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Low-Income Students

Early Ed’s 10 Hot Spots to Watch in 2013

January 4, 2013
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Each January, Early Ed Watch predicts where we will see the most action, innovation and consternation in the year ahead. Here are the hot spots we see for 2013. Notable is the absence of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary School Act, otherwise known as No Child Left Behind. Prognosticators don’t give the bill much chance of making progress this year, given stalemates between the two houses of Congress.

The Child Care Development Block Grant, on the other hand, could see some action on Capitol Hill.  Debates on how to evaluate teachers will likely continue to dominate, as they did in 2011 and 2012. And at least one topic has popped up consistently since 2010 when we started this exercise: Head Start reform via the new "re-competition” process.

New Resources on Head Start

December 12, 2012

Yesterday the Early Education Initiative issued a new report by Maggie Severns, “Reforming Head Start.” In addition to this issue brief on Head Start “recompetition,” readers can also access our new Head Start background and analysis page, which was released in September as part of our pre-K expansion of the Federal Education Budget Project.

Pre-K in Mississippi and Oklahoma: A Study in Contrast

December 10, 2012

They are both red states with conservative legislatures. But when it comes to investments in pre-K, Mississippi and Oklahoma have taken entirely different approaches. While Oklahoma has invested in universal voluntary preschool to all families that want to enroll their 4-year-olds, Mississippi is one of the few states in the country that doesn't spend a dime on preschool education for its population, not even for the neediest.

New Research on Low-Income Youth, Assets, and Educational Access

November 30, 2012

Academic research is sometimes said to “collect dust on the shelf.” A recently published report shows this is not always the case.

The Assets and Education Initiative at the University of Kansas’ School of Social Welfare and the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis, along with their partners, bridge this gap between research and application. By producing solid research and engaging with policymakers, practitioners, and advocates, AEDI and CSD inform policy initiatives and bring their research to practice.

Morehouse: A Cautionary Tale in PLUS loans

November 15, 2012
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Morehouse, a private, all-male, liberal arts college, is one of the most prestigious historically black colleges in the nation. With a mission to develop men with disciplined minds who will lead lives of leadership and service, and a notable alumni list that includes Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Morehouse attracts some of the best and brightest. So why has this esteemed, selective institution of higher education suddenly been forced to furlough faculty and staff? The answer proves to be both surprising and unsettling: Parent PLUS Loans.

As I’ve written here before, Parent PLUS loans have increasingly become a burden for many families. While the federal government issues these loans, they are most similar to private loans and require parents to pay a high, fixed interest rate of 7.9 percent (plus a 4 percent origination fee, for a total APR of about 9 percent). Parents borrow these loans on behalf of their college-going children, and must meet minimal standards to qualify (more minimal than for private loans).  Unlike federal Stafford or Perkins loans, there is no cap on PLUS loans. Parents may borrow up to the full “Cost of Attendance” (COA) of the institution.

Here’s the problem: Morehouse is expensive. Its COA for 2011-2012 was around $44,000. Even when taking into account federal, state, and institutional financial aid, its average net price was $23,324. For students from families with incomes at or below $30,000, the net price was $23,036. Think about that. Some families are paying more than what they make in one year to send their children to Morehouse.  And Morehouse attracts a significant percentage of low-income students—almost 50 percent receive Pell Grants.

Podcast: New Findings on D.C. Schools' Education Reforms

November 13, 2012
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When Michelle Rhee was chancellor of DCPS, one of her chief accomplishments was negotiating a new contract with the teachers union that included a new teacher evaluation system. The system, called IMPACT, was designed to keep good teachers in the classroom through incentives like merit pay and weed out the bad by giving the district the power to fire teachers who were repeatedly ranked at the bottom.

IMPACT rates teachers on a variety of metrics, from their students' test scores to classroom observations. It has been both controversial and held up by education reformers as a model for how other districts could begin evaluating teachers in a holistic way. In some ways, the methods for observing teachers are similar to those of the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS), the Danielson Framework for Teaching and other evaluation systems that are catching on in the early childhood world in that it both evaluates teachers and gives them opportunities for feedback and mentoring. 

DC has been using this system since 2009, so two school years have passed since it began. This month, The New Teacher Project released a report that addresses important questions about how the new teacher evaluation system is playing out. In this podcast, Dan Weisberg of The New Teacher Project and Anne Hyslop of the New America Foundation discuss the new report and what it says about the future of the teaching workforce. Maggie Severns hosts.

Click here to listen to the podcast. You can also subscribe to our podcasts in iTunes, and download previous podcasts from our online archive.

Guest Post: America’s Report Card Gives U.S. Poor Grades on Children’s Issues

November 7, 2012

Editor's note: This post originally appeared on New America's Education Policy program blog, Early Ed Watch.

A new report from two child advocacy groups, First Focus and Save the Children, gave the United States a grade of C- on children’s issues for last year. The report, America’s Report Card 2012, considered White House, federal agency, state and community efforts on family economic security; early childhood and K-12 education; permanency and stability in welfare programs and for immigrant families; and children’s health and safety. The groups examined federal, state and local efforts in each of these areas, and gave scores according to qualitative analyses.

America’s Report Card Gives U.S. Poor Grades on Children’s Issues

November 5, 2012

A new report from two child advocacy groups, First Focus and Save the Children, gave the United States a grade of C- on children’s issues for last year. The report, America’s Report Card 2012, considered White House, federal agency, state and community efforts on family economic security; early childhood and K-12 education; permanency and stability in welfare programs and for immigrant families; and children’s health and safety.

Governor Mitt Romney's Higher Education Record

November 5, 2012
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Last week we highlighted President Barack Obama’s higher education hits and misses during his time in office. With the presidential election fast approaching, we thought it would only be fair to take a look at Mitt Romney’s higher education record during his tenure as governor of Massachusetts.

Even though the candidates mentioned very little about higher education during the debates, Governor Romney’s record in Massachusetts provides some insight into how higher education might fare under a Romney presidency:

  1. Not afraid to cut higher education: When Romney took office Massachusetts was facing a $600 million budget gap in addition to a potential $3 billion dollar deficit.  Within weeks of taking office, Romney instituted a package of emergency budget measures that cut $12 million from the $1 billion higher education budget. And Romney continued to slash the budget during his years in office—between 2001 (when his predecessor was in office) and 2005, Massachusetts saw a reduction of 33 percent in state spending. While Romney has touted throughout the presidential campaign that Massachusetts has the best public k-12 education system in the nation, under his watch, Massachusetts ranked 49th in the nation in higher education spending, spending more money on prisons than on higher education.

The Single Largest Advantage Parents Can Give Their Kids

  • By
  • Annie Murphy Paul,
  • New America Foundation
October 24, 2012 |

Given all the roiling debates about how America’s children should be taught, it may come as a surprise to learn that students spend less than 15% of their time in school. While there’s no doubt that school is important, a clutch of recent studies reminds us that parents are even more so.

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