Think Twice Weekly Report

JULY 15, 2023 - JuLY 21, 2023

The Think Twice Weekly Report compiles public education-related policy reports, research and articles of interest to policymakers, educators and stakeholders. This list is not exhaustive but is meant to highlight recent reports that may be used to support or undermine the work of our subscribers in supporting public schools. We encourage you to take a moment to scan these reports and determine if they may be used by policy makers to assist or erode your mission.

Policy Reports


Source: Urban Institute
Date: 7/20/2023
The Rapid Increase of School Accountability during the Pandemic

The worsening of student outcomes during the pandemic has had unanticipated effects on states' school accountability systems. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires states to designate schools with the worst student outcomes for improvement activities, with states designating the lowest-performing 5 percent of all schools as needing Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI). States designated 31 percent more schools to receive intensive supports after the pandemic, and the number of schools designated for improvement will continue to rise unless ESSA and state accountability systems change. The expansion of school accountability is a concern because research on its effects is not clearly positive. Data from 2019 show that the CSI designation did not influence prepandemic student outcomes. But evidence from Michigan shows that school accountability improves student outcomes for the lowest-achieving students. A postpandemic study in Michigan showed that school accountability may have mitigated the pandemic's negative effects.

Classroom Teaching and Learning

Source: AEI
Date: 7/19/2023
The Book Ban Mirage

The advocacy organization PEN America is the primary source for claims that there is widespread book banning underway in American schools. But PEN America's claims hinge on a definition of "ban" that most Americans would not recognize. In order to assess PEN America's claims by the common definition of "banned," i.e., made unavailable, we reviewed the 2021-2022 index of banned books against online school library card catalogs. We find that 74 percent of the books that PEN America lists as banned are listed as available in the same districts from which PEN America says those books were banned.

Learning Loss

Source: CRPE
Date: 7/19/2023
Teaching recovery? Three years in, school system leaders report that the pandemic weakened instruction

In this report, we conclude our research on five school systems to reveal the academic, social, and political challenges posed by the pandemic and what leaders and their staff are doing to address student learning loss. This report provides a possible explanation for why we continue to see lackluster student test scores (see for example, recent NAEP and NWEA scores) and why school systems struggle to implement and scale targeted student supports. The report is part of the American School District Panel, a research partnership between the RAND Corporation and the Center on Reinventing Public Education.

School Finance and Funding

Source: Heritage Foundation
Date: 7/21/2023
Fiscal Year 2024 Education Appropriations: A Guide for Policymakers

In the FY 2024 appropriations process, Congress has an opportunity to restore fiscal sanity to federal education spending. Congress should curtail the (mis)appropriation of taxpayer dollars for unnecessary and ineffective education spending. Doing so is a step toward restoring fiscal sanity after decades of ever-increasing federal spending on K-12 schooling and higher education, which will better serve the needs of American students and taxpayers. This Issue Brief details specific recommendations for reining in the overreach of the U.S. Department of Education.

Reports Reviewed

GLC seeks to ensure that policy briefs impacting education reform are based on sound, credible academic research. Below are reviews conducted with GLC support.

Think Again: Do Charter Schools Drain Resources From Traditional Public Schools?

Source: Thomas B. Fordham Institute
Reviewed by: Huriya Jabbar, University of Texas at Austin

The report references most of the relevant literature and fairly assesses the evidence. However, it makes claims and policy recommendations that are untested empirically and unwarranted based on the research. For example, it concludes that districts' higher expenditures in a charter environment are due to policies protecting traditional public schools from revenue fluctuations caused by charter competition. In doing so, it fails to consider other possible explanations, such as charters strategically enrolling relatively few students who are particularly costly to educate.

What We're Reading

Research and articles that we want to highlight for subscribers as potential resources:

In Fact or Fallacy? An In-Depth Critique of the CREDO 2023 National Report

By: Carol Burris, Network for Public Education

CREDO's report is meant to compare test score growth in math and reading for students in charter versus public schools. But once the curtain is pulled back, the conclusions are misleading to the public as well as policymakers who depend on accurate research to make informed education-related decisions and policies.

Religious right gets blindsided by angry parents in a Southern California school district

By: Blake Jones, Politico

Novice school board members get a hard lesson in politics in a region that could determine control of the House.

PROOF POINTS: Plenty of Black college students want to be teachers, but something keeps derailing them

By: Jill Barshay, The Hechinger Report

Study inside Michigan's teacher preparation programs sheds light on some of the reasons for the scarcity of Black teachers in America

6 actions for closing racial gaps in schools

By: Kara Arundel, K-12 Dive

Strengthening early literacy, increasing instructional time and providing wraparound services are among strategies recommended by McKinsey & Co.

How can schools get ahead of staff vacancies?

By: Anna Merod, K-12 Dive

Florida principal Adam Lane shares his top strategies for getting ahead on filling open staff positions. Driving factors that keep staff at Haines City High School include positive relationships, empowered decision making, consistent accountability and support, and overall safety and security, he said.