Studies, surveys, etc.

Below are several pertinent studies of which every teacher should be aware sorted by date for your convenience.

-- October 2019 - Andrew Biggs, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and Jason Richwine, a D.C.-based public-policy analyst, have written “The Truth about Teacher Pay,” an essay for National Affairs, that unmercifully destroys mountains of emotion-based clichés that are education establishment mainstays.

The authors dispel myths like the “teacher pay gap,” which allegedly leads many educators to take second jobs, as well as other tall tales of woe, including the “teacher shortage,” that “teachers are leaving the field in droves,” that “teachers work more than other professionals,” et al.

To read this eye-opening report, go here.

-- March 2019 - A study by Eric Hanushek et al for the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) shows that all the top-down fixes – No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, etc. – have been absolutely useless in shrinking the achievement gap between students from higher and lower socioeconomic backgrounds. The disparity remains as large as it was in 1966, when James Coleman wrote his landmark report and “the nation launched a ‘war on poverty’ that made compensatory education its centerpiece.”

According to the study, school funding quadrupled in real dollars between 1960 and 2015, with a large portion of the money used to reduce pupil-teacher ratios – a school board and teacher union staple. But the researchers conclude that the increased spending has done nothing to lower the gap between the haves and the have-nots.

To learn more about the study, go here.

-- December 2018 - How important are smaller classes for students? Not very, according to a new report issued by the Danish Centre of Applied Social Science. Researchers examined 127 studies, eliminating many that did not meet strict research requirements, and found that there may be tiny benefits to small classes for some students when it comes to reading. But in math, it found no benefits at all and the researchers “cannot rule out the possibility that small classes may be counterproductive for some students.”

To see the study, go here.

-- October 2018 - Martin Lueken, EdChoice’s director of fiscal policy and analysis, makes the case that not only do vouchers save the taxpayer money, they have no effect on per-pupil spending.

"When students leave public schools, they usually generate fiscal savings because the voucher amount in all programs is significantly less than the overall cost of educating students in district schools, and typically less than the short-run variable costs.

These savings, however, do not necessarily materialize as reductions in K–12 expenditures because public officials must make decisions to reduce expenditures. When they don’t reduce those expenditures as public schools lose students, public schools will end up with more resources on a per-pupil basis. A common by-product of introducing school choice programs is that spending per student in district schools increases. Although it may be the case that total revenue for a district may drop, it is usually not the case that revenue per student declines. "

To read Lueken’s study, go here.

-- June 2018 -United Teachers of Los Angeles President Caputo-Pearl constantly demonizes charters, which he claims suck blood from traditional public schools. But as Reason Foundation scholar Lisa Snell writes, charters account for only 13 percent of the district’s enrollment drop in 2017-2018. She places much of the district’s fiscal woes on its spending on pensions, health care, and special education programs.

"The district’s most recent budget of $7.5 billion, approved in June 2017, projected that LAUSD will face a $422-million shortfall by the 2019–2020 school year. In addition, in four years the combination of pension costs, health and welfare costs, and special education costs are projected to take up 57.5% of unrestricted general fund revenue (LAUSD’s main operational funding), before the district spends a single dollar to run a regular school program."

To read more on Snell’s in-depth analysis, go here.

-- February 2018 - A study released by the University of Arkansas shows that money allotted to charters is money very well spent. “A Good Investment: The Updated Productivity of Public Charter Schools in Eight U.S. Cities,” examines the cost-effectiveness and return-on-investment for charter schools. The report finds that in each city, charters yield more learning per education dollar – on average 53 percent greater than for traditional public schools. The report also finds that for each dollar invested in a student enrolled in a traditional public school, that student secures $4.41 in lifetime earnings. However, the same dollar invested in a student enrolled in a charter school yields $6.37 in lifetime earnings for that student – 45 percent more.

To learn more about the study, go here.

-- February 2018 - A new study out compares the cost-effectiveness of charters and traditional public schools. The findings include:

"Education dollars go farther in charter schools than they do traditional public schools.

