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Improving Educational Outcomes for Poor Children

  • Brian Jacob
  • Jens Ludwig
Registered author(s):

    This review paper, prepared for the forthcoming Russell Sage volume Changing Poverty, considers the ability of different education policies to improve the learning outcomes of low-income children in America. Disagreements on this question stem in part from different beliefs about the problems with our nation's public schools. In our view there is some empirical support for each of the general concerns that have been raised about public schools serving high-poverty student populations, including: the need for more funding for those school inputs where additional spending is likely to pass a benefit-cost test; limited capacity of many schools to substantially improve student learning by improving the quality of instruction on their own; and the need for improved incentives for both teachers and students, and for additional operational flexibility. Evidence suggests that the most productive changes to existing education policies are likely to come from increased investments in early childhood education for poor children, improving the design of the federal No Child Left Behind accountability system, providing educators with incentives to adopt practices with a compelling research base while expanding efforts to develop and identify effective instructional regimes, and continued support and evaluation of a variety of public school choice options.

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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w14550.pdf
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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14550.

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    Date of creation: Dec 2008
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    Publication status: published as Jacob, Brian and Jens Ludwig ( 2009 ) “Improving educational outcomes for poor children.” In Changing Poverty , Changing Policies , Edited by Maria Cancian and Sheldon Danziger. New York: Russell Sag e Foundation Press. pp. 266 - 300.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14550
    Note: CH ED
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
    Phone: 617-868-3900
    Web page: http://www.nber.org
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    1. Janet Currie & Duncan Thomas, 1993. "Does Head Start Make a Difference?," NBER Working Papers 4406, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. David Deming, 2009. "Early Childhood Intervention and Life-Cycle Skill Development: Evidence from Head Start," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(3), pages 111-34, July.
    3. Janet Currie, 2001. "Early Childhood Education Programs," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 213-238, Spring.
    4. Peter Dolton & Wilbert van der Klaauw, 1999. "The Turnover of Teachers: A Competing Risks Explanation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(3), pages 543-550, August.
    5. Charles Clotfelter & Elizabeth Glennie & Helen Ladd & Jacob Vigdor, 2006. "Would Higher Salaries Keep Teachers in High-Poverty Schools? Evidence from a Policy Intervention in North Carolina," NBER Working Papers 12285, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Clive R Belfield & Milagros Nores & Steve Barnett & Lawrence Schweinhart, 2006. "The High/Scope Perry Preschool Program: Cost–Benefit Analysis Using Data from the Age-40 Followup," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(1).
    7. Randall Reback & Julie Berry Cullen, 2006. "Tinkering toward accolades: School gaming under a performance accountability system," Working Papers 0601, Barnard College, Department of Economics.
    8. Dale Ballou & Michael Podgursky, 1995. "Recruiting Smarter Teachers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(2), pages 326-338.
    9. Clotfelter, Charles T. & Ladd, Helen F. & Vigdor, Jacob, 2005. "Who teaches whom? Race and the distribution of novice teachers," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 377-392, August.
    10. T. A. Downes & D. N. Figlio, . "School Finance Reforms, Tax Limits, and Student Performance: Do Reforms Level Up or Dumb Down?," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1142-97, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    11. Daniel Aaronson & Lisa Barrow & William Sander, 2002. "Teachers and student achievement in the Chicago public high schools," Working Paper Series WP-02-28, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    12. Charles T. Clotfelter & Helen F. Ladd & Jacob L. Vigdor, 2006. "Teacher-Student Matching and the Assessment of Teacher Effectiveness," NBER Working Papers 11936, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Card, David & Payne, A. Abigail, 2002. "School finance reform, the distribution of school spending, and the distribution of student test scores," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 49-82, January.
    14. Donald Boyd & Pamela Grossman & Hamilton Lankford & Susanna Loeb & James Wyckoff, 2006. "How Changes in Entry Requirements Alter the Teacher Workforce and Affect Student Achievement," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 1(2), pages 176-216, April.
    15. Julie Berry Cullen & Brian A. Jacob & Steven Levitt, 2003. "The Effect of School Choice on Student Outcomes: Evidence from Randomized Lotteries," NBER Working Papers 10113, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. David Card & Jesse Rothstein, 2005. "Racial Segregation and the Black-White Test Score Gap," Working Papers 93, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
    17. Barnett, W.S. & Masse, Leonard N., 2007. "Comparative benefit-cost analysis of the Abecedarian program and its policy implications," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 113-125, February.
    18. Cook, Michael D & Evans, William N, 2000. "Families or Schools? Explaining the Convergence in White and Black Academic Performance," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(4), pages 729-54, October.
    19. Ballou, Dale, 1996. "Do Public Schools Hire the Best Applicants?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(1), pages 97-133, February.
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