Promising Practices in Veterans' Education: Outcomes and Recommendations from the Success for Veterans Award Grants

Education and Literacy;Peace and Conflict

Promising Practices in Veterans' Education: Outcomes and Recommendations from the Success for Veterans Award Grants

This is an evaluation of the Success for Veterans Awards program, and includes reports from 20 grantees.

October 2011

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Midwestern)-Missouri-Platte County-Parkville;North America-United States (Midwestern)-Wisconsin-Dane County-Madison;North America-United States (New York Metropolitan Area);North America-United States (Northeastern)-Maine-Kennebec County-Augusta;North America-United States (Northeastern)-New Jersey-Bergen County;North America-United States (Northeastern)-New York-Onandaga County;North America-United States (Northwestern)-Oregon-Clackamas County;North America-United States (Northwestern)-Oregon-Lane County-Eugene;North America-United States (Southern)-Maryland-Prince George;North America-United States (Southern)-South Carolina;North America-United States (Western)-California-Fresno County-Fresno;North America-United States (Western)-California-Los Angeles County;North America-United States (Western)-California-Sacramento County-Sacramento;North America-United States (Western)-California-San Diego County-Chula Vista;North America-United States (Western)-California-Santa Cruz County;North America-United States (Western)-Colorado-Larimer County-Fort Collins

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

Shifting Gears: Building New Pathways for Low-Skilled Workers to Succeed in the 21st Century Economy

Education and Literacy, Employment and Labor

Shifting Gears: Building New Pathways for Low-Skilled Workers to Succeed in the 21st Century Economy

This program specifically focuses on innovative strategies that connected a state's adult basic education system with its community and technical college system. It purposely examines the extent to which the six Shifting Gears states gained "traction on the ground" by incorporating these innovative strategies into existing programs. Gaining this traction among adult basic education providers and community and technical colleges signals that states may be on a positive trajectory toward systems change.

By the end of the five-year period, four of the six Shifting Gears states had implemented innovative strategies to serve low-skilled adults. Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Wisconsin succeeded in enrolling a total of about 4,000 low-skilled adults in their innovative programs -- a modest number that is expected to grow considerably during the next several years as these strategies and program are embraced by more organizations within the states.

Each of the four states Shifting Gears teams pursued a "career pathway framework," creating new programs to help low-skilled adults transition from adult basic education to community and technical colleges and gain credentials with economic value.

The state teams stopped using Joyce resources to finance local projects at the start of Phase Two. Instead, they financed local program development and implementation by leveraging state dollars, encouraging use of traditional funding streams and engaging other stakeholders within state government and in the community (e.g., local philanthropy, community non-profits). These funding strategies have moved the Shifting Gears initiative beyond a "boutique" effort and closer to the desired goal of systems change.

January 2013

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Midwestern)-Wisconsin, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Minnesota, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Indiana, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Illinois

Shuttered Public Schools: The Struggle to Bring Old Buildings New Life

Community and Economic Development, Education and Literacy

Shuttered Public Schools: The Struggle to Bring Old Buildings New Life

Large-scale public school closures have become a fact of life in many American cities, and that trend is not likely to stop now. This report

looks at what happens to the buildings themselves, studying the experiences of Philadelphia and 11 other cities that have decommissioned large numbers of schools in recent years: Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Kansas City, Mo., Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Tulsa and Washington.

February 2013

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Midwestern)-Missouri-St. Louis County-St. Louis, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Missouri-Jackson County-Kansas City, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Michigan-Wayne County-Detroit, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Illinois-Cook County-Chicago, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Ohio-Cuyahoga County-Cleveland, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Ohio-Hamilton County-Cincinnati, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Wisconsin-Milwaukee County-Milwaukee, North America-United States (Northeastern)-Pennsylvania-Allegheny County-Pittsburgh, North America-United States (Southern)-District of Columbia-Washington, North America-United States (Southern)-Georgia-Fulton County-Atlanta, North America-United States (Southern)-Oklahoma-Tulsa County-Tulsa

Success for Every Child: Milwaukee Succeeds Milestone Report 2013

Education and Literacy

Success for Every Child: Milwaukee Succeeds Milestone Report 2013

Milwaukee Succeeds is a unique effort is bringing together all the key stakeholders to support a common set of goals to improve educational outcomes for all children in the city of Milwaukee.

Milwaukee and its children often end up on the wrong end of the list when it comes to education, poverty and the myriad of social and emotional issues surrounding them. To overcome these challenges, it will take a vision that all in our community embrace. After all, "success for every child, in every school" is a pretty large undertaking; one that will require a big commitment to fulfill. Milwaukee Succeeds believes our community is up for the challenge because we believe in the promise of our city. We know how hard individuals and groups are already working to improve the educational environment in Milwaukee. We have seen some dedicated efforts getting remarkable results with the children in our schools. But we also know it will take more than hard work. The work is too big for any one organization to tackle and the issues are too complex for any single group to overcome. It will take all of us -- parents, educators, community leaders, faith-based leaders, business leaders and more -- working toward our common goals.

