Education Bibliography

Education Bibliography

Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its funding and/or regulation of elementary and/or secondary education in the United States.



Six key federal policy areas to watch under Trump

Big questions loom about how the 45th president and his team will handle this rapidly shifting landscape. Conservatives are eager for their best opportunity since the Reagan era to shrink the federal role in education and dramatically expand options for parents, while Trump is sure to face fierce opposition from educators and advocates who fear that his administration will move to privatize a sizable chunk of public education.

The Big Lie Behind Trump’s Education Budget

Public school supporters are angry at President Trump’s budget proposal, which plans to cut funding to the Department of Education by 13 percent – taking that department’s outlay down to the level it was ten years ago. But the target for their anger should not be just the extent of the cuts but also how the cuts are being pitched to the public. Trump’s education budget cuts are aimed principally at federal programs that serve poor kids, especially their access to afterschool programs and high-quality teachers. At the same time, Trump’s spending blueprint calls for pouring $1.4 billion into school choice policies including a $168 million increase for charter schools, $250 million for a new school choice program focused on private schools, and a $1 billion increase for parents to send their kids to private schools at taxpayer expense.

Trump calls for public education cuts, funding for choice

President Donald Trump’s first budget proposal includes a huge increase for school choice while making big cuts to the Education Department’s overall budget. The budget includes increases for the charter school fund, a new program for private school choice, and incentives for states to make sure some Title I dollars for low-income students follow them as they move among schools. The $1.4 billion in new dollars for school choice eventually will ramp up to $20 billion, the budget says, matching the amount Trump pledged to spend on school choice during his campaign.

New York education expert calls Trump’s cuts devastating.

New York State Board of Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa and State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia President Trump’s proposed drastic cut to the U.S. Department of Education’s budget is an irresponsible disregard for vital education programs and would be devastating to New York’s children. The very programs he proposes to cut play a critical role in fostering equity and eliminating the education gap that exists across our nation. Further, eliminating federal funding for library, art, humanities and public broadcasting programs would decimate essential community centers and nonprofit organizations.

Education insiders reflect on the policy implications of the Trump administration

Memos to the President on the future of US education policy

Worried Betsy Devoss will “destroy” public education? Here’s what you should know

Congress would have to approve changes to Title I rules, and local school advocates are unlikely to get behind portability in large numbers. But if there were ever a moment for such a change to be possible, it’s now.

Repealing ESSA rule raises implementation, transparency concerns

In our view, there are two reasons to think very carefully about whether to proceed with the repeal process. Calls for repeal appear to be coming from members of Congress rather than policymakers on the ground in states who have in fact been hard at work designing their accountability systems within the existing framework established by the rule. At the same time, repealing the rule via the CRA forecloses the opportunity for the Department of Education to initiate a notice and comment process to replace the rule, raising serious concerns about the transparency of replacement efforts.

A shift in the federal role is needed to promote school improvement


A Principled Federal Role in Education Policy.  Many have written about education governance, but few have attempted to define an appropriate role for the federal government. That is the core purpose of this essay. We articulate a set of principles to guide the federal role in education that is rooted in the history of American education, consistent with broader principles concerning the role of government in society, and reflected in certain long established education policies that command broad support. In addition to suggesting what the federal government should do, these principles establish boundaries for where its efforts should end.

English, F. W., Papa, R., Mullen, C. A., & Creighton, T. (2012). Educational leadership at 2050: Conjectures, challenges, and promises. (Book)

Christopher H. Tienken and Carol A. Mullen. (2016) Education Policy Perils: Tackling Tough Issues (Book)

Rippner, Jennifer A.. The American Education Policy Landscape. (2015).  (Book)

General – Conservative

Introducing the Fordham Institute’s 2016 annual report

General — Liberal

All of these materials offer a general defense of public schools and a criticism of private approaches toward education.

Benjamin Justice & Colin Macleod (2016). Have a Little Faith: Religion, Democracy, and the American Public School.

Berliner, D. C., & Glass, G. V. (Eds.). (2014). 50 myths & lies that threaten America’s public schools: The real crisis in education. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Kathleen Knight Abowitz. (2014). Publics for Public Schools: Legitimacy, Democracy, and Leadership.  This book articulates a path for a renewed conception of-and commitment to-the public dimensions of schooling. It is an interdisciplinary book of philosophy and politics, written for educational leaders working in or on behalf of public schooling. Publics for Public Schools introduces a fresh view on how educational leaders might view the public ideal. In this conception of public work and leadership, educational leaders do not work with the public but help to achieve publics for public schools. The demos, or “the people” in the case of democratic governance of schools, mobilize around particular problems related to young people and schooling; they are best understood not as “the public” but as multiple publics. This book provides a conception of public life and of public leadership that can enable educational leaders of all types to help achieve publics for their schools.

General — Education Crisis

Meandering Towards Graduation: Transcript Outcomes of High School Graduates.   Ed Trust’s new report, Meandering Toward Graduation: Transcript Outcomes of High School Graduates, shows that too many students leave high school with a diploma in hand but no clear path forward. The report finds that 47 percent, or almost half, of American high school graduates complete neither a college- nor career-ready course of study — defined here as the standard 15-course sequence required for entry at many public colleges, along with three or more credits in a broad career field such as health science or business. It also shows that only 8 percent of high school graduates in 2013 completed a full college- and career-prep curriculum. Less than one-third of graduates completed only a college-ready course of study, and just 13 percent finished a career-ready course sequence only.

Accelerated Kids

Too many school districts forgo acceleration and leave bright students behind

Providing more gifted classes to students of color in Florida


Senate Republicans: Save the Regs, at least some of them

And indeed, there are rules worth saving. Anne Hyslop did us all a great service last week when she detailed forty of the most important provisions in the accountability regulations. The first twenty, as she wrote, codified “additional flexibilities” that ESSA did not explicitly provide to the states. Some of the most important, in my view, include the following permissions:

  • States can use the Academic Achievement indicator to give schools partial or extra credit,via an achievement index, for students that are either approaching or exceeding proficiency.
  • States may provide school improvement funds under section 1003 to any school identified for comprehensive or targeted support and improvement, even if the identified school does not have a Title I designation.
  • States can tailor their English language proficiency (ELP) goals for different groups of English learners, rather than setting a single timeline for achieving ELP that all students must meet.
  • States can include the test scores of former students with disabilities in subgroup data for up to two years for accountability purposes.

I’ve been in touch with senior Republican staffers in the Senate who argue that Secretary DeVos can reinstate these same permissions via Dear Colleague letters, guidance, and the like. Perhaps. But as Brandon Wright argues, and as state and local officials know all too well, only regulations have the weight of law; guidance is just that—a suggestion. And compliance-oriented bureaucrats have learned to be careful about adopting policies or practices that aren’t explicitly codified in law or regulation.


GradNation. (2015, May 12). Building a grad nation: Progress and challenge in ending the high school dropout epidemic: Executive summary. Retrieved from http:// report/ 2015-building-grad-nation-report

Charter Schools – General

Lee, J., & Lubienski, C. (2011). Is racial segregation changing in charter schools? International Journal of Educational Reform, 20( 3), 192– 209. Christopher H. Tienken and Carol A. Mullen. Education Policy Perils: Tackling Tough Issues (p. 24). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

Lubienski, C. (2001). Redefining “public” education: Charter schools, common schools, and the rhetoric of reform. Teachers College Record, 103( 4), 634– 666.

Melissa A. Clark, Philip Gleason, Christina Clark Tuttle, and Marsha K. Silverberg, “Do Charter Schools Improve Student Achievement? Evidence from a National Randomized Study,” (Princeton: Mathematica Policy Research, December 2011);

Joshua D. Angrist, Sarah R. Cohodes, Susan M. Dynarski, Parag A. Pathak, and Christopher R. Walters, “Stand and Deliver: Effects of Boston’s Charter High Schools on College Preparation, Entry, and Choice,” NBER Working Paper 19275 (Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research, July 2013)

Caroline M. Hoxby, Sonali Murarka, and Jenny Kang, “How New York City’s Charter Schools Affect Achievement,” (Cambridge, MA: New York City Charter Schools Evaluation Project, September 2009).

Charter Schools – Affirmative

Donald Trump, Betsy Devoss, and the changing politics of charter schools

Trump’s Budget Boosts Funding for School Choice. So why are charter schools chiefs unhappy about it?. This article quotes a number of charter school operations who argue that funding for charter should be increased, but not at the expense of public schools as Trump is proposing.

Charter schools at the crossroads (book)

Center for Research on Education Outcomes. (2013). National charter school study executive summary.

Garcia, D. R. (2010). Charter schools challenge traditional notions of segregation. In C. Lubienski & P. C. Weitzel (Eds.), The charter school experiment: Expectations, evidence, and implications (pp. 33– 50)

Charter Schools – Negative

Shocking report shows taxpayers paying hundreds of millions of dollars for unneeded and inferior charter schools. A blockbuster report detailing how California’s charter school industry has wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars by opening and building schools in communities that don’t need them and often end up doing worse than nearby public schools, is a nationwide warning about how education privateers hijack public funds and harm K-12 public schools. Link to the actual report.

Does religion have a place in public schools?  The article contends that charter schools can be coopted to promote private religious agendas that undermine democracy.

Making education great will require more than charter schools

Exploring school choice and the consequences for student racial segregation within Pennsylvania’s charter school transfer

Using individual-level student data from Pennsylvania, this study explores the extent to which charter school racial composition may be an important factor in students’ self-segregative school choices. Findings indicate that, holding distance and enrollment constant, Black and Latino students are strongly averse to moving to charter schools with higher percentages of White students. Conversely, White students are more likely to enroll in such charter schools. As the percentage and number of students transferring into charter schools increases, self-segregative school choices raise critical questions regarding educational equity, and the effects of educational reform and school choice policies on the fostering of racially diverse educational environments.

Locating Chicago’s charter schools: A social-spatial analysis

This project contributes to the body of research examining the implications of the geographic location of charter schools for student access, especially in high-poverty communities. Using geographic information systems (GIS) software, this paper uses data from the U.S. Census American Community Survey to identify the socioeconomic characteristics of the census tracts in which Chicago’s charter schools tend to locate. Echoing the findings of other researchers who have examined charter school locational patterns, the present analyses found evidence of a “ceiling effect” by which many charter schools appear to locate in Chicago’s higher-needs census tracts, broadly cast, but avoid locating directly within those that are highest-need. The findings suggest that because Chicago’s charter schools face per-pupil expenditures that are often up to 20% less than those of traditional public schools, they may strategically leverage location to help shape student enrollment. By frequently locating near, but not directly within highest-need communities, charter schools may find it easier to attract a quorum of relatively higher achieving students who are less expensive to educate, therefore increasing their chances of meeting academic benchmarks and retaining their charters. By extending the findings of other researchers to the context of Chicago—where charters represent an ever-increasing share of the public school market—the present analyses may inform future revisions to the policies governing the authorization of charter schools in Chicago, with the goal of increasing access for highest-need students.

