SBOE #EdPolicy Research Roundup: July 2019

July Research Roundup Students

By: Jordan Miller, Policy Fellow

This month, the DC State Board of Education (SBOE) continued its efforts to make education research and policy concepts accessible to all stakeholders in our communities. The July 2019 #EdPolicy Research Roundup features two reports: one from the Center for American Progress (CAP) about the unique debt burdens Black and Latinx educators face and a second by David M. Houston & Jeffrey R. Henig on the effects of showing parents growth data when they search for new schools.

As we did last month, SBOE will discuss the key findings of each report and explain the implications on the State Board’s work and priorities.

Student Debt: An Overlooked Barrier to Increasing Teacher Diversity”

Center for American Progress (CAP), July 2019

Summary: In this report, CAP outlines the way student debt uniquely impacts Black and Latinx educators. Black and Latinx students are more likely than their white counterparts to borrow money to complete their education as well as attain graduate degrees, making their student debt a barrier to attracting and retaining them as teachers. On average, Black teachers earn less than their white counterparts, which makes it even more difficult to repay the higher loan burden they carry. CAP outlines some policy recommendations:

  • Raise teacher’s salaries, especially important for educators of color who experience a larger wage gap than the average teacher nationally. 
  • Conduct more research on student loan repayment overall as there is a limited body of scholarly work on the subject. 
  • Use district or state loan forgiveness programs or scholarships as a tool to attract a more diverse hiring pool.
  • Increase support for teacher preparation programs at minority serving institutions, such as HBCUs (who graduate over 50% of the nations Black teachers with bachelor’s degrees).
  • Make funds available for expenses that often come out of a teacher’s pocket, such as mandatory licensure fees or classroom supplies.

DC Context: The DC SBOE has been working hard on building a deeper understanding of the high teacher turnover rate in the District since May 2018. As we work to further the research done in October 2018, we continue to further our knowledge. This report highlights the positive impact that Black and Latinx teachers have on Black and Latinx students, as well as the impact their debt has on their decision to stay in the classroom. This is important considering that around 80% of DCPS students identified as Black or Latinx during the 2017-18 school year. Understanding the impact that student debt may have on current and future Black and Latinx teachers can help us better prepare to support them, and in turn support our students.  

“The Effects of Student Growth Data on School District Choice: Evidence from a Survey Experiment”

David M. Houston & Jeffrey R. Henig

Summary: Henig & Houston conducted an online survey in which they asked participants to put themselves in the place of parents moving to a new area who are trying to choose a new school district for their child. All participants received the same basic demographic information as well as additional information that either included test score performances, growth data, or both. Henig & Houston define growth data as “…the rate at which the same students’ achievement improves over time”. A key finding was that those presented with growth data were more likely to choose districts that were on average 36% white, as opposed to those presented with only test scores who were more likely to choose districts that were on average 43% white. This study suggests that giving parents information related to student growth may result in more integrated school districts.

DC Context: In accordance with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the Office of the State Superintendent (OSSE) implemented the DC School Report Card and STAR framework in 2018. The STAR framework uses academic growth data as one of its metrics. In DCSBOE’s April and May public meetings, we welcomed experts from around the city to hold a discussion on the merits of including high school growth data, which is not currently included in the STAR framework.

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