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Research & Reports

Access, Equity, and Adequacy

"We're Not Even Allowed to Ask For Help:" Debunking the Myth of the Model Minority

Author: Beam, J., Casabianca, J., & Chen, A. Coalition for Asian American Children and Families; Pumphouse Projects

Summary: The stereotype of Asian Pacific American (APA) students as a homogeneous "model minority" overlooks the cultural, linguistic, and socioeconomic diversity of the population. Furthermore, it restricts access to academic resources and support, primarily for APA students with limited English proficiency from low-income backgrounds. A majority of these APA students attend schools where Spanish is the dominant home language among ELLs. As a result, the English instruction services provided are not tailored to their needs. This report draws on data from the 2007-8 school year provided by New York City's Department of Education for more than 1,500 schools. In an effort to address the challenges faced by APA students, the report's authors outline suggested reforms to the current educational system.

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Tags: Differentiated Instruction; Instructional Programs; Rights, Students;

Target Population: Elementary, Middle, and High School Asian Pacific American (APA) students

Research Questions the Report Poses:

  1. How are "Asian" students classified in New York City's public schools, and how are they dispersed across schools?
  2. What is the school experience like for APA students? What resources do they have access to, and what are their projected outcomes?
  3. What policy changes need to be made based on the information obtained from this report? Moreover, what do policy makers need to know?

Findings:

  • In a city where 60% of the public school population is made up of immigrant students or children of immigrants, only 7% of the city's ELLs graduated from high school on time and prepared for the workforce or college.
  • Distribution of APA students varies widely across New York City's public schools. While 25% of students are dispersed across 1,200 schools in small numbers, others are packed into large and already overcrowded schools, with 50% of all APA students in Queens.
  • Accountability test scores were not reported for approximately 7,000 APA 3rd-8th grade students, meaning that their scores and skill sets could not be compared across schools – or even to scores of other students in the same school.
  • Most APA students with limited English proficiency receive ELL services only. Students from low-income backgrounds and schools with weaker overall test scores are more likely to be identified as part of this group.
  • APA students isolated in schools where they are underrepresented experience a more impoverished environment than those in schools with higher APA enrollment. Poverty rates vary depending on which Asian language is spoken at home (i.e. by subgroup).

Policy Recommendations:

To promote dialogue and equal distribution of resources for APA students across all of New York City's schools, the report authors recommend:

  • Appointing an independent research task force to address subgroups of APA students and analyze previously overlooked data. This would allow researchers to assess whether the needs of each subgroup – divided by race/ethnicity, special need status, and English proficiency – are being met, and what additional support is needed.
  • Training educators to be aware of challenges facing APA students and provide differentiated instruction.
  • Selecting culturally competent principals and guidance counselors, especially for low-income, overcrowded schools.
  • Providing transitional services, ELL instruction, translation, and interpretation for recent immigrants.
  • Incorporating parent and student feedback in the Board of Education's decision-making process, ensuring school compliance with the Student Safety Act and Dignity for All Students Act, and fostering accessible community organizations for APA students.

To order a hard copy of the report, contact:
Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF)
50 Broad Street, 18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
Tel: (212) 809-4675
Fax: (212) 785-4601
Email: cacf@cacf.org

Coalition for Asian American Children and Families; Pumphouse Projects (2012). "We're Not Even Allowed to Ask for Help:" Debunking the Myth of the Model Minority. New York, New York: Beam, J., Casabianca, J., & Chen, A.

America's Future: Latino Child Well-Being in Numbers and Trends

Author: P. Foxen, M. Mather; National Council of La Raza

Summary: The Latino child population is increasing at an exponential rate, expected to comprise a third of the U.S child population in 2035. However, many Latino children experience the same difficulties as other minority groups. There is a need to create equal opportunity and support for these children to succeed in the future.

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Tags: Latino ELL Students;

Target Population: All

Research Questions the Report Poses:

  • What is the state of well-being among Latino children?
  • What trends exist within this population subset and how do they affect equal opportunity and supports at a national, state, regional, and local level?

Findings:

  • The conditions and situations of Latino children vary state-by-state, regionally, and generationally.
  • Despite a hardworking population, the majority of Latino children live in poor and low-income families, and in high poverty neighborhoods which are more isolated from more affluent communities
  • Most Latino children are U.S citizens yet many live in immigrant families resulting in barriers to services and potential separation of parents from children.
  • Latino children are disadvantaged in the educational system (e.g., only 55% graduate with a high school diploma)

Policy Recommendations:

  • There needs to be more research into the regional and other variations among the Latino population
  • There is a need for clear targeted policies on health, education, juvenile justice, and poverty reduction.
  • Need to use a holistic approach to assessing the present and future well-being of Latino children.

Foxen, P., & Mather, M. (2010). America's Future: Latino Child Well-Being in Numbers and Trends. Washington, DC: National Council of La Raza.

Are ELL Students Underrepresented in Charter Schools? Demographic Trends in New York City, 2006-2008

Author: Buckley, J. & Sattin-Bajaj, C.; New York University

Summary: The rapid growth of ELLs within the school-age population over the past few years, coupled with growing concerns about academic performance and graduation rates among ELLs, have encouraged studies and discussions examining the equity and access of ELLs, a population that was previously "invisible," as compared with students of other groups. This question of equity and access is no more evident than in the charter school. Many are asking: do ELLs have equal access to charter schools? This report examines three recent years of data from the New York State School Report Cards in order to investigate enrollment patterns of English language learners in charter schools.

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Tags: Differentiated Instruction; Latino ELL Students; Other ELL Students (Middle Eastern, African, European, etc.); Placement;

Target Population: Middle, High School

Research Questions the Report Poses:

  • What can we learn from the the gap in ELL enrollment between charter schools and traditional public schools? What are the trends in this gap in New York City?
  • Are students who attend charter schools are qualitatively different from those enrolled in district public schools?
  • How does the racial/ethnic makeup of charter schools compares to traditional public schools?

Findings:

  • In New York City, as in many other areas serving high numbers of ELLs (with a few exceptions), research focused on ELL student access to charter schools has been limited.
  • At the school level, New York City charter schools appear to have a disproportionately low enrollment of ELL/LEP students.
  • While findings from previous studies of New York City's charter schools suggest that location is a factor for limited ELL enrollment, many of New York's charter schools are located in neighborhoods with traditionally signficiant Hispanic and ELL populations such as the South Bronx and Harlem.
  • Those charter schools that buck this trend actively strive to meet the needs of ELLs through ongoing professional development for teachers across the disciplines and active family engagement efforts led by the principal.

The authors of the report suggest the following possible reasons for limited ELL enrollment in charter schools:

  • Parents of ELLs may not have adequate knowledge about charter schools; their reliance on (and deferral to) teachers and administrators to make academic decisions about their children's future contributes to this information gap.
  • Charter schools face pressure to maintain high academic standards and may be reluctant to serve students who require additional resources. In fact, some funding mechanisms may create a disincentive to enroll higher number of ELL applicants at particular charter schools.

Policy Recommendations:

  • More disaggretation of charter school data is needed that provides detailed information about ELL student enrollment, proficiency level, and performance.
  • Researchers and policymakers need to reexamine, and in some cases revise, charter school funding mechanisms to ensure that they are not preventing charter school leaders from actively recruiting "at-risk" populations of students.
  • Future research about ELLs in charter schools should include investigation of families' knowledge about charter schools and charter school lotteries, as well as of charter school practices regarding student recruitment and staff training and hiring.

Buckley, J.& Sattin-Bajaj, C. (2010, April, 27). Are ELL Students Underrepresented in Charter Schools? Demographic Trends in New York City, 2006-2008. New York University. Retrieved July 27, 2010 from http://www.ncspe.org/publications_files/OP188.pdf

Diverse Children: Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration in America's New Non-Majority Generation

Author: The Foundation for Child Development: Hernandez, D. & Napierala, J.S.

Summary:

By 2018, it is projected that over half of all children in the U.S. will be minority, non-white children. The increasing diversity of the population makes socioeconomic and educational disparities between racial/ethnic groups all the more striking. Poverty and unemployment disproportionately affect black and Hispanic families, putting them at a social and educational disadvantage.

To address these issues, the authors of this study, published by the Foundation for Child Development, investigated how race/ethnicity, parent immigration status, and home language contribute to children's social, economic, physical, and educational well-being. In the process, they also found that children across the U.S., regardless of background, are performing at critically low levels on fourth grade reading and math assessments. Proposed policy reforms are outlined, including investing in the nation's children by increasing their access to high quality pre-kindergarten and health care.

Note: This is the first report to discuss child well-being across White, Hispanic, Black, and Asian race-ethnic groups, while also considering the possible effect of parents' status as immigrants or non-immigrants.

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Tags: Language Proficiency; Parent Involvement and Outreach / PTA; Reading; Rights, Parents; Rights, Students; Struggling Readers;

Target Population: Hispanic, Asian, black, and white children from immigrant and non-immigrant families

Research Questions the Report Poses:

  • Considering health, economic, social, and educational factors, what is known about the well-being of children in the United States?
  • How does this vary according to race/ethnicity and immigration status?
  • What federal reforms should be made to improve the lives of these children?

Findings:

  1. While one fourth of the nation's children have parents who are immigrants, 89% of these children are American citizens.
  2. Children of immigrants are just as likely to have a parent with stable employment and more likely (than those with U.S.-born parents) to live in a two-parent family, have been born at a healthy weight, and survive their first year of life. At the same time, they are less likely to attend pre-kindergarten and have health insurance.
  3. At 19% and 15%, respectively, Hispanic and black children with immigrant parents are far less likely to have health insurance. Additionally, they have the highest child mortality rate and are more likely than their Asian and white counterparts to live in poverty and/or have an unemployed parent.
  4. Only half of eligible children nationwide were enrolled in a pre-kindergarten program. Those with U.S.-born parents were more likely to attend, and Hispanic children from immigrant families were the least likely to be enrolled.
  5. In households where the primary language was not English, 83% of both black and Hispanic fourth graders could not read proficiently. For white children in this category, 65% scored below proficient in reading, as did 51% Asian children, even in English-speaking households. In math, 35-84% of fourth graders in all racial/ethnic groups were below proficient.

Policy Recommendations:

  1. Expand access to high-quality early childhood education. Establish a cohesive curriculum spanning pre-kindergarten to third grade to develop children's literacy skills before the fourth grade.
  2. At the federal and state level, ensure that all children, including the roughly one million who are undocumented, are covered by health insurance.
  3. Maintain and strengthen economic and social services such as tax provisions and credits, temporary assistance, and nutrition programs  for immigrant as well as low-income non-immigrant families.
  4. Fund English literacy programs for immigrant parents to allow them to pursue employment opportunities and communicate with classroom teachers about their child's progress and needs.

To order a hard copy of the report, contact:
Foundation for Child Development 295 Madison Avenue, 40th floor New York, NY 10017 Phone: (212) 867-5777 Fax: (212) 867-5844 www.fcd-us.org

Hernandez, D. & Napierala, J.S.(2013). Diverse children: Race, ethnicity, and immigration in America's new non-majority generation. New York, NY: The Foundation for Child Development.

Early Care and Education for Children in Immigrant Families

Author: Lynn Karoly and Gabriella Gonzalez. The Future of Children. Princeton University. Brookings Institute.

