New Reports from the Urban Institute

Education and Achievement A Focus on Latino “Immigrant” Children
By: Eugene Garcia

The high number of English language learners (ELLs) has brought a change in the demographics of public schools and a need to account for the educational experiences of these students, both linguistically and academically. A comprehensive English language development program that facilitates English language acquisition has never been comprehensively articulated and evaluated. This paper argues that robust and rigorous research could be highly useful for policy and education practice modifications. The expanded utilization of dual-language programs is a hopeful sign of that possibility as they offer an alternative with solid empirical evidence for success in selected populations and specific conditions.

Report (PDF)

Nutrition Assistance for Older Adults
By: Sheila R. Zedlewski

While a surprisingly small share of low-income older adults receives government nutrition assistance, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) and Meals on Wheels (MOW) home delivery program provide important food assistance to them. During 2007 and 2008, about 2 in 10 low-income older adults received assistance from one of these programs; only 1 percent reported getting help from both. Receipt of SNAP declines with age and receipt of MOW rises with age, indicating that these programs tend to complement each other.

Factsheet (PDF)

Value Added of Teachers in High-Poverty Schools and Lower-Poverty Schools
By: Tim Sass, Jane Hannaway, Zeyu Xu, David Figlio, Li Feng

Differences in teacher quality would appear to be the most likely reason for disparities in the quality of high-poverty and lower-poverty schools. However, the linkages between teacher quality and socio-economic-based disparities in student achievement are quite complex. Using data from North Carolina and Florida, this paper examines whether teachers in high-poverty schools are as effective as teachers in schools with more advantaged students. Bottom teachers in high-poverty schools are less effective than bottom teachers in lower-poverty schools. The best teachers, by comparison, are equally effective across school poverty settings. The gap in teacher quality appears to arise from the lower payoff to teacher qualifications in high-poverty schools. In particular, the experience-productivity relationship is weaker in high-poverty schools and is not related to teacher mobility patterns. Recruiting teachers with good credentials into high-poverty schools may be insufficient to narrow the teacher quality gap. Policies that promote the long-term productivity of teachers in challenging high-poverty schools appear key.

Full report (PDF)

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