For every $1,000 in per-pupil funding, students in charter schools earn 17.76 points on the reading portion of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) compared to 13.42 points for students in traditional public schools. In math, students in the charter sector earn 19.21 NAEP points compared to 14.48 in traditional district schools.

Every dollar spent on students in traditional public schools results in $4.67 in lifetime earnings for those in traditional schools, $6.44 for those in charters, and $5.40 for those who split their K-12 years between both."

To read more about this study, conducted by Patrick J. Wolf of the University of Arkansas, Corey DeAngelis of the Cato Institute, et al, go to

-- November 2017 - A Public Policy of California report finds that just 30 percent of all California 9th graders are expected to earn a bachelor’s degree. Also, only 45 percent of the graduating class of 2016 completed college preparatory courses, which are required to be considered for admission to any state school. The report analyzes when students leave the path to college, which students leave, and the major impediments to success.

To learn more, go to

-- November 2017 - The yearly EdChoice “Schooling in America” report has been released and, as usual, the pro-choice outfit has done a thorough job of digging into various education crevices. From the executive summary:

"The national nomenclature surrounding education has shifted dramatically in the past year. Terms like “vouchers,” “charter schools,” and “tax-credit scholarships”—all educational options—have entered the mainstream dialogue as a result of a political embrace by the executive administration. This emergence has fueled the ongoing debate on what is and should be considered public education in the United States. Often in this political climate, the loudest voices garner the most attention. That has certainly been true in education, where distinct stakeholders of parents, teachers, administrators, boards, and governments often struggle to align their goals. Yet the voices of everyday citizens as a whole also should be examined for this most important public good."

To access the report, go to

-- October 2017 - The Independent Institute’s Vicki Alger has released a report on the value of educational savings accounts. She writes that “California is among the bottom five states in the nation in reading and math. Currently, nearly one out of five high school students does not graduate, and just 43 percent of those who do graduate meet California’s four-year college course requirements.”

To read Alger’s in-depth report, go to

-- September 2017 - Using data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, a study released by the Fordham Institute delves into the depths of the teacher absentee problem. On average, teachers miss about eight school days a year due to sick and personal leave, while the average U.S. worker takes only about three-and-a-half sick days per annum. The study shows that 28.3 percent of teachers in traditional public schools are chronically absent, which is defined as missing 11 or more days of school per year due to illness or personal reasons. Interestingly, in charter schools – most of which are not unionized – the corresponding number is just 10.3 percent.

Even within charter schools, the study reveals a glaring disparity. Teachers in unionized charters are almost twice as likely to be chronically absent as their colleagues in non-unionized charters – 17.9 percent to 9.1 percent.

To read this eye-opening report, go here -

-- September 2017 - When teacher salary schedules first came to be about 100 years ago, they were designed to eliminate discrimination due to race, ethnicity and gender. With such discrimination illegal today, is there really any need for them?

Not according to the Brookings Institution, which has come out with a report that shows the detrimental effects of the step-and-column pay regimen. To read more of this provocative report, go to

-- July 2017 - As Alex Zimmerman writes in Chalkbeat, a recent study finds that” being closer to a charter school led to small increases in math and reading scores, boosts in reported student engagement and school safety, and fewer students being held back a grade.The test score gains increased slightly more in traditional public schools that are co-located with a charter.”

To learn more, go to

-- May 2017 - Merit pay or “pay for performance” is back in the news, courtesy of a study from Vanderbilt University. The research shows that teacher participation in a merit-pay program led to the equivalent of four extra weeks of student learning, according to an analysis of 44 studies of incentive-pay initiatives in the United States and abroad. In the U.S., the study showed increased student learning equivalent to three additional weeks of schooling.

