Think Twice Weekly Report

MARCH 2, 2024 - MARCH 15, 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

Community Schools

Source: Learning Policy Institute
Date: 2/13/2024
Striving for Relationship-Centered Schools: Insights From a Community-Based Transformation Campaign

While research indicates that relationship-centered environments support student learning and success, it has been difficult to redesign secondary schools based on the factory model in ways that center relationships, particularly at the secondary level. This brief focuses on efforts to advance relationship- centering schooling in high schools. It examines the Relationship Centered Schools (RCS) campaign, a youth-led effort supported by Californians for Justice (CFJ) and conducted in collaboration with educators and district leaders. The study focuses on two settings-the Long Beach Unified School District and Fresno's McLane High School-and the efforts of local actors to center relationship-building as a catalyst for change.

Early Childhood / Diversity

Source: Learning Policy Institute
Date: February 2024
Strategies to Foster Integration in Early Childhood Education

This report explores five policy strategies that foster integration rather than segregation: 1) Establish universal ECE programs where age is the only requirement, so that family income does not determine where a child can enroll. 2) Braid public funding or combine funding streams from various sources to enable children from different socioeconomic backgrounds to learn in the same classroom. 3) Allow tuition-paying families to enroll in public programs while reserving seats for families with low incomes. 4) Attract families across neighborhoods or district boundaries. 5) Create two-way dual language immersion programs (programs that offer instruction in two languages).

Education and the Workplace

Source: Urban Institute
Date: 3/13/2024
What Evidence Could Help Schools Put Students on a Path to Economic Mobility?

"This report reviews the available evidence on the direct links between PK–12 education and economic mobility. We find that the current research offers little guidance about which skills and competencies in PK–12 education are most important for economic success. In part, this is because few studies connect students' PK–12 experiences to their economic success as adults. Additionally, the existing research defines success narrowly in terms of wages, ignoring other dimensions like finding dignity in one's work and a sense of autonomy and belonging in one's community.

Furthermore, current research does not adequately address the relationship between individual and contextual factors that affect children's readiness to learn, how school systems function, and how success in school translates into longer-term success. Some research examines how students across different groups (e.g., by race or ethnicity and gender) experience the PK–12 education system, but few explore why patterns differ through a lens that considers historical and contemporary forms of oppression such as racism and sexism. We argue that for schools and education policymakers to best equip all students to attain lifelong success, a new generation of research at the intersection of PK–12 education and economic mobility is necessary. This research should seek to understand how the PK–12 environment can foster skill development that drives upward mobility, how measures of those skills function across different people and places, and how student-, school-, and system-level measures are all shaped by broader factors both in and beyond schools."


Source: Brookings Institute
Date: 3/14/2024
Breaking down enrollment declines in public schools

The newly released enrollment data from the National Center on Education Statistics for the 2022–23 school year point to moderate enrollment gains for traditional public schools. The recent enrollment gains though are smaller than the cumulative enrollment losses since 2019–20 and are not uniform. This paper takes stock of enrollment losses today by comparing the distribution of changes in public school enrollment since the COVID-19 pandemic to the distribution of pre-pandemic changes across the nation. Roughly 59, 69, and 69 percent of small, medium-sized, and large schools, respectively, saw their enrollment decline between 2019–20 and 2022–23. One third of small, medium-sized, and large schools with enrollment declines lost 26, 54, and 96 students or more, respectively (i.e., top third). The share of schools experiencing such declines after COVID-19 is larger than what would be expected based on historical variation for medium-sized and large schools. Rural schools and high schools are disproportionally represented among schools with enrollment losses in the top third.

Language and Learning

Source: TNTP
Date: 3/4/2024
Unlocking Learning Acceleration for Multilingual Learners

"Multilingual Learners (MLs) represent the fastest-growing student population in our nation's schools. With diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, MLs bring unique assets, or superpowers, that can propel them forward and enrich the entire educational ecosystem. But for too long, they have been among the most underserved student populations, grappling with significant resource gaps at every level.

Over the last few years, the influx of Emergency Relief Funds (ESSER) has provided a much-needed lifeline for schools to accelerate learning after the pandemic. Our latest report, Unlocking Learning Acceleration for Multilingual Learners, provides a comprehensive analysis of innovative and impactful strategies deployed to support the success of MLs, largely made possible by leveraging federal funds."

Literacy Education / Curriculum

Source: EdNext
Date: 3/13/2024
How Building Knowledge Boosts Literacy and Learning: First causal study finds outsized impacts at "Core Knowledge" schools

Students and teachers in many public elementary schools spend up to two hours each day on reading instruction. While the component skills of literacy are critical to student development and learning, our findings point to a missed opportunity to accelerate literacy by building knowledge at the same time. Skill building and knowledge accumulation are separate but complementary cognitive processes, and while the adage "skill begets skill" may be true, a fuller description of cognitive development could be "skill begets skill, knowledge begets knowledge, and skill combined with knowledge begets them both."

School Choice

Source: EdChoice
Date: 3/7/2024
What Do Parents Want? Information, Choices, and Constraints

In a new research report, New America's Education Funding Equity Initiative analyzes nearly 25,000 pairs of adjacent school districts to measure how district borders create deep economic and racial divisions, producing radically different educational resources and experiences for students in different districts-even districts that are right next door to each other. It also features stories about these disparities told by local educators and families. An accompanying multimedia story shows what these divides mean for American school districts and communities, and an interactive national map and data tool allows users to explore American school districts and the borders that surround them.

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:

Education in Governors' 2024 State-of-the-State Addresses

By: FutureEd

From $2 billion for school construction in Idaho to merit pay for Iowa's teachers and an AI incubator in New Jersey, governors are using their 2024 State-of-the-State addresses to propose new strategies to enhance their education systems. FutureEd is reviewing the speeches and sharing the state leaders' education-related initiatives in this spreadsheet. While many governors highlight previous years' accomplishments in their speeches, we're including only the new initiatives that they propose, to identify their agendas for the coming year. We'll continue updating as more governors deliver their speeches.

CDC updates and simplifies respiratory virus recommendations


The recommendations suggest returning to normal activities when, for at least 24 hours, symptoms are improving overall, and if a fever was present, it has been gone without use of a fever-reducing medication. Once people resume normal activities, they are encouraged to take additional prevention strategies for the next 5 days to curb disease spread, such as taking more steps for cleaner air, enhancing hygiene practices, wearing a well-fitting mask, keeping a distance from others, and/or getting tested for respiratory viruses.

Superintendents know AI is important, so why aren't more addressing it?

By: Anna Merod, K-12 Dive

While a majority of superintendents understand the importance of artificial intelligence and its potential impact on K-12 education, only a small fraction of district leaders see AI as a "very urgent" need this year, according to a survey released this month by EAB, an education consulting firm.

This NYC teen wants therapy. Her mom isn't so sure.

By: Michael Elsen-Rooney, Chalkbeat

Differing perspectives on mental health aren't new for parents and kids, but more conflicts are emerging as young people get more comfortable talking openly about mental health and treatment becomes more readily available, especially with the growth of telehealth and online counseling.

3 Arizona Education Department employees indicted in $600,000 voucher fraud

By: KJZZ 91.5

The attorney general accused three Department of Education employees working on the voucher program of then approving more than $600,000 in fraudulent requests they submitted on behalf of the children who were improperly enrolled in the program.