Redshirting Kids—Delaying Starting School Affects the Entire Family

Graph showing parents' marriage increases and mom working increases and then decreases when kids start school later

Parents often think about their child’s future success when they consider waiting for them to start school, but a child’s age and grade level also affect how much time parents spend on child-related activities, work, and leisure. In a recent study Rasmus Landersø (Rockwool Foundation Research Unit), Helena Skyt Nielsen (Aarhus University), and Marianne Simonsen (Aarhus University) find that postponing children’s school start frees resources and allows parents to use more time on activities unrelated to the child, with effects on the family that extend beyond the early childhood years.
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What Happens when Students Must Meet Academic Standards to Receive Need-Based Aid?

stressed out student looking at computer

College students who receive need-based financial aid typically must meet minimum academic standards to stay eligible, and it’s not well understood how this impacts their outcomes. Do these standards encourage low-income college students to improve their academic performance, or encourage them to drop out? Judith Scott-Clayton and Lauren Schudde examined the consequences of failing to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards for federal aid recipients—specifically, a minimum 2.0 GPA requirement—among community college entrants in one state.
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Battling the Brain Drain—In-State College Enrollment Affects Future Residence

person moving with boxes and graphic of a brain in background

States subsidize public higher education with the goal of building an educated workforce. But college-educated workers can and often do migrate across states after completing their education. The resulting “brain drain” may harm states who invest in higher education only to have the benefits reaped elsewhere. So is the investment worth it? Does encouraging young people to attend college in-state affect where they live later in life? Or does educating more young people in a state just result in more out-migration? John Winters studies these questions and offers policy implications for the United States.
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Partial Schooling Subsidy Puts Kids into the Classroom—And to Work

Evidence suggests that government subsidies typically increase school attendance and at the same time decrease paid work by children. The intuition is simple enough—children who were not able to afford schooling can now go to school, and because there are only so many hours in the day, they also do less paid work. While such subsidies typically offset all schooling costs, Jacobus de Hoop, Jed Friedman, Eeshani Kandpal, and Furio Rosati asked whether a partial subsidy could increase schooling. They study the Pantawid program, which aims to improve children’s health and education in poor households (those with daily income less than US$2.15 per capita) in the Philippines.
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Political Mismanagement of Indian Primary Schools Yields Worse Test Scores

graph of 4th grade reading scores in public vs. private schools 2 years before through two years after an election, showing elections are followed by drop in scores

Teachers and their working patterns are known to be important determinants of learning outcomes of pupils, as well as key to understanding the large gaps in skills across different school systems. Sonja Fagernäs and Panu Pelkonen examined how the management of teachers in Indian primary schools, when intermingled with political processes, can disrupt teachers’ work and eventually harm learning.
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Female Middle School Math Teachers Mean Better Grades for Girls Now, More STEM Participation Later

girl studying

Studies have found that female students perform better when taught by female teachers. But, there is little evidence on whether these effects persistent beyond that school year. We also don’t understand exactly why female student–teacher gender matching improves performance. Jaegeum Lim (Korean National Assembly) and Jonathan Meer (Texas A&M) asked these questions in the context of longer-run data on students from 74 middle schools in Seoul, South Korea.
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Are Professors Worth It? Who Should Teach College Students in Their Small Group Classes?

discussion

Many universities offer tutorials, also called teaching-assistant sessions, discussion sections, or lab sessions, depending on where you live. These small group instructions complement course lectures. Tutorials are often taught by instructors of different academic ranks, ranging from undergraduate students to full professors. Higher ranked instructors are more qualified and more expensive, so Jan Feld, Nicolás Salamanca, and Ulf Zölitz wanted to answer the obvious question: Are higher ranked instructors worth the extra investment by their institutions?
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State Affirmative Action Bans in Higher Ed—What We Know

map of state bans

New from Brookings, “Why might states ban affirmative action?” by Dominique J. Baker, Assistant Professor of Education Policy at Southern Methodist University, explores the dynamics of state affirmative action bans in higher education. In a recent study, Baker compared the demographics of states with bans with those with no bans and found that an increase in the number of white students attending state flagship institutions is associated with a decrease in the odds of adopting a state ban. Also, when a neighboring state has a ban, a state is less likely to adopt a ban.
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Does Going to School with Immigrant Children Impair Learning?

elementary school girls

As immigration continues to dominate political debates, a growing number of policymakers and citizens are concerned that the presence of immigrant children in schools may harm native children’s learning outcomes. Existing evidence on this question, however, is quite mixed. Laurent Bossavie (World Bank) aims to contribute to the discussion with a new study on learning outcomes of children who share schools with immigrants.
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Text-Messaging Parents Can Help Kids Learn to Read—Especially If the Curriculum Is Personalized and Differentiated

Reading growth with text-messaging

Educational interventions based on behavioral economics principles have shown promise for combatting some of the persistent disparities in education outcomes. Researchers have studied text-messaging “nudges” and found them to be successful at all levels of education, from pre-K to the transition to college.

With this in mind, Christopher Doss, Erin M. Fahle, Susanna Loeb, and Benjamin York dug deeper to look at how personalizing text messages to the recipient could make a difference. Their work aims to identify the importance of personalization and differentiation within a text-messaging program designed to help parents of kindergarteners support the literacy development of their children at home.
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