Critical Actions for Recovery and the Role of Research in the Years Ahead
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The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) recently issued a report providing guidance on the future of education research at the National Center for Education Research and the National Center for Special Education Research, two centers directed by IES. The report identifies critical problems and issues; details new methods and approaches; and specifies the kinds of research investments needed in the future. In addition to hearing from outside experts and soliciting public input, the committee commissioned Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE) to produce a paper to help synthesize...

The Impact of Unmotivated Questionnaire Responding on Data Quality
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Education researchers use surveys widely. Yet critics question respondents’ ability to provide high-quality responses. As schools increasingly use student surveys to drive local policymaking, respondents’ (lack of) motivation to provide quality responses may threaten the wisdom of using questionnaires for data-based decision making. To better understand student satisficing—the practice of suboptimal responding on surveys—and its impact on data quality, this article examines its pervasiveness and impact on a large-scale social-emotional learning survey administered to 409,721 elementary and...
Insights from California's Local Control Funding Formula
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This policy brief uses the case of California’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) to provide policy makers and educators guidance on how to involve the public in goal setting and resource distribution decisions. It provides clarity around who is and is not participating, why, and what broader lessons we can draw for implementing federal and state education policies mandating public engagement. The findings indicate tremendous room for improvement. LCFF’s target populations (e.g., low-income, English learners) are not more likely to be aware of or participate in decisions than nontargeted...
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This article illustrates the application of mixture IRT models to evaluate respondent confusion due to the negative wording of certain items on a social-emotional learning (SEL) assessment. Using actual student self-report ratings on four social-emotional learning scales collected from students in Grades 3–12 from CORE Districts in the state of California, it also evaluates the consequences of the potential confusion in biasing student- and school-level scores, as well as the estimated correlational relationships between SEL constructs and student-level variables. Models of both full and...
Evidence From the First Large-Scale Panel Student Survey
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A growing number of school systems use self-report surveys to track students’ social-emotional development as a tool to inform policy and practice. In this article, the first large-scale panel survey of social-emotional learning (SEL) simulates how four constructs—growth mindset, self-efficacy, self-management, and social awareness—develop from Grade 4 to Grade 12 and how these trends vary by gender, socioeconomic status, and race/ethnicity among students participating in the survey for two consecutive years. With the exception of growth mindset, self-reports of these constructs do not...
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California’s CORE districts—a consortium of eight school districts serving a racially and socioeconomically diverse population of over one million students—since 2014 have led the way in deploying measures of social and emotional learning (SEL) and school climate and culture. Influenced by surging interest and research support over the past decade, these districts have collected data in hopes of continuously improving how their K–12 schools address the social and emotional dimensions of student development. In recent years, many advocates have called for schools to pay greater attention to...
Conditions Shaping Educators’ Use of Social-Emotional Learning Indicators
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Researchers have amassed considerable evidence on the use of student performance data (e.g., benchmark and standardized state tests) to inform educational improvement, but few have examined the use of nonacademic indicators (e.g., indicators of social and emotional well-being) available to educators, and whether the factors shaping academic data use remain true for these newer types of data. While the field continues to advocate for greater attention to the social–emotional development of students, there remains little guidance on conditions supporting the use of data on these important...
Variation by Geographic Location, Maternal Characteristics, and Family Structure
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More than half of all U.S. infants and toddlers spend at least 20 hours per week in the care of a nonparent adult. This article uses survival analysis to identify which families are most likely to place their child in care, and the ages when these choices are made. Using data from a national probability sample of 2,614 households, the median age at first placement is 33 months, but age varies by geographic region, mother's employment status during pregnancy, mother's education level, and family structure (one vs. two parents, mother's age at first birth, and number of siblings). Controlling...
The Influence of Household Support, Ethnicity, and Parental Practices
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Accumulating evidence shows that young children benefit develop­mentally by participating in quality childcare centers and preschools. But we know little about which family characteristics and home practices influence parents' selection of a center-based program. This article reports on the influence of the family's social-structural attributes, ethnicity, and parental practices on the likelihood of selecting a center-based program, after taking into account economic characteristics. The odds that parents enroll their child in a center-based program are greatest when mothers are more highly...
1993–96
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Questions about the feasibility of and political support for new forms of pupil assessment have become major issues. With the California Learning Assessment System (CLAS), California became a pio­neer in these new forms of assessment. For a variety of reasons however, parents, con­servative religious groups, the California School Boards Association, the Califor­nia Teachers Association, and the governor all raised objections to the as­sessment during its 1993 implementation. As a result of this dissent, CLAS is now discontinued, but many questions re­main. Answers to them can shed light both...
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Historically, the education productivity problem has been rising resources with flat or only slowly rising student achievement. In the period 1960–1990, infla­tion-adjusted revenues per pupil rose by slightly more than 200%. However, despite a number of positive performance indi­cators, student achievement in core subject areas during the same period rose only modestly. The future productivity problem is producing much higher student achievement, the goal of current education reform, with stable resources, because education resources have been flat for the past five years and are unlikely to...
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The history of intergovernmental relations in educa­tion policy has been dominated by regulations, categorical programs, and technical assistance by higher levels of government to stimulate or require lower levels to make changes in policy and practice. There have been many metaphors to depict education pol­icy within intergovernmental relations including marble cake or picket fence. The marble cake metaphor recognizes that the federal, state, and local levels are not distinct, and policy spills over from one level to another. The picket fence metaphor is based on categorical programs like...
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The development of the "new science curriculum" began in 1956 with a grant from the newly formed National Science Foundation (NSF) to Jerold Zacharias at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Zacharias was asked to write a "real science" physics curriculum for high school students. By the end of the 1960s, curricula in earth sciences, physical science, biology, chemistry, and engineering concepts were developed at various universities and scien­tific institutes. Although they were an NSF-sponsored, discipline-wide effort to improve science instruction, each curriculum was developed...
