SBOE #EdPolicy Roundup: January 2020 – Social Studies & Civics

By Sarah Arrington, Policy Fellow

In the new year, the D.C. State Board of Education will continues its “Research Roundup” series in an effort to increase the focus on selected education research and policy concepts, with a specific emphasis on the implications of research and policy on stakeholders in our communities.

This January 2020 #EdPolicy Research Roundup features two reports: one from the Center for American Progress that examines state civics requirements and one from the National Congress of American Indians that examines state efforts to implement high-quality curriculum about Native American people and culture.

As we have done previously, the State Board will discuss the key findings of each report and explain the implications on the State Board’s work and priorities.

This month, both reports relate to social studies and civics. The State Board is currently embarking on a process to update the District’s social studies standards under the leadership of Ward 6 Representative Jessica Sutter. The state social studies standards have not been updated since 2006.

“Strengthening Democracy with a Modern Civics Education”, Center for American Progress, December 2019

Summary: Written by Ashley Jeffrey and Scott Sargrad at the Center for American Progress (CAP), this report examines states’ civic and U.S. government requirements, which vary by state and typically include anything from the number of civics course credits, the Advanced Placement U.S. Government and Politics (AP USGP) exam, and community service hours requirement. They authors also looked at five key elements of a robust civics curriculum. These elements are an explanation of democracy, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, public participation, information on voting rights, and media literacy. Their main findings include:

  • Most states require at least a semester’s worth of standalone civics courses

  • Twenty states requires students to take some sort of civics exam to demonstrate competency

  • Twenty six states employ a robust civics curriculum and/or standards

  • Community service is rarely required

  • There does not appear to be a clear relationship between course requirements, civics exam requirements, or curriculum standards and scores on the AP USGP exam

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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:

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In Class, Not Cuffs: A Discussion about Rethinking School Discipline

By: Kit Faiella, Policy Fellow

The Center for American Progress hosted an intriguing panel on January 17th discussing the role of over-punishment in our schools and how it can lead to negative outcomes over time. This is known as the “school-to-prison pipeline,” and is a disturbing, ongoing trend affecting many Districts, LEAs, and schools across the country. Unfortunately these well-researched occurrences disproportionately impact minority, low-income, and disabled students. Some research cited from the presentation:

  • Black students are suspended and expelled three times the rate of white students
  • Disabled students are suspended and expelled two times the rate of non-disabled students
  • Higher funding for mental health professionals in districts and schools can lead to better student outcomes
  • Suspension is correlated with almost all negative achievement outcomes (prison, low grades, low socio-economic status later in life)
  • Moving to a new location, a trauma a child has experienced, or a major life event impacts the chances of a child being suspended

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