2011 | turn around the achievement gap


ideas education for

10 Ideas for Education
July 2011 National Director Hilary Doe Director of Operations Tarsi Dunlop Lead Strategist for Education Grayson Cooper Editor Tatiana Eldore Alumni Review Board Jas Johl Casey Maliszewski Raul Mendoza Spencer Sherman The Roosevelt Institute Campus Network A division of the Roosevelt Institute 455 Massachusetts Ave NW Suite 650 Washington, DC 20001
Copyright (c) 2011 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 Kate Matthews & Elise Bare authors of

Nominee for Policy of the Year

Inside the Issue
Reforming Halifax County Teacher Pay Kate Matthews and Elise Bare Staggered Block Scheduling: Efficient Timing in American High Schools Ryan Anderson Arts Integration as a Turnaround Tactic Chris Nickell Addressing North Carolina’s Short-Term Suspension Crisis Zealan Hoover Education Does Not End at 3 pm Sarah Pomeroy Comprehensive Early Childhood Education Lucy Berrier, Kathleen Hayes and Blake O’Connor When Educators Need Mentors: Reducing Teacher Attrition Rates Erin C. Gustafson Junior Peace Corps: Empowering Students Through Service Marley Brown, Carolina Delgado, Victoria Ngare and Jacob Sneeden Striving for College Preparedness through Advanced Placement Reform Felicia Afuan and Jeff Raines Universal Income-Based Repayment of Student Loans Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein

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p Letter from Washington
We are pleased and proud to present the third edition of the 10 Ideas Series. Comprised of six journals, these articles represent the best of our student policy work from across the country. Students are told they are too young to participate in the policy process and that they must wait their turn. Roosevelt’s founders believed, as we do, that the next generation of leaders deserves a voice in current political debates. In the winter of 2009, the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network launched a national initiative called Think 2040, asking young people to design the future they want to inherit. Millennials nationwide contributed their individual visions at campus and regional Think 2040 conversations as well as through Think2040.org, a website designed to capture the values and ideas of a generation. These diverse voices were encapsulated in the recently released Blueprint for Millennial America; this summer we’re proud to publish this set of policy ideas that will move us forward towards our shared vision for 2040. Young people want to reinvent our social safety net to lift Americans up during tough economic times when support is most important. They want to see community needs drive investments in high-speed rail, build local green job corps, and devise a renewable energy market. Millennials identified preventative care and a culture of wellness as a key priority, with more access to fresh food and community health clinics. As future leaders, they want equity in opportunity for all Americans through access to quality education; they see it as vital for long-term economic growth and competitiveness in the world market. In order to inherit this future, we must start building it today. Roosevelt members research, design and write their policy ideas from a grassroots perspective; in doing so, they exemplify a generation of committed practitioners who strive to understand public policy in the context of effecting long-term change. Yale is working to support the revitalization of city blocks in New Haven through loans to low-income entrepreneurs, while the health care policy center collaborated with Young Invincibles to design information toolkits for their graduating peers. Northwestern University received a grant to conduct a survey to establish a baseline of single-use disposable bag usage on campus and is also working with stakeholders in Evanston IL to forgo the use of plastic bags. Students in the DC area are consulting with Teach for America at a low-income Washington D.C high school, and at ASU, they are working to develop a hydroponic garden to build a more sustainable university community. Some of the ideas you read here will make their way into state and local government offices or become part of a federal discussion while others may become initiatives through partnerships. We are proud to showcase our students’ ideas and we hope that you feel inspired to join in their efforts. Tarsi Dunlop Director of Operations

Strategist’s Note P
Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act has been on the horizon for the past few years. Unfortunately, as of late, cooperation on what once seemed to be among the most bipartisan issues—public education—has deteriorated at the national level. At the state level, the economic downturn and aversion to increasing government revenues has strained budgets, forcing large cuts to education. Additional casualties of the current political environment and budget crises can be seen in the loss of collective bargaining rights for teachers in several states, even in places that were once considered bastions of union rights. But as disheartening news comes in from around the country, this third edition of the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network’s 10 ideas for Education highlights some of the most forward-thinking attempts by college students nationwide to address current education issues. The ideas of recent educational reform movements have impacted our generation deeply: Our generation was the first to endure the standards-based reform movement with its wholesale adoption of standardized tests and test-based accountability. We’ve witnessed the ramifications of these efforts, and each of us has seen peers ultimately fall short of their potential because of a school environment that couldn’t adequately respond to their needs. The experiences from our own lives drive our work, serving as a microcosm of the larger problem of educational inequity. This year marked Roosevelt’s first national education policy conference, hosted by the UCLA chapter and featuring presentations from students at UCLA, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Georgia, and American University. Conference highlights included a Roosevelt Policy-Writing Course to be implemented at several chapters next year in addition to locally focused education solutions, several of which are also featured in this publication. As we look towards the future of the Education Policy Center, we also recognize the work that students at American University have done on a pilot project with Teach for America, in which they consult with teachers and school leaders at a low-performing Washington, D.C. high school. This type of direct engagement and impact on the local level is a goal of the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network and is an approach that we hope will garner the attention of today’s political leadership. Grayson Cooper Lead Education Policy Strategist

Reforming Halifax County Teacher Pay
Kate Matthews and Elise Bare, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill North Carolina’s Halifax County should offer supplemental pay to new teachers and reimburse both new and existing teachers for the cost of attempting National Board certification. Public schools in Halifax County, NC have failed to provide, in the words of a NC judge, Key Facts • 14 percent of Halifax County’s exan “equal opportunity to obtain a sound bapenditures are purchased services, sic education.”1 The NC State Board dessignificantly more than most schools ignated all Halifax County schools as low in North Carolina.12 performing, requiring state-mandated as• Statistical research and case studsistance for at least two consecutive years.2 ies have shown that the quality of Compared to the state average, 30 percent teachers is one of the most imporfewer third through eighth grade students tant factors in student success. in the county are proficient in math and reading, despite the county spending about $2000 more than the state average per child each year.3 Ultimately, NC Governor Beverly Perdue authorized an intervention in Halifax County’s school system in 2009, modeled after NC Turnaround, a successful reform program in other low-performing schools that requires professional development for administrators and educational assistance for teachers.4 However, successful implementation requires Halifax County schools to monitor resource allocation and demonstrate a strong commitment to attracting and training highly qualified teachers through supplemental pay and certification programs such as the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Fiscal mismanagement in Halifax County’s schools is evident in the disproportionately high spending on purchased services, including technology and maintenance, instead of salaries and benefits for teachers and staff.5 Halifax County does not offer supplemental pay to teachers, although the state average for supplemental pay is $3418.6 A 2006 study demonstrated that increased compensation is effective in recruiting teachers to high-poverty areas, indicating that the absence of supplemental pay in Halifax County is detrimental to their effort to attract highly qualified teachers.7 Seven percent fewer Halifax County teachers are fully licensed than the state average, and the district has a disproportionately high percentage of “lateral entry” teachers receiving their educator’s licenses during their first few years of teaching rather than before beginning work in a classroom.8 Research suggests that teacher quality (certification, experience, and teacher test scores) has a positive effect on student achievement.9 Being a National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) is a significant indicator of teacher quality; the Rural School and Community Trust reports that the NBCT process is “the best staff development process” teachers can experience. However, in poor rural districts such as Halifax County, students are half as likely to be taught by a NBCT as their counterparts in low poverty areas.10 In the past, North Carolina paid the $2500 fee for teachers to complete the certification process. However, this year the state only offers a three-year subsidized loan. This reduces the incentive for teachers to attempt this rigor8

ous but beneficial process, and it hurts Halifax County’s efforts to use staff development to improve instruction. Analysis Administrators must commit to reallocating funds currently used for purchased services to finance the proposed teacher salary supplements and professional development such as National Board Certification. NBCTs receive a 12 percent state-funded salary increase, which will likely entice current teachers to attempt the rigorous certification process. The county should pay the $2500 charge for each Halifax County teacher who seeks to be a NBCT. It is important that personal expense not inhibit teachers pursuing national board certification; these costs should be reimbursed even if certification is not achieved.

