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PublicationPrograms for Young Children: State Policy Options(1987-10-01) University of Pennsylvania
Young Children Face the States: Issues and Options for Early Childhood Programs by W. Norton Grubb is summarized in this policy brief. The report discusses the many decisions state policymakers must make as they seek to respond to needs of today's parents and children. It also describes the historical conflicts that persist within the early childhood movement and the status of early childhood education policy across the country.
PublicationThe Effects of High School Organization on Dropping Out(1989-02-01) Bryk, Anthony S; Thum, Yeow MengThis paper examines the effects of school characteristics on both the probability of dropping out and the strongest predictor of dropping out - absenteeism. The authors employ a sub-sample from the High School and Beyond database which contains results of background questionnaires and standardized achievement tests given in 1980 to approximately 30,000 sophomores in 110 public and private high schools. The students, both those still in school as well as those who had dropped out, were resurveyed two years later. Supplemental school data were also obtained from principal questionnaires. PublicationGraduating From High School: New Standards in the States(1989-04-01) University of Pennsylvania
This brief examines attempts by states to improve public education by increasing high school course requirements in 1989. According to a report published by the Center for Policy Research in Education, these attempts have had mixed results. As a result of the reforms, low-and middle-achieving students are taking more courses in science and math, but there are serious questions about the quality of the courses themselves. This issue of CPRE Policy Briefs is based on the report which was written with assistance from Paula White and Janice Patterson.
PublicationState Education Reform in the 1980s(1989-11-01) University of Pennsylvania
To shed light on these questions, in 1986 the Center for Policy Research in Education (CPRE) began a five-year study of the implementation and effects of state education reforms in six states chosen for their diverse approaches to reform: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania.
Some findings from the first three years of this research were published by CPRE in a report, The Progress of Reform: An appraisal of State Education Initiatives, written by William A. Firestone, Susan H. Fuhrman and Michael W. Kirst. In writing the report, the authors relied to a great extent on research conducted by their colleagues on specific reform policies in the six states and others. They also drew from other reports and studies on the status of reform and from structured conversations with national association representatives and reform leaders in other states.
This issue of CPRE Policy Brigs contains material from the report which provides an interim assessment of the 1980s reforms
PublicationRepeating Grades in School: Current Practice and Research Evidence(1990) University of Pennsylvania
Retaining students in grade is often used as a means to raise educational standards. Many believe that repeating a grade is an effective remedy for students who have failed to master basic skills. Therefore, grade retention is relatively prevalent in this nation.
However, research on student retention indicates that it does not work as intended to assure mastery of skills, avoid failure at higher grade levels and lower dropout rates. This issue of CPRE Policy Briefs is based on material in a recently published book, Flunking Grades: Research and Policies on Retention (London: Falmer, 1989). The book's editors, Lorrie A. Shepard and Mary Lee Smith, address a series of questions abut the practice of grade retention and the research evidence.
PublicationDecentralization and Policy Design(1990-05-01) University of Pennsylvania
This brief focuses on design issues surrounding policies aimed at decentralization, drawing from three CPRE reports - Working Models of Choice in Public Education, Richard Elmore; Diversity Amidst Standardization: State differential Treatment of Districts, Susan Fuhrman; and School District Restructuring in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Martin Carnoy and Jean McDonnell.
Across the nation, states and school districts are exploring different ways to give schools more autonomy. Proponents of decentralization point to research finds that link school effectiveness to school-level discretion and examples of corporate restructuring where decentralized and simplified administration has increased efficiency. The decentralization movement has also gained momentum from the argument that those who are ultimately responsible for the success of teaching and learning-- teachers, students and parents--need to participate in key school-level decisions about instruction.
PublicationPutting the Pieces Together: Systems for School Reform(1991-04-01) University of Pennsylvania
This brief summarizes Systemic School Reform by Marshal S. Smith and Jennifer O'Day, which appears in full in The Politics of Curriculum and Testing, edited by Susan Fuhrman and Betty Malen (Falmer 1991).
"Systemic School Reform" is an analytic essay which draws on research conducted by CPRE and others about the effectiveness of current education policies. The author also looked at developing policy systems in a number of states. Smith and O'Day propose a design for a systemic state structure that supports school-site efforts to improve classroom instruction and learning. The structure would be based on clear and challenging standards for student learning; policy components would be tied to the standards and reinforce one another in providing guidance to schools and teachers about instruction.
PublicationEquality in Education: Progress, Problems and Possibilities(1991-06-01) University of Pennsylvania
This brief highlights findings from "Educational Equality: 1966 and Now" by Marshall S. Smith and Jennifer O'Day, which observes that there is evidence of considerable progress toward the goal of equality of educational outcomes; gaps in achievement between African American and white students, and to a lesser extent between income groups, have been substantially reduced.