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One major problem plagues all attempts to understand and prescribe policy for school boards: there are too many school boards (about 15,000) and too many board mem­bers (some 97,000) to be able to gener­alize about the behavior of all boards. Consequently, the research base is con­ fined to the study of a single case, a few comparative cases, or some nonrepresent­ative sample chosen for a particular pur­pose. Moreover, the research techniques employed range from surveys to self-assessments to full-scale case studies. The body of comprehensive self-assessment data collected by the Institute for...
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The public education sys­tem in the U.S. has served this nation well. Today and in the future, it must meet un­precedented challenges. How­ever, arguments about whether the per­formance of our students has declined over time miss the point. The 1990 Olds­mobile was better than any Olds made be­fore. But was it good enough to meet worldwide competition in 1990? A simi­lar question faces U.S. education: Are we good enough to stand up to worldwide competition? The time is right to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the U.S. public edu­cation system. We need to build on its strengths and shore...
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It is difficult to envision a people more preoccupied with performance than Americans. Keeping records, shattering records, breaking world records, setting national records, establishing personal records, or being the first, the best, or the most are all the "stuff" of our national obsession with measuring individual and institutional performance. Almost every U.S. city, whether it be a metropolis or a hamlet, lays some claim to a record. It somehow possesses the largest, oldest, longest, heaviest, slowest, tallest, greatest, smallest, tastiest, deepest, quietest, fastest, highest, or...
Editors' Introduction
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This issue of Education and Urban Society was devoted to the topic of integrated children's services. More specifically, most of the articles in the volume centered on school-linked services. The concept underlying school­-linked services is a rather simple one: The school becomes the "hub," or focal point, of a broad range of child- and family-oriented social services. Schools do not assume primary responsibility for these additional services, but act as the organizational touchpoint to make services available, accessible, meaningful, and appropriate for children and their families. The...
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In December 1992, 25 people gathered in a conference room in Sacramento, California. Each individual attending the meeting represented a different children's advocacy group. Some were concerned particularly about preschoolers and child care arrangements; for others, professional interests revolved around children's health issues. Still others focused their efforts on child nutrition or elementary education programs. These people met in Sacramento as members of a state-appointed task force to design the implementation strategy for a new law which all of their organizations had supported in its...
Increasing Teacher Salary Options
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Classrooms across the country are losing many of their best teachers in their first few years of teaching. One of the primary reasons given by teachers for leaving teaching is low salaries. Although teacher pay has increased nearly 20% over the last decade, it still remains lower than for many other professions requiring a similar level of preparation. And because of shifting demographics and a recession-hit economy, it is not likely to rise dramatically in the near future. One option for raising teachers' salaries within the confines of restricted state and local budgets is an extended...
A New Strategy for Linking Research and Practice
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The need to bring research to bear on the problems of educational practice has never been greater. U.S. schools face a number of critical challenges in the years ahead. Two of the most cited examples are incorporat­ing increasing numbers of educationally disadvantaged students into the educa­tional mainstream and preparing students for an increasingly competitive and techno­logically advanced work environment. In order to meet these challenges, a vari­ety of reform efforts are under way at the local, state, and federal levels. Research should play an important role in meeting these challenges...
Lessons from the California School Leadership Academy
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Current thinking about reform in American education emphasizes the need for school principals to serve as instructional leaders. Support for this position is derived from several research bases: site-based management and restructuring; school change; school improvement; policy implementation; staff development; the administrator as instructional leader; and school/district effectiveness. A common element in these bodies of research is the potential power of the administrator as a significant force in the improvement of the organizational conditions and instructional forces that affect student...
What Schools Must Do
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This article contends that school-linked services and education reform efforts are integrally related. Successful implementation of school-linked services requires new roles and responsibilities for all levels of school personnel. Drawing on general experience and citing specific examples from the New Beginnings experi­ence in San Diego, the article outlines these new roles and responsibilities for school superintendents, board members, principals, and teachers. It describes the plan­ning process involved, a process that includes an initial feasibility study and commu­nity needs assessment; a...
Remembering the "Forgotten Half"
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In recent years, we have re­peatedly been forced to confront a troubling picture of declining knowledge and skills among the young people of the U.S., particularly those who do not attend college. These youths, who come increasingly from the poor and minority populations, were christened the "forgotten half" in the 1988 report released by the William T. Grant Foundation Commission on Work, Fami­ly, and Citizenship. The commission char­acterized the forgotten half as "the young people who build our homes, drive our buses, repair our automobiles, fix our tel­evisions, maintain and serve our...
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After taking a back seat to education reform pro­grams during the 1980s, school finance is again in the forefront. With the re­cent sweeping state supreme court deci­sions overturning school finance struc­tures in Kentucky, New Jersey, and Tex­as, and with active or planned cases in 23 additional states, education finance liti­gation, fiscal inequities, and school fi­nance reform have rebounded to high places on state education policy agendas. This article discusses the changing contours of school finance through the 1970s and 1980s and outlines the key is­sues in school finance for the 1990s...
Not Whether, But What
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Choice. It is a pleasant enough sound­ing word. In some contexts, "choice" conjures up notions of freedom and de­mocracy, concepts and conditions Ameri­cans revere. In specific application to education, choice describes a set of sys­tems or processes by which parents are able to choose the school their child at­tends. What could be controversial about that? Yet debate surrounding the issue of choice has sparked a war of rhetoric that has reached schools and local com­munities, corporate boardrooms, state legislative chambers, and even Congress and the White House. Choice is not a new issue. It...