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Saturday October 25th 2014

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Three innovative ideas to improve public education

A recent report from the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution examines three school organization reforms that may yield positive results but have not captured the attention of policymakers.

The report, Organizing Schools to Improve Student Achievement, by Brian A. Jacob and Jonah E. Rockoff, applies cost-benefit analyses to three reform proposals:

  • Starting school later in the day for middle and high school students;
  • Shifting from a system with separate elementary and middle schools to one with schools that serve students in kindergarten through grade eight;
  • Managing teacher assignments with an eye toward maximizing student achievement (e.g. allowing teachers to gain experience by teaching the same grade level for multiple years or having teachers specializing in the subject where they appear most effective)

It draws on research to calculate improvements in achievement that can be associated with each reform. The ratio of benefits to costs is 9 to 1 for later school start times and 40 to 1 for middle school reform.

See report.