Summary: Lynn Karoly and Gabriella Gonzalez examine the current role of and future potential for early care and education (ECE) programs in promoting healthy development for immigrant children. Participation in center-based care and preschool programs has been shown to have substantial short–term benefits and may also lead to long–term gains as children go through school and enter adulthood. Yet, overall, immigrant children have lower rates of participation in nonparental care of any type, including center-based ECE programs, than their native counterparts. Much of the participation gap can be explained by just a few economic and sociodemographic factors: affordability, availability, and access to ECE programs, along with language barriers, bureaucratic complexity, and distrust of government programs, especially among undocumented immigrants. The authors conclude with suggestions for policymakers for improving ECE participation rates among immigrant children.

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Tags: Parent Involvement and Outreach / PTA; Rights, Parents; Rights, Students;

Target Population: Early Education

Research Questions the Report Poses:

  • What is the current role of early education among immigrant children?
  • What is the future potential?

Findings:

  • For infants, toddlers, and preschool–age children, immigrants have lower rates of participation in any nonparental care and center–based care, though participation varies greatly based on geographic region and county of origin.
  • Comparing immigrant and native children, the participation gap for three–year–olds is smaller than that for four–year–olds; additionally, early education participation increases with age. These findings suggest a narrowing gap, which may be a result of expansion of state–funded programs.
  • Among those in care, preschool–age immigrant children are as likely as native children, if not more likely, to be in center–based ECE programs, especially if one looks at the arrangement where children spend the most time.
  • Much of the participation gap can be explained by just a few economic and sociodemographic factors, such as low parental education or low family income. Thus, lower use of care may result not from being an immigrant child per se but from factors associated with disadvantaged groups.
  • The data for California indicate that center–based care environments are falling short of benchmarks associated with high–quality care for both immigrant and native preschool–age children alike. Though these results may not extend to other states, at least in the state with the largest share of immigrant children, so ECE quality needs to be improved.
  • Well–designed targeted programs serving infants and toddlers can produce short–term developmental benefits, but findings are ambiguous as to longer–term gains for school performance and adult outcomes.
  • Immigrant children face many different barriers to participating in early education programs: structural, informational and bureaucratic, cultural, and those caused by misperceptions.

Policy Recommendations:
To improve ECE access and quality, policy makers can consider options that pertain both to disadvantaged children in general, as well as to immigrant children in particular.

  • Publicly funded universal provision of ECE would benefit all children, including and especially immigrant children because it would remove issues of affordability, and, moreover, eligibility.
  • Geographic targeting could be especially effective in assisting immigrant children because it would give eligibility regardless of legal status, and could encompass whole ethnic neighborhoods.
  • Language–accessible communication strategies
  • Development of formal peer–to–peer networks for immigrant parents
  • Applications for ECE could be improved by: streamlining paperwork; translated paperwork; applications that ask for SSN of child instead of parent.
  • Professional development of teachers and staff, ie cultural competency, teaching ELLs, foreign language acquisition
  • Implementation of curricula and other practices that support English learners.

Karoly, L., Gonzalez, G. (2011). "Early Care and Education for Children in Immigrant Families." Immigrant Children 21 (1). The Future of Children. Retrieved from: http://www.futureofchildren.org/futureofchildren/publications/journals/article/index.xml?journalid=74&articleid=541.

Early Childhood and Family Investment Transition Report

Author: Curtis, P. & Saxton, L. The Science of Early Childhood Development: Closing the Gap Between What We Know and What We Do. Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University.

Summary:

This report represent bold and innovative changes necessary to reverse this trend. The recommendations include significant changes in the ways in which we identify, deliver, and fund services so that a more efficient, accountable approach is used which delivers measurable results. It recommends focusing on the delivery of services by streamlining our multiple attempts at coordination and making our multiple administrations and governance structures more efficient and accountable. In the spirit of accountability, the Early Childhood and Family Investment Team believes the recommendations contained in this report should be measured for success.

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Target Population: K-12

Research Questions the Report Poses: Will Oregon's opportunity for distinction and success in the global economy of the 21st Century work? How so?

Findings:

  • Currently, approximately 40,000 children 0-5 years receive primary and secondary early childhood services. Yet, approximately 108,000 are estimated to need support. Within two years, at least fifty percent more, or 60,000 children, should be served.
  • The average cost per child served should be reduced by 30% to be approximately $5225 per child per year.
  • It is estimated that between 25-33% of at risk children will meet state reading benchmarks when they are revised in two years. By 2018, at least 70% of children served with these re-engineered services should meet state benchmarks for kindergarten and first grade.

Policy Recommendations:
N/A

To order a hard copy of the report, contact:
N/A

Curtis, P. & Saxton, L. (2011). Early Childhood and Family Investment Transition Report The Science of Early Childhood Development: Closing the Gap Between What We Know and What We Do , Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University.

Ensuring Effective Teachers for All Students

Author: Robin Chait, Center for American Progress

Summary: This report analyzes the importance of working with effective teachers in high-poverty or high-minority schools to improve the academic standards of all students. The report also mentions six strategies that states can consider implementing to attract and retain effective teachers in high-poverty and high-minority schools while providing examples of current programs that help states determine how to hire and retain effective educators in their schools.

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Tags: Instructional Programs;

Target Population: Preschool, Elementary, Middle, High School, and Post-Secondary Schools. Educators and prospective educators.

Research Questions the Report Poses:

  • Why should states work to ensure that every student has an effective teacher? What does that mean?
  • What is the federal role in that process?
  • What can the states to work toward ensuring every student has access to an effective teacher?

Findings:

Report authors identify the following strategies for ensuring teacher effectiveness:

  • Analyze and report on the distribution of teachers between schools using value-added estimates and other measures.
  • Design a model evaluation system for measuring teacher effectiveness and improving teacher performance.
  • Support programs that offer financial incentives to effective teachers in high poverty schools.
  • Provide funding and models for recruitment and preparation programs that are specifically targeted to high needs schools.
  • Provide an induction and mentoring program for new teachers in high-poverty schools.
  • Require schools to report their budgets by actual expenditures, rather than positions.

Policy Recommendations:

At the state level, report authors encourage state officials to:

  • identify more stable sources of funding for teacher effectiveness initiatives in the long-term
  • take note of the other states' programs and share ideas
  • monitor the programs currently implemented in each county to ensure the correct distribution of effective teachers.

To order a hard copy of the report, contact:
John Neurohr, Deputy Press Secretary 202-481-8182, jneurohr@americanprogress.org

Chait, Robin. (2009). Ensuring Effective Teachers for All Students. Washington, D.C. Center for American Progress.

Ensuring Equal Opportunity in Public Education: How Local School District Funding Practices Hurt Disadvantaged Students and What Federal Policy Can Do About It

Author: Phyllis McClure, Ross Wiener, Marguerite Roza, and Matt Hill Introduction by: John Podesta and Cynthia Brown. Center for American Progress.

Summary: The four papers that make up this volume explore perhaps the most important component of this mismatch of U.S. educational resources — inequality in the funding of local schools by their own school districts. The authors arrive at some uniform conclusions about ineffective and inequitable educational spending by the federal government on Title I schools, and each one in a different fashion points the way toward solutions to a complex budgeting issue that is a root funding cause of our struggling public schools.

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Tags: Rights, Parents; Rights, Students;

Target Population: Education advocates, parents, students, teachers, and administrators.

Research Questions the Report Poses:

  • What is the history of Title I implementation and the enforcement of the comparability provision during the past 40 years?
  • What is the current context of school funding and its relation to the comparability provision?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the comparability provision and their implications?
  • How do we close the comparability "loophole"?
  • What have school districts done to address these inequities and provisions?

Findings:
N/A

Policy Recommendations:
N/A

To order a hard copy of the report, contact:
Center for American Progress 1333 H Street NW 10th Floor Washington, D.C. 20005

Podesta, J., Brown, C., McClure, P., Wiener, R., Roza, M., and Hill, M. (2008). Ensuring Equal Opportunity in Public Education: How Local School District Funding Practices Hurt Disadvantaged Students and What Federal Policy Can Do About It. Washington, D.C.: Center for American Progress.

Every Child Every Promise: Turning Failure Into Action

Author: America's Promise Alliance

Summary: Instead of focusing on statistics that suggest the symptoms of a larger problem, this report sheds new light on root causes. Every Child, Every Promise: Turning Failure Into Action reveals how our nation is dangerously under–equipping the majority of our children and youth for the future, especially those who are disadvantaged. It probes the causes of this failure—what lies behind the troubling statistics. This report is the first that attempts to measure comprehensively the presence in the lives of our young people of the five key resources—the "Five Promises"—that correlate with success in both youth and adulthood: (1) Caring adults; (2) Safe places and constructive use of time; (3) Healthy start and healthy development; (4) Effective education for marketable skills and lifelong learning; and (5) Opportunities to make a difference through helping others.

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Tags: Intervention; Motivation; Parent Involvement and Outreach / PTA; Rights, Students;

Target Population: All

Research Questions the Report Poses:

  • In what ways and to what extent are today's children underserved by parents and adults in general?
  • What are the essential resources children require that will assure their success in the future?
  • How can parents and communities work to provide these resources to all children?

Findings:

  • Children who enjoy the sustained and cumulative benefit of having at least four of the Five Promises across various contexts of their lives are much more likely to be academically successful, civically engaged and socially competent, regardless of their race or family income.
  • Having enough of the Five Promises helps to mitigate the disparities among our nation's young people, for instance those based on race/ ethnicity or family income. Though access to these resources remains deeply unequal in America, their presence in critical mass can be a great equalizer. Regardless of race, gender or family income level, children who enjoy at least four of these five core resources are more likely to thrive.
  • Only 31% of young people today are receiving enough of the developmental resources that will give them genuine reason for confidence about their success as adults.
  • 21% —or over 10 million 6–to–17–year&ndash'olds— have a very low chance of success.
  • The stereotype of children and teens as slackers with a weak work ethic is a myth. Young people are looking for more help from adults, but not a handout. They are willing to work hard to reach their goals.
  • The greatest returns to society result from a balanced investment strategy throughout childhood, not just in early childhood. The biggest economic benefits result from targeting interventions toward underserved youth. These returns take the form of increased high school graduation rates and college enrollment, reduced involvement with the criminal justice system and reduced welfare dependency, which in turn provide direct and indirect economic benefits to our nation.
  • Some of the areas that access to the 5 Promises positively effects are: overall health, grade and school attendance, drug use, social competence, school dropout rates, crime.

Policy Recommendations:

  • The bottom–line implication from this research is clear: For maximum return, start investing in young people at an early age—and don't stop.
  • Consider the "Whole Child" ie educational reforms should go beyond the school.
  • Engage all sectors of society.
  • View investments as more than programs—without minimizing their role: Cost–effective, targeted programs may offer the best strategy for mitigating the risk factors otherwise working against children placed at major disadvantages.
  • Focus attention on the young people who are most underserved.

"Every Child Every Promise: Turning Failure Into Action." Washington, DC: America's Promise Alliance. Retrieved from http://www.americaspromise.org/Resources/Research-and-Reports/~/media/Files/About/ECEP%20-%20Full%20Report.aspx

Growing Up in the Shadows: The Developmental Implications of Unauthorized Status

Author: Suárez-Orozco, C., Suárez-Orozco, M.M., Teranishi, R.T. & Yoshikawa, H. Harvard Educational Review.

