Road Map Project: 2014 Results Report, The

Education and Literacy

Road Map Project: 2014 Results Report, The

The Road Map Project's annual report card shows data on 29 indicators of student success, which are important measures related to student achievement from cradle through college. Data in the report are often disaggregated by district, student race/ethnicity or income level to illustrate the region's challenges and progress.

The Road Map Project is a region-wide collective impact effort aiming to dramatically improve education results in South King County and South Seattle, the county's areas of greatest need. The project's goal is to double the number of students who are on track to graduate from college or earn a career credential by 2020, and to close opportunity gaps. Seven school districts -- Auburn, Kent, Federal Way, Highline, Renton, Seattle (south-end only) and Tukwila -- are among the hundreds of partners working together toward the Road Map Project's 2020 goal. The 2014 results report includes a special focus on whether the region is on track to reach the goal.

February 2015

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Western)-Washington-King County-Seattle

Blurring Boundaries: Transforming Place, Policies, and Partnerships for Postsecondary Education Attainment in Metropolitan Areas

Education and Literacy;Race and Ethnicity

Blurring Boundaries: Transforming Place, Policies, and Partnerships for Postsecondary Education Attainment in Metropolitan Areas

By 2020, more than six out of 10 U.S. jobs will require postsecondary training. Despite a slight increase in college attainment nationally in recent years, the fastest-growing minority groups are being left behind. Only 25 and 18 percent of Blacks and Hispanics, respectively, hold at least an associate's degree, compared with 39 percent of Whites. Without substantial increases in educational attainment, particularly for our nation's already underserved groups, the United States will have a difficult time developing a robust economy.

Home to 65 percent of Americans, and a majority of all African Americans and Hispanics (74 and 79 percent, respectively), the 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) can play a strong role in developing this nation's workforce. In fact, to reach a national attainment target that meets our workforce needs, more than half of college degrees could be generated from the these cities. The majority of degrees needed among African-American and Hispanic adults could also be produced in MSAs.

Clearly, investing in and organizing around the potential of metropolitan areas is critical, and the stakes have never been higher. Yet the current funding climate requires strategic public and private partnerships to invest in education innovation and human capital development in order to have the most robust impact on sustainable national growth. For this study, the Institute for Higher Education (IHEP) sought to follow up on its previous work examining MSA educational attainment rates by further exploring policies that either inhibit or facilitate degree production, and identifying metropolitan-level, cross-section collaborations that help local leaders contribute to national completion goals.

February 2014

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Southern)-District of Columbia-Washington;North America-United States (Southern)-Maryland-Baltimore;North America-United States (Southern)-Tennessee-Shelby County-Memphis;North America-United States (Western)-Nebraska-Douglas County-Omaha

Death By A Thousand Cuts: Racism, School Closures, and Public School Sabotage

Children and Youth, Education and Literacy

Death By A Thousand Cuts: Racism, School Closures, and Public School Sabotage

The members of Journey for Justice, are comprised of thousands of youth, parents, and other concerned citizens from comĀ­munities of color across the United States. They wrote this report because they need the American people to know that the public education systems in our communities are dying. More accurately, they are being killed by an alliance of misguided, paternalistic "reformers," education profiteers, and those who seek to dismantle the institution of public education. Some are being killed quickly; others are still in the early stages. But it is, at this point, quite clear that there will soon be little to nothing left of our public school systems -- and many more like ours -- unless current trends are disrupted.

May 2014

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Midwestern)-Illinois-Cook County-Chicago, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Michigan-Wayne County-Detroit, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Minnesota-Ramsey County-St. Paul, North America-United States (Northeastern)-Massachusetts-Suffolk County-Boston, North America-United States (Northeastern)-New Jersey-Essex County-Newark, North America-United States (Northeastern)-New Jersey-Hudson County-Jersey City, North America-United States (Northeastern)-New Jersey-Passaic County-Paterson, North America-United States (Northeastern)-New York-New York County-New York City, North America-United States (Northeastern)-Pennsylvania-Allegheny County-Pittsburgh, North America-United States (Northeastern)-Pennsylvania-Philadelphia County-Philadelphia, North America-United States (Southern)-District of Columbia-Washington, North America-United States (Southern)-Louisiana-Orleans Parish-New Orleans, North America-United States-Puerto Rico-Caguas

Charter School Vulnerabilities to Waste. Fraud and Abuse

Education and Literacy

Charter School Vulnerabilities to Waste. Fraud and Abuse

This report echoes a warning from the U.S. Department of Education's Office of the Inspector General. The report draws upon news reports, criminal complaints and more to detail how, in just 15 of the 42 states that have charter schools, charter operators have used school funds illegally to buy personal luxuries for themselves, support their other businesses, and more. The report also includes recommendations for policymakers on how they can address the problem of rampant fraud, waste and abuse in the charter school industry. Both organizations recommend pausing charter expansion until these problems are addressed.

