Posted on October 1, 2003
Funding for Elementary and Secondary Education - Related Readings
PND Special Issue: Funding for Elementary and Secondary Education - Related Readings
Annenberg Foundation. Annenberg Challenge: Lessons and Reflections on Public School Reform (St. Davids, PA: Annenberg Foundation).
With an initial commitment of $500 million from the Annenberg Foundation, the Annenberg Challenge was launched in 1993 to inspire philanthropic institutions, government agencies, and corporations to contribute to public school reform nationwide. The initiative raised an additional $600 million in matching grants, creating the largest public/private partnership devoted to improving public education in American history. This report, published nine years after the initial gift, reviews the findings and recommendations generated over the course of the initiative; describes the initiative's progress in revitalizing arts education in America; and summarizes the successes and failures of the eighteen school improvement projects launched under the initiative's banner. (PDF, 61 pages)
Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. Leaving Teachers Behind: How a Key Requirement of the No Child Left Behind Act (Putting a Highly Qualified Teacher in Every Class) Has Been Abandoned (Washington, D.C.: ACORN).
Although the No Child Left Behind Act was designed to help all children succeed academically, it may not, according to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), be delivering on an important promise to make sure every student has a qualified teacher. Based on data from twenty-four states and seventy-three school districts, the report finds that the Bush administration is implementing the act's provisions on school choice, supplemental services, and academic testing, while ignoring key requirements related to teachers. While the act promised parents proof that their child's teachers are "highly qualified," the report shows that, to date, only 38 percent of states have teacher data in their state report cards, while 42 percent have not even defined what "highly qualified" means. (HTML)
Food Research and Action Center. School Breakfast Scorecard (Washington, D.C.: Food Research and Action Center).
The Food Research and Action Center, a nonprofit organization that advocates for more effective anti-hunger policies, has released its annual scorecard on the government's School Breakfast Program. According to the report, more than 8.1 million children were served breakfasts daily in March 2002, including 6.7 million low-income children who received free or reduced-price meals. The report also details barriers to expansion of the program, including late bus arrivals, early scheduling, and lack of parental awareness.(PDF, 37 pages)
Ford Foundation. Ford Foundation Report, Fall 2002 (New York City: Ford Foundation).
The fall 2002 issue of the Ford Foundation Report focuses on education reforms at the elementary, high school, and college levels. The cover story, "Ten Percent in Texas," by Rose Gutfeld, examines that state's approach to promoting diversity at its institutions of higher education without relying on affirmative action. In "A Pearl of a School," Rob Blezard looks at the model language-immersion program developed by teachers and administrators at the Oyster Bilingual Elementary School in Washington, D.C. And in "High School Plus," Ron Feemster profiles the Middle College High School program at LaGuardia Community College in Queens, New York, a program that provides a small group of students with a mix of high school and college courses during their junior and senior years, followed by a year of full-time community college.
Gambone Associates. First Things First: Creating the Conditions & Capacity for Community-Wide Reform in an Urban School District (Kansas City: Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation).
With funding from the Kauffman Foundation, the Kansas City (Kansas) School District began working with the Institute for Research and Reform in Education in 1997 to develop First Things First, a comprehensive school-improvement initiative. The 20,000-student district implemented the plan in 1998 and received an additional $9.6 million from the foundation in 2001 to continue its efforts. Recently, the foundation released this report, which documents the strategies and activities of the initiative and reports on its early results. (PDF, 97 pages)
Gardner, Matthew. Tax Options for Arkansas: Funding Education After the Lake View Case (Little Rock, Arkansas: Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation).
With only two hundred students, one school, and a meager budget, the Lake View School District in eastern Arkansas sued the state in 1992, claiming that its education funding formula was biased in favor of larger school districts. In 2002 the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that the state's school system was both inequitable and inadequate and ordered policy makers to bring schools in the state up to constitutionally mandated standards by 2004. According to this report, new taxes will be necessary to meet the mandate, even if the state consolidates school administrative costs and cuts spending in other areas. Created to inform policy makers and the public, the report examines possible changes in tax policy that would increase revenue for education reform as well as the implications of those changes for taxpayers in different income brackets. (PDF, 66 pages)
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. High Time for High School Reform (Seattle: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation).
The Gates Foundation has released an evaluation of its National School District and Network Grants program. Based primarily on qualitative and quantitative data collected in the spring of 2002, the report contrasts the experiences of educators and students at small high schools in the first year of operation with their counterparts at large schools planning conversions into smaller units and model small schools. The report, the first in a series to be produced over the five-year course of the program, also describes the roles played by intermediary organizations receiving funding from the program. (PDF, 9 pages)
Hamilton, Laura S. Making Sense of Test-Based Accountability in Education (Santa Monica: Rand Corporation).