Summary:

Unauthorized immigrants account for approximately one-fourth of all immigrants in the United States, yet they dominate public perceptions and are at the heart of a policy impasse. Caught in the middle are the children of these immigrants—youth who are coming of age and living in the shadows. An estimated 5.5 million children and adolescents are growing up with unauthorized parents and are experiencing multiple and yet unrecognized developmental consequences as a result of their family's existence in the shadow of the law. Although these youth are American in spirit and voice, they are nonetheless members of families that are "illegal" in the eyes of the law.

In this article, the authors develop a conceptual framework to systematically examine the ways in which unauthorized status affects the millions of children, adolescents, and emerging adults caught in its wake. The authors elucidate the various dimensions of documentation status—going beyond the binary of the "authorized" and "unauthorized." An ecological framework brings to the foreground a variety of systemic levels shaping the daily experiences of children and youth as they move through the developmental spectrum. The article moves on to examine a host of critical developmental outcomes that have implications for child and youth well-being as well as for our nation's future.

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Target Population: K-12

Research Questions the Report Poses: Can the children of immigrants today rise above their families and lead the US into a successful future?

Findings:

  • The 5.5 million children and youth growing up in the shadows equals more than the combined populations of Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, Alaska, North Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming. Put another way: on average, one or two students per American classroom is a child who is touched directly by unauthorized status.
  • The implications of growing up in an unauthorized family span a variety of developmental contexts shaping multiple outcomes, including psychological well-being, mental health, physical health, education, and employment.
  • This review shows that unauthorized status harms development, from the beginning of life through adolescence and young adulthood, by restricting access to some of the most important pathways to adult well-being and productivity: early learning opportunities such as quality child care, preschool, and school as well as higher education and formal entry into the world of work.

Policy Recommendations:

  • The most fundamental policy implication of this article is the need to create a pathway to citizenship for the long-settled unauthorized who pass a strict "belonging threshold."
  • Second, labor law enforcement to correct wage violations would help address the disastrous work conditions of the unauthorized, which affect unauthorized parents, citizen-children, and unauthorized youth and young adults alike.
  • Third, as the United States becomes more diverse, and as the foreign-stock population grows numerically and proportionally, it is smart policy to increase the rate at which immigrants can access education and succeed in schooling.
  • Fourth, policy and procedures need to increase efficacious parental involvement for the unauthorized population.
  • The last policy recommendation concerns the practices of community-based organizations serving immigrant populations. These organizations can connect unauthorized families with resources and information, which the unauthorized are either excluded from or are reluctant to access.

To order a hard copy of the report, contact:
The Harvard Shop Web Staff, C/O Harvard Student Agencies, 67 Mt. Auburn Street, Floor 2, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

Suárez-Orozco, C., Suárez-Orozco, M.M, Teranishi, R.T. & Yoshikawa, H. (2011). Growing Up in the Shadows: The Developmental Implications of Unauthorized Status. Harvard Educational Review. Vol. 81 No. 3.

Higher Education and Children in Immigrant Families

Author: Sandy Baum Stella M. Flores. The Future of Children. Princeton University. Brookings Institute.

Summary: The increasing role that immigrants and their children are playing in American society, Sandy Baum and Stella Flores argue, makes it essential that as many young newcomers as possible enroll and succeed in postsecondary education. Immigrant youths' access to postsecondary education varies depending on country or origin, race, parental socioeconomic status, lack of college preparation, and potential barriers. The sharp rise in demand for skilled labor over the past few decades has made it more urgent than ever to provide access to postsecondary education for all. Removing barriers to education and to employment opportunities for undocumented students poses political, not conceptual, problems. Providing adequate funding for postsecondary education through low tuition and grant aid is also straightforward, if not easy to accomplish. Assuring that Mexican immigrants and others who grow up in low-income communities have the opportunity to prepare themselves academically for college is more challenging. Policies to improve the elementary and secondary school experiences of all children are key to improving the postsecondary success of all.

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Tags: Intervention; Latino ELL Students; Motivation; Rights, Students;

Target Population: Post-Secondary

Research Questions the Report Poses:

  • How does the educational attainment vary among subgroups of immigrants?
  • What factors account for these differences?
  • What barriers do some immigrant students face? What is the payoff to postsecondary education in U.S. society?

Findings:

  • Mexican and Latin American immigrants have, on average, relatively low rates of participation and success in postsecondary education.
  • Language barriers and lack of familiarity with U.S. social institutions create difficulties, but it is not immigrant status per se that explains the unsatisfactory outcomes for these immigrant populations.
  • Overall, immigrants and their children are actually more likely than natives (of the same countries of origin) to earn college degrees.
  • The gaps among groups from different countries of origin are large. Those from China, Japan, and many African countries have high success rates. Those from Mexico, Guatemala, Haiti, Laos, and Cambodia fare less well.
  • The children of immigrants who benefited from postsecondary education in their countries of origin are likely to succeed in the United States. The children of parents who are not in a position to help them prepare for and navigate the postsecondary system are likely to struggle.

Policy Recommendations:

  • Because immigration has become such a divisive political issue in the United States, focusing on the benefits to society of opening doors to higher education for all is the most promising strategy.
  • Sometimes, changes in motivation and behavior resulting from financial incentives, rather than the extra funds themselves, can be central to improved postsecondary success. Judith Scott–Clayton, for example, found that West Virginia's state grant program increases college completion rates by establishing clear academic goals and providing incentives to meet them.
  • Policies to improve the elementary and secondary school experiences of all children are likely the most important components of a strategy to improve the postsecondary success of immigrant children.

Baum, S., Flores, S.M. (2011.) "Higher Education and Children in Immigrant Families." Immigrant Children 21 (1). The Future of Children. Retrieved from: http://www.futureofchildren.org/futureofchildren/publications/journals/article/index.xml?journalid=74&articleid=545.

Improving Assessment and Accountability for ELLs in the No Child Left Behind Act

Author: National Council of La Raza (NCLR); Melissa LazarÍn

Summary: This report from the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) provides an overview of the assessment and accountability provisions of NCLB affecting ELLs, the challenges of implementation in various states and districts, and policy recommendations for improving the law's effectiveness for ELLs.

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Tags: Instructional Programs; Intervention; Language Proficiency; Latino ELL Students; Parent Involvement and Outreach / PTA; Placement; Rights, Students;

Target Population: Elementary, Middle, High School

Research Questions the Report Poses: This issue brief is designed to help inform future dialogue on assessment and accountability. The brief examines the progress and manner in which states have implemented the federal law's accountability and testing provisions with respect to ELLs.

Findings:
NCLB implementation with respect to ELLs has failed to live up to the law's promise. State and district accountability systems not only must include ELLs, they must be implemented in a way that effectively closes the existing academic achievement gap for ELLs.

Policy Recommendations:

  • The U.S. Department of Education should increase research and investment in the development of a range of appropriate assessments and testing accommodations, including native-language and simplified English tests for ELLs.
  • The U.S. Department of Education should provide firm guidance to states regarding the law's directive to assess ELLs "to the extent practicable, in the language and form most likely to yield accurate data."
  • With enforcement by the U.S. Department of Education, states and districts must continue to assess ELLs and include them in AYP determinations.
  • The Administration and Congress should fine-tune the definition of AYP for ELLs.
  • The U.S. Department of Education and Congress should enhance accountability measures for secondary ELLs, particularly late-entrant ELLs. The U.S. Department of Education, states, and districts should improve reporting of assessment data and other AYP indicators to parents of ELLs.
  • The U.S. Department of Education and Congress should ensure equitable access to supplemental services for ELLs.
  • The President and Congress must increase the federal investment in English language learner programs (Title III).
  • The U.S. Department of Education should increase its investment in the development of assessments for ELLs The President and Congress should increase federal support for Parent Assistance Programs.
  • States should ensure fiscal equity in their education finance systems, with adequate inclusion of resources for ELLs.

To order a hard copy of the report, contact:
The National Council of La Raza (NCLR)
Attention: Office of Publications
Raul Yzaguirre Building
1126 16th Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
Tel: 202.785.1670
Fax: 202.776.1794

Lazarín, M. (2006). Improving Assessment and Accountability for English Language Learners in the No Child Left Behind Act. National Council of La Raza: Washington, DC.

K-12 Educational Outcomes of Immigrant Youth

Author: Robert Crosnoe and Ruth Lopez Turley. The Future of Children. Princeton University. Brookings Institute.

Summary: Robert Crosnoe and Ruth Lopez Turley summarize the K–12 patterns of experiences among immigrant youth, paying special attention to differences in academic functioning across segments of the immigrant population defined by generational status, race and ethnicity, and national origin. A good deal of evidence points to an immigrant advantage in multiple indicators of academic progress, meaning that many youths from immigrant families outperform their peers in school. This apparent advantage is often referred to as the immigrant paradox, in that it occurs despite higher–than–average rates of social and economic disadvantages in this population as a whole. The immigrant paradox, however, is more pronounced among the children of Asian and African immigrants than other groups, and it is stronger for boys than for girls. Furthermore, evidence for the paradox is far more consistent in secondary school than in elementary school. Bilingualism and strong family ties help to explain immigrant advantages in schooling; school, community, and other contextual disadvantages may suppress these advantages or lead to immigrant risks. Crosnoe and Turley also discuss several policy efforts targeting young people from immigrant families, especially those of Latin American origin, including the DREAM Act, and culturally grounded programs for college preparation and parent involvement.

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Tags: Intervention; Parent Involvement and Outreach / PTA;

Target Population: All

Research Questions the Report Poses:

  • What are the main patterns of K–12 experience for immigrant youth?
  • What is the "immigrant paradox" and how broadly applicable is it?

Findings:

  • The "immigrant paradox" is the trend that that immigrant youth enjoy academic advantages in the relative absence of the socioeconomic advantages, such as high parental education and income, which are usually associated with school success.
  • This apparent advantage, however, is more pronounced among the children of Asian and African immigrants than other groups, among boys than girls, and in secondary than elementary school.
  • With support from families, schools, and communities, therefore, fluency in multiple languages has academic advantages that likely factor into the immigrant paradox.
  • Overall, strong family ties and parental attachment and support are resources for immigrant youth, providing the security and assistance they need to meet the challenges of school, even though this support comes in less obvious means.
  • Although many immigrant youth more problematic schools that pose academic risks that could impair academic performance, such risks seem to affect these immigrant youth less than students with native–born parents, suggesting that they may be more resilient in problematic schools than their peers.
  • Indeed, ECLS–K teachers rated the children of both Hispanic and Asian immigrants as better adjusted than children of U.S.–born white, Asian, Hispanic, and black parents.

Policy Recommendations:

  • Targeting the Latino population is one way for policy makers to address numerous kinds of educational disparities. Moreover, given the many community and family strengths of Latin American immigrants, this population has potential to respond positively to interventions targeting these related disparities.
  • Efforts by policy makers to promote college–going among immigrant youth must focus on coursework as well as on other areas of college preparation that require inside knowledge, such as knowing how to apply for aid.
  • Because a lack of contact between immigrant families and schools might contribute to immigrant risks and undercut immigrant advantages, efforts to open dialogue between the two could be valuable.
  • Policy–makers should seek to increase parental involvement by initiating efforts grounded in the lives of families, flexible to language and schedule barriers.

Crosnoe, R. and Lopez Turley, R. "K–12 Educational Outcomes of Immigrant Youth." Immigrant Children 21 (1). The Future of Children. Retrieved from: http://www.futureofchildren.org/futureofchildren/publications/journals/article/index.xml?journalid=74&articleid=543.