May 2014

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Southwestern)-Arizona, North America-United States (Southern)-Louisiana, North America-United States (Southern)-Florida, North America-United States (Southern)-District of Columbia-Washington, North America-United States (Northeastern)-Pennsylvania, North America-United States (Northeastern)-New York, North America-United States (Western)-Hawaii, North America-United States (Western)-Colorado, North America-United States (Western)-California, North America-United States (Northeastern)-New Jersey, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Wisconsin, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Ohio, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Minnesota, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Illinois, North America-United States (Southwestern)-Texas

Teaching Artists Research Project

Arts and Culture;Education and Literacy

Teaching Artists Research Project

There have been remarkable advances in arts education, both in and out of schools, over the last fifteen years, despite a difficult policy environment. Teaching artists, the hybrid professionals that link the arts to education and community life, are the creative resource behind much of this innovation. Their best efforts are redefining the roles the arts play in public education. Their work is central to arts organizations' strategies for civic engagement and diverse audiences. Excellent research has shown that arts education is instrumental to the social, emotional, and cognitive development of thousands of young people. But little is known about teaching artists. The Teaching Artists Research Project (TARP) deepens our understanding of world of teaching artists through studies in twelve communities, and it will inform policy designed to make their work sustainable, more effective, and more meaningful.

A dozen study sites were selected where funding was available to support exploration of the local conditions and dynamics in arts education: Boston, Seattle, Providence, and eight California communities (San Francisco/Alameda County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Bakersfield, San Bernardino, Santa Cruz, Salinas, and Humboldt County). A thorough literature review was conducted, and NORC conducted stakeholder meetings and focus groups, identified key issues and began designing a multi-methods study that would include surveys for both artists and program managers as well as in-depth interviews of stakeholders -- teaching artists, program managers, school officials, classroom teachers and arts specialists, principals, funders, and arts educators in a wide variety of venues.

There are no professional associations and no accreditation for teaching artists, so a great deal of time was spent building a sample of teaching artists and program managers in every study site. The survey instrument was developed and tested, and then fielded on-line in the study sites sequentially, beginning in Chicago, and ending with the southern California sites. To assure a reliable response rate, online surveys were supplemented by a telephone survey. Lists of potential key informants were accumulated for each site, and interviewers were recruited, hired, and trained in each site. Most of the interviewers were teaching artists themselves, and many had significant field knowledge and familiarity with the landscape of arts education in their community. The surveys collected data on some fundamental questions:

  • Who are teaching artists?
  • Where do they work? Under what terms and conditions?
  • What sort of education have they had?
  • How are they hired and what qualifications do employers look for?
  • How much do they make?
  • How much experience do they have?
  • What drew them to the field? What pushes them out?
  • What are their goals?

Qualitative interviews with a subsample of survey respondents and key informants delved deeply into the dynamics and policies that drive arts education, the curricula and pedagogy teaching artists bring to the work, and personal histories of some artists. The interviews gathered more detailed information on the local character of teaching artist communities, in-depth descriptions and narratives of teaching artists' experiences, and followed up on items or issues that arose in preliminary analysis of the quantitative survey data. These conversations illuminated the work teaching artists believe is their best and identified the kinds of structural and organizational supports that enable work at the highest level. The interview process explored key areas with the artists, such as how to best develop their capacities, understand the dynamics between their artistic and educational practice, and how to keep them engaged in the field. Another critical topic explored during these conversations was how higher education can make a more meaningful and strategic contribution toward preparing young artists to work in the field.

The TARP report includes serious reflection on the conditions and policies that have affected arts education in schools, particularly over the last thirty years, a period of intense school reform efforts and consistent erosion of arts education for students. The report includes new and important qualitative data about teaching artists, documenting their educational background, economic status, the conditions in which they work, and their goals as artists and educators. It also includes new insights about how learning in the arts is associated with learning in general, illuminating findings from other studies that have suggested a powerful connection between arts education and positive outcomes for students in a wide range of domains.