• National Board certification is a rigorous process designed to increase compensation for teachers who have demonstrated exemplary pedagogical skills. • Halifax County should strive to hire and train qualified teachers with full licensure and National Board Certification.

Talking Points

Halifax’s budget is currently 57 percent salaries and 15 percent purchased services.11 The county could increase salaries by a small percentage each year for 10 years and pay National Board certification costs by redirecting money away from the purchased-services budget. Despite potential opposition to cutting technology funding, it should be the county’s first priority to attract and train devoted, skilled teachers to improve student learning. Next Steps National Board certification reimbursements and salary increases should begin during the 2011-2012 school year and continue over the course of the next decade. The state will pay for the NBCT salary increase, while the county should reform its budget by consolidating purchased services in order to offer a competitive salary supplement for teachers and the NBCT fee. Endnotes
1. “Judge wants state to take over Halifax schools,” (March 18, 2009), WRAL, <http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/4763304> (accessed April 1, 2011). 2. North Carolina General Assembly, “115c-105.37a. Reform of continually low performing schools.” <http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/enactedlegislation/ statutes/pdf/bysection/chapter_115c/gs_115c-105.37a.pdf> (accessed April 1, 2011). 3. NC School Report Card (2010), Halifax County district profile, <http://www.ncreportcards.org/srchttp://www.ncreportcards.org/src/distDetails/ distDetails.jsp?pYear=2009-2010&pLEACode=420&pSchCode=304> (accessed April 1, 2011). 4. Purdue, B., North Carolina, Office of Governor (2009), Gov Perdue announces state board of education and DPI to intervene in Halifax County, <http://www.governor.state.nc.us/NewsItems/PressReleaseDetail.aspx?newsItemid=309> (accessed April 1, 2011). 5. NC School Report Card. 6. NC Department of Public Instruction, “2009-2010 Local Salary Supplements,” <http://www.dpi.state.nc.us/docs/fbs/finance/salary/ supplements/2009-10supplements.pdf> (accessed March 30, 2011). 7. Goldhaber, Don, “Teacher Pay Reforms,” Center for American Progress (2006): p. 11. 8. NC School Report Card. 9. Peske, H., “Teaching Inequality: How Poor and Minority Students are Shortchanged on Teacher QualityThe Education Trust”. (2006), 7-8, <http:// www.closingtheachievementgap.org/cs/ctag/download/resources/49/TQReportJune2006.pdf?x-r=pcfile_d> (accessed April 28, 2011). 10. McCullough, P., & Johnson, J. (2007), Issues, challenges, and solutions for North Carolina’s most overlooked rural communities, Rural School and Community Trust, <http://www.eric.ed.gov/PDFS/ED497982.pdf> (accessed April 1, 2011). 11. NC School Report Card. 12. Judge wants state to take over Halifax schools. 13. Ibid. 14. Ibid.


Staggered Block Scheduling: Efficient Timing in American High Schools
Ryan Anderson, American University To help ease the strain of overcrowding and ensure that students fully learn required material, districts should implement staggered block scheduling. In the past, schools have responded to overcrowding by acquiring portable structures or placing students into already full classes. Only five percent of schools even looked at shifting schedules as a solution.1 High schools are often scheduled in one of two formats: block scheduling, which usually consists of four to five long periods of approximately 75 minutes with classes rotating every half year, or traditional scheduling, with seven to nine shorter periods of the same classes for an entire year. Some schedules use A/B days in addition to block or traditional scheduling, where classes meet either every other day, or for varying amounts of time each day.2 Both of these schedules have downsides. In schools that run on block schedules, AP scores can suffer because of the amount of time between finishing a course early in the year and the testing period in May.3 Schools that run on traditional schedules have class periods that can potentially be too short to complete labs or lessons, making it difficult for teachers to get through all of the required material. A staggered block schedule would comKey Facts bine these two types of schedules, using six • In recent years, students have demclasses lasting for an hour each, and operatonstrated shorter attention spans.8 ing on a trimester basis. This system would • Twenty-two percent of schools are allow more classes to rotate in or receive overcrowded, and 8 percent of extended learning time. The schedule alschools are severely overcrowded.9 lows students to study English, math, history, • Students on block schedules score lower on AP tests.10 science, or other core subjects year-round, two-thirds of the year, or one-third of the year, depending on the weighted importance that the school district places on each subject. Students would also able to take more electives, producing graduates with wider skill sets. In addition to this, on a staggered block schedule, class periods are scheduled in a staggered manner instead of operating on the same time schedule. For example, while one set of classes would be let out at 11:00, another set would be let out at 11:30. By introducing staggered block schedules, schools would see a number of benefits. Twenty-two percent of public schools in the United States report that they are overcrowded.4 As there would be fewer students passing between classes at the same time, a staggered block schedule would free up hallway space and help students get to class faster. There would also be more time in each class section to complete lessons and especially labs, which often require an unusually large amount of time. Staggered block scheduling, with its medium-length periods, would strike a balance between cutting lessons short and losing the interest of students over the course of longer periods. Teachers would have new freedom make their lesson plans more engaging for students, as well as extra time to teach the information, provide practice, and give individual atten10

tion. These longer class periods would also make it easier to offer a more hands-on Talking Points • Staggering class periods would result learning experience, which studies have in less crowding in hallways. suggested is more effective with the cur• Medium-length class periods would rent generation of students.5 Staggered mean that students wouldn’t lose foblock scheduling also solves issues related cus on their lessons while teachers to length of information retention and AP would still have time to implement full testing. The current block schedule system lesson plans. means that for fall-semester AP classes, • Staggered block scheduling is applicastudents are tested in May on material ble to schools everywhere, with little they learned months prior, and these stuto no budgetary changes necessary. dents score lower on average.6 By using a trimester system that rotates electives and classes based on weighted importance, students will be able to take AP classes for the entire year, ensuring that they are adequately prepared with fresh information in their minds for the testing period. Analysis Implementation of staggered block scheduling requires little to no budgetary changes, as changing schedules requires no money.7 Some incidental costs may be necessary for lab materials, since students would have extra time to complete more labs and activities. Next Steps Staggered block scheduling could be easily implemented on a district-by-district or even state-by-state basis. To maximize the ease of this transition, district administrations operating on a block schedule should create a one-time training pilot program of a suggested length of one week. In the summer immediately prior to the implementation of staggered block scheduling in a district, administrators and teachers should convene to receive training under this program. This will allow teachers to learn the schedule and administrators to learn how to weight and schedule the new system, so schools will be fully prepared for the changes necessary under staggered block scheduling. Endnotes
1. Douglas Ready, Valerie Lee, and Kevin G. Wiener, “Educational Equity and School Structure: School Size, Overcrowding and Schools-withinSchools,” Teachers College Record 106, no. 10 (2004), 15. 2. Douglas E. Arnold, “Block Schedule and Traditional Schedule Achievement: A Comparison,” National Association of Secondary School Principals 86, no. 630 (March 2002). 3. David E. Gullatt, “Block Scheduling: The Effects on Curriculum,” NAASP Bulletin 90, no. 3 (2006). 4. Ready, Lee, and Wiener, “Educational Equity and School Structure,” 15. 5. Kassandra Barnes, Raymond C. Marateo, and S. Pixy Ferris, “Teaching and Learning with the Net Generation,” Innovate 3 (2007). 6. Gullatt, “Block Scheduling.” 7. Arnold, “Block Schedule and Traditional Schedule Achievement.” 8. Barnes, Marateo, and Ferris, “Teaching and Learning with the Net Generation.” 9. Ready, Lee, and Wiener, “Educational Equity and School Structure,” 15. 10. Gullatt, “Block Scheduling..