Language Test

Author: National School Boards Association, Naomi Dillon

Summary: The article from the American School Board Journal examines the challenges that districts with high ELL populations face in meeting state and federal accountability requirements. The report focuses on the Coachella school district in California as a lens to examine ELL assessment, accommodations, and accountability formulas.

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Tags: Bilingual Instruction; Bilingualism / Biliteracy; Comprehension; Content Areas: Math; Content Areas: Science; Content Areas: Social Studies; Content Areas: The Arts; Curriculum; Instructional Programs; Intervention; Language of Instruction; Language Proficiency;

Target Population: Elementary, Middle, High School

Research Questions the Report Poses: The report uses the example of Coachella school district's legal battle to examine whether state assessments are appropriate accountability measures for English language learners.

Findings:
N/A

Policy Recommendations:
N/A

Dillon, N. (2005). Language Test. American School Board Journal, 192(8). National School Boards Association.

Lasting Consequences of the Summer Learning Gap

Author: K.L. Alexander, D.R.Entwisle, & L.S. Olson

Summary: "Lasting Consequences of the Summer Learning Gap" by Alexander, Entwisle, and Olson examines the long-term effect of differences in summer learning, which tend to be associated with family socioeconomic level. The researchers found that achievement during the first nine years of school is related primarily to school-year learning; however, the achievement gap between high-SES and low-SES students at 9th grade is more closely associated with differences in out-of-school summer learning during the elementary school years.

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Tags: Intervention; Motivation; Struggling Readers; Transfer of Literacy Skills;

Target Population: Elementary, Middle school

Research Questions the Report Poses: What are the long-term educational consequences of summer learning differences based on family socioeconomic level?

Findings:

  • Prior to high school, the achievement gap by family SES traces substantially to unequal learning opportunities in children's home and community environments.
  • With learning gains across social lines more nearly equal during the school year, the experience of schooling tends to offset the unequalizing press of children's out-of-school learning environments. Schooling thus appears to play a compensatory role, though there may still be unequal access to resources or opportunities even in school.
  • Summer learning differences during the foundational early grades help explain achievement-dependent outcome differences across social lines in the upper grades; this includes the transition out of high school and, for some, into college, which is oftentimes determined by whether a student is in on a college-prep track, which itself is determined by class placement based on freshman test performance.
  • Since it is low SES youth specifically whose out-of-school learning lags behind, this summer shortfall relative to better-off children contributes to the perpetuation of family advantage and disadvantage across generations.
  • The fact that achievement gaps are smaller during the school year than the summer shows that 2 common assumptions are false: that minority students have less ability to achieve and that school systems are failing.

Policy Recommendations:

  • Early interventions to keep the achievement gap from opening wide in the first place should be a high priority, and the earlier the better, with the kinds of preschool compensatory education initiatives that have proven effective.
  • Once in school, disadvantaged children need year-round, supplemental programming to counter the continuing press of family and community conditions that hold them back.
  • Create summer schools that incorporate so-called best practice principles that target disadvantaged students specifically.
  • An accountability system that monitors progress fall to spring, perhaps relative to an expected summer gain baseline be more appropriate for gauging a school's effectiveness. The current arrangement under NCLB is useful for identifying need, but little more, and certainly not for apportioning blame.

Alexander, K.L., Entwisle, D.R., & Olson, L.S. (2007). Lasting consequences of the summer learning gap. American Sociological Review, 72. Retrieved from http://brettberk.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/april07asrfeature.pdf

Learning Denied: The Case for Equitable Access to Effective Teaching in California’s Largest School District

Author: The Education Trust-West.

Summary:

In the following pages, the authors tell the story of how this came to be. They start by describing how they identified the district's most and least effective teachers. Moving into their findings, they explore how much these teachers affect student learning and discuss the characteristics of the district's most effective teachers.

Next, they use our data to describe the distribution of effective teachers in the district, paying close attention to who they teach and the kinds of schools they serve. Their final set of findings investigates how quality-blind layoff processes have affected effective teachers, high-need students, and high-need schools. They wrap up the report with a discussion of some key reasons for the inequitable distribution of effective teachers and recommend strategies that can change these patterns.

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Target Population: K-12

Research Questions the Report Poses: How can we identify effective teachers?

Findings:

  • Teachers have the potential to dramatically accelerate or impede the academic performance of their students, whether they are starting below grade level or are ready for more advanced instruction.
  • Commonly used measures of teacher quality, including years of experience and "Highly Qualified Teacher" status, are poor predictors of effectiveness in the classroom.
  • Quality-blind teacher layoffs in 2009 resulted in the removal of dozens of high value-added teachers from the highest need schools.

Policy Recommendations:

  • Invest in evaluation systems that can identify both effective teachers and those who are failing to raise student performance.
  • Develop programs and policies that place and retain the best teachers in the highest need schools.
  • Reform state policies that prevent local leaders from making decisions in the best interests of students, and that have caused the loss of effective teachers from our highest need schools. This includes repealing, once and for all, laws governing "last in, first out" teacher layoffs.
  • Provide the state oversight necessary to ensure that low-income students and students of color are not disproportionally taught by ineffective teachers.

To order a hard copy of the report, contact:
The Education Trust-West 1814 Franklin St., Suite 220, Oakland, Calif. 94612

(2012). Learning Denied: The Case for Equitable Access to Effective Teaching in California’s Largest School District. The Education Trust- West.

Listening to Latinas: Barriers for High School Graduation

Author: National Women's Law Center & Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund

Summary: The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, along with the National Women's Law Center, conducted a qualitative study on obstacles Latina girls face to graduate from high school. The two organizations, with the help of teachers, case managers, principals, etc. sent out over 1,000 surveys to Latina students all over the country. Following the surveys, they had follow-up interviews with 21 Latina girls and conducted focus group discussions with 26 additional students. Additionally, they surveyed 45 adult program staff working with Latina students, college access programs and schools, and then conducted in-depth follow up interviews with 15 of these individuals. There was also extensive literature research on Latina students.

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Tags: American Indian ELL Students; Asian ELL Students; Intervention; Latino ELL Students; Motivation; Parent Involvement and Outreach / PTA;

Target Population: High School

Research Questions the Report Poses: How do female high school Latina students overcome obstacles in order to graduate from high school?

Findings:

Latinas have high aspirations and goals but often are unable to reach them because of academic and social barriers such as:

  • Poverty
  • Immigration status
  • Language barriers
  • Lack of parental involvement
  • Teenage pregnancy

Policy Recommendations:

  • Invest in the future of Latinas. Congress should put more money into providing child care, early childhood education, health care, nutrition assistance, and tax benefits.
  • Provide Latina girls with role models and set up programs that help them reach their goals. More money should be put into mentoring programs, school counseling, and college access programs.
  • Make sure that all Latina girls are prepared for any post-secondary education opportunity.
  • Ensure that schools are free of racial and gender discrimination. Schools should also make sure that they enforce and promote dual language programs for ELLs.
  • Aid in gaining more Latino parental involvement. The government and schools should fund more programs to help parents become more active in schools.
  • Fund more efforts to prevent teenage pregnancy, including implementing sex education programs.
  • Support students who are pregnant or who are currently parenting.
  • Schools should require better data collection and promote school accountability.

To order a hard copy of the report, contact:
MALDEF: http://maldef.org/contact/

National Women’'s Law Center & Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund. Listening to Latinas: barriers to high school graduation. (2009, August). Retrieved from: http://maldef.org/assets/pdf/ListeningtoLatinas.pdf

Middle-to-High School Transition for English Language Learners: Promising School-Based Practices

Author: Lara, J., & Harford, S.; Smaller Learning Communities Program

Summary: This paper examines the nexus among three current areas of concern for secondary educators and policymakers: restructuring high schools into small learning communities (SLCs); supporting the transition of students into the ninth grade; and instructing English language learners (ELLs). Research in these three separate areas has become increasingly abundant and relevant as national educational policy focus has shifted toward high school improvement. ELLs are enrolled in large numbers in urban schools, which have lately been the recipients of high school reform initiatives. Yet, despite the abundant presence of ELLs in these schools, little information is available on how the distinctive linguistic, academic, and social needs of ELLs have been considered in high school reform policies and programmatic initiatives.

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Tags: Intervention; Language Proficiency; Motivation; Placement; Struggling Readers;

Target Population: Middle, High School

Research Questions the Report Poses:

  • What is the best middle to high school transitions for ELLs?
  • What happens to the ELL moving from eighth to ninth grade in a SLC?
  • How are his or her unique educational needs considered?
  • Is the instructional program designed to seamlessly integrate English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) instruction with the SLC or ninth?grade transitional programs?
  • Is the student required to choose between accessing linguistically appropriate instruction and accessing the benefits of a career or technical academy?
  • Does the student's de facto status as an ELL preclude him or her from taking part in programs and courses within the SLC schools?

Findings:

  • In order to ensure that ELL students catch up with their peers, the school must place emphasis on intense ELD instruction.
  • Teachers should use specialized instructional methodologies to build their abilities to teach content to ELL students.
  • Beneficial to ELL transitions are the flexible delivery and scheduling of academic and non-academic supports.
  • It does not appear that any one school is implementing a coherent service delivery plan. Instead, there are examples of isolated implementation of best practices in a given area, but not across the school or for all ELL students

Lara, J., & Harford, S. (n.d.). Middle-to-High School Transition for English Language Learners: Promising School-Based Practices. Smaller Learning Communities Program. Retrieved January 13, 2011 from: http://www.edweek.org/media/final-middletohighschool.pdf

Migrant Students: Resources for Migrant Children Similar to Other Students but Achievement Still Lags

Author: Florida State Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights

Summary: In response to large number of migrant families in Florida, the Florida Advisory Committee performed a study examining the equity of resources available to migrant students compared to non-migrants. The educational resources discussed are: (1) teacher-student ratios, (2) staff-student ratios, (3) computer technology, and (4) library resources. They also compared the achievement of migrant versus non-migrant students as indicated by average 4th grade reading scores. They reiterate multiple times that it is a study of equity of resources, not adequacy of funding for migrant education programs.

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Tags: Intervention; Libraries; Rights, Students;

Target Population: All

Research Questions the Report Poses: Are provided resources to migrant children equal to those provided to non-migrant children?

Findings:

  • Migrant children consistently achieve at lower levels than their counterparts.
  • Professional staffing levels are generally higher at schools with large numbers of migrant children, and there are lower student-teacher ratios.
  • Schools with large numbers of migrant children engaged in a number of special schooling initiatives.
  • Regarding library books and computer technology, there was no consistent pattern that favored either group of children.
  • There were no reports from the principals of schools that children at schools with no migrant children were being afforded disproportionate resources by the district at the expense of migrant children.

Policy Recommendations:
It is time to consider other and different institutional and structural changes apart from what has been offered in the past in order to truly provide migrant children true equal education opportunity in our public schools.

Migrant Students: Resources for Migrant Children Similar to Other Students but Achievement Still Lags. (2007). Florida State Advisory Committee.

Mind the (Other) Gap! The Growing Excellence Gap in K-12 Education

Author: Jonathan A. Plucker, Ph.D., Nathan Burroughs, Ph.D., Ruiting Song; Center for Evaluation & Education Policy

Summary: The study examines national and state testing data to explore disparities in performance and rate of improvement among high-achieving students, with respect to the subgroups of race, socio-economic level, gender, and English proficiency. Specifically, it focuses on Math and Reading scores, at Grades 4 and 8. Beyond presenting and interpreting the data, the article also offers hypotheses explaining the results, suggestions for policy changes, as well as some opinions on current policy such as the No Child Left Behind Act.

