Think Twice Weekly Report

APRIL 13, 2024 - April 19, 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

Higher Education

Source: Bellwether
Date: 4/17/2024
Strengthening State Higher Education Funding: Lessons Learned From K-12

"Most Americans today need some education beyond high school to secure a well-paying job, and higher education is a key factor in social and economic mobility. But higher education is not accessible to all students.


To further equalize opportunity, states must understand options for improving the way they fund higher education. America's public K-12 system has been grappling with similar funding disparities for decades - challenges that offer important lessons for postsecondary funding.


Bellwether's analysis, Strengthening State Higher Education Funding: Lessons Learned From K-12, identifies insights and lessons from K-12 finance policy that may be instructive as states rework how they fund higher education."

K-12 Education

Source: Maine Policy Institute
Date: 4/15/2024
The Decline of Maine K-12 Education

The first section of this report, Evidence of Decline, highlights the issues facing Maine education today and how the quality of education has fallen over time. This is followed by an investigation into What Caused the Decline? and why Maine education in particular has gotten worse. Part I: Reform tells the story of how politicians in Augusta began standardizing education with laws like the Maine Education Reform Act of 1984 and the Maine Learning Results, telling teachers what to teach and how to measure their success as teachers. Part II: No Child Left Behind looks at how the federal government's first major education mandate for states played itself out in Maine. Part III: Standards-Based Education examines years of rising test scores reversed under Obama-era reforms that laid the groundwork for the politicized and faux therapeutic education seen in Part IV: Ideological Education.

Literacy Education

Source: Center for American Progress
Date: 4/18/2024
Investing in School Libraries and Librarians To Improve Literacy Outcomes

Since a shocking plunge in math and reading scores on the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), educators, administrators, and policymakers have grappled with how to address learning challenges following the pandemic.1 One factor that has largely escaped notice, however, is the role school libraries and librarians play in academic performance. School libraries are too often treated as a luxury rather than an essential part of the public education system with a proven impact on learning. It is time to turn around years of disinvestment in school libraries and librarians, taking steps to measure and report school library quality within holistic systems of accountability that can reflect the resources-or lack thereof-that underpin student outcomes and thus test scores.

School Finance and Funding

Source: Mackinac Center
Date: 4/15/2024
Covid Cash: How Michigan Schools Spent Their Extra Pandemic Funds

"Between March 2020 and March 2021, the federal government distributed an unprecedented amount of money to American public schools to address the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. About $6 billion was distributed in three waves to the state of Michigan alone. This report uses data provided by districts to the state government to analyze how public schools in Michigan have reported spending their Covid relief funds. This financial information covers the three school years that ended in 2020, 2021 and 2022. The analysis finds that school districts reported spending about $2.5 billion of their $6 billion in Covid aid through the 2021-22 school year. The data generally show that districts allocated this extra revenue similarly to the way they typically spend resources - with about half devoted to employee compensation, a third for purchased services and supplies and the rest on capital costs and a variety of relatively minor expenses."

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 Public Education at a Crossroads: A Comprehensive Look at K-12 Resources and Outcomes

Source: Reason Foundation
Reviewed by: Clive Belfield, City University of New York

Clive Belfield, a professor at the City University of New York and Principal Economist at the Center for Benefit-Cost Studies in Education, University of Pennsylvania, reviewed Public Education at a Crossroads: A Comprehensive Look at K-12 Resources and Outcomes, finding it to use poor methodology and analysis to lead to its vacuous conclusions-most pointedly that there "isn't a consistent relationship between funding growth and outcomes across states."

What We're Reading

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

PROOF POINTS: When schools experimented with $10,000 pay hikes for teachers in hard-to-staff areas, the results were surprising

By: Jill Barshay, The Hechinger Report

Separate groups of researchers studied what happened in two places - Hawaii and Dallas, Texas, - when teachers were offered significant pay hikes, ranging from $6,000 to $18,000 a year, to take hard-to-fill jobs. In Hawaii, special education vacancies continued to grow, while the financial incentives to work with children with disabilities unintentionally aggravated shortages in general education classrooms. In Dallas, the incentives lured excellent teachers to high-poverty schools. Student performance subsequently skyrocketed so much that the schools no longer qualified for the bump in teacher pay. Teachers left and student test scores fell back down again.

4-day school weeks hurt students' reading, math achievement

By: Anna Merod, K-12 Dive

A recent peer-reviewed study found that students in non-rural districts saw a greater negative impact on their academic performance than in rural districts.

American Library Association reports record number of unique book titles challenged in 2023

By: Raymond Garcia, American Library Association

The number of titles targeted for censorship surged 65 percent in 2023 compared to 2022, reaching the highest levels ever documented by the American Library Association (ALA). The new numbers released today show efforts to censor 4,240 unique book titles* in schools and libraries. This tops the previous high from 2022, when 2,571 unique titles were targeted for censorship.

Final Title IX rule enshrines protections for LGBTQI+ students

By: Naaz Modan, K-12 Dive

The Education Department's long-awaited regulations also provide protections for pregnant students and employees. The final rule is expected to be published in the Federal Register later this month, after which schools and colleges will have until Aug. 1 to implement it.

California moves a step closer to eliminating one of the state's last teacher assessments

By: Diana Lambert, EdSource

Legislation that would remove one of the last tests teachers are required to take to earn a credential in California passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously Wednesday with little opposition.