Arts Integration as a Turnaround Tactic
Chris Nickell, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill State legislators across the country should authorize arts-based school reform as a turnaround model for struggling schools. Arts integration uses the arts—dance, drama, music, and visual art—as vehicles for instruction in traditional subjects like math and reading. As an example, consider a music teacher using fractions to teach note values to 3rd graders learning the recorder, with the art and homeroom teachers working together to reinforce this lesson with a paper folding activity. Some may oppose this approach, arguing that emphasis on arts diverts time from traditional instruction in the “core subjects” measured by high-stakes testing. Yet research shows that for a school with low test scores, arts can provide motivation to spur improvements.1 Integrating arts encourages creative development and artistic literacy in students, inspires teachers to communicate across disciplines and think about material in new ways, and makes classrooms more engaging. These positive changes all point to a healthier school culture. To turn around the lowest-performing “Challenge” schools—schools in the lowest-performing 5 percent and those “not closing significant, persistent achievement gaps”—the Obama administration’s Blueprint for Reform proposes four punitive methods ranging from principal replacement and curriculum overhaul to outright closure.2 These schools should also have the option of implementing an arts integration reform program. Chicago, San Francisco, New York, North Carolina, and Oklahoma, among other Key Facts • Under No Child Left Behind, 40 perregions, have rich traditions of arts intecent of the 14,561 schools not makgration. Research demonstrates positive ing “adequate yearly progress” in the effects on all stakeholders; teachers and 2009-2010 school year must pursue administrators rally around their school’s one of four strict, federally mandated new identity, and students’ standardized restructuring plans.13 test scores improve while their creative • Research from the Department of Edfaculties develop markedly.3,4 In addition, ucation minimally supports and often local arts advocates and artist-teachers questions the efficacy of each of these often collaborate to aid arts integration restructuring options.14 5 • Since the 1990s, arts-based education efforts. With little research behind the reforms have reversed the mentality models proposed in the Blueprint for of failure in struggling schools, sustainReform and uncertainty of long-term outably raising student achievement.15, 16 comes, state educational agencies (SEAs) gamble by using their federal funds for these models, which aggressively attempt to force change by addressing structural issues.6 Arts integration, though also in need of more research, relies on encouragement, not punishment. Arts integration appeals to schools because it allows them to uncover and embrace their particular strengths by drawing on teachers’ creativity and local community resources, instead of threatening teachers and administrators. SEAs seeking substantive change in schools would also benefit from the curriculum revamping associated with arts integration.


Personnel changes, restructuring, and school closures all cost money. The averTalking Points • The four approaches to school reform age challenge school’s turnaround grant in the Obama administration’s Blueprint in 2010 was about $1,000,000.7 Data for Reform represent the most extreme from the North Carolina and Oklahoma and rigid attempts to change failing A+ schools, two of the country’s leading schools to date. arts integration programs, indicate an an• Arts integration offers a researched, nual cost of $25,000 per school.8, 9 Addless aggressive, and cost-effective altering in high salary estimates for hiring two native to the Blueprint’s approaches for arts teachers and one arts specialist per struggling schools. two schools brings the annual total cost • Arts-based reform is a comprehensive turnaround model, not just a stopgap of a leading arts integration program to measure. $100,000.10 The funds provided by the federal grants proposed in the Blueprint for Reform could provide ten years of arts integration programs for the annual cost of applying a current turnaround model. Additionally, data from the A+ programs and Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE) show that arts councils and philanthropic foundations historically fund 40-60% of these arts integration efforts, making them even more appealing to struggling schools than other models.11,12 Researchers experienced in arts education research must communicate for the effectiveness of arts integration to be evaluated in different local contexts and the model’s participants held accountable across the country. Building off the success of North Carolina and Oklahoma’s A+ programs and CAPE, teachers and administrators should document and share best practices in the classroom and at the personnel level in a database, creating a key resource for schools seeking to improve through the arts integration model. Assuming renewal of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act this year affirming the states’ power to allocate funds to the lowest-performing districts, state legislators should take the next step to include arts integration as a turnaround model for struggling schools. Philanthropic foundations, local arts agencies and artists, and universities must rally around arts-based school reform, supporting its inclusion as a turnaround model. Endnotes
1. Edward B. Fiske, ed., Champions of Change: The Impact of the Arts on Learning (Washington, D.C., 1999), 54-55. Nancy H. Barry, Oklahoma A+ Schools: What the Research Tells Us - Volume Three, Quantitative Measures (OK: University of Central Oklahoma, 2010), 32-36. 2. U.S. Department of Education, Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development, ESEA Blueprint for Reform (Washington, D.C., 2010), 12 (accessed February 19, 2011). 3. George W. Noblit and others, Creating and Sustaining Arts-Based School Reform (New York: Routledge, 2009), 77-98. 4. Fiske, Champions, 54-55 and Barry, Oklahoma, 32-36 and 71-73. 5. Carol Fineberg, Creating Islands of Excellence: Arts Education as a Partner in School Reform (Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2004), 51-68. 6. Herman, Turning Around, 8. 7. Bryan Hassel of Public Impact, raw spreadsheet data emailed to author, Chapel Hill, NC, April 24, 2011. 8. Michelle M. Burrows , Director of NC A+, email correspondence with author, Raleigh, NC, April 26, 2011. 9. Jean Hendrickson, Executive Director of OK A+, email and document sent to author, Edmond, OK, April 26, 2011. 10. U.S. Census Bureau, 255 - Average Salary and Wages Paid in Public School Systems, The 2011 Statistical Abstract: Education, <http://www.census. gov/compendia/statab/cats/education.html> (accessed April 29, 2011). 11. Hendrickson, OK A+ 12. Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education, Charting New Territory: Annual Report 2008, <http://www.capeweb.org/about.html>, 16 (accessed April 19, 2011). 13. U.S. Department of Education, ED Data Express, <http://www.eddataexpress.ed.gov/> (accessed February 22, 2011). 14. R. Herman and others, Turning Around Chronically Low-Performing Schools (Washington, D.C.: Institute for Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education), 8. 15. Fiske, Champions, 54-55. 16. Barry, Oklahoma, 32-36.


