What We Are Reading: Opportunity Youth, ESEA Waivers, and Common Core

Looking for new high school-related resources?  Here are some pieces that other organizations have recently released:*

The Economic Value of Opportunity Youth (Civic Enterprises, January 2012). This report presents a detailed picture of the size of “opportunity youth” in the U.S., their demographic makeup and activities, as well as the social and fiscal costs they present. Opportunity youth may have dropped out of high school or college and been unable to find work; may have been involved in the criminal justice system; may have mental or health conditions that have inhibited their activities; or may have care-giving responsibilities in their families.

Waiving Away High School Graduation Rate Accountability? (Alliance for Excellent Education, January 2012). The state waiver process currently underway presents an opportunity to strengthen college and career readiness among the nation’s high school students. Unfortunately, the waiver applications as submitted may also have the unintended consequence of weakening high school graduation rate accountability—a major indicator of how well high schools are preparing students for future education and work.

The Costs of Online Learning (Thomas B. Fordham Institute, January 2012). The latest installment of the Fordham Institute’s Creating Sound Policy for Digital Learning series investigates one of the more controversial aspects of digital learning: How much does it cost? In this paper, the Parthenon Group uses interviews with more than fifty vendors and online-schooling experts to estimate today's average per-pupil cost for a variety of schooling models, traditional and online, and presents a nuanced analysis of the important variance in cost between different school designs. 

Preparing for Change: A National Perspective on Common Core State Standards Implementation Planning (Education First & EPE Research Center, January 2012). This study is intended to inform state policymakers, SEA staff, and other stakeholders interested in better understanding the progress states have made toward implementing common standards. This work should also be of particular use to those providing technical assistance or resources to states regarding CCSS implementation.

Year Two of Implementing the Common Core State Standards: States' Progress and Challenges (Center on Education Policy, January 25, 2012). This report, based on a fall 2011 survey of 35 Common Core State Standards-adopting states (including the District of Columbia), examines states’ progress in transitioning the new standards.  

A Public Education Primer: Basic (and Sometimes Surprising) Facts about the U.S. Education System, 2012 Revised Edition (Center on Education Policy, January 19, 2012). The 2012 Public Education Primer highlights important, and sometimes little-known, facts concerning the U.S. education system, how things have changed over time, and how they may change in the future. Together, these facts provide a comprehensive picture of the nation’s public schools, including data about students, teachers, funding, achievement, management, and non-academic services.

Reflections on a Half-Century of School Reform: Why Have We Fallen Short and Where Do We Go From Here? (Center on Education Policy, January 27, 2012). Upon his retirement from the leadership of CEP, Jack Jennings reviews in this paper the three major school reform efforts of the last 50 years, proposes an agenda focused on the classroom, and advocates for the creation of a federal civil right to a good education to advance that agenda.

*Resource descriptions provided by the sponsoring organization.

Note: This blog post was originally authored under the auspices of the National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research (AIR). The National High School Center’s blog, High School Matters, which ran until March 2013, provided an objective perspective on the latest research, issues, and events that affected high school improvement. The CCRS Center plans to continue relevant work originally developed under the National High School Center grant. National High School Center blog posts that pertain to CCRS Center issues are included on this website as a resource to our stakeholders.

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