The following resources focus on the educational climate and betterment of those serving the K–12 educational community.

Growth in Funding U.S. Prisons Far Exceeds That of Schools. Between 1979 and 2012, state and local government expenditures on schools grew by 107 percent, while spending on prisons and jails grew by 324 percent, a U.S. Department of Education report found. Seven states increased their prison spending five times as fast as they did their education spending, while only two states—New Hampshire and Massachusetts—did not experience corrections spending growing at a rate higher than school spending (Kelly, Reuters).

State and Local Expenditures on Corrections and Education. From 1979-80 to 2012-13, public PK-12 education expenditures increased by 107% (from $258 to $534 billion), while total state and local corrections expenditures increased by 324% (from $17 to $71 billion) – triple the rate of increase in education spending. Over the same 33-year period, the percentage increase in state and local corrections expenditures varied considerably across the states, ranging from 149% in Massachusetts to 850% in Texas. All states had lower expenditure growth rates for PK–12 education than for corrections, and in the majority of the states, the rate of increase for corrections was more than 100 percentage points higher than the rate for education. (Source: U.S. Department of Education).

Why Math Education Is Getting Better Despite All The Controversy.
Steady improvements on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) indicate “students are getting a better math education than they were twenty years ago,” writes Sarah Lubienski, a math professor at the University of Illinois. “In general, the increase in Math NAEP scores suggests that students have a deeper understanding of mathematics and more flexible problem solving skills than they did a few decades ago.” 

New Back-to-School Resource Helps Educators Show Their Success. The Learning First Alliance today released “Working Together for Student Success: A Back-to-School Communications Toolkit” to help educators reach out to their parents and communities. The toolkit contains advice for helping local school leaders and other educators publicize and explain their successes in implementing college- and career-ready standards. The document is designed to help shore up support for public education across the country by showcasing innovative and effective programs in schools as well as the myriad of school staff members who help students on their paths to graduation.

A Path of Progress: State and District Stories of High Standards Implementation. For the last several months, CCSSO has worked to collect and summarize stories of how states and districts across the country have implemented high standards with fidelity for the betterment of their students. The publication points to the importance of early engagement with stakeholders, continuous professional development, and high-quality instructional resources.

Teaching Emotional Skills Pays Big Dividends.
 Six public school districts in California have implemented social-emotional learning as one component to measure school quality. The instruction compliments Common Core State Standards. “This is a great program. Before, [students] didn’t know how to work together and solve problems,” one teacher explains. “We really do see kids out on the playground problem solving,” another adds. The program demonstrates how school districts are building on the Common Core framework to meet student needs.

Identifying Early Warning Indicators in Three Ohio School Districts. This study identifies a set of data elements for students in grades eight and nine in three Ohio school districts that could serve as accurate early warning indicators of their failure to graduate high school on time and to comparatively examine the accuracy of those indicators. The authors found that the optimal cut point for classifying students as at risk varied significantly across districts for five of the eight indicators included in the study. Across the three districts and two grades, different indicators were identified as the most accurate predictors of students’ failure to graduate on time. End-of-year attendance rate was the only indicator that was a consistent predictor for both grades in all three districts. The most accurate indicators in both grade eight and grade nine were based on coursework (GPAs and course credits). (Source: Midwest Regional Educational Laboratory at American Institutes of Research).

Preventing Bullying Through Science, Policy, and Practice. Bullying has long been tolerated as a rite of passage among children and adolescents. There is an implication that individuals who are bullied must have “asked for” this type of treatment, or deserved it. Sometimes, even the child who is bullied begins to internalize this idea. For many years, there has been a general acceptance and collective shrug when it comes to a child or adolescent with greater social capital or power pushing around a child perceived as subordinate. But bullying is not developmentally appropriate; it should not be considered a normal part of the typical social grouping that occurs throughout a child’s life. (Source: National Academy of Sciences).

Statistical Power in Evaluations That Investigate Effects on Multiple Outcomes. In education research and in many other fields, researchers are often interested in testing the effectiveness of an intervention on multiple outcomes, for multiple subgroups, at multiple points in time, or across multiple treatment groups. The resulting multiplicity of statistical hypothesis tests can lead to spurious findings of effects. While multiple testing procedures are increasingly used in impact evaluations in education and other areas, an important consequence of their use is a change in statistical power that can be substantial. This paper presents methods for estimating statistical power. To contain its scope, the paper focuses on multiplicity that results from estimating effects on multiple outcomes. (Source: MDRC). 

What Makes a Highly Effective School? NY Takes its First Crack at Describing What Will Count. On Monday, the State Education Department released a draft list of 20 guiding principles for their new evaluation of schools under the new federal education law, known as the Every Student Succeeds Act. (Chalkbeat, July 11).

Review of Educational Materials:, an independent nonprofit that provides free web-based reviews of instructional materials, released the first of their new reports for both traditional and integrated high school math instructional materials. Educators from across the country worked diligently to analyze these materials and provide high-quality evidence that can support instructional decisions in classrooms nationwide.

Report: NY learning standards likely to be similar to Common Core.
 Unrest over the rollout of Common Core in New York schools has prompted the state education department to review and revise learning standards. The New York State School Boards Association released a report Tuesday, looking at what happened in states that did away with Common Core and replacing it with their own standards. (Time Warner Cable, July 20).

TN Students Gain High School Credits in Middle School.
 VITAL (Virtual Instruction to Accentuate Learning) Middle School Academy is now an option for those seeking to gain high school credits during their middle school years. The pilot program is designed to be a natural transition to more dual enrollment opportunities as they move into high school. (Herald-Citizen, July 24).