PublicationKeeping College Affordable: A Proposal From Two Economists(1992-05-01) University of Pennsylvania
In order to broaden discussion about higher education finance, this policy brief outlines a proposal for a major change in federal financial aid, state tuition, and state financial aid policies. The proposal is drawn from the book Keeping College Affordable: Government and Educational Opportunity by Michael S. McPherson and Morton Owen Schapiro.
PublicationTen Lessons About Regulation and Schooling(1992-06-01) University of Pennsylvania
For the past several years, researchers at the Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE) have been examining state regulation of districts and schools. This policy brief summarizes the highlights of CPRE's analyses and research. It is based primarily on four state case studies of different approaches to regulatory treatment. It also draws from other research on state policy and state-local relations.
PublicationNew Fiscal Realities in Higher Education(1992-10-01) University of Pennsylvania
This issue of CPRE Finance Briefs draws from a study conducted by Massy and Wilfer for the Finance Center of the Consortium for Policy Research in Education. The study examines how post secondary academic departments work in order to identify organizational incentives that can improve productivity.
PublicationSchool-Based Management: Strategies for Success(1993) University of Pennsylvania
This issue of CPRE Finance Briefs offers a new definition of school-based management and describes strategies for decentralizing management to improve the design of SBM plans. The design strategies focus on the four components of control: power, knowledge, information, and rewards.
Research on the private sector shows large-scale change, such as decentralization, cannot be simply installed. Rather it unfolds over time through a gradual learning process. Therefore, the transition to SBM is best approached by establishing structures and processes that enable groups of people to discuss new directions, try new approaches, and learn from them. The second part of this finance brief offers strategies for managing the change to school-based management.
PublicationSchool Finance Reform: The Role of the Courts(1993-02-01) University of Pennsylvania
This issue of CPRE Finance Briefs evaluates the statues of seven fundamental problems of school finance litigation and reform, presents the three-part remedy, justifies the remedy as good policy, and concludes with a look ahead to the emerging concept of "program equity."
PublicationDeveloping Content Standards: Creating a Process for Change(1993-10-01) University of Pennsylvania
Education leaders at every level of the system are developing standards to specify what students should know and be able to do in key subject areas. Local and state groups, professional organizations, and consortia of states and districts are constructing standards. This brief outlines some lessons suggested by past and current efforts to develop ambitious standards. It draws on studies by CPRE researchers of standards-setting processes in five states: Vermont, Kentucky, New York, California, and South Carolina; and three national curriculum standards projects.
PublicationTeachers' Professional Development and Education Reform(1993-10-01) University of Pennsylvania
This issue of CPRE Policy Briefs contains excerpts from Little's article, "Teacher Professional Development in a Climate of Educational Reform." The brief addresses the problem of "fit" between current state and local reforms and prevailing approaches to professional development. The first section summarizes the major themes of reform; the second focuses on the policy dilemma these reforms present for professional development; the third describes emerging alternatives to traditional professional development' and the final section suggests principles to guide the design of professional development opportunities.
PublicationPolitics and Systemic Education Reform(1994-04-01) Fuhrman, Susan H.; Fuhrman, Susan H.This brief describes political challenges to systemic reform and explores the condition under which coherent policy-making might occur. PublicationIncluding School Finance in Systemic Reform Strategies: A Commentary(1994-05-01) Odden, AllanThis 1994 CPRE Finance Brief takes a look at the school finance issue and proposes that education funding be tied more closely to systemic reform initiatives. It next describes past trends in school finance and current challenges to traditional education funding sources. Policy implications of these changes are presented, followed by a discussion of possible components of a finance system based on systemic reform. PublicationReforming Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education: NSF's State Systemic Initiatives(1994-05-01) University of Pennsylvania
This brief presents some initial observations about the Statewide Systemic Initiatives based on the first two years of an evaluation study, and discusses some of the issues state and local leaders faced as they attempted to transform science, mathematics, and technology education (1994).
PublicationReform of High School Mathematics and Science and Opportunity to Learn(1994-09-01) Porter, Andrew C; Porter, Andrew C; Kirst, Michael W; Osthoff, Eric; Smithson, John L; Schneider, Steven AThis brief concerns the nature of the high school mathematics and science curriculum in the United States. It draws from a large study which documented instructional practices and content using novel methodologies. This research approach is a promising step toward the development of indicators of opportunity to learn. The study also provides encouraging news about the effects of increased standards in math and science - they did not result in a watering down of the curriculum. However, practice in the schools studied is a far cry from the ambitious goals for math and science instruction now being developed by the profession. PublicationChallenges in Systemic Education Reform(1994-09-01) Fuhrman, Susan H.Reform is generating a great deal of excitement and energy is associated with many positive classroom changes. But policymakers and educators are also facing a number of challenges in designing and implementing the new policies. This policy brief examines these challenges as well as strategies states are using to address them. It draws from CPRE's studies of reform in 19 states and from discussions with staff of policymaker associations involved in providing assistance to states.