Addressing North Carolina’s Short-Term Suspension Crisis
Zealan Hoover, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill To improve educational opportunity for suspended students, the North Carolina General Assembly should codify a right to and provide a funded mandate for alternative education. North Carolina is facing a suspension crisis. The Key Facts state has the third highest short-term suspen• North Carolina has the thirdsion rate in the United States, suspending one highest short-term suspension out of every 10 students.1 These students come rate in the country.14 disproportionately from minority groups, are at • Minority students are sushigh risk of subsequent academic and behavioral pended at up to four times the difficulties, and are not legally entitled to educarate of white students.15 tion services during their suspensions.2 As part • Suspended students who of a long-term strategy to reduce the overall rate do not complete high school of suspensions, North Carolina must make two impose an average cost of $292,000 on taxpayers over changes to its suspension policies and funding the course of their lives.16 commitments. First, the state must expand the legal right to alternative education to include short-term suspended students. Second, the state should fund intervention programs that address the unique needs of these students, who are at risk for dropping out. Ignoring this issue will continue the trend of high suspension rates among largely minority youth, incurring long-term costs for both those individuals and society as well as perpetuating the achievement gap. In the 2009-2010 school year, more than 151,000 students in North Carolina received short-term suspensions, and because school districts are not required to provide any sort of an alternative education, the vast majority of these students were sent home, resulting in up to 875,000 lost instructional days.3 Since school attendance is a driver of academic performance, depriving students of instruction seriously impedes opportunity and success.4 Faced with similar problems, many states have been far more aggressive in expanding support for short-term suspended students. For example, New York addressed the lack of academic support by endowing every child with the right to a “substantially equivalent education.”5 At minimum, that education must consist of two hours of supervised instruction per day. Further, New York holds the child’s school accountable for the suspended student achieving academic growth.6 In contrast, North Carolina offers few protections for short-term suspended students, requiring only that schools notify parents or guardians when their student is suspended and providing the student with textbooks and the schoolwork he or she will miss.7 It does not require that schools administer any form of supervised academic support. Analysis The state legislature should model a bill after the best practices of states like New York, requiring schools to provide adequate education for suspended students. The legislature should examine various ways that North Carolina’s counties are already working with

suspended youth. Many locally based programs have shown promise in confronting the multifaceted problems facing these students.8 One such example is the Boomerang Program, an alternative suspension program in Chapel Hill that employs holistic academic, social, and psychological support. Boomerang addresses the underlying behavioral issues behind students’ suspensions, and has shown success in reducing subsequent delinquency.9

Next Steps Bringing a comprehensive program such as Boomerang to scale at the state level would require a significant fiscal commitment. However, as the primary funder of public schools, and with a constitutional obligation to provide equal education, the state should accept responsibility.10 While the program has considerable costs, the estimated taxpayer expense of a high-school dropout is $292,000 over a lifetime.11 By comparison, Boomerang only costs $936 per suspended child. Boomerang provides a number of afterschool and community-service options for its graduates, and when the cost of serving those students is factored in, the cost per student served goes down to $766.12 Intervening early is critical to the future educational attainment of suspended individuals and the long-term interests of the state.13 As long as North Carolina doles out short-term suspensions to over 151,000 students a year without providing them with an alternative educational setting, then those students are having their rights to a fair and equal education violated, and action must be taken. Endnotes
1. “2008 Consolidated Report,” North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, http://www.ncpublicschools.org/docs/research/discipline/reports/consolidated/2008-09/consolidated-report.pdf, 25 (accessed February 12, 2011). 2. “2008 Consolidated Report,” 29. 3. “2008 Consolidated Report,” 26. 4. “One Out of Ten: The Growing Suspension Crisis in North Carolina,” Action for Children - North Carolina, 13 April, 2005, <http://www.ncchild. org/publication-or-research-type/one-out-ten-growing-suspension-crisis-north-carolina-2005>, 5 (accessed February 14, 2011). 5. New York State Code §3214(3)(e). 6. “Appeal of Henry,” Decisions of the Commissioner of Education (34 Educ. Dep’t Rep 470, dec no. 13,385), <http://www.counsel.nysed.gov/Decisions/> (accessed February 18, 2011); and, “Appeal of Dloniak,” Decisions of the Commissioner of Education (33 id. 717, dec. no. 13,210), <http:// www.counsel.nysed.gov/Decisions/> (accessed February 18, 2011). 7. North Carolina State Code § 115C-391B. 8. “One Out of Ten: The Growing Suspension Crisis in North Carolina,” 10-11. 9. Melinda Pankratz, Internal Evaluation of Boomerang (2010). 10. “Facts and Figures 2010-2011,” North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, <http://www.ncpublicschools.org/docs/fbs/resources/data/ factsfigures/2010-11figures.pdf>. 11. Sum, Khatiwada, McLaughlin, “The Consequences of Dropping Out of High School,” Center for Labor Market Studies – Northeastern University, October 2009, <http://www.njjn.org/media/resources/public/resource_1358.pdf>, 14 (accessed April 30, 2011). 12. “Outside Agency Funding Application,” Boomerang Program, 20 January 2011. 13. “Test, Punish, and Push Out,” Advancement Project, January 2010 <http://www.advancementproject.org/digital-library/publications/test-punishand-push-out-how-zero-tolerance-and-high-stakes-testing-fu>, 98 (accessed April 30, 2011). 14. Jenni Owen, “North Carolina School Suspension Policy Options,” Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University, <http://www.childandfamilypolicy.duke.edu/pdfs/familyimpact/2010/Suspension_Policy_Options.pdf>, 1 (accessed April 30, 2011). 15. Consolidated Report, 29. 16. Sum 14.

• North Carolina suspends more students than almost any other state, but does not provide them the supplementary education that many other states do. • Students who are suspended are far less likely to complete high school, and thus they impose significant costs on society over the course of their lifetimes. • The state should encourage alternative suspension programs that improve academic performance, decrease disciplinary problems, and increase retention.

Talking Points


Education Does Not End at 3 PM
Sarah Pomeroy, Michigan State University To ensure funding for afterschool programs, states should enact comprehensive reforms that establish partnerships between the state and private businesses in individual communities. States do not devote adequate attention to the needs of students during non-classroom hours, even though more than a quarter of K-12 students are on their own when the school day ends.1 Crime rates for neglected children are very high, and leaving children unsupervised after school not only hurts their academic development but also endangers their health and safety and that of others.2 Federal funding for afterschool is not sufficient to confront the lack of afterschool care for children in Ohio. The number of children left alone after school is especially high in Ohio. Thirty percent of Ohio’s 2,015,421 K-12 children are responsible for taking care of themselves after school, and afterschool program participation is hindered by cost and transportation access.3,4 Since children who are left alone after school are the most prone to crime, drugs, alcohol, and domestic strife, the lack of adequate afterschool care presents a problem for the Ohio economy.5 A child who grows up to become a career criminal costs the state of Ohio approximately $2.5 million more than the average citizen over the course of his or her lifetime.6 Analysis Federal funding for afterschool programs Key Facts is provided through the 21st Century Com• The hours between 3 and 6pm are peak hours for juvenile crime and munity Learning Centers Program and the substance abuse.11 Child Care and Development Block Grant, • In Ohio, 30% of the state’s school but these funds are not meeting Ohio’s children are on their own after needs. The $42.5 million of funding the grantschool, with another 16% left alone ees receive each year covers 284 programs in the care of siblings.12 7 and only approximately 42,000 youth. To • Teens who do not participate in afaddress insufficient funding, Ohio should terschool programs are three times pursue partnerships between influential primore likely to use drugs, drink, vate businesses operating within the state’s engage in sexual activity, and skip classes than teens who do.13 three biggest cities, philanthropic organizations in the state, and the school districts themselves. Such partnerships could obtain approximately $615 million for the state.8 Similar citywide programs have shown success, notably Capital Kids in Columbus, collaboratively funded by the government, businesses, and community partners, where almost 90 percent of school, student, and parent participants reported greatly improved academic performance and behavior in the program’s first year.9 The Boston AfterSchool and Beyond program was able to use this collaborative funding structure to raise an additional $32 million for afterschool care in its first year of operation in 2005.10 Program components will include transportation to sites, academic assistance, nutritious snacks and physical activity, enrichment activities such as field trips, and family

involvement through outings and support groups. Children will be safe while they enhance their academic and social skills, allowing parents to be at ease while they work full time. By working with community partners and the state governments, corporations can maintain good community relations that create positive social images and improve productivity and profits.

