The Pathway to Enrolling in a High-Performance High School: Understanding Barriers to Access
In 2017, Chicago Public Schools adopted an online universal application system for all high schools with the hope of providing more equitable access to high-performance schools. Despite the new system, Black students and students living in low-socioeconomic status (SES) neighborhoods remained less likely than their peers to enroll in a high-performance high school. In this paper, we characterize various constraints that students and families may face in enrolling in a high-performance high school including eligibility to programs based on prior academic achievement, distance from ...
Financial incentives and educational investment: the impact of performance-based scholarships on student time use
Using survey data from a field experiment in the U.S., we test whether and how financial incentives change student behavior. We find that providing post-secondary scholarships with incentives to meet performance, enrollment, and/or attendance benchmarks induced students to devote more time to educational activities and to increase the quality of effort toward, and engagement with, their studies; students also allocated less time to other activities such as work and leisure. While the incentives did not generate impacts after eligibility had ended, they also did not decrease students? inherent ...
School vouchers and student achievement: recent evidence, remaining questions
In this article, we review the empirical evidence on the impact of education vouchers on student achievement, and briefly discuss the evidence from other forms of school choice. The best research to date finds relatively small achievement gains for students offered education vouchers, most of which are not statistically different from zero. Further, what little evidence exists regarding the potential for public schools to respond to increased competitive pressure generated by vouchers suggests that one should remain wary that large improvements would result from a more comprehensive voucher ...
Child care costs and the return-to-work decisions of new mothers
Women's labor force participation has nearly doubled in the past 50 years. The increase has been even more dramatic for women with young children, and recent reforms to welfare programs are likely to push the participation rate for this segment even higher. This article examines the economic determinants of a woman's decision to return to work quickly following childbirth, looking in particular at sensitivity to child care costs.
Is the official unemployment rate misleading? a look at labor market statistics over the business cycle
While maximum unemployment rates following the most recent economic recession are low by historical standards, the lack of increase in payroll employment leads many to conclude that official unemployment rates understate current labor market weakness. This article compares other labor market statistics during the current period with earlier recoveries. While the level of the current unemployment rate may not directly comparable with earlier periods, additional labor market evidence discussed here suggests that the current labor market may be stronger than in previous recovery periods of the ...
Technology’s edge: the educational benefits of computer-aided instruction
Because a significant portion of U.S. students lacks critical mathematic skills, schools across the country are investing heavily in computerized curriculums as a way to enhance education output, even though there is surprisingly little evidence that they actually improve student achievement. In this paper we present results from a randomized study in three urban school districts of a well- defined use of computers in schools: a popular instructional computer program which is designed to teach pre-algebra and algebra. We assess the impact of the program using statewide tests that cover a ...
The changing value of education
Why has the economic value of education stopped rising over the past ten years? The most likely explanation seems to be that the booming economy of the late 1990s helped to increase the average earnings of all workers, including those at the low end of the skills distribution.
The Impact of Chicago's Small High School Initiative
This project examines the effects of the introduction of new small high schools on student performance in the Chicago Public School (CPS) district. Specifically, we investigate whether students attending small high schools have better graduation/enrollment rates and achievement than similar students who attend regular CPS high schools. We show that students who choose to attend a small school are more disadvantaged on average, including having prior test scores that are about 0.2 standard deviations lower than their elementary school classmates. To address the selection problem, we use an ...
Causality, causality, causality: the view of education inputs and outputs from economics
Educators and policy makers are increasingly intent on using scientifically-based evidence when making decisions about education policy. Thus, education research today must necessarily be focused on identifying the causal relationships between education inputs and student outcomes. In this paper we discuss methodologies for estimating the causal effect of resources on education outcomes; we also review what we believe to be the best evidence from economics on a few important inputs: spending, class size, teacher quality, the length of the school year, and technology. We conclude that while ...