This Milestone Report lays out the challenges we face and the goals that have been set to tackle them. In the data section, the issues are outlined as they exist today - some of which may seem daunting. With each challenge, there are clear outcomes we have set to achieve by 2020. But this report also makes a promise: We pledge to work together to achieve the goals we have laid out and to fulfill our commitment to the kids. That is the spirit of Milwaukee Succeeds and all who will join forces with us to take on this important work. We are a diverse group who pledges to collaborate and to focus on issues where our collective effort can make an impact. One issue at a time, one problem at a time working across the spectrum of cradle to career is how we will see success unfold.

We share the communitywide sense of urgency on improving the educational outcomes for children in our city, but we know that to create lasting change, we have to be in this for the long haul. This Milestone Report is just a starting point. It lays out the journey we have in front of us and the goals we expect to achieve along the way. We believe that by working together we all will get there. We know that by working together, we all will help Milwaukee succeed.

July 2013

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Midwestern)-Wisconsin-Milwaukee County-Milwaukee

Principal Concerns in Wisconsin: Focus on Future Leaders for Rural Schools

Education and Literacy

Principal Concerns in Wisconsin: Focus on Future Leaders for Rural Schools

States need, among other things, to build detailed longitudinal data systems for principals like the ones they use to track teachers and students. But in some places those types of systems are still a long way off. In the meantime, system leaders can examine the administrative data they already have to paint a basic picture of their principal workforce, one that can help prompt deeper questions and discussions about the challenges and opportunities they face.

This Principal Concerns brief offers an example of this type of analysis for Wisconsin. Why should Wisconsin be concerned about its principal workforce? After all, by some measures, the state's schools are doing well. Wisconsin's NAEP scores, for example, are consistently higher than the national average.

Yet there is still much work to be done to ensure that all students achieve at high levels, and strong leadership is key to that success. Under the state's recently revamped accountability system, 266 schools across the state are not meeting performance expectations. In Milwaukee Public Schools, the state's largest school system, only 21 percent of schools met or exceeded the state's expectations.

Wisconsin will need to pursue a range of strategies and levers to improve results for all of its students. One important improvement strategy is to ensure that districts are recruiting, developing, and retaining good principals. Where there are many early- to mid-career principals, states need to emphasize professional development. But where there is an approaching wave of retirements, states should focus more heavily on recruiting and preparing new leaders.

To identify Wisconsin's specific needs, we need to answer these questions: How many principals are near retirement eligibility? How is retirement eligibility distributed across schools and locations? How are experienced and new principals distributed across school types?

February 2013

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Midwestern)-Wisconsin

Continuous Improvement in Education

Education and Literacy

Continuous Improvement in Education

In recent years, 'continuous improvement' has become a popular catchphrase in the field of education. However, while continuous improvement has become commonplace and well-documented in other industries, such as healthcare and manufacturing, little is known about how this work has manifested itself in education.

This white paper attempts to map the landscape of this terrain by identifying and describing organizations engaged in continuous improvement, and by highlighting commonalities and differences among them. The findings classify three types of organizations engaged in continuous improvement: those focused on instructional improvement at the classroom level; those concentrating on system-wide improvement; and those addressing collective impact. Each type is described in turn and illustrated by an organizational case study. Through the analysis, six common themes that characterize all three types of organizations (e.g., leadership and strategy, communication and engagement, organizational infrastructure, methodology, data collection and analysis, and building capacity) are enumerated.

This white paper makes four concluding observations. First, the three case studies provide evidence of organizations conducting continuous improvement work in the field of education, albeit at different levels and in different ways. Second, entry points to continuous improvement work are not mutually exclusive, but are nested and, hence, mutually informative and comparative. Third, continuous improvement is not synonymous with improving all organizational processes simultaneously; rather, research and learning cycles are iterative and gradual in nature. Fourth, despite being both iterative and gradual, it is imperative that improvement work is planned and undertaken in a rigorous, thoughtful, and transparent fashion.

May 2013

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Southern)-Maryland-Montgomery County, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Wisconsin-Waukesha County-Menomonee Falls, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Ohio-Hamilton County-Cincinnati

Afterschool in Action: Innovative Afterschool Programs Supporting Middle School Youth

Arts and Culture, Education and Literacy, Parenting and Families

Afterschool in Action: Innovative Afterschool Programs Supporting Middle School Youth

This report, released by Afterschool Alliance in partnership with MetLife Foundation, highlights the work of quality afterschool programs that support children, families and communities across the nation.

This compendium is a compilation of four issue briefs examining critical issues facing middle school youth and the vital role afterschool programs play in addressing these issues. This series explores afterschool and: arts enrichment, parent engagement, school improvement and digital learning. The compendium also includes in-depth profiles of the 2012 Afterschool Innovator Award winners, as well as highlights from 2008-2011 award winners.

The 2012 MetLife Foundation Afterschool Award winners are:

  • The Wooden Floor, Santa Ana, CA

  • Latino Arts Strings & Mariachi Juvenil, Milwaukee, WI

  • Kid Power Inc., The VeggieTime Project, Washington, D.C.

  • Parma Learning Center, Parma, ID

  • Green Energy Technologies in the City, Lansing, MI

April 2013

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Midwestern)-Michigan-Ingham County-Lansing, North America-United States (Southern)-District of Columbia-Washington, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Wisconsin-Milwaukee County-Milwaukee, North America-United States (Western)-California-Orange County-Santa Ana, North America-United States (Western)-Idaho-Canyon County-Parma

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