Arsen, D., & Ni, Y. (2012). The effects of charter school competition on school district resource allocation. Educational Administration Quarterly, 48( 1), 3– 38.

Rotberg, I. C. (2014). Charter schools and the risk of increased segregation. Phi Delta Kappan, 95( 5), 26– 30.

Frankenberg, E., Siegel-Hawley, G., & Wang, J. (2011). Choice without equity: Charter school segregation. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 19( 1), 1– 96.

Civil Rights

Civil rights groups wary of federal enforcement stance under Trump

The prospect that the incoming Trump administration could scale back the federal role in civil rights enforcement in education has many rights advocates deeply worried after nearly eight years of high-profile attention to such issues under President Barack Obama. The Obama administration has emphasized such concerns as addressing racial disparities in school discipline and special education; ensuring that transgender students may use the restrooms and locker rooms corresponding to their gender identity; and combating sexual violence in higher education. Those have been among the top priorities of the U.S. Department of Education’s office for civil rights.

What is the future of the Office for Civil Rights?

In the days after the presidential election, news outlets and thousands of educators reported increases in harassment, bullying, and intimidation of students based on race, ethnicity, religion, and gender identity. While schools and colleges are on the frontline in confronting these incidents, one mechanism that for more than 35 years has served to curtail such actions is the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) within the U.S. Department of Education…. As one president wraps up his term and another takes the reigns, some have speculated on what a Donald Trump administration and Education Secretary-nominee Betsy DeVos foretell for the civil-rights branch given indications that they plan to downsize the department. With many unknowns still in play, The Atlantic invited voices in education representing divergent viewpoints to offer their outlook and prognosis on the Education Department’s civil-rights arm. The responses, via email, have been edited for clarity and length.

Finding common ground for the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights

Much of the speculation about OCR’s future has centered on whether the new administration will walk back certain policy guidance documents issued during the Obama years. I will leave that issue for another day, and instead focus on areas of what I hope are common ground. As the new administration gets started, let me suggest two areas in which all sides should be able to agree that our educational institutions could use additional guidance because they are emerging areas of law. I also suggest a third area that must continue so that the pursuit of equity under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) can become a reality.


Zhao, Y. (2014). Who’s afraid of the big bad dragon? Why China has the best (and worst) education system in the world. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Civic Education

Strengthening our democracy starts in schools

Common Core

Don’t play politics with the common core

McDermott-McNulty, M. (2014). “Nothing in common” Common Core. Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy, 11( 1), 43-46,

Savage, G. C., O’Connor, K., & Brass, J. (2014). Common Core State Standards: Implications for curriculum, equality and policy. Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy, 11( 1), 18– 20

Wexler, A. (2014). Reaching higher? The impact of the Common Core State Standards on the visual arts, poverty, and disabilities. Arts Education Policy Review, 115( 2), 52– 61,

Tienken, C. H. (2012). The Common Core State Standards: The emperor is still looking for his clothes. Kappa Delta Pi Record, 48( 4), 152–

Tienken, C. H., & Orlich, D. C. (2013). The school reform landscape: Fraud, myth, and lies. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.


Improving outcomes for students with disabilities.

Memo: Special Education.

The Department of Education recently promulgated guidance concerning IEPs that emphasized the importance of integration. Though this is a step forward, policy guidance does not have the force of law. The new administration should move forward with rulemaking proposing the following regulations:

  • Require that IEPs address specialized interventions to maximize opportunities to be successful in school.
  • Specify the accommodations and supports children will need to be successful in mainstream classes.
  • Require goals for specialized interventions with the assumption that goals need not be written for areas covered by the general curriculum unless the curriculum is significantly modified.
  • Require that IEPs assume students are, by default, assigned to general education classes and this default assignment should be overturned only when compelling arguments exist against integration in mainstream classes, and schools or districts should not be able to overturn the default for many students without getting flagged.
  • Require that IEPs be unambiguously focused on the interventions and accommodations students need to be successful.

Emphasize that for some children whose interventions have been proven successful


Deschooling Society. Illich.


Educational equality and excellence will drive a stronger economy

A recipe for prosperity: The quality of educational standards and economic growth

Economic Inequality

The economic impact of gaps in student performance in Pennsylvania

The study’s author took several approaches to estimate the economic impact of academic performance gaps in Pennsylvania. The first approach, which was based on the estimated relationship between student achievement and subsequent earnings, calculated the lost earnings for African-American and Latino workers in Pennsylvania implied by race-ethnic achievement gaps. Based on this method, race-ethnic academic achievement gaps amount to an estimated annual cost of $1 billion to $3 billion in lost earnings, which represents 6 to 15 percent of African- American and Latino workers’ earnings. The range of this estimate reflects the uncertainty in the measure linking test scores to earnings, as well as the range of estimates for the size of the achievement gap by race-ethnicity, depending on which data source (PSSA or NAEP) and which assessment (reading or math) are used.

The diminishing significance of racism and poverty in education reform

These staggering numbers of children being born outside of marriage are precisely why the education reform community must rethink the role we can and should play in constructing the curriculum to teach the next generation about family formation and the sequence of personal choices that give them the best shot at life fulfillment. While every student should learn these facts, these 12 million boys and girls are in our K–12 schools today, five days a week. They are at the greatest risk of repeating the same cycle of family instability they have likely witnessed every day of their young lives, despite the best efforts of their single parent or whoever stepped in as a guardian to raise them. Overwhelming research, such as in the recently released study “Strong Families, Successful Students,” demonstrates the inextricable link between family stability and academic outcomes. The report used data from 1,340 Ohio children in the National Survey of Children’s Health. After controlling for student race and ethnicity, parental education, and a number of socioeconomic factors, the report finds that: (1) students from intact, married-parent families were 46 percent less likely to have their parents contacted by their school for negative school behavior; (2) students were 64 percent less likely to be held back in school if they came from a home with intact, married parents; and (3) having stably married parents increased a student’s chances of showing consistent engagement in schoolwork by 43 percent.

Race, class, and American’s perspectives on achievement gaps

Education provides a window into the state of racial inequality in the United States and, potentially, the nation’s perceptions of it. Earlier in 2016, we released a study of Americans’ perspectives on race- and wealth-based test score differences. Research on “achievement gaps” has shown large, persistent test score differences between white, black, and Hispanic students, as well as between students from wealthy and poor families. With little previous research on how Americans perceive and explain these gaps, we surveyed the U.S. public about test score gaps between students of different races and classes. We found much greater concern about wealth-based gaps than race-based gaps. At the time, we did not have the foresight to envision the racially and socioeconomically divisive election that would ensue, nor to consider the implications of our findings for a presidential election. Now, however, we see reason to reexamine our data through a new lens and to explore the views of low-income, white Americans, whose perspectives on race and class have attracted considerable attention since November.

English Language Learners/ESL

Supporting Bilingualism and treating English Language Learners as an Asset.

To provide context for the recommendations that follow, we suggest two principles to guide policy, each of which would promote high-quality education for ELs:

  • First, we should support holistic learning of academic content along with English language, as opposed to a targeted focus on English language development to the exclusion or reduction of other subjects. Students are deprived of a richness of learning by keeping content separated from language. Consistent with learning theory, policy should integrate “academic content” and “English language” in the classroom. This will require policies that build systemic supports that include standards, assessment tasks/tools, accountability systems, curriculum/materials, professional development, leadership capacity, and research.
  • Second, we should move from a deficit to an asset model of bilingualism and help ELs to remain bilingual. This would recognize that bilingualism is a cultural, community, economic, and national security resource, with well-documented advantages both for the individual and society. The U.S. language policy has been a default model of immigrants rapidly shifting into monolingual English. The policy problem is that both the OCR/DOJ approach and ESEA/ESSA are oriented toward remedying deficits in English, not toward building on student cultural heritage and assets leading to more powerful learning, engaged citizenship, and national enrichment.

Menken, K., Kleyn, T., & Chae, N. (2012). Spotlight on “long-term English language learners”: Characteristics and prior schooling experiences of an invisible population. International Multilingual Research Journal, 6( 2), 121– 142.

Menken, K., & Solorza, C. (in press). Principals as linchpins in bilingual education: The need for prepared school leaders. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism.

Moore, S. C. K. (Ed.). (2014). Language policy processes and consequences: Arizona case studies. Tonawanda, NY: Multilingual Matters.

Orelus, P. W. (Ed.). (2014). Affirming language diversity in schools and society: Beyond linguistic apartheid. New York, NY: Routledge.

Reyes, A. (2006). Reculturing principals as leaders for cultural and linguistic diversity. In K. Téllez & H. C. Waxman (Eds.), Preparing quality educators for English language learners: Research, policy, and practice (pp. 145– 165).

Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. Reyes, P., Scribner, J. D., & Scribner, A. P. (Eds.). (1999). Lessons from high-performing Hispanic schools: Creating learning communities. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Riehl, C. J. (2000). The principal’s role in creating inclusive schools for diverse students: A review of normative, empirical, and critical literature on the practice of educational administration. Review of Educational Research, 70( 1), 55– 81.

Rios-Aguilar, C., González Canché, M. S., & Sabetghadam, S. (2012). Evaluating the impact of restrictive language policies: The Arizona 4-hour English language development block. Language Policy, 11( 1), 47– 80.

Rivera, M. O., Francis, D. J., Fernandez, M., Moughamian, A. C., Lesaux, N. K., & Jergensen, J. (2010). Effective practices for English language learners: Principals from five states speak. Portsmouth, NH: Center on Instruction, RMC Research Corporation. Rodríguez, M. A., &

Bartlett, L., & García, O. (2011). Additive schooling in subtractive times: Bilingual education and Dominican immigrant youth in the Heights. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press.

Menken, K. (2008). English learners left behind: Standardized testing as language policy. Buffalo, NY: Multilingual Matters.

Menken, K., & García, O. (Eds.). (2010). Negotiating language policies in schools: Educators as policymakers. New York, NY: Routledge.


