs in Low-Performing Districts Through USPS Fundraising Stamps
Erika K. Solanki & Shah-Rukh Paracha, University of California Los Angeles To close the achievement gap between high and low-income school districts, Congress should authorize a new U.S. postal service semipostal, or fundraising stamp, for the purpose of improving the access to, and quality of school arts programs. The funds raised per semipostal sold will be distributed by the Department of Education to thirty historically low-performing K-12 school districts in the nation. The Los Angeles Unified School District KEY FACTS (LAUSD) is the nation’s second largest • Evidence from the YouthARTS Develop1 district, with a dropout rate near 40%. ment project exhibited an inverse relationLAUSD is a prime example of a historiship between an increase in art programs cally low-performing district that needs and decrease in criminal behavior, and imadditional funding to prevent further proved attitudes towards education.2 cuts to its arts programs. In Decem• During budget crises, arts programs are disproportionately affected negatively.3 ber 2008, LAUSD instituted a funding • Since 1998, the United States Postal Serfreeze in an attempt to recover from a vice has sold more than 785.6 million $375 million budget deficit. As a result, Breast Cancer Research stamps, with the district canceled all Arts Commu100% of profits contributing to breast cannity Partnership Network programs cer research and treatment programs.4 and services, affecting over 80 artists and arts organizations as hundreds of scheduled arts activities were canceled or put on hold indefinitely. Studies have demonstrated the positive effects of drama, music, visual arts, and dance programs on student learning, including: improved reading and language skills, sharper mathematic skills, better critical thinking skills, enhanced social skills, a higher motivation to learn, and a more positive school environment. Funding art programs via postal service semipostal is an innovative and cost-effective means to revitalize school art programs and work to close the achievement gap. Analysis Multiple studies concur that vibrant arts programs and student achievement are positively linked with improved reading and language skills, sharper mathematic skills, better critical thinking skills, enhanced social skills, a higher motivation to learn, and a more positive school environment.5 A study conducted by The College Board shows a strong linear correlation between arts program participation and SAT scores—students with less arts coursework in high school scored 58 points less on the verbal portion and 38 points less on the math portion of the SAT on average.6 Studies find that students engaging in dramatic enactments have measurably better reading comprehension, story understanding, and writing skills.7 Arts programs are a postive motivator for students at risk of not graduating.8 Overall, integrated arts programs enhance school environments, as demonstrated by the Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education and the A+ Schools Program in North Carolina, both of which increased collaboration between teachers and the community, resulting in higher standardized test scores.9 22

Semipostals will raise additional funds for specific districts and dwindling art programs. Each semipostal stamp will sell for fifty-five cents, while First Class stamps cost forty-six cents. The U.S. postal service has only ever issued three fundraising stamps; the Breast Cancer Research stamp leads in popularity and is the only semipostal currently in circulation. The Dept. of Education will distribute the difference of eleven cents per stamp sold to art programs among thirty historically low-performing school districts across America. The mechanisms to start semipostal production immediately are already in place, and the cost of the semipostal production will be covered by the stamp price. Next Steps According to standardized test scores, the Dept. of Education should first identify the thirty most underperforming districts in the nation, and then implement an annual competition for stamp designs with submissions from K-12 students in those districts. Funding for marketing campaigns to effectively promote the Arts for K-12 semipostal should come from federal and municipal education agencies, as well as local and national private organizations including: the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, the Arts Education Partnership, and National Art Education Association, and local groups like the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and Arts for L.A. Endnotes

TALKING POINTS • Art programs have the greatest positive benefits on the most economically disadvantaged districts, yet these are the districts that have the greatest funding discrepancies for art programs. • The Dept. of Education will distribute the eleven cent difference between a firstclass stamp and the semi-postal to art programs in historically low-performing districts.10 • Enhancing art programs in the most underserved districts through the institution of a semipostal will avoid controversial funding methods.

