Monday Reading List: Lackluster Results for Community Schools and Loosening Restrictions on Shady Colleges

(Dear Readers: I am traveling this week, so the daily "Reading Lists" may be abbreviated. I also may post them at idiosyncratic times. Thanks for your patience!)

Matt Barnum at Chalkbeat looks at recent data on "community schools" interventions:

The precise details of community schools vary from place to place, but they generally emphasize a holistic model, by addressing factors — poverty, health, behavior — that might impede academic success. Previous studies of similar programs have pointed to positive impacts, but the latest analyses, conducted by the research group MDRC and released last month, offered more tepid results ... This intervention appeared to be effective in improving student attendance in elementary school and graduation in high school, but did not raise test scores — and in fact might have had a negative impact on middle schoolers’ math scores.

It's hard to argue that the "wraparound" non-academic supports are valuable additions to the lives of children. The challenge I have observed with this model, though, is that community schools often offer those non-academic supports, to the exclusion of providing interventions that lead to great teaching and learning in the classroom. Great teaching is hard, and we can't pretend that the main thing getting in its way is the behavior and disposition of the children.

In The Hechinger Report, Lillian Mongeau looks at the strategies schools are using to attract more Black principals:

Several studies have demonstrated pronounced benefits for black children with same-race teachers, ranging from better math performance to higher graduation rates. And although the body of research on the effects of same-race principals is still relatively small, it does point to black student benefits: for example, a national study published in the March 2017 Elementary School Journal found that black students are more likely to be recommended for gifted programs in schools that have a black principal ... Yet in 2012 only about 10 percent of public school principals were black while 16 percent of public school students were black, according to a 2016 U.S. Department of Education report on diversity among educators. The same report showed that only 7 percent of principals were Hispanic compared to 24 percent of public school students.

Sounds like we need to have a conversation about representation at ALL levels, for Black and Latino educators.

Finally today, Patricia Cohen (no relation) of The New York Times looks at the Trump administration's reluctance to crack down on malfeasance in the for-profit college sector:

Current and former employees, who requested anonymity for fear of retaliation, said tight restrictions have been put on staff members scrutinizing for-profit institutions, constraining their contact with other state and federal agencies without high-level approval — a contention a department spokesman denied. Some state officials who had collaborated with the Education Department in bringing legal cases against for-profit schools say their joint work has ground to a halt. They also say they are troubled by an apparent slowdown in granting debt relief to students who were cheated.

I hate to be presumptuous, but this move was PROBABLY predictable, given the president himself paid a $25 million settlement last fall to sweep his own for-profit school's misdeeds under the rug.

Not that there's mounting evidence of this administration's propensity for serving its own interests ahead of those of the America people ... or anything like that  ... have a great week!