Making Meaning of Community in an American High School: A Feminist-Pragmatist Critique of the Liberal-Communitarian Debates (Understanding Education and Policy)

Financial inequity

Education for the “us first” crowd

The brightly colored map belies the stark differences in education funding in America. Although the national average is just under $12,000 per student, the variations that make up that average are sobering. Relying solely on local business and property taxes pits those communities with a weaker tax base against economic powerhouses that can afford to fund schools at much higher levels. You can also factor in what Stanford University researcher Sean Reardon calls the “income gap.” Putting aside the actual funding dollars that support public schools, there are also increasingly large gaps in family income levels. Reardon’s work quantifies the educational effect of income gaps between wealthy and poor communities. Not surprisingly, students from wealthier communities have access to a wide range of supports and resources that most poor students can’t afford. A classic example is SAT prep classes. A 10-week SAT prep course in my area costs north of $1,000, with private tutoring available for an additional cost. A local community college offers residents a six-week class (on a first come, first served basis) for $355. Despite the College Board’s very laudable efforts to make high-quality test prep free and accessible to all students, wealthier students will always have the upper hand when it comes to extra academic help, not just to sports, music, and artistic activities.


The Equity and Excellence Commission, For Each and Every Child—A Strategy for Education Equity and Excellence (2013). This report summarizes how America’s K-12 education system, taken as a whole, fails our nation and too many of our children. Our system does not distribute opportunity equitably. Our leaders decry but tolerate disparities in student outcomes that are not only unfair, but socially and economically dangerous. Our nation’s stated commitments to academic excellence are often eloquent but, without more, an insufficient response to challenges at home and globally. The data the commission reviewed make clear that officials, administrators and constituents at all levels

BRUCE BAKER ET AL ., IS SCHOOL FUNDING FAIR ? A NATIONAL REPORT CARD 5– 6 (5th ed. 2016) (finding that in almost half of the states, school districts that serve more affluent students receive, on average, more money per student than school districts that serve primarily impoverished students)

Kevin G. Welner & Prudence L. Carter, Achievement Gaps Arise from Opportunity Gaps , in  CLOSING THE OPPORTUNITY GAP : WHAT AMERICAN MUST DO TO GIVE EVERY CHILD AN EVEN CHANCE 1, 7 (Prudence L. Carter & Kevin G. Welner eds., 2013) (“In a fundamentally unequal and unfair system characterized by widespread poverty and segregation, opportunity gaps are exacerbated when children are assigned to schools with substantially fewer resources than those in nearby middle-class communities);

ROBERT D. PUTMAN , OUR KIDS : THE AMERICAN DREAM IN CRISIS 135– 190 (2015) (describing the inequalities and disparate opportunities that exist in our educational system);

Linda Darling- Hammond, Inequality and School Resources: What It Will Take to Close the Opportunity Gap , in  CLOSING THE OPPORTUNITY GAP : WHAT AMERICA MUST DOTO GIVE EVERY CHILD AN EVEN CHANCE 77, 77– 91 (Prudence L. Carter & Kevin G. Welner eds., 2013) (describing the inequalities present in our education system);

Jason P. Nance, Persisting Inequalities in Educational Resources and Results: A Call for Reform , in  THE ROAD TO PROGRESS : THE CASE FOR A U.S. EDUCATION AMENDMENT (Charles J. Ogletree, Jr. & Kimberly Jenkins Robinson eds., forthcoming)  describing the inequalities that persist in our public education system, especially with respect to low-income minority students)

Memo: Federal School Finance Policy.

You will be sworn in as president to a federal education policy landscape requiring immediate attention to the following items.

  1. Exercise leadership in making the federal government excel at what only it can do: redistributing education funding across the states.

Title I has been the cornerstone of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act since its 1965 enactment, sending federal funds to nearly every district in the country. Throughout the program’s history, changes to the formula used to determine state and district allocations have been incremental, with new formulas layered on top of old ones. This has led to a mess of calculations nearly impossible for even highly informed policymakers to understand. The end results of these calculations, however, are allocations that are poorly aligned with the program’s stated intent of addressing “the special educational needs of children of low-income families and the impact that concentrations of low-income families have on the ability of local educational agencies to support adequate educational programs.” The amount of Title I funding per eligible child varies widely across states with similar child poverty rates and, on average, is higher in states with low concentrations of poor children. The latest ESEA reauthorization process, which concluded in 2015 with the enactment of ESSA, was eight years overdue and rightly centered on addressing problems stemming from No Child Left Behind’s unrealistically ambitious benchmarks for improving student achievement and its highly prescriptive mandates for intervention in schools found to be falling short. The bipartisan hashing out of the law’s accountability provisions was a meaningful accomplishment, and Congress understandably lacked the appetite to take up politically-charged formula discussions.

  1. Design a sensible and legal strategy to improve equity within school districts.

While states and school districts can influence the allocation of funds across schools within the same district, so can the federal government. As school-level finance data become more readily available, they reveal major inequities in per-pupil spending across schools within many districts. At the same time, public demand for within-district equity—and a federal role in achieving it—has grown. While ESSA takes several steps in this direction, immediate executive action is needed as districts begin the work of implementing the law.

  1. Limit the use of conditions on formula funds as a means to influence state and local policy to situations in which the policy goals are attainable.

The example of the weighted student funding pilot illustrates a broader point: federal policy can choose to promote policies by adding conditions to formula funds (like ESSA’s annual testing and school-level revenue reporting requirements) or by using them as criteria to award competitive resources, whether they be funds (as in Race to the Top) or flexibility (as in the weighted student funding pilot). The primary purpose of formula funding programs such as Title I is to redistribute resources according to the formula, making the decision to withhold such funds undesirable from a policy perspective and politically fraught. Conditions attached to the receipt of such funds should therefore be ones that districts and states can readily meet, even if they may not want to do so. More challenging goals without proven solutions are better left to competitive grants programs structured to fund innovative solutions devised by state and local educators and accompanied by evaluation requirements designed to allow the nation to learn from their experience. As you consider the full range of your education policy priorities, keep in mind the potential for well-structured competitive funding programs to advance the evidence base and the ability of individual states and districts to make progress even absent federal formula funds.

Finance Litigation

Dinan, J. (2009). School finance litigation: the third wave recedes. In J. Dunn and M. West (Eds.), From schoolhouse to courthouse: the judiciary’s role in American education (pp. 96– 120). Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press.


How does nutrition affect children’s performance?

Ball, Stephen. (1990). Foucault and Education: Discipline and Knowledge.


Jensen, B., & Sawyer, A. (2013). Regarding educación: Mexican-American schooling, immigration, and bi-national improvement. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Education gains by US refugees not as large as thought

Immigrant teachers play a critical role in America’s schools

America is engaged in an active discussion about reducing the flow of immigration. Perhaps surprisingly, immigration matters a lot for the supply of K-12 teachers. About 8 percent of American teachers were born abroad. If the supply of teachers were to be reduced by 8 percent, schools would be in deep trouble.

K-12 Higher Education Cooperation

Carnevale, A., & Strohl, J. (2013). Separate & unequal: How higher education reinforces the intergenerational reproduction of white racial privilege— executive summary. Retrieved from https:// report/ separate-unequal/

Rippner, J. (2014). State P– 20 councils and collaboration between K– 12 and higher education. Educational Policy. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/ 0895904814558008 Rippner, Jennifer A.. The American Education Policy Landscape (p. 9). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

Managed Competition

Why a system of managed competition is better than a free market for schooling

I believe this apparent conflict between public and private goals is exaggerated. Specifically, I argue that a “managed competition” approach would place more decisions in the hands of families and school leaders while providing certain roles for government. This approach would best support our values for individual freedom and public goals, such as democratic citizenship, social cohesion, and equitable access to quality schools.


Anyon, J. (2014). Radical possibilities: Public policy, urban education, and a new social movement (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

Apple, M. W. (2011). Democratic education in neoliberal and neoconservative times. International Studies in Sociology of Education, 21( 1), 21– 31.

Apple, M. W. (2014). Official knowledge: Democratic education in a conservative age (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

Ball, S. J. (2012). Global education inc.: New policy networks and the neo-liberal imaginary. Abingdon, Oxon, UK: Routledge.

Brewer, T. J., & Myers, P. S. (2015). How neoliberalism subverts equality and perpetuates poverty in our nation’s schools. In S. N. Haymes, M. Vidal de Haymes, & R. J. Miller (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of poverty in the United States (pp. 190– 198).

Miron, G. J. (2008). The shifting notion of “publicness” in public education. In B. S. Cooper, J. G. Cibulka, & L. D. Fusarelli (Eds.), Handbook of education politics and policy (pp. 338– 349). New York, NY: Routledge.

Mullen, C. A. (2013). Epilogue: Reclaiming public education. In F. W. English, Educational leadership in the age of greed: A requiem for res publica (pp. 60– 64).

Mullen, C. A. (2015, April). Corporate network proliferation in the public school sector and rapid erosion of capital. Paper.presented at the Society of Professors of Education meeting, Chicago, IL.

Mullen, C. A., English, F. W., Brindley, S., Ehrich, L. C., & Samier, E. A. (2013). Neoliberal issues in public education [Guest edited 2-volume issue]. Interchange: A Quarterly Review of Education, 43( 3) & 43( 4), 181– 377.

Mullen, C. A., Samier, E. A., Brindley, S., English, F. W., & Carr. N. K. (2013). An epistemic frame analysis of neoliberal culture and politics in the US, UK, and the UAE. Interchange: A Quarterly Review of Education, 43( 3), 187– 228.

Giroux, H. A. (2014). Neoliberalism’s war on higher education. Chicago, IL: Haymarket Books.

Performance based funding

Increased funding can be accessed through academic gains

Mandating funding equality

Performance based funding
Showing up is not-enough: Performance-based funding


Pittsburgh schools are making progress

Helping Pittsburgh stay on the cutting edge

The Remake Learning Network of more than 250 local education and innovation organizations seeks to help all young people develop creativity, contextual thinking, collaborative problem-solving and other skills critical to college and career readiness. This involves mentorship and both in-school and out-of-school opportunities. Community organizations play a key role by offering resources such as space for activities and by bringing people together.

Among the network’s key elements of success are local universities and research organizations, which support these initiatives by, for example, creating collaborative researcher-practitioner partnerships to help schools and other organizations figure out who their efforts are reaching and what’s working. They also can help answer other important questions by monitoring and evaluating ongoing efforts.

The Appalachia partner initiative

The Appalachia Partnership Initiative (API) is multi-year effort supported by Chevron, the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, the Grable Foundation, and the Allegheny Conference on Community Development. The RAND Corporation serves as the independent evaluation and monitoring lead for the API.

The API addresses STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) K-12 education and workforce development needs in the Greater Pittsburgh area’s advanced manufacturing and energy sectors


Harkness, P. (2015, May). Washington’s education stalemate. Governing,


See also: “Financial Inequality” below.

