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Our June research roundup

Here at NYCAN we publish a monthly roundup of the latest education research, pulled from across the country and placed in a New York context. If you'd like to receive these updates via email, sign up for them here!

1. Putting a Price Tag on the Common Core: How Much Will Smart Implementation Cost?
Patrick Murphy and Elliot Regenstein with Keith McNamara, Thomas B. Fordham Institute, May 2012


This paper predicts how much it will cost states to implement the Common Core State Standards using three hypothetical approaches: “business as usual,” “bare-bones” and “balanced implementation.” Each strategy uses a different level of technology to provide professional development for teachers, assessments for students and new Common Core-aligned content. The “business as usual” approach is the most expensive because it involves using hard copies of materials rather than online copies, and it fails to leverage the “common-ness” of the Common Core. The authors conclude that Common Core implementation will be cheaper and more effective if states and districts think of new ways and use technology to deliver the goods and services schools need.

New York context

Researchers estimate that, depending on the approach it takes, New York will spend anywhere from $198.2 to $853 million implementing the Common Core. It would cost our state about $853 million for “business as usual,” $340.8 million for “balanced” implementation and $198.2 million for the “bare bones.” These figures account for the instructional materials, assessments and professional development that schools will need. But the figures don’t include other implementation costs, such as student remediation and updates to existing teacher preparation programs. Ultimately the price of the Common Core depends on how well New York works with other states and uses technology to provide students and teachers the resources they need.

2. School Turnarounds: Evidence from the 2009 Stimulus
Thomas Dee, National Bureau of Economic Research, April 2012


This working paper looks at first-year results in California of the competitive School Improvement Grant program, which awards states with federal money to improve their most underperforming schools with one of four school improvement models: “restart,” “turnaround,” “transformation” and “closure.” According to the research, those early numbers are promising: Over the past two years, California’s SIG-eligible schools improved significantly, coming much closer to reaching state performance targets. The research also shows that the schools that adopted the “turnaround” model, which involves replacing at least half of the school’s staff, tended to post the largest gains.

New York context

The majority of New York’s 25 SIG schools—located primarily in Buffalo, New York City, Rochester and Syracuse—are implementing the “transformation” model, which requires the least amount of change out of any of the four SIG models. The findings of this working paper, however, suggest that schools could achieve greater improvement if the "turnaround" model is applied.

3. Moving High-Performing Teachers: Implementation of Transfer Incentives in Seven Districts
Steven Glazerman, Ali Protik, Bing-ru Teh, Julie Bruch and Neil Seftor, Mathematica Policy Research and Institute of Education Sciences at United States Department of Education, April 2012 


This study evaluates the Talent Transfer Initiative, which offers substantial financial incentives to attract high-performing teachers to the lowest-achieving schools in seven large school districts across the country. It finds that through TTI, these districts filled 90 percent of vacancies in their hard-to-staff schools with some of the districts’ highest-performing teachers. It took a large pool, however, to fill these vacancies: only 6 percent of high-performing teachers took the option to transfer. The study also found that teachers who transferred tended to have more experience than those who would normally fill the positions and spent more time mentoring their colleagues. Researchers are conducting a follow-up study of how TTI influences student achievement and the retention of a school’s highest-performing teachers.

New York context

Several schools throughout New York received federal money through the Teacher Incentive Fund to rethink the way they use salaries to attract and retain great teachers. For example, Achievement First's TIF grant will support their Teacher Career Pathway performance-based compensation model, which will include higher pay for individual teachers who become more effective and school-wide bonuses for student achievement growth. In Buffalo, the Center for Educational Innovation - Public Education Association will partner with six high-need schools to provide extra compensation for effective teachers. This study suggests that including higher pay during the recruiting process could also help funnel New York’s best teachers to the schools that need them most.