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Tags: Intervention; Language Proficiency; Latino ELL Students; Placement;

Target Population: Elementary, Middle, High School

Research Questions the Report Poses: Do "excellence gaps" exist? (differences in achievement between subgroups of students performing at the highest levels)

Findings:

  • There are in fact notable and statistically significant excellence gaps between student subgroups, the largest being between native English speakers and English language learners; the smallest being between male and female.
  • Proficiency scores indicate the gap is worse in math, while percentile comparisons suggest reading. National data is more reliable and standardized, though state data also suggests the presence of excellence gaps.
  • While test scores are increasing overall, high-performance students fall, in disproportionate numbers, into the "overrepresented" categories (i.e., white, affluent, English-proficient.)
  • The results suggest that focus on minimum competency gaps (i.e., No Child Left Behind Act) put high-performing students at a disadvantage, and further increases the excellence gap.

Policy Recommendations:

  • Make closing the excellence gap and promoting advanced academic programs a priority at the national and state levels (not just local, where they are pushed aside.)
  • Consider performance of advanced students in common standards, rather than focusing on minimum competency.
  • Conduct more research on talent development; specifically U.S. Department of Education and National Science Foundation could allot preexisting money for it.

Plucker, Burroughs, Song (2010). Mind the (Other) Gap! The Growing Excellence Gap in K-12 Education. Center for Evaluation & Education Policy: Bloomington, Indiana.

New Achievement Gap Analysis Suggests Four Ways to Gain a More Comprehensive Picture of Equity.

Author: The Education Trust

Summary: Using state-level NAEP data, this brief illustrates the pitfalls in one-dimensional appraisals of achievement gaps. Analyzing the gaps from four perspectives is essential to gain a comprehensive, accurate picture of equity.

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Tags: Intervention; Rights, Students; Struggling Readers;

Target Population: Elementary, Middle, High School

Research Questions the Report Poses:

  • Have gaps in performance between student groups decreased over time?
  • Have all groups of students gained over time?
  • What is the magnitude of the gap between groups?
  • How does each group of students currently perform relative to their counterparts in other schools, districts, or states?

Findings:

  • Six states-Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, New York, and West Virginia-and the District of Columbia narrowed more of the gaps between student groups than did most other states. On the other hand, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont, and Washington were least likely to have closed gaps and, in fact, saw more gap widening than anywhere else in the nation.
  • Student groups in Georgia, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, and the District of Columbia were more likely to have improved than their peers in other states. In contrast, student groups in Michigan, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina and West Virginia were more likely to have declined.
  • Eight states stand out for smaller-than-average gaps: Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Maine, Oklahoma, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Five others, however-California, Connecticut, Illinois, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin-as well as the District of Columbia, have gaps between groups that are much wider than the national average.
  • Low-income and minority students in Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, Texas, and Vermont typically perform higher than such students in other states. At the same time, low-income students and students of color in Arizona, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Nevada typically perform below their peers elsewhere
  • Ed Trust analysts combined the results from all four of these perspectives and found four states were making the most progress. Delaware, Florida, Massachusetts, and Texas emerge as frontrunners for earning top scores on the gap-closing sections of their RTT applications, along with Vermont-a racially homogenous state that nevertheless generally performs well across the income spectrum. They differ greatly in size, diversity, and a host of other measures, but each state's recent performance on the achievement gap is among the best in the nation.
  • However, an analysis of the four perspectives shows the outlook isn't as rosy elsewhere. Arizona, California, Michigan, Mississippi, and Rhode Island have some of the worst track records in the country when it comes to closing the gap, which should net them a big goose-egg in some sections of the RTT scoring rubric.

New Achievement Gap Analysis Suggests Four Ways to Gain a More Comprehensive Picture of Equity. (2010). The Education Trust. Retrieved January 10, 2011 from: http://www.edtrust.org/sites/edtrust.org/files/publications/files/NAEP%20Gap_0.pdf

Next Generation Charter Schools: Meeting the Needs of Latinos and English Language Learners

Author: Melissa Lazarín and Feliza Ortiz-Licon; Center for American Progress. National Council of La Raza

Summary: The Obama administration has supported the expansion of charter schools, and these schools tend to be populated in disproportionately high numbers by Latinos and ELLs. Therefore charter schools need to cater to their specific student bodies, and this report discusses several effective strategies as well as a few specific school profiles who execute them well; the recommendations can be applied at charter and traditional public schools alike. It also discusses current charter school laws.

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Tags: Instructional Programs;

Target Population: Elementary, Middle, High School

Research Questions the Report Poses: Why does Latino and ELL achievement matter in charter schools? How should charter schools accommodate their large numbers of Latino and ELL students?

Findings:

  • With ever-increasing numbers of Latino immigrants and thus ELLs, it is clear that they will play a role in the country's future and economy; therefore schools today need to prepare these students for college and career.
  • Many charter schools are excelling at catering to their specific Latino and ELL populations, and their strategies can serve as models for other charter schools as well as traditional public schools.

Policy Recommendations:

  • Accelerated curricula, incorporating language learning and a core curriculum simultaneously
  • Expanded school schedule (longer school day, week, or year)
  • Training all staff in working with ELLs, in both language and cultural competence
  • Engaging parents (ie bilingual materials and recruitment efforts, more school-related activities to attend) and collaborating with the community
  • For state policy, open-enrollment policies and lottery processes
  • Maintain flexibility/freedom of charter schools to cater to their specific student populations

To order a hard copy of the report, contact:
Center for American Progress 1333 H Street NW, 10th Floor Washington DC, 20005

Lazarín, M. & Ortiz-Licon, F. (2010). Next Generation Charter Schools: Meeting the Needs of Latinos and English Language Learners. Washington, DC: Center for American Progress.

Portrait of a Population: How English Language Learners are Putting Schools to the Test

Author: Education Week; Pew Center on the States

Summary: Education Week's Quality Counts 2009 report focuses for the first time on English language learners. Produced in partnership with the Pew Center on the States, "Portrait of a Population: How English Language Learners are Putting Schools to the Test" provides a comprehensive look at state education policies and their impact on ELLs' achievement. The report includes detailed, state-specific data on funding for ELL programs, teacher preparation standards, instructional programs, and student outcomes. There are also articles on a variety of topics related to ELLs, including assessment, immigration, state policies, current research, and teacher preparation. A highlight of the report is a series of student profiles, featuring ELL students from around the world. This report is a must-read for anyone who works with English language learners. *Report must be purchased.

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Tags: Instructional Programs; Intervention; Rights, Students;

Target Population: All

Research Questions the Report Poses: What are the individual states' policies on English language learners and how are they impacting ELLs' achievement?

To order a hard copy of the report, contact:
Purchase a copy for $6.00 at www.edweek.org/go/buyQC or by calling 1-800-445-8250. Or subscribe to Education Week: www.edweek.org/go/subscribe.

Education Week. (2009). Portrait of a Population: How English Language Learners are Putting Schools to the Test. Bethesda, Maryland.

Pre-K and Latinos: The Foundation for America's Future

Author: Pre–K Now; Eugene E. Garcia and Danielle M. Gonzales

Summary: Latino families care about education, but many do not participate in preschool programs. Although Latinos are at great risk for school failure, research shows that they benefit more from Pre-K programs than children of other ethnic groups. This report from Pre-K Now discusses how to make preschool effective and accessible so that all Latino children get a strong foundation for learning.

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Tags: Bilingual Instruction; Bilingualism / Biliteracy; Latino ELL Students; Parent Involvement and Outreach / PTA; Reading;

Target Population: Preschool

Research Questions the Report Poses: How does Pre–K education positively impact the Latino population?

Findings:

  • Despite education being prominent and important in many Latinos' home countries, many Latinos in the United States do not have their children enrolled in Pre-K programs.
  • Pre-K programs are often cost-prohibitive for Latinos or unavailable in their areas.
  • Research shows that disadvantaged children who receive Pre-K education stand to make the biggest gains from that education.

Policy Recommendations:

  • Outreach to parents needs to be more effective. Parents of ELLs need to know about the options available to them in terms of Pre-K programs available.
  • Pre–K instruction needs to be available in the home language of minorities, especially ELLs.
  • In conjunction with the above, critical staff at Pre-K programs need to be bilingual to accommodate more ELL students' language needs.
  • Enrollment and eligibility requirements both need to be modified so as not to discriminate against ELLs or hinder them from getting into Pre–K programs.

Garcia, E.E., Gonzales, D.M. (2006). Pre-K and Latinos: The Foundation for America's Future. Pre-K Now Research Series: Washington, DC.

Report on the Status of Hispanics in Education: Overcoming a History of Neglect

Author: National Education Association; Richard Verdugo

Summary: Hispanic students often face unique challenges in student achievement. Because of high levels of poverty, limited English language skills, and immigration factors, Hispanic students must overcome socioeconomic, language, cultural and barriers to succeed in school.

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Tags: Instructional Programs; Latino ELL Students;

Target Population: Preschool; Elementary; Middle; High School; Post-Secondary

Research Questions the Report Poses: What are the issues facing Hispanic students? How can educators, researchers, communities and policy-makers help Hispanic students overcome these barriers?

Findings:
The report outlines six key issues in the education of the Hispanic population:

  • Innovative classroom strategies including culturally responsive and technology enriched teaching.
  • School funding equity
  • Professional development for teachers
  • Early education and post-secondary education
  • The politics of immigration, and migrant education
  • Educator recruitment and retention

Policy Recommendations:

  • Analyze barriers that Hispanic students face in gaining access to college
  • Provide parents with financial information that can be used for students' college education
  • Improve teacher's education programs. Teachers are not well prepared for teaching Hispanic students, especially Hispanic ELL students.
  • Reduce class sizes, improve student resources, and student social services
  • Teachers should be exposed to a curriculum during their university years that teachers them cultural understanding and sensitivity
  • Work to pass legislation that changes property tax laws and state laws to broaden the school funding base

To order a hard copy of the report, contact:
Visit www.nea.org or call (202) 833-4000

Verdugo, Richard R. (2006. "Report on the Status of Hispanics in Education: Overcoming a History of Neglect." National Education Association.

Resource Needs for California's English Learners

Author: University of California Linguistic Minority Research Institute/ Patricia Gándara and Russell W. Rumberger

Summary: Linguistic minorities are students who come from households where English is not the main language spoken. Most of these students do not come to school proficient in English. There is a learning gap between many linguistic minorities and native English speakers that can persist throughout school. Most linguistic minorities require additional resources and support to be successful in school.

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Tags: Intervention; Language Proficiency;

Target Population: Preschool, Elementary, Middle, High School, Post-Secondary

Research Questions the Report Poses:

  1. What are the demographic characteristics and academic performance outcomes of language minority and English learner students in California public schools?
  2. What conceptual framework is appropriate for analyzing the resource needs of linguistic minority students?
  3. What resources are needed to provide an adequate education for California English learners?
  4. How have past studies estimated the cost of these resource needs?
  5. What approach do the authors recommend for estimating the cost of educating English learners and linguistic minority students in California?