Overcoming the Poverty Challenge to Enable College and Career Readiness for All.  This white paper focuses on an important and under-conceptualized thread in the weave of efforts needed to ensure that all students graduate from high school prepared for college and/or career training: enhanced student supports. It argues that in order to overcome the educational impacts of poverty – the poverty challenge, schools that serve high concentrations of low income students need to be able to provide direct, evidence-based supports that help students attend school regularly, act in a productive manner, believe they will succeed, overcome external obstacles, complete their coursework, and put forth the effort required to graduate college- and career-ready. Next, it highlights the unique role that nonprofits, community volunteers, and full-time national service members can play in the implementation of these direct student supports. It concludes by exploring how federal and state policy and funding can be designed to promote the implementation and spread of evidence-based, direct student supports. The paper draws on the emerging evidence base to examine these topics, and calls upon the insights gleaned through the author’s fifteen years of participant-observation in the effort to create schools strong enough to overcome the ramifications of poverty and prepare all students for adult success

Improving Student Achievement by Meeting Children’s Comprehensive Needs. Select federal policies have long reflected an assumption that systemic, comprehensive approaches could drive student achievement. Programs like Promise Neighborhoods, Full-Service Community Schools Grants, and wraparound components included in 21st Century Community Learning Centers are guided by an understanding that interconnected challenges require interconnected solutions. The National Research Council has found that the availability of academic, social-emotional, health, and mental health supports is predictive of students’ success as adults, and since 1998 the Centers for Disease Control has recommended that schools foster healthy child development by implementing a comprehensive, coordinated approach to the needs of students. Building on these insights, ESSA appropriately takes a broad view of the learning supports, resources, and strategies that may be needed to help disadvantaged students surmount barriers to achievement. Among these strategies is an emphasis on comprehensive integrated student support throughout Titles I and IV. Federal policy can incentivize and improve the efficacy of investments designed to meet the comprehensive needs of students and their families. Under ESSA, your administration can leverage research on effective practices and support technology and related infrastructure building, thereby setting the stage for states, schools, and communities to use existing resources more efficiently, close achievement gaps, reduce dropout rates, and enhance educational opportunity for all students.

Ypsilanti, MI: NCPEA Press. Mullen, C. A. (2014). Advocacy for child wellness in high-poverty environments. Kappa Delta Pi Record, 50( 4), 157– 163.

Lyman, L. L., & Villani, C. J. (2004). Best leadership practices for high-poverty schools. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Education.


Memo: Powering Education Improvement and innovation While Protecting Student Privacy,  A third option, the one we favor, is for the federal government to combine capacity building with a structured process that leads to revisions to FERPA. A deliberative and thoughtful federal role in encouraging and supporting education data use and research, and creating a floor of consistent data protections, is critical to building transparency and trust about how data are collected, shared, and protected across the country. Despite the risks associated with opening the Pandora’s box of revising FERPA, we believe the next administration should take this important step. In the section that follows, we propose specific recommendations for this strategic federal role

Private Sector

Reckhow, S., & Snyder, J. (2014). The expanding role of philanthropy in education politics. Educational Researcher, 43( 4), 186– 195. Rippner, Jennifer A.. The American Education Policy Landscape (p. 111). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

Race – General 

Students of Color are More Likely to Attend High Poverty Schools.

In almost all major American cities, most African American and Hispanic students attend public schools where a majority of their classmates qualify as poor or low-income, a new analysis of federal data shows. This systemic economic and racial isolation looms as a huge obstacle for efforts to make a quality education available to all American students. Researchers have found that the single-most powerful predictor of racial gaps in educational achievement is the extent to which students attend schools surrounded by other low-income students.

Reardon, S.F., Robinson, J.P., & Weathers, E.S. (2014/16). Patterns and Trends in Racial/Ethnic and Socioeconomic Academic Achievement Gaps. In H. A. Ladd & E. B. Fiske (Eds.), Handbook of Research in Education Finance and Policy (Second ed.). Lawrence Erlbaum. Click “download” to access.

Racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities in academic achievement remain a stubborn feature of U.S. schooling. National studies consistently show that the average non-Hispanic black student scores well below the average non-Hispanic white student on standardized tests of math and reading skills, as does the average Hispanic student. Likewise, the average student from a low-income family scores much lower on such tests than students from higher-income families. Considerable attention has been focused on achievement gaps, particularly the black-white achievement gap. Scholars and educators have suggested a number of possible explanations for the gaps, and policymakers, principals, and teachers have tried a range of remedies. As this chapter documents, however, the gaps persist despite these efforts. Moreover, our understanding of the causes and patterns of these achievement gaps is far from complete.

How School Choice is Creating Less Diversity. Although the article does’t really support the claim that choice is driving segregation, it makes a strong claim that schools are becoming more segregated.

Kimberly Jade Norwood, Blackthink’s Acting White Stigma in Education and How It Fosters Academic Paralysis in Black Youth , 50 HOW . L.J.  711, 727– 28 (2007).

Black students who attend school regularly, participate in the classroom experience — by either participating in class and/or turning in homework, take “AP” classes, and who perform well on tests are, not uncommonly, accused of “acting white.” This happened to me as a child, it has happened to my children and it has happened to black youth I have interviewed throughout the country. This Article explores the practice within the black community of blacks who attack — verbally and sometimes physically — other blacks simply because the latter perform well in school. The Article explores the ironies of this attack given the history of slaves in America who were mutilated and/or murdered for trying to learn how to read and write; the incredibly high drop-out statistics illiteracy rates among black youth in public schools; and the connection between the uneducated and incarceration rates. It calls on civil rights organizations to put education at the front of its civil rights agenda. Otherwise, there soon will be precious few black, brown or poor children to educate. They mostly will be in jail.

The insidiousness of unconscious bias in schools

In this report, we argue that the consequences of UB may be particularly salient in the hierarchical environments of schools. Specifically, UB likely perpetuates socio-economic, gender, and racial gaps in educational outcomes such as academic performance, engagement with school, course and major choice, and persistence in higher education, particularly among historically disadvantaged and underrepresented groups such as low-income and racial-minority students. These gaps in educational outcomes then manifest in corresponding workplace disparities in pay, promotions, and employment.

Shopping for schools or shopping for peers: public schools and catchment era segregation (gated)

“We felt they took the heart out of the community:” examining a community-based response to urban school closure

Massive school closures are occurring in urban school districts across the United States. Research suggests that school closures are the outcome of racialized neoliberal policies and decades of disinvestment that have left many urban districts with fiscal deficits and declining student enrollments. However, some urban communities have successfully organized against school closures and reopened neighborhood schools. As such, this study examines how leaders in a community-university coalition in the Midwestern United States reopened a high school that was closed by its district. This case study draws on interviews and document data, and describes the forces that promoted school closure and its impacts on the community. Concepts from social capital and social network theories are used to guide the analysis. Findings indicate these leaders leveraged networks to negotiate a community-university social contract, took strategic and socially connected actions, and formed a community-driven education task force. This study offers implications for policy, future research, and communities in similar contexts.

Future imaginaries of urban school reform

Drawing on analytic heuristics from critical discourse analysis and cultural political economy (Jessop, 2010; Wodak, 2002), this article examines the temporal premises and “futures” embedded in a report and reform proposal created in a mid-sized, American city, Columbus, Ohio, in 2013. The product of a city-wide commission appointed in response to a school ‘cheating’ scandal, the report is both a condensation of key premises and claims circulating through national education policy discourses, and an effort to fit those ideas to a particular urban locale. This fitting involves aligning the city with a particular neoliberal representation or “imaginary” of the future that pervades current education policy discourse and planning. The article unpacks the temporal premises associated with this imaginary and shows their influence on the city’s planning. Among other things, the discourse individuates scholastic time and subordinates the present to a distant future that is represented as an already-known or predictable state of affairs. It positions practices such as standardized testing as temporal technologies for predicting the child’s position in the imagined future, and reframes racially- and class-based inequalities as differences in the kinds of futures towards which groups are oriented. The effect is to overwrite political questions of what kind of future we might want to create with technical questions of how best to prepare for an inevitable future we can’t avoid.

Race gaps in math scores are as big as ever

Morris, Monique (2016). Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools. (Book)

Just 16 percent of female students, Black girls make up more than one-third of all girls with a school-related arrest. The first trade book to tell these untold stories, Pushout exposes a world of confined potential and supports the growing movement to address the policies, practices, and cultural illiteracy that push countless students out of school and into unhealthy, unstable, and often unsafe futures.

For four years Monique W. Morris, author of Black Stats, chronicled the experiences of black girls across the country whose intricate lives are misunderstood, highly judged—by teachers, administrators, and the justice system—and degraded by the very institutions charged with helping them flourish. Morris shows how, despite obstacles, stigmas, stereotypes, and despair, black girls still find ways to breathe remarkable dignity into their lives in classrooms, juvenile facilities, and beyond.

Arriaza, G. (2003). Schools, social capital and children of color. Race, Ethnicity and Education, 6( 1), 71– 94. (gated)


The Departments of Education and Justice have taken a range of actions to identify and address racial discrimination against students. Education has investigated schools, analyzed its data by student groups protected under federal civil rights laws, and found discrimination and disparities in some cases. GAO analyzed Education’s data among types of schools (charters, magnets, and traditional public schools) by percentage of racial minorities and a proxy for poverty level and found multiple disparities, including in access to academic courses. Education does not routinely analyze its data in this way. Conducting this type of analysis would enhance Education’s ability to target technical assistance and identify other disparities by school types and groups. The Department of Justice (Justice) has also investigated discrimination claims, and it monitors and enforces 178 open federal desegregation court cases to which it is a party, many of which originated 30 or 40 years ago to remedy segregation. However, GAO found that Justice does not track key summary case information, such as the last action taken in a case. As a result, some may unintentionally remain dormant for long periods. For example, in one case the court noted there had been a lack of activity and that if Justice had “been keeping an eye” on relevant information, such as test score disparities, the issue could have been addressed in a more timely way. Federal internal control standards state that agencies should use information to help identify specific actions that need to be taken to allow for effective monitoring. Without tracking key information about open cases, Justice’s ability toward effectively monitor such cases is hampered….GAO recommends that Education more routinely analyze its civil rights data to identify disparities among types and groups of schools and that Justice systematically track key information on open federal school desegregation cases to which it is a party to better inform its monitoring. In response, both agencies are considering actions in line with GAO’s recommendations.


HALLEY POTTER ET AL ., A NEW WAVE OF SCHOOL INTEGRATION : DISTRICTS AND CHARTERS PURSUING SOCIOECONOMIC DIVERSITY 3 (2016) (observing that more than one-third of African-American students and Hispanic students attend schools where more than ninety percent of the students are students of color);

GARY ORFIELD ET AL ., BROWN AT 60: GREAT PROGRESS , A LONG RETREAT , AND AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE (2014) (documenting the problem of “double segregation,” meaning that a large and growing percentage of schools serve high concentrations of students who are both poor and students of color).

