Subject: Studies in the News 06-43 (October 10, 2006)

Studies in the News:
Education Supplement

Contents This Week

Introductory Material EDUCATION
   Comparing private and public schools
   School's academic performance
   After school activities
   Reading First program
   Audit faults chain of charter schools
   Authorizing charter schools
   Student identification numbers
   The condition of education
   Racial divide found in children's internet use
   Settlement funds technology education
   Academic preparation for college
   Lower-cost textbooks
   Knowledge of American history lacking
   State audit of Los Angeles schools
   Preparation to teach reading
   Current school resegregation trends
   More passing the California High School exit exam
   Self-affirmation boosts minority students' grades.
   Dealing with bullying
   Math and reading for work or college
   Studies in the News, August - October 2006
Introduction to Studies in the News

Studies in the News is a very current compilation of items significant to the Legislature and Governor's Office. It is created weekly by the State Library's Research Bureau to supplement the public policy debate in California’s Capitol. To help share the latest information with state policymakers, these reading lists are now being made accessible through the State Library’s website. This week's list of current articles in various public policy areas is presented below.

Service to State Employees:

  • When available, the URL for the full text of each item is provided.

  • California State Employees may contact the State Information & Reference Center (916-654-0206; with the SITN issue number and the item number [S#].

  • All other interested individuals should contact their local library - the items may be available there, or may be borrowed by your local library on your behalf.

The following studies are currently on hand:



Comparing Private Schools and Public Schools Using Hierarchical Linear Modeling. By Henry Braun, Educational Testing Service, and others. (National Center for Education Statistics, Washington, DC) 2006. 66 p.

Full Text at:

["The goal of the study was to examine differences in mean National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading and mathematics scores between public and private schools when selected characteristics of students and/or schools were taken into account.... Based on adjusted school means, the average for public schools was significantly higher than the average for private schools for grade 4 mathematics, while the average for private schools was significantly higher than the average for public schools for grade 8 reading. The average differences in adjusted school means for both grade 4 reading and grade 8 mathematics were not significantly different from zero."]

[Request #S64301]

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Accountability Progress Report: 2005-2006. By the California Department of Education. (The Department, Sacramento, California) September 2006. 7 p.

Full Text at:

[“Once again, California test scores rose this year; but the number of schools deemed failures by federal standards also rose again. In 2006, California schools inched 11 points higher on the state Academic Performance Index -- which measures a school's performance on a bevy of standardized tests, including the new California High School Exit Exam. Despite the modest gains, 639 more California schools were labeled failures, bringing the total to 2,215 failing schools statewide.” Oakland Tribune (September 1, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S64302]

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Negotiating Among Opportunity and Constraint: The Participation of Young People in Out-of-School-Time Activities. By Robert J. Chaskin and Steven Baker, Chapin Hall Center for Children. (The Center, Chicago, Illinois) 2006. 55 p.

["In recent years there has been increased policy interest in the way young people spend their time out of school..... This paper explores young people's perspectives on their out-of-school time and the influences, barriers, contexts, and processes that contribute to their choices and experiences.... In order to inform policy and practice that seeks to support youth development through the system, it is essential to understand the nature of these opportunities."]

[Request #S64303]

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The Reading First Program's Grant Application Process: Final Inspection. By the Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Education. (The Office, Washington, DC) September 2006. 51 p.

Full Text at:

["An audit found that a $1 billion federal program to improve reading among grade-school children was run by staff who steered contracts to favored publishers. The inspector general recommended an overhaul of the 'Reading First' program, part of the 'No Child Left Behind' law, including removing directors and reviewing the propriety of their contract awards.... Reading First distributes about $1 billion a year to states to spend on reading programs that the government agrees have scientifically proven effectiveness." Oakland Tribune (September 26, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S64304]

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Extraordinary Audit of the Options for Youth, Inc. and Opportunities for Learning, Inc. Charter Schools. By the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team, Office of Kern County Superintendent of Schools. Prepared for the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Los Angeles, Orange, Sacramento, San Bernardino, and Siskiyou County Offices of Education. (The Team, Bakersfield, California) August 9, 2006. 179 p.

Full Text at:

["A state audit of a chain of independent study charter schools, known as Options for Youth and Opportunities for Learning, has found widespread accounting problems and conflicts of interest and recommends that the Department of Education try to recover up to $57 million in overpayments. Aimed at students who have dropped out of traditional high schools, the campuses serve about 15,000 teenagers through 40 storefront sites across the state, including 11 in the Los Angeles area. School officials disputed most of the findings and defended the academic success of their programs. But they said they would continue cooperating with the state." Los Angeles Times (August 10, 2006) B1.]

[Request #S64305]

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Trends in Charter School Authorizing. By Rebecca Gau and others, Thomas B. Fordham Institute. (The Institute, Washington, DC) 2006. 38 p.

