Think Twice Weekly Report

FEBRUARY 10, 2024 - February 16, 2024

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

Curriculum and Teaching

Source: EdTrust
Date: 2/12/2024
Increasing Access to Advanced Coursework in Texas

"Research shows that when students have access to advanced coursework opportunities, they work harder and are more engaged in school, have fewer absences and suspensions and higher graduation rates. Unfortunately, many Black and Latino students and students from low-income backgrounds lack equitable access to advanced coursework opportunities, such as gifted and talented programs in elementary school, eighth grade Algebra courses, Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and dual enrollment programs in high school. As a result, these students are missing out on crucial opportunities that can set them up for success after high school.

Increasing access to advanced coursework requires commitment from state leaders to collect and analyze disaggregated participation and outcomes data and targeted, data-informed efforts to develop policies that increase access to, and success in, high-quality advanced coursework.

This brief is designed to support these efforts by providing data analyses and a scan of policies and practices in Texas for advocates, educators, and policymakers who are leading this work at the state level."

School Finance and Funding / Student Achievement

Source: Bluegrass Institute
Date: 2/12/2024
Trends in 'Bang for the Buck' in Kentucky's K-12: The Productivity of Funding in Developing Basic Skills and Its Change Over Time

This study tracks a measure of the efficiency of Kentucky's K-12 system in generating basic reading and math skills. We calculate reading and math test score performance per $1,000 of per pupil funding (inflation adjusted) from the 1990s forward. For 4th and 8th grade reading and math, test performance per $1,000 of per pupil funds has declined markedly and nearly continuously. These declines are due almost entirely to the large funding increases that have occurred relative to small changes in test scores. This suggests a large deterioration in the effectiveness of K-12 funding.

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.

Once Again, University of Arkansas Charter Funding Report Makes Unfounded Claims

Source: University of Arkansas Department of Education Reform
Reviewed by: Mark Weber, Rutgers University

Mark Weber of Rutgers University and the New Jersey Policy Perspective reviewed Still a Good Investment: Charter School Productivity in Nine Cities and details the faulty methodology that undermines the validity of its conclusions.

What We're Reading

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

How a Culture of Caring Is Helping These Schools Improve Student Mental Health

By: Nadia Tamez-Robledo, EdSurge

Districts have taken a wide range of approaches, as documented by the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation, a nonprofit that studies how government policies impact low-income families. Some approaches include “advocacy centers” where students are coached through strong emotions with activities like yoga, breathing exercises or calming music. Others are applied more broadly, like mentorship programs or culturally responsive curriculum.

Discuss Black History All Year Long

By: Learning for Justice

Black history is central to our nation's story-both the foundational role of racism and white supremacy in our nation's origin, as well as the legacy of Black resilience, contribution and triumph at every phase of our history. Young people deserve to learn this history in all its complexity, and in ways that are accurate, comprehensive and age appropriate. This new resource page from Learning for Justice is full of content that can help educators, parents and caregivers, and everyone else uplift Black stories, not just during Black History Month but all year long.

Advocating for Honest History Education: A Resource for Parents and Caregivers

By: Anthony Conwright, Learning for Justice

In states across the country, politically motivated and discriminatory policies are limiting the teaching of honest history. Parents and caregivers can serve as crucial partners in advocating for inclusive schools and curricula, but people who engage in this advocacy often face many barriers. This new LFJ article includes examples of obstacles faced by defenders of honest history education-and suggestions for how they might be overcome.

State vouchers expand, and one Charlotte school remains elusive

By: Ann Doss Helms, WFAE 90.7

It looks like North Carolina is writing checks to a school that doesn't exist. Dogged investigative journalistm!