Race – School to Prison Pipeline

American Bar Association (2016) Task Force on Reversing School-to-Prison Pipeline. Redfield & Nance

Students of color are disproportionately

• lower achievers and unable to read at basic or above

• damaged by lower expectations and lack of engagement

• retained in grade or excluded because of high stakes testing

• subject to more frequent and harsher punishment

• placed in alternative disciplinary schools or settings

• referred to law enforcement or subject to school-related arrest

• pushed or dropping out of school

• failing to graduate from high school

• feel threatened at school and suffer consequences as victims

For students with disabilities, disproportionality manifests itself in similar ways, and race and ethnicity, gender, and disability compound. Students with disabilities (or those who are labeled as disabled by the school) are disproportionately

• students of color, especially in discretionary categories under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

• less likely to be academically proficient

• disciplined, and more harshly so

• retained in grade, but still dropping out or failing to graduate

• more likely to be placed in alternative disciplinary schools or settings or otherwise more likely to spend time out of the regular classroom, to be secluded or restrained

• referred to law enforcement or subject to school-related arrest and incarceration.

Students who are LGBTQ face similar disproportional negative treatment and are more likely victimized and blamed as victims, and, again, the negatives compound. These same differences plague the juvenile justice system where youth of color, youth with disabilities, and LGBTQ youth are typically disproportionately arrested, referred, detained (longer), charged, found delinquent (or transferred to adult court). They are disproportionately confined instead of being placed on probation or into a diversion program. And all along the way, these young people caught in the school-to-prison pipeline are less likely to have access to meaningful education to allow them to graduate from high school and prepare for higher education and work opportunities

..the Task Force recommends that the ABA take steps to: ABA AND PARTNERS: CONVENINGS AND TRAINING

1. Adopt ABA policy and specific resolutions as appropriate to implement these recommendations

2. Join with other partners to continue additional of Town Halls discussing solutions and offering training on implementation

3. Support legal representation for students at point of exclusion from school, including development of model best practice training modules for lawyers and law students for representation for students facing suspension or expulsion

4. Support ongoing convenings where educators, School Resource Officers, law enforcement, and juvenile justice decision makers join together to develop strategies to reverse the School-to-PrisonPipeline

5. Develop training modules for training of SROs and police dealing with youth on appropriate strategies for LGBTQ students and students with disabilities

6. Develop training modules on Implicit Bias and De-Biasing for decision makers along the StPP including teachers and administrators, school resource officers, police, juvenile judges and others dealing with juveniles, to reduce disproportionalities

7. Encourage its members to continue engagement in youth mentoring initiatives

8. Support related legislative and policy initiatives

Nance, Jason P., Student Surveillance, Racial Inequalities, and Implicit Racial Bias (August 27, 2016). 66 Emory Law Journal (Forthcoming); University of Florida Levin College of Law Research Paper No. 16-30. Available at SSRN:

In the wake of high-profile incidents of school violence, school officials have increased their reliance on a host of surveillance measures to maintain order and control in their schools. Paradoxically, such practices can foster hostile environments that may lead to even more disorder and dysfunction. These practices may also contribute to the so-called “school-to-prison pipeline” by pushing more students out of school and into the juvenile justice system. However, not all students experience the same level of surveillance. This Article presents data on school surveillance practices, including an original empirical analysis of restricted data recently released by the U.S. Department of Education after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Paralleling other disturbing trends of inequality in our public school system, these results and other empirical analyses reveal that schools serving primarily students of color are more likely to rely on more intense surveillance measures than other schools. Further, the empirical evidence suggests that these racial disparities may not be justified by legitimate safety concerns. This Article then turns to a discussion of the role that implicit racial bias may have in school officials’ decisions to rely on intense surveillance methods. Finally, it proposes legislation and strategies that federal lawmakers, state lawmakers, and school officials should adopt to counteract the effect of implicit racial bias on school officials’ decisions to implement strict security measures (and other decisions school officials make). Implementing these recommendations will help create better learning environments that benefit students of all races.

Jason Nance, 13, law professor, University of Florida, 2013, University of Colorado Law Review, Suspicionless searches of students’ belongings: A legal, empirical, and normative analysis,

This Article provides a legal, empirical, and normative analysis of an intrusive search practice used by public school officials to prevent school crime: random, suspicionless searches of students’ belongings. First, it argues that these searches are not permitted under the Fourth Amendment unless schools have particularized evidence of a substance abuse or weapons problem. Second, it provides a normative evaluation of strict security measures in schools, especially when they are applied disproportionately to minority students. Third, drawing on recent restricted data from the U.S. Department of Education’s School Survey on Crime and Safety, this Article provides empirical findings that raise concerns that some public schools may be conducting unconstitutional searches of students’ belongings. In addition, it shows that these potentially unconstitutional searches are more likely to take place in schools with higher minority populations than in schools with lower minority populations, even after taking into account school officials’  perceptions of the levels of crime where students hue and where the school is located. Finally, this Article argues that the Supreme Court should resolve any ambiguity in its jurisprudence by expressly requiring school officials to have particularized, objective evidence of a substance abuse or weapons problem before permitting schools to perform these intrusive searches.

Jason Nance. (2016). Over-Disciplining Students, Racial Bias, and the School-to-Prison Pipeline, 50 U. RICH. L. REV. 1063

As I have explained at length elsewhere, there are detrimental, long-term consequences associated with incarcerating, arresting, suspending, or expelling students—to the youth them- selves, their families, their communities, and our society as a whole. Yet perhaps the most alarming aspect of over-disciplining students and of the school-to-prison pipeline generally is that not all racial groups are affected equally by these negative trends.  Part I of this essay briefly describes the observed racial disparities associated with disciplining students. In Part II, this essay discusses the concept of implicit bias, which appears to be one of the causes of those racial disparities. Finally, Part III describes the role that national and state government entities, including the U.S. Department of Education (―DOE‖) and state departments of education, can play in forming a comprehensive strategy to address the implicit biases of educators and to create more equitable and inclusive schools.

Jason Nance. (2016) Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline: Tools for Change, 48 ARIZ. ST. L.J. 313

The school-to-prison pipeline is one of our nation’s most formidable challenges. It refers to the trend of directly referring students to law enforcement for committing certain offenses at school or creating conditions under which students are more likely to become involved in the criminal justice system, such as excluding them from school. This article analyzes the school-to-prison pipeline’s devastating consequences on students, its causes, and its disproportionate impact on students of color. But most importantly, this article comprehensively identifies and describes specific, evidence-based tools to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline that lawmakers, school administrators, and teachers in all areas can immediately support and implement. Further, it suggests initial strategies aimed at addressing implicit racial bias, which appears to be one of the primary causes of the racial disparities relating to the school-to-prison pipeline. The implementation of these tools will create more equitable and safe learning environments that will help more students become productive citizens and avoid becoming involved in the justice system.

Jason Nance. Students, Security, and Race, 63 EMORY L.J. 1 (2013),

In the wake of the terrible shootings in Newtown, Connecticut,our nation has turned its attention to school security. For example, several states have passed or are considering passing legislation that will provide new funding to

schools for security equipment and law enforcement officers. Strict security measures in schools are certainly not new. In response to prior acts of school violence, many public schools for years have relied on metal detectors, random sweeps, locked gates, surveillance cameras, and law enforcement officers to promote school safety. Before policymakers and school officials invest more money in strict security measures, this Article provides additional factors that should be considered.First,drawing on recent, restricted data from the US. Department of Education, this Article presents an original empirical analysis revealing that low-income students and minority students are much more likely to experience intense security conditions in their schools than other students, even when taking into account neighborhood crime, school crime, and school disorder. These findings raise concerns that such inequalities may continue or worsen as policymakers provide additional funding for security measures. Second, this Article argues that strict security measures do not support long- term solutions needed to effectively prevent school violence. Indeed, strict security measures may exacerbate the underlying problems by creating barriers of adversity and mistrust between students and educators.

Jason Nance (2016) Students, Police, and the School- to-Prison Pipeline, 93 WASH. U. L. REV.,

Since the terrible shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, lawmakers and school officials continue to deliberate over new laws and policies to keep students safe, including putting more police officers in schools. Yet these decisionmakers have not given enough attention to the potential negative consequences that such laws and policies may have, such as creating a pathway from school to prison for many students. Traditionally, only educators, not law enforcement, handled certain lower-level offenses that students committed, such as fighting or making threats without using a weapon. Drawing on recent restricted data from the US Department of Education, this Article presents an original empirical analysis revealing that a police officer’s regular presence at a school is predictive of greater odds that school officials refer students to law enforcement for committing various offenses, including these lower-level offenses. This trend holds true even after controlling for: (1) state statutes that require schools to report certain incidents to law enforcement; (2) general levels of criminal activity and disorder that occur at schools; (3) neighborhood crime; and (4) other demographic variables. The consequences of involving students in the criminal justice system are severe, especially for students of color, and may negatively affect the trajectory of students’ lives. Therefore, lawmakers and school officials should consider alternative methods to create safer learning environments

Jason Nance. School Surveillance and the Fourth Amendment, 2014 WIS. L. REV. 79 (2014),

In the aftermath of several highly publicized incidents of school violence, public school officials have increasingly turned to intense surveillance methods to promote school safety. The current jurisprudence interpreting the Fourth Amendment generally permits school officials to employ a variety of strict measures, separately or in conjunction, even when their use creates a prison-like environment for students. Yet, not all schools rely on such strict measures. Recent empirical evidence suggests that low-income and minority students are much more likely to experience intense security conditions in their schools than other students, even after taking into account factors such as neighborhood crime, school crime, and school disorder. These empirical findings are problematic on two related fronts. First, research suggests that students subjected to these intense surveillance conditions are deprived of quality educational experiences that other students enjoy. Second, the use of these measures perpetuates social inequalities and exacerbates the school-to-prison pipeline.

Under the current legal doctrine, students have almost no legal recourse to address conditions creating prison-like environments in schools. This Article offers a reformulated legal framework under the Fourth Amendment that is rooted in the foundational Supreme Court cases evaluating students’ rights under the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments. The historical justification courts invoke to abridge students’ constitutional rights in schools, including their Fourth Amendment rights, is to promote the educational interests of the students. This justification no longer holds true when a school creates a prison-like environment that deteriorates the learning environment and harms students’ educational interests. This Article maintains that in these circumstances, students’ Fourth Amendment rights should not be abridged but strengthened.