Findings:

  • Socioeconomic differences do not account for all differences in the needs of all ELL students
  • Gaps in poverty are harder to close than gaps in language
  • Resources that would help ELL students achieve English and academic proficiency include:
    1. Primary language materials (student's home language)
    2. Assessments in the primary language; and
    3. teachers and staff who speak the languages of the students

Policy Recommendations:

  • A sufficient number of teachers who have specific knowledge about the structure of language, know how to use assessments to measure language proficiency, and are bilingual;
  • Extra support personnel;
  • Appropriate instructional materials;
  • Valid and comprehensive assessments;
  • Effective school organization that provides EL students with a safe, controlled space in which to use English;
  • Effective school leadership; and
  • Appropriate district and state support.

To order a hard copy of the report, contact:
n/a

Gandara, P. & Rumberger, R. W. (2007, March). Resource needs for California's English learners. Stanford, CA: University of California Linguistic Minority Research Institute.

Reviving Magnet Schools: Strengthening a Successful Choice Option

Author: Frankenberg, E. & Siegel-Hawley, G. The Civil Rights Project/ Proyecto Derechos Civiles.

Summary:

The following policy brief refocuses our attention on the more longstanding magnet sector. Data from a 2011 survey of magnet school leaders indicates that magnet schools are continuing to evolve. Significant differences emerged between the two most recent magnet-funding cycles, the first overseen by the Bush Administration (in the midst of the Parents Involved decision) and the second by Obama's Department of Education. Respondents connected to the 2010-2013 funding cycle indicated that their magnet programs were associated with more inclusive admissions processes, a resurgence of interest in pursuing racially diverse enrollments and an increased willingness to allow out-of-district students to attend magnet programs. Respondents from all federal funding cycles reported that their magnet schools were linked to evidence of heightened academic achievement, very high levels of demand and self-sustaining programs (i.e. the magnet school or program continued to flourish after the funding cycle ended).

While the respondent pool was not large, and though federally funded magnets are simply a subset of all magnet programs, the data highlight early signs of what may be an important shift towards the original goals of the magnet concept. Survey participants also underscored the ongoing popularity and success of their magnet programs. More research is, of course, needed, but all of these trends indicate that it is important to continue to provide support for the magnet school sector, and to include equalizing federal funding for magnet and charter school programs as part of a federal policy agenda focused on innovation and equity.

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Target Population: All

Research Questions the Report Poses: Will Magnet Schools make a comeback?

Findings:

  • More than 80% of respondents indicated that magnet school student achievement rose in the years following the receipt of federal dollars.
  • More than 95% of all magnet school grant awardees said that federal funding was used to offer unique curricula or teaching methods previously not available, to provide professional development for faculty and staff, and to purchase equipment to upgrade learning technology. In other words, federal funding provides essential support for magnet school development.
  • According to all survey participants, nearly three-quarters (72.5%) of the federally-funded magnet schools were oversubscribed, indicating that there was more demand than available seats at magnet schools.
  • Approximately 66% of all survey participants reported that students from other districts were allowed to attend magnet programs, an important finding given that most contemporary segregation occurs between different school districts, rather than within the same district.

Policy Recommendations:

  • Given what respondents describe as very important uses for federal MSAP funds, more fiscal support is needed to expand and sustain the magnet sector.
  • Given the positive characteristics linked to magnets in this report, as well as others (see, e.g. Betts, 2006; Cobb, Bifulco & Bell, 2009; Gamoran, 1995; Silver & Saunders, 2008), school turnaround strategies promoted by the Obama Administration should absolutely include conversion to a magnet program.
  • Federal support for further research is sorely needed. New studies should begin to unpack a contemporary definition for magnet schools, explore the types of districts in which magnets operate (and where they might expand), and provide a detailed analysis of the financial assistance needed to start up successful magnet program(s), among other potential topics.
  • Findings from this survey indicated that the design and description of MSAP grant opportunities can significantly influence the characteristics of magnet schools. Future grant cycle notifications should sustain the emphasis on reducing racial isolation.

To order a hard copy of the report, contact:
Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies 8370 Math Sciences, Box 951521 Los Angeles, CA 90095-1521

Frankenberg, E. & Siegel-Hawley, G. (2012). Reviving Magnet Schools: Strengthening a Successful Choice Option. The Civil Rights Project/ Proyecto Derechos Civiles.

Sharp Growth in Suburban Minority Enrollment Yields Modest Gains in School Diversity

Author: Richard Fry, Pew Hispanic Center

Summary: This article analyzes the increased number of minority groups now attending suburban school districts and the benefits gain from current programs available. Recent data demonstrates how cities like Knoxville, Memphis, and Nashville are now facing "hyper-growth" in the Latino population. While the increased numbers of minority students in suburban schools has slightly reduced ethnic and racial segregation in the nation's public schools, trends vary for different minority groups, community types, school districts and individual schools.

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Tags: American Indian ELL Students; Asian ELL Students; Bilingualism / Biliteracy; Latino ELL Students; Other ELL Students (Middle Eastern, African, European, etc.);

Target Population: General, especially U.S. minority groups

Research Questions the Report Poses: This report analyzes the demographic trends as more minority students attend suburban school districts in the United States. In addition, the researchers examined a number of individual school districts with high rates of change.

Findings:

  • Suburban schools have become increasingly important educators of the nation's minority student populations.
  • Every individual suburban school district experienced minority student growth slightly differently.
  • As a result of the rapid growth in minority students and flat growth among white students, 287 of the nation's 2,808 suburban school districts have become majority-minority school districts since 1993-94.
  • The vast majority (18) of the fastest-growing suburban districts in terms of black enrollment are in the Midwest.
  • Several school districts in suburban Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville experienced hyper-growth in their Hispanic student populations since 1993-94. Among Asian suburban students, numerous school districts in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Atlanta metro areas are among the 25 fastest-growing suburban school districts.
  • Though there has been a marked diversification of many of the nation’s suburban school districts, this does not necessarily mean that suburban students are experiencing greater racial/ethnic interaction at the level of the individual school.
  • If suburban schools are highly segregated, with whites attending one set of schools and minority students a different set of schools, then minority student growth will not result in suburban white students attending schools with greater proportions of minority students and will not increase the exposure of white students to non-white students.
  • When students of different racial/ethnic background do not attend the same schools, the potential exists that they also may not attend the same type of schools, i.e., schools of similar quality and level of resources.
  • Some evidence suggests that racial imbalances in peers have significant effects on minority student achievement (Hanushek and Rivkin, 2006; Harris, 2006).
  • Public opinion surveys reveal that adults by large margins support having America's racial/ethnic mix represented in the student bodies of public schools (Elam, Rose and Gallup, 1996).

To order a hard copy of the report, contact:
Pew Research Center 1615 L Street, NW, Suite 700 Washington, DC 20036-5610

Fry, Richard. (2009). Sharp Growth in Suburban Minority Enrollment Yields Modest Gains in School Diversity. Washington, D.C. Pew Hispanic Center.

So Many Schools, So Few Options: How Mayor Bloomberg's Small High School Reforms Deny Full Access to English Language Learners

Author: The New York Immigration Coalition and Advocates for Children of New York

Summary: Although ELLs make up about 11.4% of the New York City high school population, in 2005-2006, 93 of 183 schools examined in this report had less than 5% of ELLs in their student body. This means that more than half of the high schools in the city had a very small ELL population. A policy that the NYC Department of Education has in place is to "allow small schools to exclude ELLs in [their] first two years of operation" (p. 7). Failure to follow required accommodation laws is also keeping ELLs out of many NYC high schools. In the borough of Queens, which has the most ELL students, only 7% of new high schools were built. Overall, the new plan toward having smaller schools in New York City is keeping ELLs from getting equal access to quality instruction because resources for ELL instruction are not prevalent.

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Tags: Intervention; Rights, Students;

Target Population: High school

Research Questions the Report Poses: To what extent, if any, have ELLs actually been included in New York City's small high schools reform initiative?

Findings:

  • As a result of the new schools program, ELL students are largely sequestered to a few schools with high percentages of ELLs while many other schools offer very little, if any, instruction or resources for ELLs.
  • Because new schools are not being built in areas where ELLs are highly concentrated, ELLs are being kept from new schools.
  • Most schools classified as small by this report (about 500 students) fail to provide adequate resources for ELL instruction.
  • Because small schools are inadequately prepared to instruct ELLs, these students are forced to go to large, failing schools, which are the type of schools that the new schools plan was supposed to cut down on.

Policy Recommendations:

  • Increase ELLs' access to small schools by building more small schools in areas where ELLs most commonly reside.
  • Improve the high school admissions process so that ELLs are not excluded or kept out of small schools because of their ELL status.

To order a hard copy of the report, contact:
Advocates for Children of New York
151 West 30th Street — 5th Floor
New York, NY 10001
E-Mail: info@advocatesforchildren.org
Phone: (212)-947-9779
Fax: (212)-947-9790

The New York Immigration Coalition and Advocates for Children of New York. (2006, November). So Many Schools, So Few Options: How Mayor Bloomberg's Small High School Reforms Deny Full Access to English Language Learners. New York, NY: The New York Immigration Coalition and Advocates for Children of New York.

Student Transience in North Carolina: The Effects of School Mobility on Student Outcomes Using Longitudinal Data

Author: National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research: Zeyu Xu, Jane Hannaway, and Stephanie D'Souza.

Summary: This article discusses the significance and reasons behind school mobility, its effects on all students, and the determined factors that encourage mobility during the school year. The authors highlight the negative effects of school mobility at any period of the school year, not only for the students who are moving, but also for the schools who frequently receive new students in their classroom. The article also shows current data obtained from states like North Carolina that have shown an increased rate in school mobility on Hispanic students.

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Tags: American Indian ELL Students; Asian ELL Students; Differentiated Instruction; Latino ELL Students; Other ELL Students (Middle Eastern, African, European, etc.); Parent Involvement and Outreach / PTA; Rights, Parents; Rights, Students; Struggling Readers;

Target Population: Parents, teachers, and advocates of elementary and middle schools' education.

Research Questions the Report Poses: This article raises the question of the impact of school mobility and its negative effects on student's educational outcomes.

Findings:

  • Hispanic immigrants show the highest mobility rates in states like North Carolina and California.
  • Current data shows that a student and its family move from state to state more than three times a year during the first grades of elementary school.
  • The negative effect of constant moving is the disruption it causes in the new classroom and in the children involved in this moving process.

Policy Recommendations:

  • School districts should monitor students' mobility, especially those students who are moving constantly causing academic disruption in any new classroom.
  • School districts should also provide counseling to families who are flagged by mobility rates to ameliorate this situation and prevent constant moving.

To order a hard copy of the report, contact:
Hard copies can be ordered from CALDER and the Urban Institute.

Xu, Z., Hannaway, J., and D'Souza, S. (2009). Student Transience in North Carolina: The Effect of School Mobility on Student Outcomes Using Longitudinal Data. North Carolina: National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research.

Succeeding With English Language Learners: Lessons Learned from the Great City Schools

Author: The Council of the Great City Schools Authors: Amanda Rose Horwitz; Gabriela Uro; Ricki Price-Baugh; Candace Simon; Renata Uzzell; Sharon Lewis; Michael Casserly

Summary: This study examines district-level ELL policies and practices as well as the historical, administrative, and programmatic contexts of four school systems with ELL student achievement growth between 2002 and 2006. This growth is contrasted with two districts with minimal growth in ELL achievement. The authors' exploration of instructional reform strategies sheds light on the experiences of large urban districts and highlights specific strategies for reform while underscoring the differences between the districts with improvements for ELL students and those without.