To learn more about the study, go here -

-- May 2017 - University of Arkansas professor and researcher Patrick Wolf has just completed a study in which he found that, “Students in public charter schools receive $5,721 or 29% less in average per-pupil revenue than students in traditional public schools (TPS) in 14 major metropolitan areas across the U. S in Fiscal Year 2014.  That is the main conclusion of a study that my research team released today. Of the cities we examined, some have large and well-established charter sectors, like Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, while others have more emerging charter school sectors like Little Rock, San Antonio, and Tulsa.”

To read more about Wolf’s eye-opening study, go to

-- March 2017 -On a “State Report Card” issued by Education Week, California scored below the national average. Massachusetts ranked at the top, followed by New Jersey, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maryland and Connecticut, all earning a B. As a whole, the nation received a C, but the Golden State came in with a solid C-minus, 10th from the bottom among the 50 states and Washington, D.C.

The state ranked 41st in conditions that help children succeed, 39th in school finance, and 30th in achievement. The report card gave the state a D+ in K-12 achievement and school finance, and a C in chance for success.

To see the whole report, go here.

-- December 2016 -The Fordham Institute released a report on the difficulty of removing ineffective teachers from public school classrooms. The results of the study showed that in some school districts it is virtually impossible to get rid of an under-performer. The Fordham analysts used a ten point metric based on three simple questions:

  1. Does tenure protect veteran teachers from performance-based dismissal?
  2. How long does it take to dismiss an ineffective veteran teacher?
  3. How vulnerable is an ineffective veteran teacher's dismissal to challenge?

They then used this framework to gauge the difficulty of dismissing ineffective veteran teachers in 25 diverse school districts across the country and found three major obstacles. In 17 of the 25 districts, state law allows teachers to achieve tenure and never relinquish it, even if poor performance reviews follow. Also, it takes forever to cut through the red tape involved in a teacher dismissal. In Los Angeles and San Francisco, it can take five or more years to complete the process. And finally, teachers have multiple appeals to their dismissal in many districts.

To read more about the Fordham Institute report, go to

-- December 2016 -The National Council on Teacher Quality released new ratings for 875 undergraduate elementary teacher preparation programs. One of NCTQ's findings is that these programs still have far to go, particularly in preparing elementary teachers in mathematics. The new findings do little to quell the notion that teaching is an easy major, open to anyone who applies in many institutions. Only one quarter of the programs (26 percent) are sufficiently selective, generally admitting only the top half of college goers.” To access the NCTQ report, go to

-- May 2016 - University of Arkansas professor Patrick Wolf and his team released a meta-analysis of 19 “gold standard” experimental evaluations of the test-score effects of private school choice programs around the world. “The sum of the reliable evidence indicates that, on average, private school choice increases the reading scores of choice users by about 0.27 standard deviations and their math scores by 0.15 standard deviations.  These are highly statistically significant, educationally meaningful achievement gains of several months of additional learning from school choice.” To examine the study, go here.

-- January 2016 - The Association of American Educators’ 2016 survey has been released, and, as always, it’s interesting to see where independent-minded teachers come down on education issues. Just a small sampling:

  • 69% of teachers would support a blended learning environment in which students spend part of their day with a teacher and part of their day on a computer.
  • 67% of those surveyed are interested in negotiating their own contract so that they can negotiate a salary and benefits package that best suits their lifestyle.
  • 95% of teachers expressed support for course choice, allowing students to craft custom educational plans utilizing a variety of provider

To access the full survey, go here.

-- January 2016 - “The ABCs of School Choice” from the Friedman Foundation is a comprehensive guide to every private school choice program in America. The latest edition defines each of the four types of school choice: education savings accounts, vouchers, tax-credit scholarships, and individual tax credits and deductions. It also features a spread for each school choice program including the most recent participation, funding, and eligibility data as well as information on the program’s rules, regulations and legal history. To access the report, go here.

-- January 2015 -The National Council on Teacher Quality have released the “2015 State Teacher Policy Yearbook.” It is their ninth annual report and is comprised of a National Summary and State-specific reports for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The 52 volum