Full Text at:

["Belatedly, policymakers and researchers are recognizing that quality charter schools depend on quality charter school authorizing.... Charter school authorizers are highly varied, and some have both the resources and the will to do it well. Others appear to engage in this activity halfheartedly or reluctantly. Some types seem more able to practice quality authorizing than others -— the nonprofit organizations and independent chartering boards included in this survey tend to score well on most counts, as do most of the larger authorizers -— but good practices can be found in authorizers of all types and sizes."]

[Request #S64306]

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P-16 Data Systems: An Alignment Status Report. By Hans P. L'Orange, State Higher Education Executive Officers, and Peter Ewell, National Center for Higher Education Management Systems. (Data Quality Campaign, Austin, Texas) 2006. 8 p.

Full Text at:

["California launched a voluntary student data system in 1997.... A big step toward a modern student data system was taken this year when the state completed assigning an identification number to each of the more than 6 million students in California.... Now that the state has given each student an identification number, it can begin calculating a more accurate one-year dropout rate, starting a process that will require four years of data to produce a complete dropout rate." The San Diego Union-Tribune (August 21, 2006) A1.]

[Request #S64307]

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The Condition of Education 2006. By Andrea Livingston, National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education, and others. (The Center, Washington, DC) 2006. 371 p.

Full Text at:

["This year’s report presents indicators of important developments and trends in American education. Recurrent themes underscored by the indicators include participation and persistence in education, student performance and other outcomes, the environment for learning, and resources for education. In addition, this year’s volume contains a special analysis that presents key findings of several recent international assessments that examine the achievement of U.S. students in reading, mathematics, and science and the literacy of adults relative to the performance of their peers in other countries."]

[Request #S64309]

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Computer and Internet Use by Students in 2003. By Matthew DeBell, Education Statistics Services Institute, and Chris Chapman, National Center for Education Statistics. (The Center, Washington, DC) September 2006. 72 p.

Full Text at:

[“Many more white children use the Internet than do Hispanic and black students, a reminder that going online is hardly a way of life for everyone. Two of every three white students -- 67 percent -- use the Internet, but less than half of blacks and Hispanics do, according to federal data. Some 54 percent of white students use the Internet at home, compared with 26 percent of Hispanic and 27 percent of black youngsters. Limited access at home can erode a student's ability to research assignments, explore college scholarships or just get comfortable going online.” Houston Chronicle (September 6, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S64308]

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"Schools Get Millions From Microsoft Settlement." By Anna Molin, Bay City News Service. IN: Los Angeles Times (July 27, 2006) A1.

["More than $400 million from a 2004 settlement of an antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft will be used for technology education.... The money could go toward further incorporating technology in instruction -— such as programs that support learning algebra and passing the mandatory high school exit exam.... Schools in districts with state-approved technology plans -— and with at least 40% of their students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunches, a low-income indicator — would be eligible for funding."]

[Request #S64315]

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Involving Families in High School and College Expectations. By Jennifer Dounay, Education Commission of the States. (The Commission, Denver, Colorado) August 2006. 7 p.

Full Text at:

["A growing number of parents see a college degree as absolutely necessary for their child's success, and more students believe that they will attain this goal. But the sad fact is that only one in three will complete a college degree. This policy brief examines the troubling gap between educational aspirations, what students (and parents) need to do to achieve those expectations, and what states are doing to better communicate to students and parents the importance of being academically prepared for college and the steps to take to achieve that level of preparation."]

[Request #S64312]

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Texbooks for the 21st Century: A Guide to Free and Low-Cost Textbooks. By David Rosenfeld and Ava Hegadus, Student Public Interest Research Groups. (Make Textbooks Affordable Campaign, Portland, Oregon) 2006. 19 p.

Full Text at:

["Major publishers have done little to provide adequate lower-cost versions of most textbooks and advertise them to professors ordering books for their classes. In response, alternative and online publishers are offering lower-cost and even free versions of some textbooks. Although these alternatives have the potential to compete with the traditional publishers, they have not yet secured a significant part of the textbook market. As a result, the responsibility for making textbooks more affordable still falls on the major publishers."]

[Request #S64313]

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The Coming Crisis of Citizenship: Higher Education's Failure to Teach America's History and Institutions. By the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. (The Institute, Wilmington, Delaware) 2006. 13 p.

Full Text at:

["Seniors at UC Berkeley, the nation's premier public university, got an F in their basic knowledge of American history, government and politics in a new national survey, and students at Stanford University didn't do much better, getting a D. Out of 50 schools surveyed, Cal ranked 49th and Stanford 31st in how well they are increasing student knowledge about American history and civics between the freshman and senior years.... The study tells us we have a rising generation of bright, intelligent citizens that won't have the knowledge they need to be informed citizens." San Francisco Chronicle (September 27, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S64314]

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Los Angeles Unified School District: It Has Increased Administrative Positions for Various Reasons and Although Making Progress, Its Performance Evaluation and Salary-Setting Procedures for Managers Still Need Improvement. By the California State Auditor, Bureau of State Audits. (The Bureau, Sacramento, California) September 2006. 73 p.