The No Child Left Behind Act passed by Congress and signed by President Bush in 2001 requires standardized tests for schoolchildren as a way to hold public education systems accountable and ensure that all children have the opportunity to receive a high-quality education. In response to the growing emphasis on testing, the RAND Corporation has published this report to help educators and policy makers better understand the issues related to test-based accountability. The final chapter offers practical recommendations and advice for more effective test-based accountability systems. (PDF, 169 pages)
Hettleman, Kalman R. The Invisible Dyslexics: How Public School Systems in Baltimore and Elsewhere Discriminate Against Poor Children in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Early Reading Difficulties (Baltimore: Abell Foundation).
This report from the Baltimore-based Abell Foundation argues that the failure to recognize early reading difficulties is disproportionately harmful to poor and minority students. Written by education advocate Kalman R. Hettleman, the report finds that at least 20 percent of children in the Baltimore City Public School System and other large urban districts qualify as "invisible dyslexics" that is, students whose academic futures are at risk because they may not receive help in time, or at all. The report discusses barriers to proper reading instruction in early education, outlines principles for early identification and intervention, and offers ideas for a project to help at-risk students master fundamental skills. (PDF, 37 pages)
King, Maxwell, Grant Oliphant. "Tough Love" (Pittsburgh: Heinz Endowments).
In the summer of 2002, three Pittsburgh foundations the Heinz Endowments, the Grable Foundation, and the Pittsburgh Foundation announced that they were suspending their funding for the Pittsburgh Public School District because of worrisome changes in the district's governance, leadership, and fiscal discipline. The cover story of the fall 2002 edition of "H," the quarterly publication of the Heinz Endowments, explains the thinking that went into the decision and what the Endowments hoped to accomplish by it. (PDF, 44 pages)
Kroll, Janet. Setting the Stage for Success: Bringing Parents into Education Reform as Advocates for Higher Student Achievement (Philadelphia: Pew Charitable Trusts).
As part of its Returning Results initiative, the Pew Charitable Trusts released this report, which is based on its evaluation of the Commonwealth Institute for Parent Leadership (CIPL), an initiative of the Kentucky-based Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence. The report addresses several questions related to the effectiveness of the Institute model and provides insights into the structuring of effective partnerships among foundations, grantee organizations, and evaluators. (PDF, 16 pages)
Public Agenda. Stand by Me: What Teachers Really Think About Unions, Merit Pay and Other Professional Matters (New York City: Public Agenda).
According to a June 2003 survey from nonprofit opinion research organization Public Agenda, public school teachers say they love their work and are confident in their ability to reach and teach most students. But a majority (59 percent) feel that, because so much that affects learning is beyond their control, they are unfairly held accountable for raising student achievement. This report examines teachers' views on unions, tenure, pay-for-performance, alternative certification, and other issues and finds that while most teachers are strong supporters of standards, a sense of vulnerability, along with fears of politics and favoritism, make them loyal to the tenure system and their unions, and highly skeptical about pay tied to student test scores. (HTML)
Public Agenda. Where We Are Now: 12 Things You Need to Know About Public Opinion and Public Schools (New York: Public Agenda).
Drawing on a decade of research on public thinking about schools, this report from Public Agenda finds that teachers are discouraged about uninvolved parents, administrators are besieged by red tape, and everyone is worried about the unruly, disrespectful, and sometimes violent atmosphere in public schools. Nevertheless, the report, which was funded by Washington Mutual, reveals strong support for the standards movement, and finds that all groups, even students, believe that testing forces children to work harder in school. (PDF, 36 pages)
Public Broadcasting System. Reading Rockets: Launching Young Readers (Alexandria, Virginia: PBS)
Nearly 40 percent of fourth-graders nationwide read below the basic level, which means they comprehend very little of what they read, or can barely read at all. To address this alarming statistic, public broadcasting station WETA in Washington, D.C., has created a five-part television series that examines the beginning stages of the reading process using the latest research from top reading experts. The series is part of a larger multimedia initiative designed to help young children learn to read and to rovide parents, educators, and caregivers with the information they need to help children become competent readers. (HTML)
Steinberg, Adria and Lili Allen. From Large to Small: Strategies for Personalizing the High School (Boston: Jobs for the Future).
Restructuring large high schools into smaller learning communities to better serve students is gaining momentum across the U.S. as an education reform strategy. This publication from Jobs for the Future (JFF) and the Northeast and Islands Regional Laboratory, a program of the Education Alliance at Brown University, makes a strong case for small schools and provides concrete guideposts to help education leaders implement the strategy. The report, by Lili Allen and Adria Steinberg, explores the structural, organizational, and political challenges involved in the process and profiles a number of successful small schools, alternative schools, and youth development programs. (PDF, 28 pages)