LatestCounsel

Evidence at the Crossroads Pt. 2: Moneyball for Education

This post originally appeared on the William T. Grant Foundation website, as part of the Evidence at the Crossroads series.
By Frederick M. Hess and Bethany Little
Earlier this year, we made the bipartisan case for why and how federal education policymakers need to start playing “Moneyball.” By adopting and adapting the Oakland Athletics’ pioneering approach in baseball of making decisions informed by data—rather than hunches, biases, and “the way we’ve always done things”—we can get better returns on our federal education investments and better outcomes for students.

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Fostering School Success with Standards for Nonacademic Skills

Sitting in a circle.
Sitting at a desk.
Putting toys away.
Putting lab equipment away.
Bringing something for show and tell.
Handing homework in on time.
Stacking blocks.
Taking turns.
Working together on an experiment.
Designing and building robotics.
What do all of these things have in common? Each of these tasks shows how skills that children must learn in early childhood build to academic skills for success in school and beyond.  In early childhood classrooms, the social and emotional or non-academic skills that these tasks require are routinely incorporated into the curriculum and daily schedule and are embodied in early learning standards that define what children should know and be able to do at each stage of their early development.
But as children move into k-12 classrooms, standards focus much less on these core skills and dispositions that are critical for success in school and life.

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Chronic Absenteeism…a Canary in the Coalmine

This LatestCounsel was written by Cathy Holahan, Senior Legal and Policy Advisor.
Reggie was in third grade when I first met him many years ago.  His juvenile probation officer  referred him to me as his education lawyer after Reggie became involved with the juvenile court for truancy due to his many absences.  Reggie lived close to his elementary school and typically walked to school, but had still managed to miss too many days of school.   As it turned out, Reggie had severe asthma that was exacerbated by the cold air, so his mother often kept him home when the temperature dipped too low.  Once we discovered the cause of his absences, which were much higher in the winter months, we were able to quickly remedy the problem by lining up transportation through the school district and by engaging his mother on the importance of being in school every day.
As schools pass the all important “count day” and settle into their routines, teachers across the country have learned much about their students since that first day . . . which students […]

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Fisher v. University of Texas: No Funeral for Affirmative Action

In the higher education world, all eyes are again on the U.S. Supreme Court, where a second appeal involving the challenge to the University of Texas’ race-conscious admission policy will be heard sometime in the 2015-16 term.  I was somewhat shocked by the press response to the Court’s grant of review a second time this summer: a number of headlines predicted the death of affirmative action.

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How should data be used to inform higher education?

How should data be used to inform higher education? Which data should be used?   These are important questions that EducationCounsel has been exploring through our work in a number of areas.  First, we are working with the Institute of Higher Education Policy and the Postsecondary Data Collaborative (PostsecData), a group of organizations committed to the use of high-quality postsecondary data to improve student outcomes.
Earlier this week, PostSecData issued a statement on the release of the new College Scorecard by the U.S. Department of Education. The statement notes it is “Of critical importance, these data disaggregate many new outcomes, including debt and repayment, by low-income and first-generation status to provide information on how our nation’s most vulnerable students fare at individual institutions. Additionally, for the first time, students can see data on earnings of typical students leaving each college and university, informing decisions about college choice and student borrowing.”
In Getting Our House In Order: Transforming the Federal Regulation of Higher Education As America Prepares for the Challenges of Tomorrow, EducationCounsel and its partners discuss how oversight and accountability can be […]

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Sharpening Our Focus on Student Success in Higher Education

This LatestCounsel was written by Terri Taylor, EducationCounsel Legal and Policy Advisor.
This fall, American colleges and universities are opening their doors to 20.2 million students – an increase of about 4.9 million students since fall 2000, including a larger share of adult, African-American, and Hispanic students.  But with low to middling graduation rates nationwide, too many of these students will not reap the benefits that a college credential can offer. The reasons why a student may not complete his or her degree are legion, but many low-income, first generation, and historically underrepresented minority students cite financial concerns, academic preparedness, and a lack of a sense of belonging on campus as contributing factors.
The good news is that many institutions and organizations are working to improve the college experience for these students.  Several organizations and institutions are working to help them “match” to the competitive college that best meets their needs and interests.   Others are enhancing efforts to support their transition to and through college, notably including the Posse Foundation (founded in 1989 because of one student who said, “I […]

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Competency-Based Education Goes to Washington

For most of the past decade, Washington, DC’s public schools—arguably more than Congress—have been at the center of the national education reform movement. Whether it’s mayoral control, teacher evaluation and retention, charter schools, universal pre-K, the Common Core State Standards, next-generation school design, or (sigh) how best to stage a magazine photo shoot, almost every important education policy issue has been playing out in schools just around the corner from the US Department of Education and Capitol Hill.

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A New Approach to Problem Solving in Education

How often are teachers charged with fixing the problems that plague our education systems? For years, change in education has occurred through top-down and centralized policymaking. Design thinking, a user-centered approach commonly used in Silicon Valley’s tech firms for the past decade, offers an alternative to these top-down methods. You can read more about design thinking from Ideo (via Harvard Business Review) and Stanford.

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