In 2003, The Wallace Foundation began an initiative that eventually included five cities -- Boston, Chicago, New York City, Providence and Washington, D.C. -- to help them develop afterschool systems. At the time, a few cities and organizations were pioneering this approach (L.A.'s Best in Los Angeles, The After-School Corporation in New York, After School Matters in Chicago), but it was still a novelty. Five years later, Wallace examines lessons learned from this initiative, which posited two central premises:
- Children and teens can gain learning and developmental benefits by frequent participation in high-quality afterschool programs.
- A coordinated approach can increase access to, and improve the quality of, afterschool programs.
Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Northeastern)-Rhode Island-Providence County-Providence;North America-United States (Northeastern)-New York-New York County-New York City;North America-United States (Northeastern)-Massachusetts-Suffolk County-Boston;North America-United States (Midwestern)-Illinois-Chicago Metropolitan Area;North America-United States (DC Metropolitan Area)
Arts and Culture, Education and Literacy
* 58 percent of Chicago arts-school alumni took up residence in the city within 5 years of the date of their last attendance. Of the regions compared in this report, only New York City has a greater portion of its arts-school alumni taking up residence in the city within 5 years, at 66 percent.
* 51 percent of Chicago arts-school alumni were out-of-state applicants who came to Chicago and were still living in the city within five years of their last date of attendance. This is the second highest portion of out-of-state applicants taking up residence in the city of their alma mater. New York City's rate was highest at 54 percent.
* Of arts-school alumni who searched for work, 38 percent of those attending school in Chicago obtained work prior to leaving their institution; 85 percent obtained work within a year. Alumni from other regions had similar experiences.
*50 percent of Chicago's alumni reported that their first job or work experience was "closely related" to their arts-school training. However, alumni from institutions in Los Angeles County, Cleveland/Columbus and New York City reported higher rates of their first work experience being closely related to their arts training.
Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Midwestern)-Illinois-Chicago Metropolitan Area, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Ohio-Cuyahoga County-Cleveland, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Ohio-Franklin County-Columbus, North America-United States (Northeastern)-Massachusetts-Middlesex County-Cambridge, North America-United States (Northeastern)-Massachusetts-Suffolk County-Boston, North America-United States (Northeastern)-New York-New York County-New York City, North America-United States (Western)-California (San Francisco Bay Area), North America-United States (Western)-California-Los Angeles County
Arts and Culture;Education and Literacy
Presents findings from a survey on the availability of arts education in the city's public schools, relevant school traits, funding needs, and partners. Offers recommendations and strategies for a three-year expansion plan. Highlights best practices.
Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Northeastern)-Massachusetts-Suffolk County-Boston;North America-United States (Northeastern)-Massachusetts
The analysis here focuses on Boston's charter high schools. For the purpose of this report, an analysis of high schools is both a necessity and a virtue. It is necessary to study high schools because most students applying to charters in earlier grades are not yet old enough to generate data on postsecondary outcomes. Charter high schools are also of substantial policy interest: a growing body of research argues that high school may be too late for cost-effective human capital interventions. Indeed, impact analyses of interventions for urban youth have mostly generated disappointing results.
This report is interested in ascertaining whether charter schools, which in Massachusetts are largely budget-neutral, can have a substantial impact on the life course of affected students. The set of schools studied here comes from an earlier investigation of the effects of charter attendance in Boston on test scores.
The high schools from the earlier study, which enroll the bulk of charter high school students in Boston, generate statistically and socially significant gains on state assessments in the 10th grade. This report questions whether these gains are sustained.
Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Northeastern)-Massachusetts-Suffolk County-Boston
Children and Youth, Education and Literacy
In 2009, for the first time in a decade, Massachusetts' dropout rate fell below three percent. While this progress is promising, there remain nearly 8,300 students who did not earn their high school diplomas during the 2009-2010 school year. Given that these individuals face significantly lower earning potential, fewer prospects for employment, much higher rates of incarceration and health problems, and are much more likely to utilize public assistance than those who graduate, there is continued cause for concern and attention to the goal of ensuring that every student receives their high school diploma.
In the current environment of constrained resources, many districts are reluctant to launch new programs or improve existing services that provide additional supports for students at risk of dropping out. Declines in revenue combined with rising costs have constricted local education budgets, forcing superintendents and school business officers to make tough decisions about which programs to fund and which must be cut. It is within this context that the Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy engaged in a study to not only explore promising dropout reduction approaches across Massachusetts, but to also examine the costs and benefits of promising practices for reducing the number of students dropping out of school.