Although opponents may contend that afterschool programs are the domain of individual community administrations rather than the state, this system includes various partners so that the government serves merely as a facilitator. Moreover, the state has already taken it upon itself to ensure adequate education for all Ohioans. Given the difficult economic times and reduced state budget, for Ohio to fulfill this mandate it must reach out for partnerships that will enable it to assist children beyond the hours of a normal school day. Investing in the country’s future is critical, and crucial non-school hours are an excellent place to begin. Next Steps After acquiring and distributing funds to participating schools and organizations, a committee of local and state government officials, nonprofit donors, and corporate representatives will oversee the implementation and statewide distribution of afterschool programs while also seeking additional contributors. State and local governments will partner directly with community organizations, ensuring that all educational initiatives and instructors align with state-mandated curriculums and guidelines. Endnotes
1. “Afterschool Factsheet,” Afterschool Alliance (2010), <http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/Research%20Factsheets%202010/Fact_Sheet_Afterschool_Essential_3_22_2010.pdf> (accessed April 18, 2011). 2. “Ohio’s After-School Choice: The Prime Time for Juvenile Crime Or Youth Enrichment and Achievement,” Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Ohio (2007), <http://www.fightcrime.org/sites/default/files/reports/OhioASBrief.pdf> (accessed January 10, 2011). 3. “Afterschool Programming in Ohio: Supply and Demand Estimates,” Ohio Afterschool Network (2006), <http://www.occrra.affiniscape.com/associations/10110/files/OAN%20gap%20analysis%20EXEC%20SUMMARY%20_2_.pdf> (accessed January 16, 2011). 4. “Opportunities for policy leadership on afterschool care,” Sloan Work and Family Research Network, Boston College (2010), <http://wfnetwork. bc.edu/pdfs/policy_makers5.pdf> (accessed January 19, 2011). 5. “Ohio’s After-School Choice: The Prime Time for Juvenile Crime Or Youth Enrichment and Achievement,” (2007). 6. Cohen, M.A., and Piquero, A.R, “New evidence on the monetary value of saving a high risk youth,” Journal of Quantitative Criminology 25, 25-49 (2009). 7. “Afterschool in Ohio,” Afterschool Alliance (2010), <http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/states_docs/pdfs/2010/Ohio_Fact_Sheet.pdf> (accessed January 20, 2011). 8. “Afterschool in Ohio,” (2010). With $42.5 million covering only about 42,000 children (~$1011 per child per year), there are still approximately 605,500 children left alone (30% of Ohio’s 2,015,421 school-age children). 60,500 multiplied by $1011 equals approximately $615 million. 9. “Capital Kids, 2007-2008 Program Evaluation,” Office of the Mayor of Columbus (2009), <http://mayor.columbus.gov/initiatives.aspx?id=4822&menu_ id=528> (accessed January 30, 2011). 10. “About Us,” Boston AfterSchool and Beyond (2011), <http://www.bostonbeyond.org/about> (accessed March 16, 2011). Similar programs also exist in numerous states including Florida (Child Care Executive Partnership: www.ccep.bz/) and Nebraska (Community Learning Centers Network: <http://www.nebraskaclcnetwork.org/>). 11. “Ohio’s After-School Choice: The Prime Time for Juvenile Crime Or Youth Enrichment and Achievement,” (2007). 12. “Ohio’s Report Card for After School Programs,” Columbus Parent, (2010), <http://www.columbusparent.com/live/content/education/stories/2010/03/after-school.html?sid=107> (accessed March 17, 2011). 13. “Afterschool Programs: Making a Difference in America’s Communities by Improving Academic Achievement, Keeping Kids Safe and Helping Working Families,” Afterschool Alliance (2009), <http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/Research%20Factsheets%202010/2010%20Outcomes%202%20Pager.pdf> (accessed January 14, 2011). 14. “Afterschool in Ohio,” (2010). With $42.5 million covering only about 42,000 children (~$1011 per child per year), there are still approximately 605,500 children left alone (30% of Ohio’s 2,015,421 school-age children). 60,500 multiplied by $1011 equals approximately $615 million.

• By helping to protect over 605,000 children from resorting to crime and drug use, Ohio could save around $1.5 trillion over the course of a 70+ year lifetime.14 • Collaboration between state and local partners will ensure that each community’s afterschool system will be tailored directly to the needs of the community’s students. • By investing in the education of the children in their communities, afterschool programs help create a more educated workforce for the future and increase human capital within the state.

• Talking Points


Comprehensive Early Childhood Education
Lucy Berrier, Kathleen Hayes and Blake O’Connor University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill By combining North Carolina’s Head Start and Smart Start programs, children in Head Start will receive the access they need to Smart Start’s health services and parental guidance. Early childhood education has proven essential to a successful school career. Currently in North Key Facts Carolina, early childhood education is divided • In 2008-2009, Head Start reduced the achievement between the state-run Smart Start program and gap, the difference between the federally funded Head Start program. Both students’ average standardprograms have proven effective for different reaized-test scores in the highsons. Combining them will create a more holistic est- and lowest-performing program that addresses comprehensive aspects counties of a particular state, of a child’s life, including healthcare, family supby 45 percent in student’s port, educational preparation, and developmenpre-reading skills.10 tal issues. Evidence suggests that children who • From 2008 to 2009, Smart attend Head Start, an educational program, have Start provided care for 18,270 families in North Carolina.11 significantly higher test scores and higher rates of high school completion. Smart Start, on the other hand, works to improve parenting skills and family healthcare, and teaches healthy eating and hygiene practices. If the strengths of the two programs are combined, the resulting program will offer an optimal and complete early childcare experience to those most in need. The existence of two different programs in North Carolina causes several administrative problems, including variation in teacher standards, insufficient funding for both Smart Start and Head Start, and unnecessary complications for families seeking early childcare services.1 For example, Head Start focuses on providing family outreach while Smart Start focuses on effective cognitive learning techniques.2 Combining these two similar programs will eliminate overlap while maximizing resources and improving the overall quality of early childhood services.3 Several other states have already combined their state programs with Head Start to form a more effective and efficient pre-kindergarten program. These states reach more children with better results.4 Combining Head Start and Smart Start will require the cooperation of Pre-K and Head Start leaders on state and local levels, but only a united front between both organizations can gain the public’s trust, create a universal standard, and successfully allocate funds as needed. Analysis Reforming the administration of federal Head Start and state Smart Start will provide greater equity in early childhood educational opportunities while increasing the system’s efficiency. Illinois, New Jersey, and Wisconsin are just a few states that have successfully implemented models of unified, high-quality early education in this way. New Jersey experienced increased parental approval with several aspects of their new Pre-K program after making these changes.5 Even with challenging collaboration issues that resulted from differing objectives, coordinating teacher qualifications and work responsibilities, and determining student eligibility, these states convinced the involved stakeholders of

the validity of the idea. To make compromises on the aforementioned issues, the state set standard procedures for combining the two programs. Next, local governments developed ways to make these changes based on the distinctions between statewide Pre-K systems and their particular Head Start programs. Now all operate successful collaboration programs between Head Start and their state Pre-K.6 All evidence points to the conclusion that these partnerships are working and can be utilized in North Carolina.

