Think Twice Weekly Report

OCTOBER 28, 2023 - NOVEMBER 3, 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: Bellwether
Date: 1/2/2023
Testing the Waters: Insights Into Parent Perspectives on Through-Year Assessment Implementation

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.

Charter Schools

Source: University of Arkansas
Date: 11/1/2023
Still a Good Investment: Charter School Productivity in Nine Cities

Charter schools are public schools that operate free from some government regulations in return for a commitment to achieve a set of student outcomes specified in their charter. Nearly 8,000 public charter schools enrolled 3.7 million students in the U.S. in 2020-21. Our team has studied charter school funding across the United States since 2005, consistently finding that, in major cities, charter schools receive less funding per pupil compared to traditional public schools (TPS). We have also found that charter schools use their funding more efficiently, achieving better short- and long-term outcomes per dollar invested, relative to TPS. In this study, we reexamine the productivity of publicly funded schools, using funding data from our charter school revenue report "Charter School Funding: Little Progress Towards Equity in the City." We also use achievement data from the Center for Research on Educational Outcomes' (CREDO's) city and national studies, the NAEP Data Explorer, and wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. We have access to complete data for nine cities: Camden, New Jersey; Denver, Colorado; Houston, Texas; Indianapolis, Indiana; Memphis, Tennessee; New Orleans, Louisiana; New York City, New York; San Antonio, Texas; and Washington, DC.

Politics, Practices, and School Policies

Source: Empire Center
Date: 10/31/2023
Big Choices, Few Voices: How NY Schools Use "Special Meetings" To Approve Spending

Arbitrarily scheduled, low-turnout special votes are a disservice to the democratic process that state officials should restrict or eliminate. The votes now presented at special meetings should be held on the same date as budget votes and board elections, or on Election Day in November. To make this feasible, lawmakers should amend the Election Law to eliminate the obstacles that prevent school boards from accessing the Election Day ballot. The Legislature here can make a fair trade that results in greater certainty for both voters and school officials.

School Choice

Source: WILL and School Choice Wisconsin
Date: 10/31/2023
Serving All: Students with Disabilities in Wisconsin's Parental Choice Programs

The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) and School Choice Wisconsin (SCW) released a new report examining amount of special needs students in Wisconsin's choice schools serve students with disabilities. Serving All: Students with Disabilities in Wisconsin's Parental Choice Programs shows that schools in Wisconsin choice programs serve far more disabled students than previously reported by Left-wing blogs, media outlets, and even the Department of Public Instruction (DPI).

School Support Services

Source: In The Public Interest
Date: 10/2023
School Support Services Outsourcing: The Original Privatization of Education

School Support Services Outsourcing: The Original Privatization of Education, a new report from In the Public Interest, explores why support services are critical to the success of students and the school, the risks and impacts of privatization of support services, why corporations are targeting support services, and efforts to push back against and prevent privatization in schools.

System Reform; COVID; Racial Justice

Source: National Center for Research on Education Access and Choice
Date: 7/2023
A Year That Forced Change: Examining How Schools and School Systems Adapted to the Challenges of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Calls for Racial Justice in 2020

These two reports explore how educational institutions and their systems responded to two sudden disruptions, the COVID-19 pandemic and increased awareness of racial inequity. The authors compared responses from traditional, charter, voucher-receiving private schools and rural and urban districts.

School Leadership

Source: Learning Policy Institute
Date: 10/2023
Developing Effective Principals: How Policies Can Make a Difference

This brief examines how state and district policies influence principals' access to high-quality learning opportunities during preparation and throughout their careers. It identifies a set of policy levers that states and districts can adopt to promote principal effectiveness.


Source: National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS) and the UC Berkeley Labor Center
Date: 9/2023
Closing the Gap: The Role of Public Pensions in Reducing Retirement Inequality

This report analyzes the impact of defined benefit pensions, especially public pensions, on retirement income security and wealth distribution by race, gender, and educational attainment in the U.S. The report is supplemented by 51 fact sheets that inform the public and key stakeholders about the social impact of pensions in each state and the District of Columbia.

Teacher pay

Source: Economic Policy Institute
Date: 9/2023
Teacher pay penalty still looms large

Teacher pay has suffered a sharp decline compared with the pay of other college-educated workers. On average, teachers made 26.4% less than other similarly educated professionals in 2022-the lowest level since 1960.

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:

Dueling Lawsuits Open Up Questions About Leading Online Learning Company

By: Peter Green, Forbes

A litigation battle between Stride Learning Inc and one of its corporate offspring shows just how rough the for-profit education business can get. Future of School and the for-profit education giant are locked in a legal struggle; publicly available depositions taken from the two main parties kick up a cloud of dirt, that both obscures and reveals a difficult struggle.

New federal program puts $12 million toward school integration in a dozen states

By: Kalyn Belsha, Chalkbeat
the grants are the culmination of a years-long effort led by school integration advocates and officials within the Obama and Biden administrations to steer more federal funding to school desegregation. The money is sorely needed, as America's schools remain highly segregated by race and income but initiatives to fix that often fizzle out.

By the Numbers: Investments build for registered teacher apprenticeships

By: Anna Merod, K-12 Dive
As of October, 26 states have registered teacher apprenticeship programs with the U.S. Department of Labor, according to New America.

Here's what Biden's AI executive order could mean for schools

By: Anna Merod, K-12 Dive

President Joe Biden directed his administration to create resources to help teachers implement educational tools that rely on artificial intelligence, such as personalized tutoring technology.

Schools have struggled to add learning time after COVID. Here's how one district did it.

By: Kalyn Belsha, Chalkbeat
In Cicero, a new teachers union contract, extra pay for teachers, and school board support helped make the change happen.