To Educate or Incarcerate: Factors in Disproportionality in School Discipline. Children and Youth Services Review, v. 70, Nov. 2016, p. 102-111 (gated)

The school-to-prison pipeline describes the process by which school suspension/expulsion may push adolescents into the justice system disproportionately based on race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and gender. The current study moves the field forward by analyzing a survey of a diverse sample of 2539 students in 10th to 12th grade in Southern California to examine how demographic, individual, and family factors contribute to disparities in office referral and suspension/expulsion. African Americans, boys, and students whose parents had less education were more likely to be suspended/expelled. Higher levels of student academic preparation for class, hours spent on homework, and academic aspiration were associated with less school discipline. Findings suggest that helping students engage in school may be protective against disproportionate school discipline.

Over-disciplining students, racial bias, and the school to prison pipeline.  Over the last three decades, our nation has witnessed a dramatic change regarding how schools discipline children for disruptive behavior. Empirical evidence during this time period demonstrates that schools increasingly have relied on extreme forms of punishment such as suspensions, expulsions, referrals to law enforcement, and school-based arrests to discipline students for violations of school rules. For example, from the 1972–73 school year to the 2009–10 school year, the number of students expelled or suspended from secondary schools increased from one in thirteen to one in nine.1 Between 1974 and 2012, the number of out-of-school suspensions increased nationally from 1.7 million to 3.45 million.2 There is also substantial evidence that referrals to law enforcement and school-based arrests have significantly increased in recent years.3 The U.S. Department of Education‘s Office for Civil Rights estimates that during the 2011–12 school year alone, schools referred approximately 260,000 students to law enforcement, and there were approximately 92,000 schoolbased arrests.4 While it may be justifiable to suspend, expel, or refer a student to law enforcement under some circumstances (for example, when a student harms another student with a dangerous weapon or sexually assaults another member of the school community), schools routinely invoke such extreme disciplinary measures for much less serious offenses.5 Many have referred to this disturbing trend of schools directly referring students to law enforcement or creating conditions under which students are more likely to become involved in the justice system—such as suspending or expelling them—as the ―school-to-prison pipeline.


JONATHAN GJLLESPIE, CTR. FOR CiV . RIGHTS REMEDIES AT THE CiV . RIGHTS PROJECT, OPPORTUNITIES SUSPENDED: THE DISPARATE IMPACT OF DISCIPLINARY EXCLUSION FROM SCHOOL 43-45 (Aug. 2012),  (describing several practices for improving student behavior and reducing student crime in schools that do not rely on


This book has sought to describe what happens to children at each of the different entry points on the School-to-Prison Pipeline, from the front end of the pipeline, including inadequate and inequitable access to resources, all the way to the back end of the pipeline, including the various barriers confronting court-involved youth who seek to continue their education and eventually reenter the mainstream school system. By analyzing theories and strategies to challenge disturbing trends at each of these entry points through impact litigation, the book has sought to provide an arsenal of resources for advocates seeking to stem the pernicious impact of the pipeline, particularly for our most at-risk youth.

Reproducing Social Inequality through School Security: Effects of Race and Class on School Security Measures (2002)

One study suggests that higher levels of security and surveillance in schools were positively associated with higher school suspension rates. Timothy J. Servoss & Jeremy D. Finn, School Security: For Whom and With What Results?, 13 LEADERSHIP & POL’Y IN SCHS. 61, 82–83 (2014).

Ending the School-to-Prison Pipeline: Hearing Before the Subcomm. on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights of the S. Comm. on the Judiciary, 112th Cong. 1 (2012)

Barry C. Feld, T.L.O. and Redding’s Unanswered (Misanswered) Fourth Amendment Questions: Few Rights and Fewer Remedies, 80 MISS. L.J. 847, 884–95 (2011) (explaining how the combination of certain policies and practices such as strict security measures and zero-tolerance policies have contributed to the school-to-prison pipeline);

Jeremy D. Finn & Timothy J. Servoss, Security Measures and Discipline in American High Schools, in CLOSING THE SCHOOL DISCIPLINE GAP 44, 45 (Daniel J. Losen ed., 2015) (finding empirically that strict security measures are positively associated with increased suspension rates).

But the other question worth asking is whether because of schools’ increased reliance on SROs, courts should now require school officials/SROs to have probable cause before justifying a student search. See Michael Pinard, From Classroom to the Courtroom: Reassessing Fourth Amendment Standards in Public School Searches Involving Law Enforcement Authorities, 45 Ariz. L. Rev. 1067 (2003).

Aaron Kupchik, Things are Tough All Over: Race, Ethnicity, Class and School Discipline , 11 PUNISHMENT & SOCY 291, 302– 303 (2009) (observing that surveillance and policing in schools is pervasive, although more intense measures are more common in schools serving poorer and minority students).

Sarah E. Redfield, Can New Thinking Help Reverse the School-to-Prison Pipeline? , 5 A.B.A. DIVERSITY VOICE 4, 4 (Summer 2014), /DVsummer2014.authcheckdam.pdf.

Derek W. Black, The Constitutional Limit of Zero Tolerance in Schools , 99 MINN . L. REV . 823 (2015)

Jeremy D. Finn & Timothy J. Servoss, Security Measures and Discipline in American High Schools , in  CLOSING THE SCHOOL DISCIPLINE GAP 44, 45 (Daniel J. Losen ed., 2015) (finding empirically that strict security measures are positively associated with increased suspension rates).

Catherine Y. Kim, Policing School Discipline , 77 BROOK . L. REV . 861, 865– 66 (2012). CLOSING THE SCHOOL DISCIPLINE GAP : EQUITABLE REMEDIES FOR EXCESSIVE EXCLUSION 59, 64 (Daniel J. Losen ed., 2015)

AARON KUPCHIK , HOMEROOM SECURITY : SCHOOL DISCIPLINE IN AN AGE OF FEAR 3 (2010) (observing that fears and insecurities motivate schools to adopt security measures in light of highly publicized acts of school violence)


David N. Figlio, Testing, Crime and Punishment , 90 J. OF PUB . ECON . 837 (2006).

Alison Evans Cuellar & Sara Markowitz, School Suspension and the School-to-Prison Pipeline , 43 INTL REV . L. & ECON . 98 (2015) (finding empirically that students who received an out-of-school suspension were more likely to commit criminal offenses on suspension days than on nonsuspension days).

Tracy L. Shollenberger, Racial Disparities in School Suspension and Subsequent Outcomes: Evidence from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth , in  CLOSING THE SCHOOL DISCIPLINE GAPEQUITABLE REMEDIES FOR EXCESSIVE EXCLUSION 31, 36 (Daniel J. Losen ed., 2015) (showing empirically that exclusionary discipline negatively affected graduation rates, but has a magnified impact on African-American males and Latino males);

Race — Equal Protection

Sharon Elizabeth Rush, The Heart of Equal Protection: Education and Race, 23 N.Y.U. REV. L. & SOC. CHANGE 1, 33, 42 (1997).

Sharon Elizabeth Rush, Sharing Space: Why Racial Goodwill Isn’t Enough, 32 CONN. L. REV. 1, 20-21 (1999) (describing how minorities are skeptical about the white society’s commitment to racial equality based on the realities of the world they view).

Race – Instruction

Seven Cs for effective teaching.

Whatever the environment, school leaders play an important role in developing the kinds of relationships that foster academic rigor. One model that I developed—reality pedagogy—supports this work. It recognizes that academically rigorous teaching and learning are deeply personal; it begins with the understanding that a school’s approach to teaching is unlikely to meet student needs unless students’ cultures, backgrounds, and experiences are reflected in the curriculum. When students see themselves in the curriculum, they develop stronger relationships with both their teachers and peers—and with the content as well.

What white folks who ‘teach in the hood’ get wrong about education.

“There’s a teacher right now in urban America who’s going to teach for exactly two years and he’s going to leave believing that these young people can’t be saved,” says Dr. Chris Emdin, associate professor at Columbia University’s Teachers College. “So he’s going to find another career as a lawyer, get a job in the Department of Education or start a charter school network, all based on a notion about these urban youth that is flawed. And we’re going to end up in the same cycle of dysfunction that we have right now. Something’s got to give. Emdin, who is also the university’s associate director of the Institute for Urban and Minority Education, has had enough of what he calls a pervasive narrative in urban education: a savior complex that gives mostly white teachers in minority and urban communities a false sense of saving kids.

Alleyne Johnson, Life After Death: Critical Pedagogy in an Urban Classroom , 65 HARV . EDUC . REV . 213, 220– 21 (1995) (observing how students’ self perceptions changed for the worse upon being assigned to a special class once the students learned that the general perception of the class was that it was for students who were “at risk,” “learning disabled,” and “disruptive”).

Lani Guinier, From Racial Liberalism to Racial Literacy:  Brown v. Board of Education and the Interest-Divergence Dilemma , 91 J. AM . HIST . 92, 113– 118 (2004).


 Angela A. Ciolfi & James E. Ryan,  Race and Response-to-Intervention in Special Education, 54 HOW. L.J. 303, 326–27 (2011).

Race — K

Emdin, Christopher. (2016). For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood… and the Rest of Y’all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education

Drawing on his own experience of feeling undervalued and invisible in classrooms as a young man of color and merging his experiences with more than a decade of teaching and researching in urban America, award-winning educator Christopher Emdin offers a new lens on an approach to teaching and learning in urban schools. For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood…and the Rest of Y’all Too is the much-needed antidote to traditional top-down pedagogy and promises to radically reframe the landscape of urban education for the better.

He begins by taking to task the perception of urban youth of color as unteachable, and he challenges educators to embrace and respect each student’s culture and to reimagine the classroom as a site where roles are reversed and students become the experts in their own learning.

Putting forth his theory of Reality Pedagogy, Emdin provides practical tools to unleash the brilliance and eagerness of youth and educators alike—both of whom have been typecast and stymied by outdated modes of thinking about urban education. With this fresh and engaging new pedagogical vision, Emdin demonstrates the importance of creating a family structure and building communities within the classroom, using culturally relevant strategies like hip-hop music and call-and-response, and connecting the experiences of urban youth to indigenous populations globally. Merging real stories with theory, research, and practice, Emdin demonstrates how by implementing the “Seven C’s” of reality pedagogy in their own classrooms, urban youth of color benefit from truly transformative education.