Next Steps First, both programs must unite their missions by instituting state and regional offices where existing administrators of Smart Start, Head Start, and other child and family-service organizations will work together.7 Second, early childhood teaching certificates and a four-year degree should be required for employees of the new program. Employers could require these credentials upon hire, or they could provide funding for current staff to obtain these credentials. Another option would be to create teams of teachers—both a teacher with a certificate and a teacher with a four-year degree. Funding issues would be resolved by combining Smart Start and Head Start resources, providing cost-allocation and funding management, and dividing expenses based on eligibility so that Head Start continues to receive federal funding. The relatively equal distribution of Head Start and Smart Start buildings and facilities would allow for a smooth combination of these programs. In addition, a mandate must be established for all Head Start-eligible children to receive Smart Start’s comprehensive services.8 To assess the implementation process resolve conflicts, advisory councils of Smart Start and Head Start representatives and other collaborative stakeholders will be formed. Joint professional development and shared monitoring will be encouraged to further collaboration and reduce administrative costs.9 Endnotes
1. Helene Stebbins and L. Carol Scott, Ph.D, “Better Outcomes for All: Promoting Partnerships Between Head Start and State Pre-K,” Center for Law and Social Policy/Pre-K Now (January 2007): 5-10. 2. “Smart Start.” The North Carolina Partnership for Children, Inc. http://hugh.ncsmartstart.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/Fact-SheetApril-2010.pdf (accessed November 12, 2010). 3. Stebbins and Scott, “Better Outcomes for All.” 4. Ibid. 5. Dr. Frede, Ellen, Kuwanghee Dr. Jung, W. Steven Dr. Barnett, and Alexandra Dr. Figueras. “Figure 2: Classroom Quality Scores 1999-2000 Vs. 20072008.” The Apples Blossom (): 4-5. http://nieer.org/pdf/apples_second_grade_results.pdf (accessed November 14, 2010). 6. Stebbins and Scott, “Better Outcomes for All.” 7. Christina Satkowski, September 8, 2009 (9:17 a.m.), “Head Start and State Pre-K: Competing, Collaboration, and Evolving”, The Early Ed Watch Blog. http://www.newamerica.net/blog/early-ed-watch/2009/head-start-and-state-pre-k-competing-collaborating-and-evolving-14411 8. “Head Start and Pre-K Collaboration,” Pre-K Now: a campaign of the Pew Center on the States, accessed November 13, 2010,http://www.preknow. org/policy/headstart.cfm 9. Stebbins and Scott, “Better Outcomes for All.” 10. “North Carolina Head Start: General Information,” North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, accessed November 9, 2010, http://ncchildcare.dhhs.state.nc.us/general/mb_headstart.asp 11. “Smart Start.” The North Carolina Partnership for Children, Inc. 12. “North Carolina Head Start: General Information,” North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. 13. “More at Four.” NC Office of School Readiness. http://www.surrychildren.org/Moreatfour.html (accessed November 5, 2010).

• Four thousand Head Start participants who were followed from childhood to adulthood were significantly more likely to complete high school, attend college, and earn higher wages in their early 20s than non-participants from underprivileged households.12 • 96 percent of adults who went to Smart Start parenting-skills programs said their competence and confidence in their parenting abilities improved, and 82 percent of parents in Smart Start literacy programs increased the time they spent working on literacy activities with their children.13

Talking Points


When Educators Need Mentors: Reducing Teacher Attrition Rates
Erin C. Gustafson, University of California - San Diego States should focus on implementing support and mentoring programs for new teachers in order to reduce high rates of teacher attrition. Recruiting and retaining qualified and competent teachers has always been an issue for the U.S. public education system. However, most proposed solutions to this problem aim to recruit more teachers rather than retain the teachers we already have. This has led to a revolving-door phenomenon in the educational system, where many teachers enter and then leave the teaching profession and few teachers remain long enough to become experienced and effective.1 Studies have shown that teachers’ ability to raise student test scores improves over the first three years of teaching.2

In the early 1990s, the state of California introduced the Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (BTSA) as a pilot program to reduce teacher attrition rates. BTSA provides new teachers with additional support from veteran teachers and school administrators during their first two years of teaching to help them adjust to their new jobs. The program also includes resources such as assessment, mentoring, and in-class assistance from experienced teachers in the same subject area.3 Analysis Programs that provide mentoring and support for new teachers have been very effective. BTSA was able to reduce teacher attrition by up to 26 percent.4 The program cost roughly $3370 per participant, which was calculated by estimating the value of the time provided by veteran teachers and administrative staff.5 Another pilot program was implemented in California at the same time as BTSA; it raised teachers’ starting salaries by $4400 and was found to reduce teacher attrition rates by at most 17 percent.6 This suggests that support and mentoring programs can be more effective than salary increases alone and can be implemented at lower cost. While most of the resources used by these programs are in-kind resources, such as the time and energy of more experienced teachers, these programs do need monetary support as well. The federal government can help by allocating funding for these support programs or by providing financial incentives for states or districts that institute support and mentoring for new teachers. This funding would be used to compensate veteran teachers who choose to participate in these mentoring programs. Alternatively, states could take on the role of mandating or incentivizing their school districts to implement these programs.

• As many as 50% of new teachers leave the profession within their first five years.8 • Public schools in California hire 20,000 new teachers each year, about one-quarter of whom are replacing teachers who left the profession within their first seven years.9 • The Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (BTSA) program used in California was able to reduce newteacher attrition rates by up to 26%.10

• Key Facts


Support and mentoring programs for new teachers can help nearly everyone involved in the educational system. Mentoring can help teachers learn how to teach complicated subjects in more effective ways, which in turn aids student learning. Support from other teachers and the school district can help new teachers adjust to their jobs and be more satisfied and comfortable in their new roles.7 Fewer teachers would leave the teaching profession, thereby creating a larger number of experienced teachers who will be better able to educate students. Since more experienced teachers are better teachers on the whole, this will help raise the quality of public education throughout the United States. Next Steps So far, mentoring and support programs have mainly been instituted district-wide and occasionally at the state level. But to ensure high-quality, experienced teachers for all students across the nation, we need to expand these programs. The U.S. Department of Education should examine examples of support programs which have been successful, such as the BTSA program in California, and create a comprehensive support and mentoring pilot program. This program could be tested in a variety of districts around the country to determine whether it can successfully reduce attrition rates on a larger scale and in different demographic environments. If proven successful, the Department of Education can provide states and school districts with guidelines and funding should they choose to implement the program. Endnotes
1. Richard M. Ingersoll, “Teacher Turnover and Teacher Shortages: An Organizational Analysis,” American Educational Research Journal 38 (2001): 501, <http://www.jstor.org/stable/3202489> (accessed February 22, 2011). 2. Steven G. Rivkin, Eric A. Hanushek and John F. Kain, “Teachers, Schools, and Academic Achievement,” Econometria 73 (2005): 449, <http://www. jstor.org/stable/3598793> (accessed March 16, 2011). 3. Deborah Reed, Kim S. Rueben and Elisa Barbour, Retention of New Teachers in California (San Francisco: Public Policy Institute of California, 2006): 13. 4. Reed, Reuben and Barbour, Retention of New Teachers in California, 15. 5. Ibid 14. 6. Ibid 18. 7. Ibid 13. 8. Thomas M. Smith and Richard M. Ingersoll, “What Are the Effects of Induction and Mentoring on Beginning Teacher Turnover?,” American Educational Research Journal 41 (2004): 682, <http://www.jstor.org/stable/3699442> (accessed February 22, 2011). 9. Reed, Reuben and Barbour, Retention of New Teachers in California, 7-8. 10. Ibid 15. 11. Steven G. Rivkin, Eric A. Hanushek and John F. Kain, “Teachers, Schools, and Academic Achievement,” Econometria 73 (2005): 449, <http://www. jstor.org/stable/3598793> (accessed March 16, 2011). 12. Reed, Reuben and Barbour, Retention of New Teachers in California, 13-16.

