Think Twice Weekly Report

NOVEMBER 11, 2023 - NOVEMBER 17, 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

Public Opinion; Messaging; Democracy and Education

Source: Popular Comms Institute
Date: Fall 2023
Public Education is Popular (and Our Opponents know it)

Popular Comms Institute, in partnership with Change Research, conducted a research study with 3,274 respondents across five battleground states (FL, NC, PA, VA, WA) to test which kinds of messages are most effective in defending public education and defeating authoritarian rhetoric. In this report they lay out our findings. The study shows that public education is popular, and opponents know it. But messaging choices matter; they can make the difference in whether or not we compel “persuadable” audiences and thereby win majority support. With strategic messages that claim a majoritarian position, invoke shared values like freedom and responsibility, and articulate a believable vision of abundance and strong public schools, we can beat these new attacks and win well-resourced public schools where all children can thrive.

Charter Schools, School Finance

Source: In the Public Interest
Date: November 2023
Real Estate and Charter Schools: A Growing Industrial Complex

This brief introduces the basics of how real estate development has become a major force behind the expansion of charter schooling. Following an overview of the issue, this brief focus on the proliferation of “related entities” transactions, which make up some of the most egregious examples of real estate profiteering. The brief closes with a few recommendations for reining in some of the worst practices in charter school real estate.

Charter Schools

Source: Harvard Program on Education Policy and Governance
Date: 11/13/2023
The Nation's Charter Report Card: A New Ranking of States by Charter Student Performance

Five groups rank state charter school environments according to their laws, regulations, funding, and other characteristics, but none rank states by charter student performances on a national test. We rank states by demographically adjusted math and reading performances of charter students in 4th and 8th grade for the period 2009 to 2019 on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. State positions correlate (0.33) with standings for all public-school students. Overall charter standings correlate with subgroup rankings: Black (0.92), Hispanic (0.77), lower-income (0.95), lower-education (0.92), urban (0.97), non-urban (0.74). Nonprofit schools in networks outperform for-profit and stand-alone schools.

School Choice

Source: EdChoice
Date: 11/13/2023
The ABCs of School Choice

The ABCs of School Choice is a comprehensive, data-rich guide to every private school choice program in America. This is a pre-release of the 2024 edition, which will be updated in December 2023 prior to printing to include as much data as possible. The pre-release includes developments through October 19, 2023. The latest edition of The ABCs of School Choice defines each of the six types of school choice: education savings accounts (ESAs), school vouchers, tax-credit scholarships, refundable tax credits, tax-credit ESAs, and individual tax credits and deductions.

Student Achievement

Source: Fordham Institute
Date: 11/15/2023
Modernizing the traditional school district in Ohio: How state lawmakers can strengthen local accountability and drive higher performance

Ohio policymakers have undertaken significant initiatives in recent years aimed at improving the academic outcomes of all our students. These include adopting rigorous grade-level standards in reading and math, and crafting a school report card that shines light on the progress students make toward these goals. State leaders have also steadily boosted funding for public education, and they recently passed an initiative to overhaul reading instruction in Ohio schools. These are all important and praiseworthy efforts. Yet one under-discussed issue remains: the much-needed reform of school district governance. The report below offers recommendations aimed at enhancing local, citizen-led accountability for district performance, while also loosening bureaucratic constraints on district leaders so that they can focus on what matters most: Lifting student achievement.

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 Integrating Housing and Education Solutions to Reduce Segregation


Drive School Equity and When Good Parents Go to Jail: The Criminalization of Address Sharing in Public Education

Source: Urban Institute | Available to All
Reviewed by: Megan Gallagher, Rachel Lamb, Alexa Kort, and James Carter | Tim DeRoche, Hailly T.N. Korman, and Harold Hinds

The first report, Integrating Housing and Education Solutions to Reduce Segregation and Drive School Equity, specifically focuses on inequitable school resources and educational outcomes tied to residential and school segregation. The second report, When Good Parents Go to Jail: The Criminalization of Address Sharing in Public Education, similarly locates school and residential boundaries as drivers of educational inequities.

Among the recommendations of both reports are calls for increased use of one or more types of school choice-but superficially makes sense given that these policies de-link residence and school assignment. The Urban Institute report focuses on magnet schools and charter schools, with protections in place to overcome transportation and admissions obstacles. The Available to All report simply recommends expanding open enrollment. Professor Castro warns readers that both reports fail in this regard to meaningfully wrestle with the research base that finds most forms of school choice adding to-rather than alleviating-segregation. She points to forms of controlled choice as deserving consideration.

What We're Reading

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

Workers Want Unions: How States Have Strengthened Worker Power in 2023

By: Isabela Salas-Betsch & Karla Walter, American Progress

States are taking action to strengthen workers' ability to unionize and collectively bargain as well as raise job standards.

This school board made news for banning books. Voters flipped it to majority Democrat

By: Emily Rizzo, NPR
Three of the newly elected Democratic school board members will replace Republicans, including the board president, who helped set a right-wing agenda that aligned with national conservative movements around education. Voters effectively flipped the board from majority Republican to majority Democrat.

How Right-Wing Brainchild 'Universal School Vouchers' Blow Through State Budgets

By: Jeff Bryant, LAProgressive
Newly enacted universal school vouchers are greatly exceeding state budgets, and it's not clear where the money to pay for cost overruns will come from.

These Are the Right-Wing Ideologues Taking Over School Boards

By: Steven Monacelli, Texas Observer

The Hydralike Network That Turned Texas School Board Elections Into Partisan Battlegrounds; An analysis of campaign finance records reveals a network of interconnected PACs, donors, and consulting firms that have injected far-right partisan politics into school board elections since 2021.

Book Bans and the Librarians Who Won't Be Hushed

By: Elaine McArdle, Harvard Graduate School of Education - Ed. Magazine
How educators are speaking out in response to recent - and increasing - book bans