Think Twice Weekly Report

JUNE 8, 2024 - JUNE 14, 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

Vouchers; School Funding

Source: Brookings
Date: 6/5/2024
Arizona's 'universal' education savings account program has become a handout to the wealthy

In Arizona, more advantaged communities are securing a highly disproportionate share of the funds from the state's Empowerment Scholarship Account program.

Charter Schools

Source: Fordham Institute
Date: 6/11/2024
Ohio charter schools after the pandemic: Are their students still learning more than they would in district schools?

For more than twenty-five years, Ohio's public charter schools have served as an educational option for families and students. One of the most routinely debated questions is whether charters provide a superior education when compared to the district alternative. Just prior to the pandemic, Fordham research showed that students attending brick-and-mortar charters in Ohio made significantly greater academic progress than their peers attending nearby district schools.

Conducted by Fordham's Senior Research Fellow, Dr. Stephane Lavertu, this research brief provides an updated analysis of brick-and-mortar charter school performance in the years after the pandemic (2021-22 and 2022-23). He finds that, while their advantage has slightly diminished, charters continue to outperform districts in the post-pandemic years.

Early Childhood Education

Source: Urban Institute
Date: 6/14/2024
Different Settings, Different Experiences: Equity and Quality in DC's Mixed-Delivery Public Prekindergarten System

Nearly all public prekindergarten programs in the US use a mixed-delivery system, with classrooms in both public schools and community-based organizations (CBOs). This mixed-delivery approach is popular in part because it gives families a greater chance of attending a program that matches their needs, preferences, and values. But experts have long raised concerns about the "two-tier system problem," which describes how CBOs may be at disadvantage compared with public schools in overall resources, teacher educational requirements, and teacher pay and benefits. This can lead to differences in classroom learning opportunities and children's early learning gains, and a two-tier system could deepen existing educational inequities in the many systems where CBOs serve more children from marginalized backgrounds than public schools do.

Analyzing Washington, DC's universal preschool program on three dimensions can build an understanding of mixed-delivery system equity: (1) quality of the teaching and learning environment in CBOs versus public schools, (2) the evolving demographics of children in CBOs versus public schools, and (3) the policies governing CBOs and public schools in the system.


Source: Manhattan Institute
Date: 6/13/2024
Empty Desks The Policy Response to Declining Public School Enrollment

In many parts of the country, enrollment in traditional public schools has fallen to its lowest point in decades. However, states, cities, and school districts have been slow to respond to the reality of empty desks. This report examines trends in school enrollment, focusing on several of America's most populous cities, as well as the budgetary and staffing responses to those trends. It also examines the states where these large cities are located.

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 Spark & Sustain: How All the World's School Systems Can Improve Learning at Scale

Source: McKinsey & Company
Reviewed by: Jake Bryant, Felipe Child, Ezgi Demirdag, Emma Dorn, Stephen Hall, Kartik Jayaram, Charag Krishnan, Cheryl Lim, Emmy Liss, Kemi Onabanjo, Frederic Panier, Juan Rebolledo, Jimmy Sarakatsannis, Doug

McKinsey & Company released a new global report on education that provides guidelines for policy reforms and governance strategies offered as promoting significant and sustained improvement in students' learning outcomes. A review of the report, however, identified weaknesses likely to compromise the robustness of its conclusions.

What We're Reading

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

Be wary of what you read in the school voucher debate

By: Jon Valant and Nicolas Zerbino, Brookings

The information surrounding universal voucher programs is rife with advocacy masquerading as research.

A helpful resource for you: The PFPS bill tracker

By: Public Funds Public Schools

The PFPS bill tracker monitors all 50 states and the U.S. Congress for proposed legislation that creates, expands, or modifies private school voucher programs. Use the tracker to search for bills by number or keyword or to filter by state, year, and/or PFPS-assigned categories.

Photo of new library layout at HISD elementary school sparks outrage

By: Allyson Ackerman, Chron

"The photo features rows and rows of desks, placed closely together in near-uniform positions, all facing one direction. A long row of tables stacked with computers is on one side of the room. There is nothing else in the former library, except for a sign that reads "You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book." The quote is from Dr. Seuss, perhaps an odd leftover from the previous layout as there are no books to be found in the room, nor is Dr. Seuss part of the NES curriculum."

What's a book ban anyway? Depends on who you ask

By: Elizabeth Blair, NPR

The practice of censoring books has been around for centuries. But what does it actually mean to ban a book today? The answer depends on who you ask.

A digital library offers hundreds of free LGBTQ books in response to wave of school bans

By: Jay Valle, NBCU Academy

Nine volunteers are ensuring anyone in the U.S. has access to over 1,200 books with LGBTQ themes and authors.