1. Dania Morris, “The Dropout Crisis.” http://cislawest.org/dropout-statistics.php (accessed November 28, 2009). 2. Heather J. Clawson and Kathleen Coolbaugh, YouthARTS Development Project, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice, 2001. 3. OJJDP, U.S. Department of Justice study. YouthARTS Development Project, pp. 7, 10, 12 4. Susan G. Komen for the Cure Celebrates the Reauthorization of the Breast Cancer Research Stamp Komen Newsletter (2007), http://ww5.komen.org/KomenNewsArticle.aspx?id=7476. (accessed December 7, 2009). 5. Susy Watts, “Arts-Infused Summer School.” http://www.newhorizons.org/strategies/arts/watts2.htm (accessed December 3, 2009). 6. 2005 College-Bound Seniors: Total Group Profile Report, The College Board, 2005, Table 3-3; SAT Scores of Students Who Study the Arts: What We Can and Cannot Conclude about the Association, Kathryn Vaughn and Ellen Winner (Fall 2000) 7. Jennifer Ross Goodman, “A Naturalistic Study of the Relationship between Literacy Development and Dramatic Play in Five-Year-Old Children.” In R. Deasy (Ed.), Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Achievement and Social Development, Washington, DC: 2002. AEP. 8. Barry, N., J. Taylor, and K. Walls “The Role of the Fine and Performing Arts in High School Dropout Prevention.” In R. Deasy (Ed.), Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Achievement and Social Development, Washington, DC: 2002. AEP. 9. Sandra Ruppert, Critical Evidence. 2006. 10. Stamps and Postcards, USPS. http://www.usps.com/postalhistory/stampsandpostcards.htm?from=Post alHistory&page=Center_StampsandPostcards. (accessed Janurary 3, 2009).


Increasing Access to Information Networks For Community College Students
Nathan Maton & Leslie Faylor, New York University States should pilot programs that support information networks for committed community college students seeking access to better jobs. Community college students seeking careers that offer economic advancement need access to professional experience, which requires an understanding of how information networks function. Information networks are programs like on-campus recruitment, career fairs, and job shadowing that teach students about diverse industries and give them access to industry leaders who can advise, mentor, hire or recommend them for professional experiences. Beginning community college stuKey Facts dents with access to information net• Over half of college students attend a comworks are 25% more likely to continue munity college. Their enrollment will rise by as much as 20% in the next decade.1 on to their second year of schooling.4 • The lifetime earning potential of an individFurthermore, approximately 70% of ual holding an associate’s degree is approxjobs are found through personal conimately 25% less than that of an individual nections, making these networking holding a bachelor’s degree.2 opportunities a requirement for finan• 41% of incoming community college stucial security.5 Students have identified dents are from households with incomes these networks as a need; according totaling less than $20,000 per year.3 to one report, students without information networks reported that they felt as though college “was set up to promote failure and felt frustrated with their institutional experiences.”6 According to Robert Putnam, access to informational networks empowers and provides more opportunities for low-income students.7 These networks used to be public, but over the last fifty years professional associations providing these connections have declined 60% on average.8 Mentorship programs attempt to address these concerns, but are hard to successfully implement. One program currently using this method is the Pathways Program at Holyoke Community College, which has an approximate $1 million grant to create informational networks to support its students in transferring to 4-year institutions and receiving a bachelor’s degree. This program has helped approximately 20% of its annual transfer students enroll in some of the nation’s best colleges, like Amherst and Mount Holyoke.9 Holyoke Community College’s Pathways Program suggests these programs could cost approximately $625 per student.10 Analysis These programs should focus on engaging first year community college students, helping them develop long-term goals. Students attend community college for various reasons, including remedial or elective coursework and professional development. Community college students who have defined career goals are more likely to dedicate 24

themselves academically and pursue a four year degree. Information networks benefit these students because they can accelerate an individual’s depth of knowledge in a given field. With these experiences, these individuals develop a vision and a resume that makes them more attractive to competitive colleges and jobs. Next Steps The state government should apply for grants that will allow them to pilot programs akin to the Pathways Program at local community colleges while simultaneously evaluating these programs. Measuring the success of the students who participated in this program would allow the state to assess if, and how, these programs are benefiting community college students, as well as the most effective way to build information networks. Endnotes Talking Points • Research shows that “every dollar invested

in a community college yields an average of $3 in benefits back to the taxpayers (ACCT, 2003).”11 • Students without information networks reported that they felt as though college “was set up to promote failure and felt frustrated with their institutional experiences.”12 • 70% of jobs are found through social networks so talented community college students without information networks outside their low income communities are severely disadvantaged in access to jobs.13

