Think Twice Weekly Report

OCTOBER 21, 2023 - OCTOBER 27, 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

School Choice

Source: Reason Foundation
Date: 10/26/2023
Public Schools Without Boundaries 2023

K-12 open enrollment lets students transfer to public schools other than their residentially assigned one so long as seats are available. This policy enjoys widespread support as 73% of school parents support it. Open enrollment garners significant support from both Democrats and Republicans; in fact, most of the latest open enrollment reforms were achieved with bipartisan support. With 85% of K-12 students enrolled in traditional public schools, open enrollment can help many students attend a school that is the right fit. Yet most states' laws are weak, ineffective, or only available to limited student groups. In fact, in 2022, only 11 states had robust open enrollment laws. However, six states-Arkansas, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and West Virginia-made major improvements to their open enrollment laws during the 2023 legislative sessions. These reforms vastly improved the options in each state by making cross- or within-district open enrollment available to all students residing in them. This analysis updates Reason Foundation's rankings of states' open enrollment policies, highlights new research showing the benefits of this approach, and refines Reason's metrics for good open enrollment policy.

School Finance and Funding

Source: Ed Trust
Date: 10/24/2023
Budgeting for Equity Beyond ESSER: A Guide to Actionable State and District Policy Responses to the Fiscal Cliff

Districts have until September 30, 2024 to spend down the last of the historic pandemic Elementary and Secondary School Relief (ESSER) III funds. Ed Trust's brief, "Watch Out for the Fiscal Cliff: Advocating for Education Equity as ESSER Spending Winds Down," explains how advocates can push district leaders to spend down ESSER funds and sustain investments that are successfully addressing educational inequities. But how do district leaders sustain these investments and strive to meet students' growing needs? Also, what is the role that state leaders should be playing in helping districts make the transition from budgets supplemented by ESSER? This guide provides key recommendations for how state and district leaders can equitably approach budgeting beyond ESSER.

School Leadership and Management

Source: Brookings
Date: 10/24/2023
Do state takeovers of school districts work?

State takeovers of school districts have happened in all major regions of the country but disproportionately affect some types of communities more than others. There are two main reasons states typically give for enacting takeover: low academic performance and fiscal challenges. State takeovers, on average, do not improve student academic performance in math or reading. In fact, evidence suggests that they were disruptive to reading achievement in the early years of reform.

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.

Review of The 123s of School Choice: What the Research Says About Private School Choice Programs in America, 2023 Edition

Source: EdChoice
Reviewed by: Christopher Lubienski, Indiana University

The 2023 (fifth) edition of a semi-regular EdChoice report about school-choice studies is billed as an updated overview of the varied and often contested research on outcomes in voucher-like programs that provide public funding for private schools. But like earlier editions, it uses flawed methods that tally certain voucher studies finding impacts on any subgroup, even if there was no effect on most students. There is little to no accounting for the studies' sampling, quality, generalizability, or other important factors.

Christopher Lubienski of Indiana University reviewed The 123s of School Choice: What the Research Says About Private School Choice Programs in America, 2023 Edition and found fault in its study-selection issues, a mis-weighting of studies of varied value, and a simplistic and often misleading design.

What We're Reading

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

Exclusion is Unconstitutional

By: Kaiara M. Bridges, Learning For Justice

Acts of censorship in education perpetuated by a small group with concentrated power go against the principles outlined in the United States Constitution.

Religious Charter Schools Undermine the Foundations of Public Education

By: Nora De La Cour, Jacobin
A church-run charter school is on track to open in Oklahoma - publicly funded but run by the archdiocese. The arrival of religious charter schools is one more piece of evidence that public charter schools are not so public after all.

AI guidance continues to roll out - this time it's for ed tech companies

By: Anna Merod, K-12 Dive
The Software and Information Industry Association released principles to help the ed tech industry navigate the growing boom of AI in schools.

AI Guidance For Schools Toolkit

By: TeachAI

This toolkit is designed to help local, state, and national education systems worldwide develop guidance on the responsible use of AI, ensure compliance with relevant policies, and build the capacity of all stakeholders to understand AI and use AI effectively. The recommendations in this toolkit may also inform the early stages of developing policies and procedures, whether mandatory or voluntary.

Miguel Cardona: There's No 'Magic Strategy' to Help Students Get Back on Track

By: Libby Stanford, EdWeek
In an interview with Education Week, the secretary spoke about the Biden administration's K-12 track record so far and its goals for the future. And he made clear that he doesn't think there's a "silver bullet" solution to those challenges that the Biden administration will push from Washington.