Full Text at:

["Despite attempts to slim down, the city's school system has more central-office staff than ever, and top administrators also cost more than in other large urban school districts, according to a state audit. The audit looked at the aftermath of two school district reorganization plans, one in 2000 and another 2004. Student test scores have improved but they still trail the state average. In addition, the district has fallen short on promised outreach to parents." Los Angeles Times (September 15, 2006) B1.]

[Request #S64316]

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What Education Schools Aren't Teaching About Reading--and What Elementary Teachers Aren't Learning. By Kate Walsh, National Council on Teacher Quality. (The Council, Washington, DC) 2006. 86 p.

Full Text at:

["Only 15 percent of the education schools provide future teachers with minimal exposure to the science of reading. Moreover, course syllabi reveal a tendency to dismiss the scientific research in reading, continuing to espouse approaches to reading that will not serve up to 40 percent of all children.... This distressing trend in teacher training demands attention from federal and state governments, professional organizations dedicated to improving and supporting education schools, textbook publishers, and education schools themselves. The report makes recommendations to ameliorate this serious failure in adequately preparing teachers in the best practices of reading instruction."]

[Request #S64311]

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Racial Transformation and the Changing Nature of Segregation, By Gary Orfield and Chungmei Lee, The Civil Rights Project, Harvard University (The Project, Cambridge, Massachusetts) 2006. 41 p.

Full Text at:

["America's most segregated schools are not in the Southern states, where many of the hard-won battles for desegregation were waged in the 1950s and 1960s. Instead, California, New York, Illinois, Maryland, and Michigan have the greatest number of minority students attending segregated schools. Eighty-seven percent of African American students in California attend schools with a student body composed of more than 50% ethnic minorities. Sixty-five percent of students in California attending racially segregated schools graduate, and only 58% graduate from socioeconomically segregated schools (schools in which at least 40% of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch)." Black Enterprise (August 2006) 1.]

[Request #S64317]

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California High School Exit Exam. By the California Department of Education. (The Department, Sacramento, California) August 2006. Various pagings.

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["More students are passing the California High School Exit Exam on their first try as sophomores.... This is the second year that high school students must pass the exit exam to get their diploma.... So far, 89 percent of the Class of 2007 has passed the English section of the test and 88 percent has passed math. Seniors who have not passed will get three more chances this year. Meanwhile, slightly more students are passing the exam in 10th grade." Ventura County Star (August 16, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S64318]

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"Reducing the Racial Achievement Gap: A Social-Psychological Intervention." By Geoffrey L. Cohen and others. IN: Science, vol. 313, no. 5791. (September 1, 2006) pp. 1307-1310.

["A simple 15-minute writing task at the start of the school year was enough to significantly improve the grades of African-American students and close 40 percent of the 'achievement gap' with white students in one suburban school.... The results, though surprising, seemed to be consistent with previous studies hinting that small interventions sometimes can make a big difference in student performance. The findings also suggest that chronic stress felt by negatively stereotyped minority students -- the problem addressed by the writing assignment at the heart of the new study -- might be a more significant hindrance than generally realized." San Francisco Chronicle (September 1, 2006) A4.]

[Request #S64319]

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What Do Bystanders Do When Children Are Being Bullied ... And Why Do They Do It? By Amelia Kohm and others, Chapin Hall Center for Children. (The Center, Chicago, Illinois) 2006. 5 p.

["In the case of bullying problems among children, an intervention might provide children in a classroom with a safe place to talk about their feelings regarding bullying and why they behave as they do in bullying situations. Further, a facilitator could help them to identify and discuss the dilemmas many of them face when bullying occurs in their midst and how group actions to defend victims might be more effective than unilateral ones."]

[Request #S64320]

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Ready for College and Ready for Work: Same or Different? By ACT. (ACT, Iowa City, Iowa) May 2006. 12 p.

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["Results of a new ACT study provide empirical evidence that, whether planning to enter college or workforce training programs after graduation, high school students need to be educated to a comparable level of readiness in reading and mathematics. Graduates need this level of readiness if they are to succeed in college-level courses without remediation and to enter workforce training programs ready to learn job-specific skills."]

[Request #S64321]

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[This section links to items in Studies in the News since the last Education Supplement.]

"Education." IN: Studies in the News, (July - October 2006).

[Includes: "School performance in private and public schools;" "Nationwide testing for state standards;" "National report card on higher education;" "Textbook approval process invalid;" "Effects of school choice programs;" "Results from STAR Exam;" "Reducing crime by reducing dropouts;" "Identifying potential dropouts;" "High school reform models;" "Teacher's gender affects student's learning;" "Is No Child Left Behind working?" "Snapshot of nation's public schools;" "Universities must pay for community impact;" "College financial misperceptions among Latinos;" "Achievement gap reforms;" "Understanding high school graduation rates;" "Preparing youth with disabilities;" "Vouchers face new legal challenges;" "College students saddled with big debt;" and others.]

[Request #S64322]

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