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Tags: Language Proficiency;

Target Population: K-12 Urban Districts

Research Questions the Report Poses:

  • Can we identify school districts that have experienced improved student achievement among ELLs?
  • What is the historical, administrative, and programmatic context within which ELL student achievement is improving in these districts?
  • What district-level strategies are being used to improve ELL student achievement and reduce disparities between ELL and non-ELLs?
  • What is the connection between policies, practices, and strategies at the district level and actual changes in teaching and learning experienced by ELLs in their schools and classrooms?
  • In what ways do the experiences and strategies of improving districts differ from those of school systems that serve similar populations, but that have yet to make similar progress?

Findings:

Contextual Features

  • Shared Vision for Reform
  • Leadership and Advocacy on Behalf of ELLs
  • Empowerment of the ELL Office
  • External Forces as Catalyst for Reforms

Promising Practices

  • Comprehensive Planning and Adoption of Language Development Strategies for ELLs
  • Extensive and Continuous Support for Implementation
  • A Culture of Collaboration and Shared Accountability
  • Hybrid Models of Instructional Management and Local Empowerment
  • Strategic School Staffing
  • High Quality, Relevant Professional Development
  • The Use of Student Data
  • Reallocation and Strategic Use of ELL Funds

Limiting Factors

  • No Coherent Vision or Strategy for the Instruction of ELLs System-wide
  • Site-Based Management without Support, Oversight, or Explicit Accountability for Student Progress
  • Lack of Access to the General Curriculum
  • No Systematic Use of Disaggregated Student Data
  • Inconsistent Leadership
  • No Systemic Efforts to Build ELL Staff Capacity
  • Compartmentalization of ELL Departments and Staff
  • The ELL Office Lacked Capacity and Authority

Policy Recommendations:

Contextual Recommendations

  • Develop clear instructional vision and high expectations for ELLs
  • Approach external pressure to improve services for ELLs and other students as an asset rather than a liability
  • Incorporate accountability for ELLs organizationally into the broader instructional operation of the school district
  • Empower strong ELL program administrators to oversee progress
  • Pursue community support for initiatives designed to accelerate achievement among English language learners

Strategic and Instructional Recommendations

  • Review general education and ELL programs to ensure that there is an explicit focus on building academic literacy and cultivating English language development
  • Ensure that all teachers of ELLs have access to high quality professional development that provides differentiated instructional strategies, promotes the effective use of student assessment data, and develops skills for supporting second-language acquisition across the curriculum
  • Assess district standards for hiring, placing, and retaining teachers, paraprofessionals, and staff members who work directly with ELLs to ensure that these students have access to highly qualified personnel
  • Conduct a comprehensive assessment of the level of access that ELLs have to the entire spectrum of district course offerings, including gifted and talented programs and special education
  • Ensure that resources generated by and allocated for English language learners are properly and effectively expended to provide quality ELL instruction and services
  • Develop a system for tracking multiple measures of ELLs' educational progress

To order a hard copy of the report, contact:
The Council of the Great City Schools 1301 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Suite 702 Washington, DC 20004 202-393-2427 202-393-2400 (fax)

Horowitz, A.R., et al. (2009). Succeeding with English Language Learners: Lessons learned from the Great City Schools. Washington, D.C.: The Council of the Great City Schools.

The Financial Aid Challenge: Successful Practices that Address the Underutilization of Financial Aid in Community Colleges

Author: College Board Advocacy & Policy Center

Summary: The report discusses successful strategies community colleges can use to: inform their students of financial aid options, assist in submitting applications, seek community aid, and ultimately increase the number of students applying for financial aid. It includes both short-term and long-term recommendations, and both overviews of techniques as well as specific examples.

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Tags: Intervention; Motivation; Parent Involvement and Outreach / PTA; Rights, Students;

Target Population: Post-Secondary

Research Questions the Report Poses: How can community colleges increase the number of students who apply for financial aid?

Findings:
It is not the lack of available information on filing for FAFSA to blame for the lower percentages of community college students applying for financial aid, but rather the failure of community colleges to disseminate information and reach out to students individually and proactively. Because community colleges face funding limitations themselves, they must use more creative methods to reach students. Community colleges must consider their respective circumstances and student populations; however the most consistently applicable strategies are initiating personal interactions and suggesting practical solutions.

Policy Recommendations:
Short-Term:

  • Increase student access to financial aid information (ie bilingual services and materials; evening and weekend office hours; multimedia.)
  • Involve the community (ie inform parents, coordinate with high schools, collaborate with community organizations that provide the same help.)
  • Link financial aid application with college registration
  • Conduct workshops/information sessions about financial aid geared to specific audiences
Long-Term:
  • Survey students on how they get their community information.
  • Establish a common/statewide system for financial aid administration.
  • Establish mentor and then transition programs in high schools.

College Board Advocacy & Policy Center. (2010). The Financial Aid Challenge: Successful Practices that Address the Underutilization of Financial Aid in Community Colleges. New York, New York: College Board.

The Importance of Segregation, Discrimination, Peer Dynamics, and Identity in Explaining Trends in the Racial Achievement Gap

Author: R. G. Fryer, National Bureau of Economic Research

Summary: The report analyzes and investigates the reason for the achievement gap widening in the 1990's and in subsequent years. It seeks to understand how "economic models of segregation, information-based discrimination, peer dynamics, and identity" affect this gap and steps that can be undertaken to avoid it.

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Tags: Intervention; Rights, Students;

Target Population: All

Research Questions the Report Poses: How do “economic models of segregation, information-based discrimination, peer dynamics, and identity” relate to/affect the achievement gap between blacks and whites?

Findings:

  • Segregation is an unlikely answer unless one finds evidence that suggests the price of segregation changed drastically over the relevant time period.
  • Models of information-based discrimination are also unlikely to explain the trends in the racial achievement gap. This class of models has the troubling feature that the return on investment is lower for the group who is discriminated against. Yet, data suggest the opposite.
  • Models of peer dynamics and identity -both relatively new to the field of social economics-have the potential to explain the data. Their differences are subtle: the identity model depends on a shift in preferences which eschews achievement; a peer dynamic framework predicts that achievement and social mobility will be negatively correlated. Further data and refinement of these models are needed to eventually solve this important puzzle.

Fryer, R.G. (2010, August). The Importance of Segregation, Discrimination, Peer Dynamics, and Identity in Explaining Trends in the Racial Achievement Gap. National Bureau of Economic Research. Retrieved January 5, 2011 from: http://www.nber.org/papers/w16257

The Latino Education Crisis: Rescuing the American Dream

Author: WestEd; Patricia Gándara

Summary: Achievement gaps between Latinos and most other students are enormous and getting worse, in spite of progress for other minority groups. Such effects will be devastating given rising job market demands and increasing representation of Latinos in the workforce. Public policy and academic achievement relates to six key areas that need to be addressed: early and continuing cognitive enrichment, housing policies that promote integration and residential stability, integrated social services at school sites, recruiting and preparing extraordinary teachers, exploiting Latino linguistic advantage, and college preparation and support programs.

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Tags: Bilingual Instruction; Bilingualism / Biliteracy; Latino ELL Students; Parent Involvement and Outreach / PTA;

Target Population: Preschool, Elementary, Middle, High School, Post-Secondary

Findings:

  • In 2008, Latinos were about half as likely as African Americans and a third as likely as White students to obtain a college degree.
  • “According to the U.S. Census, almost 29 percent of Latino children lived below the poverty line nationally in 2007 (compared to 15 percent of White children), and the effects of poverty on intellectual and academic achievement can be pernicious.”
  • Latina mothers have the lowest education of all ethnic groups.
  • Low-income Latino parents are often overlooked by schools often related to low levels of education or limited English.
  • Learning to read and build vocabulary in Spanish can be an key stepping stone to learning English.
  • A randomized study of preschool programs (English bilingual versus two-way immersion) Spanish-speaking students in the dual-language program showed significant growth in Spanish vocabulary with similar learning gains.
  • Latino children of poverty often have fewer “opportunities to learn,” which can impede learning.
  • Latino children, especially those learning English, who enter school underprepared need significant additional instructional time.
  • In the West, 60% of Latinos in large cities attend schools with 90-100% non-white peers. English language learners face similar hyper-segregation that limits social capital.
  • “Housing is the fulcrum of opportunity.” Segregated housing perpetuates intergenerational inequality.
  • Latino students are more likely than others to move frequently, which can have a negative impact on academic achievement.
  • Many Latino students are out of school a significant time due to preventable illness as a result of lack of health care access.
  • Integrated physical and mental health, when implemented well, can impact children’s health, achievement, and mobility.
  • California’s Healthy Start centers showed extensive effects but has been defunded.
  • Well-prepared teachers for Latino students are hard to attract and retain.
  • American schools often treat speaking a language other than English as an impediment, unlike other developed nations. This limits the human resource and cognitive advantage of being literate in another language.
  • Students in two-way immersion classes have positive intercultural relations.
  • College access and preparation programs, which often begin too late or include too few students, are severely limited in effect.
  • Most Latino students attend two-year colleges, which are less likely to provide financial aid. Lack of funding is a key deterrent for Latinos going to college.
  • RAND study indicated that doubling college completion rate of Latinos would cost $6.5 billion but benefit society by $13 billion.

Policy Recommendations:

  • Early and continuing cognitive enrichment
    • Early intervention that extends parents’ “Funds of knowledge”
    • Preschool that builds incorporates home language
    • Use of bilingual instruction with good models of both languages
    • Subsidized preschool programs
  • Housing Policies
    • “Latino students must be assigned to schools that will give them the chance to break the vicious cycle of poor schooling and limited opportunity.”
    • Changing school boundaries to prevent socioeconomic and linguistic isolation
    • Desegregated housing (mayoral collaboration with school boards)
    • Policies to help low-income families establish stable housing in a community
    • School desegregation and residential stabilization
  • Integrated Social Services
    • Concerted effort to establish more school-based health clinics for low-income students/families
    • Universal health care accessed at school sites or local communities
  • Recruiting and Preparing Extraordinary Teachers
    • Recruit teachers from students’ communities
    • Improving work conditions (smaller classes, supportive leadership, planning time, and safe campuses)
    • Targeted recruitment and tuition support for teachers in bilingual programs.
  • Exploiting the Latino Linguistic Advantage
    • Languages should be seen as resources.
  • College Preparation and Support Programs
    • Bridge K-12 schools with institutes of higher education.
    • Recruit Latino students
    • Create supports for peer study and social groups
    • Place the best teachers in freshman classes
    • Extend program components beyond the freshman year
    • Acknowledge cumulative skill development
    • Provide meaningful financial aid
    • Cost-free four-year education for qualified individuals (through alignment of federal and state aid)
    • Support for the passage of the Dream Act that would provide undocumented students with no criminal record conditional legal status and access to student aid
    • Supports for dual language programs
    • Dropout prevention and college access programs

Gándara, P. (2010). The Latino Education Crisis: Rescuing the American Dream. WestEd. Retrieved from: http://www.wested.org/online_pubs/pp-10-02.pdf

The Long-Term Impacts of Teachers: Teacher Value-Added and Student Outcomes in Adulthood

Author: Chetty, R., Friedman, J.N., & Rockoff, J.E. National Bureau of Economic Research.