• Studies have shown that students’ test scores are positively correlated with their teacher’s level of experience.11 • Providing support and mentoring programs for new teachers reduces rates of teacher attrition, thereby allowing them to gain the necessary experience to become effective teachers in the long run. • New teacher support and mentoring programs have been shown to be less costly and better able to retain teachers than raises in teachers’ starting salaries.12

Talking Points


Junior Peace Corps: Empowering Students through Service
Marley Brown, Carolina Delgado, Victoria Ngare and Jacob Sneeden Georgetown University The Junior Peace Corps Fellowship (JPCF) would provide graduating high school students with international service opportunities that would benefit participants’ studies and careers, American society, and the international community. In the United States, there is a lack of affordable opportunities to engage high school graduates in meaningful international service. Although gap-year programs completed between a student’s high school graduation and college matriculation have been proven to maximize returns on college educations and have been endorsed through curricula such as Princeton’s “Bridge Year,” such programs remain expensive and peripheral to the U.S. educational process.1,2 Therefore, the U.S. government should establish the Junior Peace Corps Fellowship to provide high school graduates about to matriculate in college with an opportunity to participate in the Peace Corps and apply their unique experiences to higher education. By working within the structure of the Peace Corps, the U.S. government can create an enormously symbolic and effective educational opportunity, without the burden of starting a new organization from scratch. Established in 1961, the Peace Corps is a division of the federal government that has allowed more than 200,000 Americans to promote peace abroad. While it has a global focus, the Peace Corps also serves to educate its volunteers so that they may enrich American society upon their return. The Peace Corps is currently open to U.S. citizens 18 or older, but non-college graduates are required to have three to five years of work experience, effectively eliminating a high school graduate’s chances of participating immediately after graduation. Analysis Opportunities to experience in-depth international immersion before college Key Facts are limited to students who can afford • Only 1.2 % of U.S. students take advantage of a gap year before entering college.8 expensive overseas programs that • Taking a gap year is linked to higher mogenerally cost between $10,000 and tivation in college, according to an Aus$40,000.3 By creating the JPCF, the tralian study of 2502 students published U.S. government can provide all acain August in the Journal of Educational demically qualified aspiring students Psychology.9 with a quality international immersion • Gap years for American students are exprogram. After three months of traintremely expensive, reaching costs of up ing, junior fellows would be placed at to $40,000 per year. specific, long-term JPCF sites in countries with mature Peace Corps missions, where they would build upon projects begun by prior members of the Corps. In this way, the program can provide site-specific training to ensure that young people without extensive work experience are well prepared to accomplish short-term tasks within long-term projects. Participants should be provided with the same material and monetary assistance as normal Peace Corps members.4

An expansion of the Peace Corps is politically feasible. The Peace Corps is an important foreign policy instrument for the United States that is both “eagerly embraced by developing countries” and indisputably inexpensive.5 Furthermore, bipartisan support for the Peace Corps is remarkably strong—both President Bush and President Obama have called for a doubling of the Peace Corps, which currently has only 8,000 volunteers, down from 15,000 in the 1960s.6

Participants would gain demonstrable life, language, and job skills that would translate into enhanced educational and professional opportunities in the United States.7 Ideally, participating in this program would become a prestigious honor—demonstrating the value of a gap year, promoting alternative education and international service within American society, and molding young Americans who are curious, globally conscious, fluent outside the classroom, and inquisitive beyond the boundaries of their four-year degree. Next Steps It is critical to gain the support of the Peace Corps, acquire the necessary funds for the project, and create an office within the Peace Corps to manage the program. It will also be necessary to create a network of high school guidance counselors and university administrators to establish the JPCF and begin a publicity campaign. Therefore, the JPCF would begin as a pilot program that would navigate initial considerations. Endnotes
1. Andrew Jones, “Review of Gap Year Provision,” University of London, 2004., 53-54 , <http://education.gov.uk/publications/standard/publicationDetail/Page1/RR555> (accessed April, 1, 2011). 2. “Bridge Year Program,” Princeton University, <http://www.princeton.edu/bridgeyear/> (accessed April, 1, 2011). 3. Sean Gregory, “Time Out: Gauging the Value of a Gap Year Before College,” Time Magazine, September, 21, 2010, <http://www.time.com/time/ magazine/article/0,9171,2015783,00.html>, “Courses,” NOLS, <http://www. nols.edu/courses/> (accessed April 1, 2011), and “Semester, Gap Year, and College-Accredited Programs.” Where There Be Dragons, LLC, <http://www.wheretherebedragons.com/programs.semester.php> (accessed April 1, 2011). 4. MS 101: The Peace Corps Act. 4/15/98 (v.2). p. 5. Sec. 2504. Peace Corps volunteers- Article b. “Volunteers shall be provided with such living, travel, and leave allowances, and such housing, transportation, supplies, equipment, subsistence, and clothing as the President may determine to be necessary for their maintenance and to insure their health and their capacity to serve effectively.” 5. Lex Rieffel, “Reconsidering the Peace Corps,” Brookings Institute, December 2003, <http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Files/rc/ papers/2003/12globalgovernance_rieffel/pb127.pdf> (accessed April 1, 2011). 6. Rieffel, “Reconsidering the Peace Corps.” 7. Jones, “Review of Gap Year Provision.” 8. Sue Shellenbarger, “Delaying College to Fill in the Gaps,” Wall Street Journal, December 2010, <http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970 203513204576047723922275698.html> (accessed April, 1, 2011). 9. Shellenbarger, “Delaying College to Fill in the Gaps.”

• Gap year programs are expensive and peripheral to the U.S. educational process. • High-school graduates would gain useful educational, professional, and life skills through the JPCF. • An established and respected government program, the Peace Corps, would facilitate the creation of the JPCF. • The JPCF is politically feasible and beneficial to U.S. foreign-policy objectives, and would additionally benefit the international community.

Talking Points


Striving for College Preparedness Through Advanced Placement Reform
Felicia Afuan and Jeff Raines, American University In order to eliminate disparities between high-school and college achievement, the Advanced Placement program should be amended to include uniform curricula. The Advanced Placement (AP) program has been a hallmark of high-school education in the United States for decades, allowing high-achieving high school students to earn college credit during their secondary school careers. Assessment for each AP class is based on the student’s performance on one test administered nationally by the College Board in May of each year, with a score of 3, 4, or 5 out of 5 constituting a passing grade in a comparable college class.1 However, increasing numbers of high school students use AP courses to strengthen college applications rather than to attain actual college credit. Only 49 percent of incoming college students receive credit for scores deemed qualifying by the College Board, creating a discrepancy between the original goals and the actual outcomes of the tests.2 Furthermore, some colleges only grant credit for scores of 4 or 5, even though the College Board considers a score of 3 passing. Beyond this, AP classes are not reflective of the college-level courses their test scores replace. One study of sophomore college students found that those who took a college writing class scored better on a writing assessment than their peers who tested out through AP.3 Despite the College Board’s usage of a “Consortium of Experts,” a team of university professors and AP teachers which creates AP tests, there is still a gap between high school AP courses and their supposedly equivalent college courses.4 Another study conducted by science professors at Harvard and the University of Virginia found no significant correlation between success in AP science classes and entry-level college science classes, coming to the final determination that even a score of 5 on an AP test is no guarantee of Key Facts an A in the same subject in college.5 • A survey of 18,000 college students at 63 This problem has become a recurring different institutions found minimal evitheme in all AP classes; reforms must dence high AP scores boost performance in entry-level college classes. be made to bring AP standards up to • Nearly half of all colleges only accept AP college standards, starting by introductest scores of 4 or 5. 7 ing universal syllabi written by college • Only 55 %of colleges accept an AP test professors and high school AP teachscore of 3.8 ers for each AP course. Analysis To create these syllabi, the College Board can use the Consortium of Experts, which is an already assembled group of professors and teachers who have demonstrated a willingness to work to improve the AP system. Because this group already exists, no extra funding would be necessary. In high schools, even if there is a rigorous structure to AP courses set in place, there are many teachers that may not follow through. If this is the case, the students’ test

