AEFP 43rd Annual Conference Program
Chair:, University of Pennsylvania
This session focuses on ways to communicate research findings to policymakers. Four senior researchers who have extensive experience working with and writing for state and federal policy audiences and the general public will discuss how to write policy briefs, papers and/or presentations. Susan Dynarski has written several Upshot columns for the New York Times. Margaret Goertz wrote many policy briefs as co-director of the Consortium for Policy Research in Education. Martin Orland was director of evaluation and policy research at WestEd and of the Center for Education at the National Academies. Lawrence Picus has worked directly with state legislatures on school finance reform studies.
Session participants interested in how to frame/write a policy piece from their own research may sign up to work with the presenters in small group settings later in the conference. Participants in the small group sessions are encouraged to bring a piece of their research with them, such as the text of a poster session.
Examples of research-based policy writings include the special issue of Education Finance and Policy (8:3, Summer 2013) on policy briefs; U.S. Education Department Results in Brief; Dynarski’s Upshot columns in the New York Times; CPRE Policy briefs (www.cpre.org/for-policymakers); Picus Odden & Associates’ state school finance work (www.picusodden.com); and Orland and Anderson, Assessment for Learning (Westat 2013).
Chair:, Northwestern University
Private school choice—in which public money supports students to attend private schools—began in Milwaukee in the late 1980s with vouchers targeted to low income students and has since expanded into other options such as educational savings accounts and privately operated scholarship programs. The selection of Betsy DeVos, a school choice supporter, as the federal Secretary of Education in 2017 brought renewed attention to this area of education policy nationally. And the new federal tax law passed in December 2017 further expands private school choice by allowing parents to use 529 savings accounts for education expenses, including private school tuition, for up to $10,000 per year.
Coupled with this attention in the policy environment has been attention to these policies’ impact through academic research. We now have substantial research evidence on private school choice policy, particularly vouchers, as well as numerous experiences in states and districts implementing different versions of these policies. This policy talk will explore the contemporary research and policy issues related to private school choice. Questions this panel will address include:
- What does the existing research evidence suggest about whether and under what conditions private school choice policies are effective at increasing student outcomes for private school attendees and for those in public schools?
- Does private school choice increase or decrease educational equity? For which students?
- What is the role for government in ensuring the quality of the private schools in which public money is being expended?
- What are the pros and cons of using tax policy as the vehicle by which private school choice is encouraged?
- What challenges arise when states and districts implement private school choice?
- How much does the structure of private school choice policies (e.g., universal versus targeted, statewide versus city-specific) matter?
- Is private school choice a good or bad thing for the education system as a whole?
Chair:, Syracuse University
In 1903, W.E.B. DuBois wrote, “The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line.” Eighteen years into the twenty-first century, it appears that the color line will be the problem of this century too. Recent incidents of racial bias and discrimination, such as the August 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville that turned deadly, are reminders of how pervasive and pernicious racism is in our society.
Education is often seen as a potential solution to racism, but it is just as often a source of further inequity. In the United States, students from different racial groups often experience vastly different educational systems. Differences by race in inputs, such as per pupil expenditures and educator diversity and quality, couple with school-based processes with a potential for implicit bias, such as differences in student discipline and special education identification rates, to reinforce, if not accelerate, racial inequality. The result should be no surprise: large gaps by race in student outcomes such as graduation rates and achievement on standardized tests.
This panel will explore racial inequality in schooling and potential strategies for schools to reduce its impact. Issues to be discussed include:
- What dimensions of racial identity and racial inequality are most salient in students’ schooling experiences?
- What role do schools play in reinforcing and reducing racial inequality?
- How does race interact in schools with other sources of inequality, such as poverty, gender, disability status, and country of origin?
- How does the diversity of the educator workforce affect outcomes for black and brown students?
- What strategies have practitioners used to address the consequences of racial discrimination and inequality in schools, and to increase access and equity?
- What more must we learn and do to close the racial gap in education?