1. Phillippe, Kent A., and Leila G. Sullivan. National Profile of Community Colleges: Trends & Statistics. Ed. Deanna D’Errico. 4th ed. Washington, DC: American Association of Community Colleges: Community College, 2005. 2. Ibid. 3. Ibid. 4. Karp, Melinda M., and Katherine L. Hughes. “Information networks and integration: Institutional influences on experiences and persistence of beginning students.” Wiley InterScience 144 (2008): 73-82. Print. 5. Huhman, Heather. “Networking as a job search tool (part 5): Find a mentor.” Examiner. 10 Sept. 2009. Web. 27 Jan. 2010. <http://www.examiner.com/x-828-Entry-Level-Careers-Examiner~y2008m9d10Networking-as-a-job-search-tool-part-5-Find-a-mentor>. 6. Karp, Melinda M., and Katherine L. Hughes. “Information networks and integration: Institutional influences on experiences and persistence of beginning students.” Wiley InterScience 144 (2008): 73-82. 7. Putnam, Robert D. Bowling Alone The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001. 8. Putnam, Robert D. Bowling Alone The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001. Print. Appendix III, 439. 9. Hoover, Eric. “Holyoke Community College Builds on Its Transfer Tradition.” The Chronicle of Higher Education (2009). 13 Dec. 2009. Web. 27 Jan. 2010. <http://chronicle.com/article/Holyoke-Community-College/49457/>. 10. Hoover, Eric. “Holyoke Community College Builds on Its Transfer Tradition.” The Chronicle of Higher Education (2009). 13 Dec. 2009. Web. 27 Jan. 2010. <http://chronicle.com/article/Holyoke-Community-College/49457/>. 11. Knapp, Kelly-Reid, & Whitmore, 2006 in Phillippe, Kent A., and Leila G. Sullivan. National Profile of Community Colleges: Trends & Statistics. Ed. Deanna D’Errico. 4th ed. Washington, DC: American Association of Community Colleges: Community College, 2005. Accessed online January 27, 2010. 12. Karp, Melinda M., and Katherine L. Hughes. “Information networks and integration: Institutional influences on experiences and persistence of beginning students.” Wiley InterScience 144 (2008): 73-82. 13. Huhman, Heather. “Networking as a job search tool (part 5): Find a mentor.” Examiner. 10 Sept. 2009. Web. 27 Jan. 2010. <http://www.examiner.com/x-828-Entry-Level-Careers-Examiner~y2008m9d10Networking-as-a-job-search-tool-part-5-Find-a-mentor>.


Expanding the Growth Model Testing Pilot Program
Aaron Goldstein, American University To increase individual academic growth, the United States Department of Education should expand the growth model pilot program, permitting all fifty states to use this innovative and proficient testing system. Growth model testing is a unique form of computer testing that uses non-standardized tests to produce individual results. These tests are given semi-annually or annually to monitor the progress of students throughout their elementary education. To be permitted to use growth model testing, states must go through numerous steps established by the Department of Education to ensure that the growth model tests are an effective tool for monitoring student performance. These additional measures help improve the validity and efficiency of the test, and will help promote closing the achievement gap for all students.3 U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan stated, “We want to close the data gap that now handcuffs districts from tracking growth in student learning and improving classroom instruction.”4 The U.S. Department of Education has been concentrating federal efforts to increase the amount of data available to school districts; this will allow for growth models to monitor student’s growth and advance proficiency in all areas of academics. This availability of data encourages the development and analysis of individual student’s progress through their growth model assessments. The pilot program was established in 2005 Key Facts with the belief that states should be permit• The American Reinvestment and Reted to use growth models to determine the covery Act of 2009 allocated $300 school’s ability to achieve adequate yearly million for building data systems to increase the accountability of progress instead of standardized testing. growth model systems.1 There are currently fifteen states that use a • Only 15 states currently use growth growth model test for their statewide testing model testing to administer stuas compliant with the testing standards of the dent’s individual progress.2 Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The Department of Education established seven principles that an effective growth model must have. These principles ensure that the achievement gap is closed for all ethnicities. They include annual achievement must be judged based upon grade levels; schools must be accountable for achievement in reading and math; an increased ability to track student progress annually; and the capability to monitor student participation and student achievement as guidelines to an accountable system.5 Analysis In March 2008, Colorado had its growth model pilot program approved by the U.S. Department of Education and the Colorado State Board of Education. The primary goal of Colorado’s system is that each individual student is compared to their peers in relation to the development of their academic proficiency. The Colorado Department of Education recently released their data from the 2008-2009 growth model tests which demonstrated that there was steady growth among grade levels in various areas includ26