Battered by war: Syrian refugee children need to be taught

Solutions for educating young Syrian refugees


Improving the federal role in education research.  Only 1.6 percent of these funds, however, goes toward research about education.[1] This low spending level is ironic considering the widely held beliefs that our education system is underperforming and that human capital is a core investment for future social and economic prosperity. Also, education comprises more than six percent of the national economy, far larger than the sector’s share of research and development spending. This suggests we should be spending far more on education research than we are today. The underinvestment in education research is especially striking given the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The new law returns to the states control over some elements of schooling that the federal government had taken under No Child Left Behind but also reinforces the requirement for evidence-based decisionmaking. Unfortunately, it will be difficult for states to meet these new and improved evidence standards given the current state of the education research enterprise. Only 1.6 percent of these funds, however, goes toward research about education.[1] This low spending level is ironic considering the widely held beliefs that our education system is underperforming and that human capital is a core investment for future social and economic prosperity. Also, education comprises more than six percent of the national economy, far larger than the sector’s share of research and development spending. This suggests we should be spending far more on education research than we are today. The underinvestment in education research is especially striking given the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The new law returns to the states control over some elements of schooling that the federal government had taken under No Child Left Behind but also reinforces the requirement for evidence-based decisionmaking. Unfortunately, it will be difficult for states to meet these new and improved evidence standards given the current state of the education research enterprise.

A shift in the federal role is needed to promote school improvement  We live in an era in which schools are under extraordinary pressure. The idea that each school or district is left to its own devices to improve yields a weak mechanism, one that guarantees continued great variability in performance. Such variability typically shortchanges those who are already most disadvantaged. The federal government can help overcome this disparity by supporting policies that build new infrastructures for improvement..

ReclaimAERA: In defense of research, education, and action for the public good. Retrieved from http://


A better future for rural communities starts at the schoolhouse

Rural communities need school reform, too

A troubling contagion: The rural 4-day school week


The role of technology in improving K-12 school safety

How terror threats against LA & New York schools opposed weakness

Can technology make schools safer?

School Choice — Background

Confirmation of school choice. This article provides a general brief overview of school choice and concludes that it is effective.

Expanded School Choice not in state ed plans, so far.  The article explains that the new Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos, will evaluate state education plans (and potential federal funding) based on whether or not they include an element of school choice (as a criteria). The claim is also made that few states have moved to adopt school choice policies in response to this pressure.

The Catholic Schools Saved by Vouchers. At least in Milwaukee, Catholic churches have kept their schools alive with the help of vouchers—public money given to parents to spend for their children’s education at the private school of their choice.

Can competition really improve choice? 

Lubienski, C. (2003a). Innovation in education markets: Theory and evidence on the impact of competition and choice in charter schools. American Educational Research Journal, 40( 2), 395– 443.

Lubienski, C. (2003b). School competition and promotion: Substantive and symbolic differentiation in local education markets. National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education (Occasional paper no. 80). New York, NY: Teachers College.

Two studies have examined the effects of vouchers in Louisiana, one from the National Bureau of Economic Research (Atila Abdulkdiroglu, Parag A. Pathak, and Christopher R. Walters, “School Vouchers and Student Achievement: Evidence form the Louisiana Scholarship Program,” NBER Working Paper 21839 (Cambridge, MA: December 2015)) and one from the University of Arkansas (Jonathan N. Mills and Patrick J. Wolf, “The Effects of the Louisiana Scholarship Program on Student Achievement After Two Years,” (Fayetteville, AR: University of Arkansas department of Education Reform, 2016)). The study of Indiana is by Joseph Waddington and Mark Berends, “Vouchers in the Crossroads, Heterogeneous Impacts on Student Achievement and Attendance across Private Schools in Indiana” (nd).

Wolf (2012) summarizes the numerous studies of the Milwaukee program ( Results of the New York City program are summarized at and results of the DC program are at A summary and comparison of the New York, Dayton, and DC results is at

Matthew Chingos and Paul Peterson, The Impact of School Vouchers on College Enrollment,Education Next 13, no. 3 (Summer 2013).   In the first study, using a randomized experiment to measure the impact of school vouchers on college enrollment, Matthew Chingos and Paul Peterson, professor of government at Harvard University, examine the college-going behavior through 2011 of students who participated in a voucher experiment as elementary school students in the late 1990s. They find no overall impacts on college enrollment but do find large, statistically significant positive impacts on the college going of African-American students who participated in the study Their estimates indicate that using a voucher to attend private school increased the overall college enrollment rate among African Americans by 24 percent.

School Choice — Affirmative

Who could benefit from school choice? Mapping access to public and private schools. We conclude that federal policymakers seeking to expand school choice should focus on policies that can function well in different contexts across the U.S.. For example, some states may want to focus on securing additional funding to improve equity of access to high-quality schools by providing better transportation options. Others may want to focus on expanding their charter or private school sectors, or on fostering more choice within the traditional public sector. A natural federal role is to provide resources to support such varied efforts through formula funding or competitive grant programs.

Does School Choice Have a Positive Academic Impact on Participating Students? Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice,  Studies conducted since the late 1990s convincingly show that school choice is an effective intervention and public policy for boosting student achievement.

When Schools Compete: The Effects of Vouchers on Florida Public School Achievement. Florida’s low-performing schools are improving in direct proportion to the challenge they face from voucher competition. These improvements are real, not the result of test gaming, demographic shifts, or the statistical phenomenon of “regression to the mean.”

Can vouchers save failing schools?  This article argues that, if designed properly, vouchers can support integration of high poverty students and that such integration has the potential to improve achievement.

One of the best ways to protect LGBT students might be fighting for school choice. This article makes the simple argument that LGBT youth often need to be able to choose different schools when they experience bullying in their existing schools.

A diversified approach to school choice in a bull market. Argues for expanding scholarships and tax credits as a way to promote school choice.

Choice trumps: Supporting state success by expanding school options. Argues for expanding scholarships and tax credits as a way to promote school choice.

School choice programs must serve students, not schools. Argues for expanding scholarships and tax credits as a way to promote school choice.

Trump heats up the voucher war, but the evidence still favors choice. This article refutes the two major studies (Ohio and Louisiana) that are critical of school choice.

Oversight or accountability – Debating school choice regulation

This oversight versus overregulation debate may be viewed through a market-oriented perspective provided by the field of economics. That perspective includes a focus on school competition as the primary driver of educational quality.  But information is also key to a vibrant market, and one compromise between the overregulation and oversight positions could be a system organized around the provision of information to parents and policymakers. Such a system might trust competitive effects driven by the former group will ultimately render a more productive supply of schools while verifying for the latter group that equality of access, financial propriety, and basic levels of academic quality are met.

School Choice and Economic Growth. This piece of testimony argues that a strong education system is important to the economy and that school choice will improve the education system.

Nine Lies About School Choice — Proving Critics Wrong.  This 2013 FAQ answers common objections to school choice.

A Win-Win Solution: Examining the Empirical Evidence on School Choice. The evidence points clearly in one direction. Opponents frequently claim school choice does not benefit participants, hurts public schools, costs taxpayers, facilitates segregation, and even undermines democracy. However, the empirical evidence consistently shows that choice improves academic outcomes for participants and public schools, saves taxpayer money, moves students into more integrated classrooms, and strengthens the shared civic values and practices essential to American democracy.

How School Choice can Fuel Economic Growth: A Research Synthesis on How Market Forces Can Fuel Educational Attainment.   For example, Yolanda K. Kodrzycki, assistant vice president and economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, summarized, “As has been widely acknowledged and analyzed, educational attainment has been of growing importance in determining income, particularly in the United States, which has relatively little regulation or centralized coordination of pay scales compared to most other nations. Less-educated persons tend to be out of work more frequently than highly educated persons are. Moreover, during the past couple of decades, even full-time employment has been associated with declining real earnings over time for the less educated. Meanwhile, college graduates have enjoyed a growing payoff to their education.”9

School Choice – Negative

Diane Ravitch (2013).  Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools. (Book)

On negative effects of vouchers.  Recent research on statewide voucher programs in Louisiana and Indiana has found that public school students that received vouchers to attend private schools subsequently scored lower on reading and math tests compared to similar students that remained in public schools. The magnitudes of the negative impacts were large. These studies used rigorous research designs that allow for strong causal conclusions. And they showed that the results were not explained by the particular tests that were used or the possibility that students receiving vouchers transferred out of above-average public schools.

Vouchers Are Not a Viable Solution for Vast Swaths of America.   The simple fact is that most rural and suburban areas are either sparsely populated or organized in small districts where there are not enough schools for vouchers to be a viable or effective policy solution. In these districts, vouchers would be not just ineffective, but they could also dramatically destabilize public school systems and communities.

Cut down the Constitution for school choice? Beware of the devil

There is, alas, no compelling reason to believe that a federal school choice program—even scholarship tax credits or expanded 529 plans—would not eventually succumb to the almost inescapable regulation incentive, and this time what should be truly independent schools—real choices—would be the victims. Indeed, many well intentioned choice supporters who want dollars spent effectively would start by attaching rules that put regulatory tentacles directly into private schools. As John Schilling argued in his Wonkathon entry, a federal scholarship tax credit program should “include common sense financial and academic accountability, ensuring that the program is responsible to taxpayers and working for students.”

School choice advocates should worry about federalizing school choice

A national tax credit scholarship program has obvious appeal to advocates who have pushed these programs at the state level. But that enthusiasm may wane as policymakers work to build, from scratch, a donation-based system that distributes funds to private schools equitably across the nation, allows states to retain some autonomy in determining eligibility, and interacts with the many school choice policies already in place in states. Our analysis shows that each of the potential strategies for implementing such a national policy is fraught with drawbacks. Choice advocates may want to reconsider whether a federal tax credit is the best vehicle for their goals, or one that is likely to create more problems than it solves.

The Common Corrification of school choice

The Trump administration has suggested establishing a federal school choice policy somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 billion. Although lacking details, one route that has been floated is a federal scholarship tax credit program. But as tempting as it may be, the creation of a new federal choice program runs the risk of entangling Washington in private education and jeopardizing the autonomy of non-profit scholarship granting organizations, hundreds of which are already in operation nationwide.

Second-Class Students: When Vouchers Exclude

Some of those voucher programs might look something like the highly discriminatory North Carolina Opportunity Scholarship Act. Established by the state legislature in 2013, the program offers low-income and working-class families state-funded tuition scholarships to private schools of up to $4,200. In some ways, the Opportunity Scholarship might seem innocuous. Private schools receiving state funds are required to test scholarship recipients (though notably not with state tests for direct comparison, and there is virtually no obligation for public disclosure), and most students must have spent time in public schools prior to private school enrollment to be eligible—conditions that are missing in other programs in states like Indiana and Wisconsin. But even the quickest examination of the types of schools taking taxpayer money reveals that state dollars are, in actuality, too often funding discrimination.

Why private school vouchers could exacerbate school segregation

Trump’s proposal to devote federal funds to private school vouchers could turn back the clock on racial and socioeconomic integration in our nation’s schools

The masquerade of school choice: A parent’s story. Although this article doesn’t really have evidence, it’s useful for gaining an understanding of the problems of school choice creates.

Ten Reasons Why Private School Vouchers Should be Rejected. The title pretty much sums it up.

