A new study finds that the odds of teachers in charter schools leaving their jobs is 230 percent greater than teachers at traditional public schools in their states.


The Philadelphia school system began a long-running — and much-studied — experiment with privately managed schools in 2002. That's when frustrated state officials took over the struggling district, parceling out some of the worst-performing schools to for-profit and nonprofit providers. Studies continue to differ, though, on how well that little venture has worked out. The newest such study, posted online today at the American Journal of Education, makes the case that, at least in the middle grades, the privately managed schools have not kept up, academically, with the rest of the system's schools. Researcher Vaughan Byrnes of Johns Hopkins University analyzed...


In yesterday's post on an updated study of Teach For America teachers in North Carolina high schools, I mused about whether the same pattern of findings would hold true in elementary schools. In other words, would Teach For America teachers be more effective than the teachers that students would otherwise have? Apparently so, according to reader Paul Decker. Decker, who also happens to be the president and chief executive officer of Mathematica Policy Research Inc., reminded me of a study he co-authored in 2004 that involved more than 2,000 students in elementary schools in Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, New ...


The Urban Institute made national headlines last spring when it released an influential study suggesting that Teach For America recruits were more effective than other teachers in North Carolina's high schools. One criticism of the study at the time, though, was that the researchers were comparing the TFA teachers with a group of teachers with a hodgepodge of training. In answer to the critics, researchers Zeyu Wu, Jane Hannaway, and Colin Taylor decided to update their study with a larger sample of teachers and students. They added data for 32 teachers and more than 2,000 students, and re-ran the ...


The blogs were buzzing over the weekend with the latest findings from the federal evaluation of the District of Columbia's Opportunity Scholarship Program. You can catch some of the chatter here and here. Also, see the full story on EdWeek's homepage today. Begun in 2004, the program attracts notice because it's the first federally funded school voucher program in the United States and it's up for renewal. In the first two years of the study, though, the federally funded researchers found the voucher students were not doing any better academically than those who had applied for—but failed to nab—one...


Here's today's quiz item for readers: In the illustration at right, draw a line to show that the bottle is half full. Easy, right? Apparently, not for everyone. Pennsylvania State University researcher Lynn Liben has posed this question to hundreds of adults and children and found that surprisingly high percentages of them get it wrong. Instead of drawing a line parallel to the horizon—that's the right answer, in case you're spatially challenged—test-takers might draw slanted lines in different directions. And females are more likely than males to answer incorrectly, or to be unsure of their answers. The problem,...


Flypaper appears to have the scoop on who will be the Obama administration's choice to head the Institute of Education Sciences. It's another Chicagoan: John Q. Easton, the executive director of the Consortium on Chicago School Research. You can read his biographical information here. According to the blog post, Easton's nomination is still in the vetting process, but, unless he has unanticipated tax problems that threaten to derail his Senate confirmation, he is set to replace Grover J. "Russ" Whitehurst, who left the institute directorship in November. The consortium does not do much in the way of randomized controlled trials, ...


I have a story in today's online edition of Education Week that describes a spate of disappointing findings coming out of the large-scale, randomized studies that the Institute of Education Sciences has been underwriting in recent years. Experts contend that randomized studies—in other words. experiments in which participants are randomly assigned to either treatment or control groups—are the "gold standard" for determining what works in education and in many other fields. So there was much hope that this new generation of studies would point to some strong programs that practitioners would feel confident about using in their own...


If this article in Friday's issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education is correct, attendance is going to be down at next month's meeting of the American Educational Research Association. The Washington-based group typically draws between 12,000 and 16,000 researchers to its yearly conventions. And this year's meeting is scheduled to take place April 13-17 in sunny San Diego, a not unattractive destination. But the association is anticipating a dip in attendance because of the current economic climate. Budget constraints, in fact, have prompted some state university systems to limit convention travel to professors or other faculty members ...


Remedial courses are intended to provide an academic leg up to students who come to college lacking the academic skills they need to survive in higher education. But the courses can be expensive, costing colleges across the nation an estimated $1 billion a year. And students don't get academic credit for remedial coursework, which can lengthen the time it takes for them to earn a degree and start a career. So are remedial courses worth all that expense and time? Possibly not, according to a new study that's in the publishing pipeline. Paco Martorell of the RAND Corp. and Isaac ...


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