September 2011

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Western)-Washington-King County-Seattle;North America-United States (Western)-California;North America-United States (Northeastern)-Rhode Island-Providence County-Providence;North America-United States (Northeastern)-Massachusetts-Suffolk County-Boston;North America-United States (Midwestern)-Illinois-Cook County-Chicago

Working Together to Manage Enrollment: Key Governance and Operations Decisions

Education and Literacy

Working Together to Manage Enrollment: Key Governance and Operations Decisions

Common enrollment systems designed to manage student enrollment across district and charter sectors introduce a host of governance challenges. City charter and district leaders realize the importance of cross-sector representation when deciding policies related to enrollment, such as the number of choices families should list or whether some students will have enrollment priority over others. The question of who will administer the enrollment process once these policy decisions are made can be highly controversial. Cities that don't attend to these management questions early on risk major political fights that can stall or derail progress on the effort.

There is little precedence, nor is there a ready-made legal framework, for coordinating enrollment across sectors; how these systems will be governed and operated must instead be resolved through the collaboration of agencies, many of which have histories of competition, mistrust, and hostility. In this issue brief, we draw from a series of interviews with local education leaders in Denver, New Orleans, and Washington, D.C., focusing on the governance issues that emerged as these three jurisdictions sought a cross-sector common enrollment system.

While some urban school systems have long had enrollment processes to manage choice for schools under their control, the expansion of charter schools presents a different and more complicated challenge for both parents and administrators. In many places, students no longer have a single "home district" in the traditional sense. Instead, they can now choose to enroll in the local school district or one of the city's charter schools. State charter laws give charter schools -- whether they are an independent local education agency or not -- authority over their enrollment processes; a charter school must conduct its process in a manner consistent with the law, typically a random lottery.

As charter schools grow in number, so does the number of separate enrollment systems operating across individual cities. In Denver, for example, a 2010 report showed that 60 separate enrollment systems operated in the city at the same time. Similar situations occurred in New Orleans and D.C. As individual selection processes grew to unmanageable levels in these cities, education and community leaders sought ways to rationalize and centralize student placement across an increasing number of school choices

March 2014

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Western)-Colorado-Denver County-Denver;North America-United States (Southern)-Louisiana-Orleans Parish-New Orleans;North America-United States (Southern)-District of Columbia-Washington

Connecting Youth to Opportunity: Better Understanding the Needs of Disconnected Young People in Washington, DC

Children and Youth, Education and Literacy

Connecting Youth to Opportunity: Better Understanding the Needs of Disconnected Young People in Washington, DC

Educational attainment defines workforce success, and a robust workforce drives economic stability and growth. Therefore, everyone has a stake in developing systems that promote strong education outcomes and successful transitions to the labor market: businesses and employers that aim to simultaneously build up the next generation of consumers and strengthen the future workforce; elected officials who wish to sustain the city's current prosperity and growth; parents and concerned community members who want a vibrant, healthy community; and youth themselves, who by and large want to lead stable, productive lives.

Momentum has been building -- now is the time for the District of Columbia to develop such a system. Recent studies suggest thousands of youth between the ages of 16 -- 24 are disconnected, which is commonly understood to mean young people who are neither in school nor working. High dropout and unemployment rates and low post-secondary education attainment rates among District youth have led to a series of thoughtful and focused examinations of how the District of Columbia can reconnect youth to opportunity. Raise DC, the District's public/private partnership dedicated to establishing cradle to career alignment, is leading the charge with its focus on youth reconnection. This -- combined with the engagement of the foundation sector on the needs of disconnected youth and the recognition of other government and community working groups on this emerging and high-need sector of the youth population -- has opened the window of opportunity to combat youth disconnection through cohesive, evidence-driven, and cross-sector systems change.

October 2013

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Southern)-District of Columbia-Washington

Arts Corps Program Evaluation Report

Arts and Culture, Education and Literacy

Arts Corps Program Evaluation Report

Founded in 2000 on the principle that all young people -- not just those with resources -- should have access to quality arts learning opportunities, Arts Corps is now a leading nonprofit arts education organization in Seattle. Starting with just a few classes at six sites, Arts Corps now serves over 2,000 K-12th grade students a year at approximately 40 sites.

Arts Corps places after-school classes and in-school residencies primarily at schools and community centers serving low-income youth who often have few other opportunities for arts learning. Programs cover the spectrum of arts disciplines from dance to visual arts to photography to music, and include popular classes such as Brazilian dance, theater, comic illustration, spoken word, sculpture and more. Programming is designed to foster artistic competencies and creative habits of mind such as imagination, healthy risk-taking, reflection, persistence and critical thinking. The program operates on a school year, with select workshops occurring in the summer months.

Arts Corps has conducted program evaluation since inception and has refined its focus each year to better explore and describe the impacts of arts classes on students. This report represents Arts Corps' evaluation work during the 2011-2012 program year.

November 2012

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Western)-Washington-King County-Seattle

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