scores will be reflective of this disparity. If standards are not met, College Board should decertify the class until the school and AP teacher can prove that recertification would coincide with the use of the reformed syllabi. While this might be momentarily harmful to the school, schools must give their students the best chances of long-term success, and that would involve following the new curriculums. Next Steps The first step of AP reform is already Talking Points in place with the existence of the • Passing scores on AP tests do not necesConsortium of Experts. The Colsarily translate to knowledge gained from lege Board needs to use the conentry-level college classes. sortium to reform the year-end AP • AP tests allow students to get out of entrytests every so often to ensure that level college courses without definitive they meet college standards. The espreparation for upper-division classes. tablishment of standardized syllabi • The College Board should create a stancomplete with topical areas of focus dard syllabus for each course to eliminate would give AP teachers a clearer discrepancies and to outline content each course should cover. outline of expectations. Also, the criteria for certification to teach an AP course should be increased, ensuring that AP course teachers are adequately prepared to teach college-level classes. These reforms are necessary to give graduating high school students the knowledge they need to handle college courses. Endnotes
1. Advanced Placement, “AP: The Score-Setting Process,”<http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/ap/exgrd_set.html> (accessed March 31, 2011). 2. Ibid. 3. Kristine Hansen, Jennifer Gonzalez, Gary L. Hatch, Suzanne Reeve, and Richard R. Sudweeks, “Are Advanced Placement English and First-Year College Composition Equivalent? A Comparison of Outcomes in the Writing of Three Groups of Sophomore College Students,” Research in the Teaching of English 40, no. 4 (2006): 461-501. 4. Advanced Placement, “How Courses & Exams are Developed,” <http://advancesinap.collegeboard.org/ap-course-exam-development> (accessed April 10, 2011). 5. Harvard Gazette, “High school AP courses do not predict college success in science,” <http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2005/02/highschool-ap-courses-do-not-predict-college-success-in-science> (accessed February 10, 2011). 6. Ibid. 7. Vasugi M. Ganeshananthan, “Advanced Placement Program Faces New Criticism Over Its Testing Standards,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, <http://chronicle.com/article/Advanced-Placement-Program/5560/> (accessed February 10, 2011). 8. Ibid.


Universal Income-Based Repayment Of Student Loans
Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein, Columbia University Borrowers of federal student loans should repay loans based on their earnings, rather than interest rates. Millions of students have trouble affording college, resulting in large amounts of debt accumulated from student loans. Traditional student loans have the disadvantage of requiring students to repay their loans based on interest rates, regardless of a student’s income after graduation. Graduates burdened by student loans need jobs that pay enough to cover payments or else they are likely to default. Universal income-based repayment of student loans can solve this dilemma by basing the amount graduates would need to repay on their income as well as their amount of debt. This would offer graduates freedom to take more fulfilling but lower-paying jobs, decrease the likelihood of defaults on student loans, and permit greater investment into higher education, while simultaneously lifting the burden on students who are not yet earning a living and cannot afford to pay full tuition.

• 56 percent of students borrow $19,000 or more to pay for their undergraduate educations, and the average student loan debt is $23,118.4, 5 • As of fiscal year 2009, more than half of all federal loans made since 1965 are still outstanding, amounting to $605.6 billion.6 • 6.2 percent of all students default on their loans.7 • Total defaulted loans outstanding amount to $40 to $45 billion.8

Key Facts

Income-based repayment was included in the Student Aid and Fiscal Reform Act passed in early 2010, though it is only open to borrowers who owe more than $30,000 and would pay less under income-based repayment than under traditional measures.1 Many colleges, most notably Yale, have also used income-based repayment systems but encountered financial and administrative issues that would be far less significant for the federal government. Australia uses a similar system, created in 1989, called the Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS), which could be a model for an American system. Administered by the Australian Taxation Office and the Department of Education, Science and Training, HECS provides that, like the current income-based repayment system in the U.S., graduates repay their loans on a schedule based on income.2 Unlike the U.S. however, Australia also regulates tuition, though income-based repayment could be introduced without limits on tuition rates. Australian students clearly benefited from HECS; studies found that after its implementation, cost was no longer a determinant of university attendance, which especially helped the poorest students’ college access.3 Analysis Congress would finance the income-based repayment program with a low-interest loan to the Department of Education. This would cover the first several years of the program, as the Department of Education would have to offer loans for a few years before a sufficient number of graduating students could repay their accumulated debts. After enough payments began coming in, the Department of Education would repay the loan so that

ultimately, the program would be self-sustaining without using any tax dollars. Under an income-based repayment program, students who wanted subsidized loans would continue to receive loans through the Federal Direct Loan Program (FDLP). After graduating, students would repay their loans based on their incomes, at rates set by the FDLP. The IRS could then collect loan repayments along with taxes. Borrowers would exit the program and be free of further obligations Talking Points once they had either paid off their • Replacing our current system of student loans plus interest or made their loans with income-based repayment would free students from having to take the most total obligated pre-set annual and lucrative jobs to pay student loan debts. lifetime payments over a given pe• On an income-based repayment system, fewriod. The interest rates would have er students would need to consider financial to make the program self-sustaining aid in deciding where to go to college. Colwith the smallest possible imposileges might invest some of the money that tion on borrowers. There would formerly went towards into hiring more and be a risk that students who plan better professors, classrooms, and research. to work in well-paid occupations would not participate in the program, skewing the pool of borrowers towards low-income students and raising the possibility that all debts might not be paid in full. However, it is also possible that some students expecting to be high-income workers might choose the security of participating over the risks of an unsubsidized loan. Next Steps Congress should enact universal income-based student loan repayment, offering a lowinterest loan to the Department of Education to cover start-up costs. The Department of Education would educate students, parents, and financial-aid advisors about the consequences of the changes. After a year to educate participants, the program would take effect, though income-based repayment would be required only for loans offered to new borrowers entering college or graduate school, and would be optional for continuing students. Endnotes
1. “Repayment Plans and Calculators,” Federal Student Aid, <http://studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebApp/students/english/OtherFormsOfRepay. jsp> (accessed April 30, 2011). 2. “Higher Education Finance and Cost-Sharing in Australia,” The International Comparative Higher Education and Finance Project, University at Buffalo Graduate School of Education, <http://gse.buffalo.edu/org/inthigheredfinance/files/Country_Profiles/Australia/Australia.pdf> (accessed March 25, 2011). 3. Kim Jackson, “The Higher Education Contribution Scheme,” Parliament of Australia, Parliamentary Library, last updated August 12, 2003, <http:// www.aph.gov.au/library/intguide/SP/hecs.htm> (accessed April 30, 2011). 4. “NPSAS:2008 Undergraduate Students,” U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, <http://nces.ed.gov/datalab/ quickstats/createtable.aspx> (accessed February 25, 2011). 5. “Student Loans,” FinAid, <http://www.finaid.org/loans/> (accessed February 25, 2011). 6. “Student Loans.” 7. Mark Kantrowitz, “Default Rates by Institution Level vs. Degree Program,” <http://www.finaid.org/educators/20100715institutionlevel.pdf> (accessed February 25, 2011). 8. “Student Loans.”


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