Meeting the Challenge: Fiscal Implications of Dropout Prevention in Massachusetts, conducted with support from the Massachusetts Association of School Business Officers (MASBO), explores the approaches, costs and potential financial benefits of implementing dropout reduction strategies. It highlights a diverse group of five Massachusetts districts that have substantially reduced their dropout rates over the past three years and identifies the district-wide policies and school-based strategies that superintendents and principals indicate have contributed to reducing the number of students dropping out of school. The brief also presents two scenarios that illustrate how, for some districts, per pupil funding obtained from increased enrollment due to successful dropout prevention strategies can be allocated to serve at-risk students.
Considerations for School and District Leaders
- Incorporate strategies that promote engagement and student success into every aspect of the school experience.
- Support staff in taking on new roles and responsibilities.
- Analyze data to determine what works and allocate resources accordingly.
- Use the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's Early Warning Indicator Index to budget for dropout prevention initiatives for incoming high school students.
- Formalize strategies for reaching out to and re-engaging students who have dropped out.
Considerations for State Policymakers
- Work to establish sustainable funding streams for districts' dropout prevention initiatives.
- Continue to promote, provide and seek ways to expand data collection and analysis tools for schools and districts.
- Strengthen the ability of districts to establish partnerships with community based social service agencies, local businesses and institutions of higher education.
- Facilitate outreach to dropouts.
- Expand alternative education options.
This policy brief was released at a public event on March 1st, 2011.
Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Northeastern)-Massachusetts
Children and Youth;Education and Literacy;Health;Immigration
Probing the changing makeup of American college campuses, this report by the Public Education Institute at The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. of Malden, MA, offers unparalleled insight into the journeys of today's graduate students born to immigrant entrepreneur parents.
Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Northeastern)-Massachusetts;North America-United States (Western)-California;North America-United States (Northeastern)-Pennsylvania-Philadelphia County-Philadelphia;North America-United States (Southern)-District of Columbia-Washington;Africa;Africa (Southern)-South Africa
Children and Youth;Education and Literacy
Few people hail teachers' unions as leaders of education reform. Teachers' unions are routinely characterized as part of the problem, protecting the interests of members at the expense of quality instruction and exercising unchecked political power. School districts fare little better in the public eye; they are often perceived as large, ineffective bureaucracies which perpetuate under-performance among low-income and minority students. Furthermore, community involvement in public education reform, though a widespread phenomenon, is largely unrecognized in the national policy debate about the future of schools. Given this, it is difficult to imagine three less likely partners in education reform than a local teachers' union (labor), district leaders (management), and local organizations and foundations (community). Yet the work of some education and community leaders has shown that collaboration between labor, management, and community has the potential to build capacity and improve student learning.
Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Northeastern)-Massachusetts
Children and Youth;Education and Literacy
Student learning plans (SLPs) represent an emerging practice in how public schools across the country are supporting the development of students' college and career readiness skills. Learning plans are student-driven planning and monitoring tools that provide opportunities to identify postsecondary goals, explore college and career options and develop the skills necessary to be autonomous, self-regulated learners. Currently, 23 states plus the District of Columbia require that students develop learning plans, and Massachusetts state policymakers are considering whether all middle and high school students should be required to develop learning plans. Legislation is currently pending that calls for the Executive Office of Education to convene an advisory group to investigate and study a development and implementation process for six-year career planning to be coordinated by licensed school guidance counselors for all students in grades 6 to 12.
The purpose of the policy brief Student Learning Plans: Supporting Every Student's Transition to College and Career is to provide policymakers in Massachusetts with a better understanding of what student learning plans are as well as how and to what extent their use is mandated in other states. The brief is organized into five major sections: an overview of SLPs and the rationale for their use in public K-12 education; an overview of the research on the effectiveness of SLPs on improving a variety of student outcomes, including engagement, responsibility, motivation, long-term postsecondary college and career planning; current state trends in mandating SLPs for all students, including the structure and implementation of SLPs, their connection to other high school reform initiatives and their alignment with state and federal career awareness and workforce development initiatives; promising implementation strategies; and, considerations for state policymakers.
Considerations for Massachusetts policymakers include: learn from states that are pioneers in the implementation of SLPs for all students; develop a comprehensive implementation plan; and, strengthen career counseling and career awareness activities in Massachusetts schools.
The policy brief was the subject of discussion during a public webinar on June 30, 2011.
Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Northeastern)-Massachusetts;North America-United States