Summary:

Are teachers' impacts on students' test scores ("value-added") a good measure of their quality? This question has sparked debate largely because of disagreement about (1) whether value-added (VA) provides unbiased estimates of teachers’ impacts on student achievement and (2) whether high-VA teachers improve students' long-term outcomes. This report addresses these two issues by analyzing school district data from grades 3-8 for 2.5 million children linked to tax records on parent characteristics and adult outcomes.

It finds no evidence of bias in VA estimates using previously unobserved parent characteristics and a quasi-experimental research design based on changes in teaching staff. Students assigned to high-VA teachers are more likely to attend college, attend higher- ranked colleges, earn higher salaries, live in higher SES neighborhoods, and save more for retirement. They are also less likely to have children as teenagers. Teachers have large impacts in all grades from 4 to 8. On average, a one standard deviation improvement in teacher VA in a single grade raises earnings by about 1% at age 28. Replacing a teacher whose VA is in the bottom 5% with an average teacher would increase the present value of students' lifetime income by more than $250,000 for the average class- room in our sample. The report concludes that good teachers create substantial economic value and that test score impacts are helpful in identifying such teachers.

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Target Population: All

Research Questions the Report Poses: Are teachers' impacts on students' test scores ("value-added") a good measure of their quality?

Findings:

  • Using VA measures in high-stakes evaluations could induce responses such as teaching to the test or cheating, eroding the signal in VA measures.
  • Whether or not VA should be used as a policy tool, the results suggest that parents would place great value on having their child in the classroom of a high value-added teacher.
  • A teacher whose true VA is 1 SD above the median who is contemplating leaving a school. Each child would gain approximately $25,000 in total (undiscounted) lifetime earnings from having this teacher instead of the median teacher.
  • With an annual discount rate of 5%, the parents of a classroom of average size should be willing to pool resources and pay this teacher approximately $130,000 ($4,600 per parent) to stay and teach their children during the next school year.

Policy Recommendations:
N/A

To order a hard copy of the report, contact:
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138

Chetty, R., Friedman, J.N., & Rockoff, J.E. (2011). The Long-Term Impacts of Teachers: Teacher Value-Added and Student Outcomes in Adulthood. National Bureau of Economic Research.

The Rising Price of Inequality: How Inadequate Grant Aid Limits College Access and Persistence

Author: Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance.

Summary: The Advisory Committee on Student Finance is required to report and monitor the condition of college access for low and moderate income families to Congress. A part of this report is the adequacy of grant aids for those students and their effectiveness.

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Tags: Intervention; Rights, Students;

Target Population: Post-secondary

Research Questions the Report Poses: How do grant aid limit college assess and persistence among low-income and moderate income graduates?

Findings:

  • Large-scale mismatches exist and are growing between the aspirations and qualifications of these high school graduates and where they are able financially to enroll in college.
  • Triggered by increasing family financial concerns about college expenses and financial aid, these mismatches are shifting initial enrollment of qualified students away from 4-year colleges.
  • Shifts in initial enrollment are consequential because where qualified high school graduates are able to start college (access) largely determines their likelihood of success (persistence).
  • Exacerbating the negative impact of enrollment shifts, persistence rates today appear to be lower, especially for qualified high school graduates who are unable financially to start at a 4-year college.
  • Maintaining financial access to 4-year public colleges for qualified high school graduates is of paramount policy importance.
  • Between 1992 and 2004, initial enrollment rates of academically qualified low- and moderate-income high school graduates in 4-year colleges shifted downward: from 54 percent to 40 percent, and from 59 percent to 53 percent, respectively.
  • The cause appears to have been an increase in the importance of college expenses and financial aid to parents and students between 1992 and 2004 (Table 4, page 17). Differences in family financial concerns accounted for 45 percentage points difference in 4-year college enrollment for in 2004.
  • High school graduates from low-income families who started at a 4-year college earned a bachelor's degree over three times more often than their peers who started at a 2-year college, 62 percent vs. 20 percent. Their peers from moderate-income income families earned the degree nearly twice as often, 67 percent vs. 34 percent (table 7, page 26). Given current policies, shifts in enrollment from 4-year to 2-year colleges have implications for degree completion.
  • Persistence of low-income high school graduates five years after starting at a 4-year college has fallen from 78 percent to 75 percent; for those from moderate-income families, persistence has remained at 81 percent (figure 25, page 27). For those starting at a 2-year college, persistence has fallen significantly .

Policy Recommendations:

  • In addition, given steadily rising net prices and cumulative loan burdens, and the considerable impact of parent financial concerns in 10th grade on college enrollment behavior, a national experiment is required. Its purpose would be to determine the impact on family financial concerns of current features of the federal student loan programs - in particular, the income-contingency and forgiveness provisions. This study should determine how the programs might be improved to offset the negative effects of financial concerns on students taking the steps of testing, applying, and enrolling in a 4-year college (exhibit five, page 35).
  • Improving academic preparation alone might raise the rates to only 27 percent and 39 percent, respectively (table 13, page 37).
  • Improving access (enrollment) alone might raise the rates to only 33 percent and 42 percent, respectively (table 14, page 38).
  • Improving persistence alone might raise the rates to only 34 percent and 45 percent, respectively (table 15, page 39).
  • Conduct a National Loan Experiment.
  • Implement a Comprehensive Federal Strategy.

“The Rising Price of Inequality: How Inadequate Grant Aid Limits College Access and Persistence”. (2010). Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance. Retrieved August 3, 2010 from: http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2010/2010015.pdf

The Role of Schools in the English Language Learner Achievement Gap

Author: Richard Fry. Pew Hispanic Center.

Summary: English language learners tend to be concentrated together in schools with low student achievement and low standardized test scores, comprising a large proportion of the student body. "The Role of Schools in the English Language Learner Achievement Gap," a new report by Rick Fry of the Pew Hispanic Center, describes the characteristics of these schools and discusses their ultimate impact on English language learners' academic achievement.

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Tags: Content Areas: Math; Intervention; Language Proficiency;

Target Population: Elementary, Middle, High School

Research Questions the Report Poses: What is the extent of ELL concentration in low-achieving public schools, and to what degree does this isolation contribute to the large achievement gap in math between ELLs and other student groups?

Findings:

  • The achievement gap between ELLs and English-speakers is significantly larger in schools where the concentration (%) of ELLs is high, as opposed to narrower gaps in schools with a lower proportion of ELLs.
  • Therefore lag in test score achievement of ELLs is attributable in part to the characteristics of the public schools they attend.
  • White and black students who attend the public schools in which ELL students are concentrated are doing worse than their peers who attend public schools with few English language learner students. (for example, in California, 75% of white 3rd graders and 46% of black 3rd graders performed at or above state math proficiency, in schools below the "minimum threshold level" of ELLs, whereas only 67% white and 34% black achieved the same in schools with more ELLs (above that minimum threshold level).
  • Nationally, the ELL student population is expected to grow rapidly, from 12.3 million in 2005 to a projected 17.9 million in 2020; a significant portion of these children of immigrants will likely require ELL services.
  • In the 5 states with large ELL student populations, the proportion of ELL students scoring at or above math proficiency is often below that of black students. (e.g. 22% of 8th grade ELLs in Texas versus 44% of black 8th graders.)
  • In both elementary and middle school grades in these states ELL students are much less likely than white students to score at or above math proficiency, with gaps in the double-digits.
  • Common composition of the public schools with ELL concentrations: in central cities, higher enrollment than other public schools in the same state, higher student-to-teacher ratios, greater proportion of students qualifying for free or reduced-price school lunches, more likely designated a Title I school (large proportion of economically disadvantaged, receive federal funding).

Richard Fry. The Role of Schools in the English Language Learner Achievement Gap. Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center, June 2008. Retrieved from: http://pewhispanic.org/files/reports/89.pdf

Wealth Gaps Rise to Record Highs Between Whites, Blacks, Hispanics: Twenty-to-One

Author: Fry, R., Kochhar, R. & Taylor, P. Pew Research Center.

Summary:

Hispanics and blacks are the nation's two largest minority groups, making up 16% and 12% of the U.S. population respectively. These findings are based on the Pew Research Center's analysis of data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), an economic questionnaire distributed periodically to tens of thousands of households by the U.S. Census Bureau. It is considered the most comprehensive source of data about household wealth in the United States by race and ethnicity. The two most recent administrations of SIPP that focused on household wealth were in 2005 and 2009. Data from the 2009 survey were only recently made available to researchers.

This report presents net worth and asset ownership figures from wave 6 of the 2004 panel of the Survey of Income Program and Participation (SIPP) and wave 4 of the 2008 SIPP panel. These waves were conducted at the end of 2005 and 2009, respectively. SIPP is a longitudinal survey of households conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. By design, SIPP oversamples low-income households and thus surveys large numbers of minority households. SIPP has periodically collected detailed wealth data since 1984 and is considered an authoritative source on the wealth of American households. As with any survey, estimates from SIPP are subject to sampling and non-sampling errors.

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Target Population: N/A

Research Questions the Report Poses: What (if present) are the wealth gaps between Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics?

Findings:

  • From 2005 to 2009, inflation-adjusted median wealth fell by 66% among Hispanic households and 53% among black households, compared with just 16% among white households.
  • About a third of black (35%) and Hispanic (31%) households had zero or negative net worth in 2009, compared with 15% of white households.
  • The net worth of Hispanic households decreased from $18,359 in 2005 to $6,325 in 2009. The percentage drop—66%—was the largest among all groups.
  • In 2005, mean white household wealth was 2.3 times that of Hispanics and 3 times that of blacks. By 2009, it was 3.7 times that of both Hispanics and blacks.

Policy Recommendations:
N/A

To order a hard copy of the report, contact:
Pew Research Center 1615 L Street, NW Suite 700 Washington, DC 20036

Fry, R., Kochhar, R. & Taylor, P. (2011). Wealth Gaps Rise to Record Highs Between Whites, Blacks, Hispanics: Twenty-to-One. Pew Research Center.

Why Segregation Matters: Poverty and Educational Inequality

Author: Gary Olfield and Chungmei Lee

Summary: The report focuses on segregation and the increased segregation in schools by socio-economic status. With an emphasis on multiracial discrimination, poverty, and segregation, the authors present a variety of ELL demographic data by region related to poverty. In addition, the authors show how rapidly changing demographic changes challenge more typical notions of segregation.

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Tags: Rights, Students;

Target Population: Preschool, Elementary, Middle, High School, Post-Secondary

Research Questions the Report Poses: What connections exist between segregation by race, segregation by poverty, and unequal opportunity?

Findings:
N/A

Policy Recommendations:

The authors recommend:

  • A concerted effort to avoid high concentrations of low-income students within isolated schools.
  • Assignment and choice policies that foster more diverse schools.
  • Housing and land use policies designed on a regional basis to foster access for all students to strong schools and educational diversity.
  • Examining the social consequences of proposals to terminate desegregation plans that lower isolation by race and class.
  • Examining the impacts of Latino segregation and of multiracial schools.
  • Encouraging schools to examine classroom segregation by class and race.
  • School reforms designed to address rapidly changing socioeconomic realities.
  • Fostering racial and economic diversity in charter schools.
  • Court orders and remedial plans designed to address findings of educational inadequacy.

To order a hard copy of the report, contact:
The Civil Rights Project / Proyecto Derechos Civiles 8370 Math Sciences, Box 951521 Los Angeles, CA 90095-1521

Orfield, G. and Lee, C. (2005, January). Why segregation matters: Poverty and educational inequality. Cambridge, MA: Civil Rights Project Harvard University.