ing “34% of students who scored below Talking Points proficiency last year in reading were grow• School districts are able to supervise ing fast enough to catch up to proficiency individual student’s growth annually unin the current academic year.”6 States that der a growth model system. have been compiling data over several • Growth models encourage the inyears through their growth model systems creased development of students and improve the levels of academic growth have proven that growth models can be among each student by providing classeffective in monitoring individual student’s room teacher’s with the information growth. A common concern with growth they need to differentiate instruction. models is that there is a lack of definition in what sufficient growth entails. This issue could be easily resolved through common core state standards that have been developed by a consortium of 48 states including governors and chief state school officers. Growth models promote academic progress by providing individual and class scores instantaneously. The typical standardized test meanwhile has a prolonged delay before results are known. Teachers and school administrators are therefore given the tools needed to immediately change the structure of the class in order to address the specific academic areas that are in need of greatest attention. Next Steps In order for the growth model testing pilot program to expand to more states, there must be financial incentives to states to utilize the growth model system as an alternative to standardized testing. States should be held accountable under this system for 5-7 years as they analyze individual’s proficiency rates under the new system. President Obama has proposed a dramatic need for our nation to increase the rate of college graduates as a necessity to compete in the global economy. President Obama said that “we will provide the support necessary for you to complete college and meet a new goal: by 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.”7 The I3 fund has great potential for funding a large variety of innovative and unique projects. I3 should be extended and promoted through the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in order to promote innovation in education including the use of unique and personalized testing methods like growth models. Endnotes
1. Duncan, Arne. “The Race to the Top Begins.” U.S. Department of Education Home Page. U.S. Department of Education, 24 July 2009. Web. 23 Dec. 2009. <http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/2009/07/07242009.html>. 2. Spelling, Margaret. “Secretary Spelling Approves Additional Growth Model Pilots for 2008-2009 School Year.” U.S. Department of Education, 8 Jan. 2009. Web. 22 Dec. 2009. <http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2009/01/01082009a. html>. 3. United States. U.S. Department of Education. Growth Model Proposal Peer Recommendations for the NCLB Growth Model Pilot Applications. U.S. Department of Education, 23 Sept. 2008. Web. 23 Dec. 2009. <http://www.ed.gov/ policy/elsec/guid/cc2.doc>. 4. Duncan, Arne. “The Race to the Top Begins.” 5. Spelling, Margaret. “Secretary Spelling Approves Additional Growth Model Pilots for 2008-2009 School Year.” 6. Stevens, Mark. “New School Accountability Process Builds on Colorado Growth Model; 2008-2009 Results Reveal How Many Students Are On Track For Proficiency.” Colorado Department of Education Press Release. Colorado Department of Education, 7 Aug. 2009. Web. 28 Dec. 2009. <http://www.cde.state.co.us/communications/download/ PDF/20090807csapresultsfinal.pdf>. 7. Greene, Robert. “Obama Urges U.S. to Regain World Lead in College Graduates.” Bloomberg. February 26, 2009. Wed. 5 July 2010. <http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=ao_WPhFqAhzM&refer=us>.


Roosevelt Review Preview: Refugee Policy - Implications for the Admission of Refugees of the Iraq War Since 2003
Adina Appelbaum, Washington University in St. Louis Abstract In the past three decades, the U.S. has resettled more refugees from around the world than all other developed nations combined. Yet following the U.S.-led war on Iraq in 2003, only minimal numbers of Iraqi refugees have been allowed into the U.S. despite the displacement of over 4 million as a direct result of the war. The U.S. response to the crisis has proved inadequate, especially when compared to previous refugee crises in which the U.S. has been primarily responsible for events that led to displacements. Why has the U.S. failed to react steadfastly and meaningfully to the Iraqi refugee crisis? In order to analyze the U.S. response, this white paper explores the following question: How have U.S. foreign policy interests affected the U.S. response to the Iraqi refugee crisis? The argument postulates that the U.S. has not responded fully to the crisis because it has not been in its foreign policy advantage to do so. The U.S. has had an interest in legitimizing Iraq and its government and, therefore, has not addressed the crisis through special resettlement programs and sufficient aid because doing so would otherwise illuminate Iraq’s instability and thus de-legitimize the U.S. mission there. Beyond U.S. strategy, the fragmented nature of the international community’s approach to refugee policy and the inadequacies of the USRAP have also been responsible for the cumulative failed response to the Iraqi refugee crisis, particularly the USRAP’s inconsistent and inflexible design which has resulted in dire rates of unemployment and homelessness for resettled Iraqi refugees. To read more, visit www.rooseveltinstitute.org for the full white paper, part of the forthcoming Roosevelt Review.



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