Vouchers don’t do much for students. Again, the title sums it up.

Bell, C. A. (2009). All choices created equal? The role of choice sets in the selection of schools. Peabody Journal of Education, 84( 2), 191– 208. .

Lubienski, C., & Lubienski, S. T. (2014). The public school advantage: Why public schools outperform private schools. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Schwartz, B. (2004). The paradox of choice: Why more is less. New York, NY: HarperCollins.


Widening the gap: unequal distribution of resources for K-12 science instruction

Inequalities in educational opportunity are well documented. Regardless of the nature of the disadvantage—low income, underrepresented minority status, or prior achievement—students from backgrounds associated with a given disadvantage have less access to educational opportunities. In this article, we use data from the 2012 National Survey of Science and Mathematics Education to explore how resources are allocated for science instruction specifically. We focus on how three kinds of resources—well-prepared teachers, material resources, and instruction itself—are allocated to classes that are homogeneously grouped by prior achievement level. Regardless of the resource, we find that classes of students with low prior achievement (as perceived by their teachers) have less access. Some of the differences are striking, particularly regarding access to material resources, while others are more subtle. There is also evidence that some policies do not impact teachers equally. For example, time allowed for teacher professional development is perceived differently by teachers in terms of its impact depending on the achievement level of students in the class. The study supports the assertion that what is known about ability grouping in general applies in science instruction specifically. When students with low prior achievement are grouped together, their classes have less access to critical resources for science learning opportunities, potentially widening the gap between them and their higher-achieving peers.

Social Justice

Barry, B. (2005). Why social justice matters. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

Bogotch, I., & Shields, C. M. (Eds.). (2014a). Introduction: Do promises of social justice trump paradigms of educational leadership? In I. Bogotch & C. M. Shields (Eds.), International handbook of educational leadership and social (in) justice (pp. 1– 12).

Bogotch, I., & Shields, C. M. (Eds.). (2014b). International handbook of educational leadership and social (in) justice. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

DeMatthews, D., & Mawhinney, H. (2014). Social justice leadership and inclusion: Exploring challenges in an urban district struggling to address inequities. Educational Administration Quarterly, 50( 5), 844– 881.

English, F. W. (2014). Educational leadership in the age of greed: A requiem for res publica. Ypsilanti, MI: NCPEA Press.

Capper, C. A., Theoharis, G., & Sebastian, J. (2006). Toward a framework for preparing leaders for social justice. Journal of Educational Administration, 44( 3), 209– 224.

Jean-Marie, G., Normore, A. H., & Brooks, J. S. (2009). Leadership for social justice: Preparing 21st century school leaders for a new social order. Journal of Research on Leadership Education, 4( 1), 1– 31.

Larson, C. L., & Murtadha, K. (2002). Leadership for social justice. In J. Murphy (Ed.), The educational leadership challenge: Redefining leadership for the 21st century. (pp. 134– 161). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

McKenzie, K. B., Christman, D. E., Hernandez, F., Fierro, E., Capper, C. A., Dantley, M., & Scheurich, J. J. (2008). From the field: A proposal for educating leaders for social justice. Educational Administration Quarterly, 44( 1), 111– 138.

Cambron-McCabe, N., & McCarthy, M. M. (2005). Educating school leaders for social justice. Educational Policy, 19( 1), 201– 222. Christopher H. Tienken and Carol A. Mullen. Education Policy Perils: Tackling Tough Issues (p. 69). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

States counterplan

Layton, L. (2015, May 5). “Most states lacked expertise to improve worst schools.” The Washington Post. Retrieved from: local/ education/ most-states-lacked-expertise-to-improve-worst-schools/ 2015/ 05/ 05/ 0eb82b98-f35f-11e4-bcc4-e8141e5eb0c9_story.html Leachman, M., & Mai, C. (2014, October 16). Most states still funding schools less than before the recession. Retrieved from research/ most-states-still-funding-schools-less-than-before-the-recession

Shober, A. (2012). Governors make the grade: Growing gubernatorial influence in state education policy. Peabody Journal of Education, 87( 5), 559– 575.

Ujifusa, A. (2014, January 9). State, local officials square off on who calls shots on K– 12. Education Week. Rippner, Jennifer A.. The American Education Policy Landscape (p. 111). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.



The surveillance of teachers and the simulation of teaching

Jen Weiss, Scan This, in SCHOOLS UNDER SURVEILLANCE: CULTURES OF CONTROL IN PUBLIC EDUCATION 213, 227 (Torin Monahan & Rodolfo D. Torres eds., 2010)

Teacher accountability

The emergence of high-stakes accountability policies in teacher preparation: An examination of the U.S. Department of Education proposed regulations

Using a sociological framework this article explores the emergence and possible consequences of the 2015 U.S. Department of Education’s proposed federal regulatory policy on teacher education programs and alternative route providers. After describing the key features of the policy, we examine the research literature looking for evidence of the merits of accountability policies in improving teacher education and preparation quality and outcomes. Although there is some research evidence that increased accountability measures may indeed contribute to improving the quality and outcomes of teacher education and preparation, the conditions under which this happens are not straightforward. While the stated aim of the regulatory policy, to ultimately advance student learning, finds widespread support in the education community, research evidence points to a number of validity problems with the overall policy. Of particular concern is the policy’s attempts at establishing a direct link between teacher preparation and two of the regulations’ suggested outcomes, namely graduates’ employment and pupil achievement. The policy as conceived could negatively impact program norms and resources and undermine the development of teachers’ human, cultural, and social capital. We discuss the accreditation challenges that the policy is likely to confront and implications for the future of teacher education and preparation accountability.


Improving the Teacher Workforce.   Teachers are the most important school resource for improving educational opportunities for students. We recommend six steps for the federal government to improve the teacher workforce, particularly in the most difficult-to-staff schools:

  • Use a competitive funding program to incentivize effective talent management systems that use well-validated measures of educator effectiveness.
  • Create and sustain financial incentives for entering teaching in high-need subjects and schools.
  • Support retention bonuses or salary increases for highly effective teachers in high-needs schools by allowing the use of Title I dollars for salaries and by prioritizing the inclusion of retention bonuses in talent management systems incentivized by federal dollars.
  • Invest in the development of new measures of talent and in new knowledge about their effective use in talent management systems.
  • Invest in research that provides new evidence on excellent preparation for teaching.
  • Use the presidential platform to directly promote teaching careers.

Taking these steps would substantially improve the teacher workforce by addressing teacher recruitment, preparation, development, and retention, particularly in the schools that would benefit the most from these improvements.


After Trump rescinds Title IX guidance, what’s next for transgender students?
Last week, the Trump administration’s departments of Justice and Education formally rescinded guidance issued by the Obama administration on the treatment of transgender students and their rights to access sex-segregated spaces, including bathrooms and locker rooms, in public schools. The previous guidance stated plainly that Title IX, the 1972 law that prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded education, also protects transgender students. The guidance also directed school districts to, among other protections, allow transgender students to use school facilities in accordance with their gender identity.

Various Reforms

Are Denver’s nationally-known school reforms paying off? New report says yes.

To better serve high-needs students, the group urged DPS to strategically place “proven models and operators” of schools and adopt policies “that encourage integration in gentrifying neighborhoods.” Baroody said district-run schools that are growing increasingly white and middle class could adopt preferences for higher-needs students much like charter operators do.Speaking broadly of integration efforts, she said, “I don’t think anyone in the country has figured out how to do this.” The report also credited DPS for its “willingness to put teeth into accountability systems by closing chronically underperforming schools.” However, considerable effort should be invested in helping struggling schools, Baroody said.

General Kritiks 

Types of expertise in political decision-making in education: contributions from a theoretical and conceptual discussion

In this article we present some reflections from a conceptual analysis and discussion that are part of a wider research intending to understand and questioning current ways of expertise in educational policy-making, namely, concerning to the characteristics of the expert actors and the kind of knowledge recognized as valid to legitimize political decisions.Starting from a contextualization of the research interests in the recent (last decades) changes on modes of governance and policy decision-making, we synthesize and try to put in discussion the perspective of some authors, in an approach to the concepts of expert and expertise that take as particular reference the articulations established between these and other concepts, professional fields and nearby spheres of action. Some considerations that have resulted from this analysis indicate an interpretative variability with such amplitude that allows the inclusion of opposite concepts for expert, especially if we consider knowledge formalization level and knowledge specialization level. We also provide some clues about the pertinence of analyzing political decision-making processes through an approach of the expert as a collective figure.

Why theory matters: An examination of contemporary learning time reforms

This article explores the contemporary policy reform push to extend and expand learning time in schools. In light of the potential and continued prominence of learning time reforms in today’s national educational landscape, this article makes visible the ways in which theory matters for the near- and long-term success of equity-focused educational reforms. Using the recent enactment of learning time reforms in Colorado as an illustration, and the zone of mediation framework as a conceptual lens, this article demonstrates how such reforms are likely to be weakened and undermined without strong theoretical grounding.

General Kritik Answers

The Abdication of the State In P. Bourdieu et al. (Eds.),

The weight of the world: Social suffering in contemporary society (P. P. Ferguson, Trans.; pp. 181– 188). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Kritik Related

Birnbaum, R. (2000). Policy scholars are from Venus; Policy makers are from Mars. The Review of Higher Education, 23( 2), pp. 119– Rippner, Jennifer A.. The American Education Policy Landscape (p. 169). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

Henig, J. (2008). The evolving relationship between researchers and public policy. In F. M. Hess (Ed.),

When research matters: How scholarship influences education policy (pp. 41– 62). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press. Rippner, Jennifer A.. The American Education Policy Landscape (p. 169). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

Henig, J. (2009). Politicization of evidence: Lessons for an informed democracy. Educational Policy, 23( 1), 137– 160.

Hess, F. (2008). When research matters: How scholarship influences education policy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Hird, J. (2005). Policy analysis for what? The effectiveness of nonpartisan policy research organizations. The Policy Studies Journal, 33( 1), 83– 105.

Howell, W. (2008). Education policy, academic research, and public opinion. In F. Hess (Ed.), When research matters: How scholarship influences education policy (pp. 135– 154). Harvard Education Press: Cambridge, MA.

Lubienski, C., Scott, J., & DeBray, E. (2014). The politics of research production, promotion, and utilization in educational policy. Educational Policy, 28( 2), 131– 144. Rippner, Jennifer A.. The American Education Policy Landscape (p. 169). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

Scott, J., & Jabbar, H. (2014). The hub and the spokes: Foundations, intermediary organizations, incentivist reforms, and the politics of research evidence. Educational Policy, 28( 2), 233– 257. Rippner, Jennifer A.. The American Education Policy Landscape (p. 170). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.