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Author:Sartain, Lauren 

Working Paper
The Role of Selective High Schools in Equalizing Educational Outcomes: Heterogeneous Effects by Neighborhood Socioeconomic Status

We investigate whether elite Chicago public high schools can help close the achievement gap between high-achieving students from more and less affluent neighborhoods. Seats are allocated based on prior achievement with 70 percent reserved for high-achieving applicants from four neighborhood socioeconomic status (SES) categories. Using regression discontinuity design, we find no effect on test scores or college attendance for students from high- or low-SES neighborhoods and positive effects on student reports of their experiences. For students from low-SES neighborhoods, we estimate ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2016-17

Working Paper
The Signaling, Screening, and Human Capital Effects of National Board Certification: Evidence from Chicago and Kentucky High Schools

Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2020-06

Working Paper
The Expanding Landscape of Online Education: Who Engages and How They Fare

Online offerings at traditional brick-and-mortar universities have become common, though some question if online courses can adequately substitute for thein-person college experience. We explore changes in undergraduate online course enrollment at a large, public 4-year system and the impacts of online courses onstudent outcomes. Online enrollment in courses nearly doubled from 2012 to 2019 when almost 40 percent took at least one class online. Female students and older students were especially likely to take online classes. Using an instrumental variables approach, we find that GPAs are ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP 2022-52

Working Paper
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 ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2020-32

Journal Article
The Expansion of High School Choice in Chicago Public Schools

Public school choice in Chicago has been in existence for more than 30 years and has noticeably expanded over the past 15 years. In 1987, United States Secretary of Education William Bennett labeled Chicago?s public schools the ?worst in the nation.? At that time, reportedly one-half of Chicago?s 64 high schools ranked in the bottom 1 percent on the ACT among schools that administered the test.1 Bennett further said Chicago parents should consider private school options, arguing that increased competition from private schools would improve the performance of Chicago Public Schools (CPS). ...
Economic Perspectives , Issue 5 , Pages 2-29

Working Paper
Are Friends of Schools the Enemies of Equity? The Interplay of Public School Funding Policies and Private External Fundraising

School districts across the U.S. have adopted funding policies designed to distribute resources more equitably across schools. However, schools are also increasing external fundraising efforts to supplement district budget allocations. We document the interaction between funding policies and fundraising efforts in Chicago Public Schools (CPS). We find that adoption of a weighted-student funding policy successfully reallocated more dollars to schools with high shares of students eligible for free/reduced-price (FRL) lunch, creating a policy-induced per-pupil expenditure gap. Further, almost ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP 2023-31

Impact of Student-Based Budgeting in Chicago Public Schools

Over the past 20 years, U.S. school districts have increasingly adopted funding models that aim to allocate money to schools based on individual student need. One such approach—weighted student funding—apportions funds to schools based on a combination of total enrollment and the characteristics of the students they serve. Chicago Public Schools (CPS) adopted such a funding model, known as student-based budgeting (SBB), beginning with the 2013–14 school year.
Chicago Fed Insights

Working Paper
The Signaling, Screening, and Human Capital Effects of National Board Certification: Evidence from Chicago and Kentucky High Schools

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards recognizes teachers who meet performance standards for “accomplished” educators. States and districts provide support for teachers to obtain this certification, which is considered an honor in the field. Using high school data from Chicago and Kentucky, we examine whether participation in the time- and resource-intensive certification process improves teacher productivity and, ultimately, if recognized teachers are of higher quality than their non-certified peers. We find the certification process itself did not increase teacher ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP 2020-06



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