October 15, 2019

October 2019 Research Rundown

By Krista Kaput

EdAllies Research Rundown is a curated list of recent, relevant research we think is worth adding to the education equity conversation. This month, we’re sharing research on principal and teacher preparation, charter schools and student achievement, and postsecondary education and employment outcomes for Minnesota graduates.

1. Principal and Teacher Preparation to Support the Needs of Diverse Students

RAND Corporation, July 2019 

A RAND analysis looked at what school leaders and teachers had to say about the training they received prior to teaching. The study found that educators who had greater amounts of field experience during their preservice training were more likely to find their preparation programs effective. The study also found that 38% of white teachers and 39% of white principals indicated that their preservice training did not prepare them to work with Black, Latinx, and low-income students, as compared to 24% of teachers and principals of color. 

WHY THIS MATTERS IN MINNESOTA

The Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) is currently working to amend the rules that set standards for teacher preparation in Minnesota, making updates to both unit/program approval rules and the Standards of Effective practice that govern the knowledge and skills taught to teacher candidates. It is imperative that these rules ensure ample opportunities for teacher candidates to apply what they learn to the classroom. This study also highlights how essential it is to strengthen requirements that will help teacher candidates meet the needs of Minnesota’s increasingly diverse student body, and in particular, students of color, English Language Learners, low-income students, and students with special needs. 

Read the study

2. Rising Tide: Charter School Market Share and Student Achievement

Thomas B. Fordham Institute, September 2019 

In a new analysis, the Fordham Institute looks at whether overall achievement for students across a community changes as the “market share” of charter schools grows. The study finds that in large urban areas, higher charter market share is associated with significant achievement gains for Black and Latinx students. In suburban and rural areas, higher charter market share is associated with significant achievement gains for Latinx students, and Black students in rural districts also see gains. Importantly, the report found no evidence that charter schools have a negative effect on the performance of district schools. These findings are complementary to another recent study, which found that English language learners and students with special needs in Boston charter schools had significant increases in academic performance and postsecondary outcomes. 

WHY THIS MATTERS IN MINNESOTA

All parents want what is best for their kids and should have the power to choose the right school from a range of high-quality options. This is particularly important for low-income families and families of color who have been historically underserved in our schools. Right now, however, such families too often have access to fewer, not more, school options. Given recent local debate over charter schools, with some even calling for a moratorium, it is important to understand what research tells us about both outcomes within charter schools and impacts on the larger ecosystem. 

Read the full analysis

3. The Postsecondary Education and Employment Pathways of Minnesota Public High School Graduates: Investigating Opportunity Gaps

American Institutes for Research, September 2019 

This report examines the postsecondary education and employment pathways of Minnesota public high school graduates one year after high school graduation, as well as their longer-term outcomes six years after graduation. The study found that outcomes diverge across demographic groups in the first year after graduation: students with disabilities, limited English proficiency, Latinx students, and Native American students were most likely not to be employed or enrolled in college. The study also found that six years after high school graduation, 37% had attained a bachelor’s degree or higher, 11% had an associate’s degree, and 4% had a college certificate—leaving 48% with no college credential. 

In response to their findings, the report provided several policy recommendations, including expanding access to rigorous high school coursework and more intensive career and college counseling for students of color. 

WHY THIS MATTERS IN MINNESOTA

In 2015, the Minnesota legislature passed a law, which set a statewide target that 70% of Minnesota adults ages 25-44 will have attained a postsecondary certificate or degree by 2025.  As of December 2018, we still had a long way to go, with only 61.4% of all Minnesotans holding a postsecondary credential–and significant disparities across lines of race and ethnicity. The new report demonstrates just how much work remains, not only among the adult workforce but also with newer high school graduates still falling far short of the 70% attainment goal. Preparing all students for postsecondary transitions must be a top priority for Minnesota’s E-12 system.

Read the full report