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Taylor Odle, Lauren Russell.

There is substantial variation in the returns to a college degree. One determinant is whether a worker’s employment is “matched” with their education. With a novel education-industry crosswalk and panel data on 295,000 graduates, we provide the first estimates of an education-industry match premium leveraging within-person variation in earnings. We document which majors have the most and least matching, how earnings premia vary across fields and gender, and how premia evolve over time. With robust estimators, we show that workers in industries “matched” with their degree experience an average earnings premium of 7-11%, with variation by degree level and major.

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Christopher Cleveland, Jessica Markham.

Students with disabilities represent 15% of U.S. public school students. Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) inform how students with disabilities experience education. Very little is known about the aspects of IEPs as they are historically paper-based forms. In this study, we develop a coding taxonomy to categorize IEP goals into 10 subjects and 40 skills. We apply the taxonomy to digital IEP records for an entire state to understand the variety of IEP goal subjects and skills prescribed to students with different disabilities. This study highlights the utility of studying digital IEP records for informing practice and policy. 

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Chloe Gibbs, Jocelyn Wikle, Riley Wilson.

As women increasingly entered the labor force throughout the late 20th century, the challenges of balancing work and family came to the forefront. We leverage pronounced changes in the availability of public schooling for young children—through duration expansions to the kindergarten day—to better understand mothers’ and families’ constraints. We first show that mothers of children in full-day kindergarten spend significantly more time at work, less time with their children, less time performing household duties, and less time commuting with their children in the middle of the day relative to mothers with half-day kindergarteners. Exploiting full-day kindergarten variation across place and time from 1992 through 2022, combined with the narrow age targeting of kindergarten, we document the impact of full-day kindergarten access on parental labor supply, family childcare costs, and children’s subsequent academic outcomes. Our estimates of the maternal employment effects imply that full-day kindergarten expansions were responsible for as much as 24 percent of the growth in employment of mothers with kindergarten-aged children in this time frame.

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Edward Kim, Joshua Goodman, Martin R. West.

The increasing prevalence of private tutoring has received minimal scholarly attention in the United States. We use over 25 years of geocoded data on the universe of U.S. private tutoring centers to estimate the size and growth of this industry and to identify predictors of tutoring center locations. We document four important facts. First, from 1997 to 2022, the number of private tutoring centers more than tripled, from about 3,000 to 10,000, with steady growth through 2015 before a more recent plateau. Second, the number and growth of private tutoring centers is heavily concentrated in geographic areas with high income and parental education. More than half of tutoring centers are in areas in the top quintile of income. Third, even conditional on income and parental education, private tutoring centers tend to locate in areas with many Asian American families, suggesting important differences by ethnic or cultural identity in demand for such services. Fourth, we see only marginal evidence that prevalence of private tutoring centers is related to the structure of K-12 school markets, including the prevalence of private schools and charter or magnet school options. The rapid rise in high-income families’ demand for this form of private educational investment mimics phenomena observed in other spheres of education and family life, with potentially important implications for inequality in student outcomes.

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Sarah Guthery, Kathryn Dixon.

We use frame analysis to analyze the first iteration of the Texas District of Innovation policy, which allows districts to take exemption from state education requirements mandating the hiring of a state certified teacher. We analyzed 451 district policies and find the plans use very similar, and sometimes identical, language to frame both the problem of teacher shortage and their proposed solutions, even though the districts may be geographically and demographically different. The districts most often propose two solutions to the certified teacher shortage, 1) flexibility and 2) local control over teacher certification decisions, including hiring unlicensed teachers and locally certified teachers.

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Bradley R. Curs, Casandra E. Harper, Sangmin Park.

This quasi-experimental study examined the effectiveness of a one-time emergency financial relief program among Pell Grant eligible undergraduate students in Spring 2015 pursuing their first bachelor’s degree across academic and financial outcomes. The academic outcomes included retention to the next semester, degree completion, attempted credit hours, and grade point average. The financial outcome captured whether students received a stop registration hold due to an unpaid financial balance in the semester after receiving the emergency relief. The results reveal that financial relief applied to low-income students’ accounts can improve their retention and graduation rates. The financial relief was most effective among first-generation college students, resulting in a complete elimination of the retention gap for first-generation students. The emergency relief did not improve GPA or substantially change the number of credits earned. A concerning finding was that students receiving this emergency support were more likely to receive a financial hold in a subsequent semester and that effect was stronger among students of color (Black/African American, Hispanic/Latine, Asian, Multiracial, American Indian/Alaska Native), males, and first-generation college students.

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Sara R. Sands.

Despite the popularity of teacher leadership since the 1980s, little research examines its effects on student achievement. In this paper, I assess the influence of the New York City Department of Education’s Teacher Career Pathways program, a teacher leadership initiative, on student achievement in grades three through eight. Using difference-in-difference approaches, including new event study estimators, I find that where school leaders staffed teacher leaders into formal roles with defined responsibilities, positional authority, and commensurate salary increases, student achievement in ELA and math improves. Moreover, the improvement in scores compounds over time, with schools exhibiting increasing gains in each year following the initial introduction of teacher leaders. Schools that do not staff teacher leaders do not observe similar outcomes. I consider these results in the context of democratic policymaking and teacher empowerment, suggesting that teachers must be formally empowered in schools to lead meaningful changes that ultimately improve student achievement.

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S. Colby Woods, Michael Gottfried, Kevin Gee.

Students in the foster care system tend to have lower educational outcomes than their peers, including more frequent disciplinary events. However, few studies have explored how transitions into and out of foster care placements are associated with educational outcomes. Using longitudinal data from four California school districts, this study investigated the dynamics of entering versus exiting foster care to predict school discipline and how this relationship ultimately influences absenteeism. Our findings suggest that students in foster care are more likely than their peers to face disciplinary action, especially exclusionary discipline, particularly when entering foster care. We also find suggestive evidence that disciplinary actions upon entry increase student absenteeism for students in foster care.

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David B. Monaghan.

“Free college” (sometimes called Promise) programs are common in U.S. higher education. Reviewing 88 studies of 25 state and local programs, I provide a nuanced picture of the mechanisms through which these programs may work and their likely effects on students, communities, and colleges. Some commonly-claimed mechanisms for these effects—e.g., improving secondary school environments or impacting residential decisions—lack empirical support or are implausible for most existing programs. Programs are consistently found to shift college-bound students to colleges where they can use more scholarship dollars, increase enrollment at eligible colleges, and (for generous local programs only) increase community school district enrollment. Less consistently, programs boost college participation and thereby degree attainment, but evidence for direct effects on college performance, persistence or completion net of enrollment is weak. There is insufficient or inconsistent evidence for program effects on secondary school performance and graduation, post-college income and debt, community population or property values, and inequality reduction according to gender, race, or socioeconomic status.

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Mark Duffy, Kri Burkander.

Drawing on qualitative data collected in a sample of colleges as part of a larger study on the implementation and impact of Assembly Bill 705 in California, this paper explores the rollout of corequisite reforms, focusing on the use of embedded tutors in introductory math and English courses as a strategy to meet to the needs of students. This paper highlights promising practices identified through extant research and fieldwork at study institutions, provides additional evidence on the value of the reform, discusses challenges, and makes recommendations for the field.

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