Education Issues

This page offers an easy way for policymakers to access education research and analysis that is relevant to current Congressional agendas. For additional information, to request documents, or to arrange a briefing, contact the RAND Office of Congressional Relations at ocr@rand.org or (703) 413-1100 x5643.

Recent Findings

  • Preschool children making art with their teacher, photo by damircudic/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Early Childhood Education and Care Services Across the European Union Member States Still Fall Short of the Mark

    Oct 10, 2019

    Children's access to education and care from a young age is vital. Large differences exist between EU countries in access to those services and the quality of child care. Bridging the gap would require more efforts at the EU and national levels to guarantee that each child has access to services that will have lasting effects on their development.

  • A group of teachers looking at data, photo by SolStock/Getty Images

    Report

    Teachers Find Value in National Educator Survey Data

    Oct 10, 2019

    More than 80 percent of teachers reported that their peers' responses to surveys about topics like social and emotional learning and curriculum would be useful. Those in higher-poverty schools were more likely to report that data on many topics would be useful for improving their instruction.

  • Elementary school teacher helping pupils as they work at desk in classroom, photo by Monkey Business/AdobeStock

    Report

    Teacher Perspectives on Social and Emotional Learning in Massachusetts

    Oct 2, 2019

    Teachers are largely responsible for implementing social and emotional learning (SEL) programs and policies. How do teachers in Massachusetts feel about the importance of SEL? And what are their opinions on approaches to and support for SEL instruction?

  • A 3D printer making a wrench with bright green filament, photo by wsf-f/Adobe Stock

    Research Brief

    The U.S. Workforce Development and Employment System Needs an Overhaul

    Sep 19, 2019

    Despite globalization, technology, and demographic changes, the U.S. approach to education, training, and workforce development still operates on a 20th-century model. Americans need a system that provides on-ramps for transitioning individuals to access opportunities while suitably matching workers and jobs.

  • A teacher and a student presenting to class, photo by FatCamera/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Elevating Teacher Voices, Along with Their Salaries to Professionalize Teaching in Louisiana

    Sep 18, 2019

    Salary raises have a direct impact on teachers' day-to-day lives. But efforts like those in Louisiana to elevate teachers' voices, and not just their salaries, are more likely to make a real difference for the teaching profession by creating a clear career ladder. The state's efforts could also be cultivating a teaching force that is providing students with the curricula and instruction they need to achieve at higher levels.

More Research on Education

Briefings

  • My work requires a lot of patience, photo by gpointstudio/Getty Images

    Principal Pipelines: A Feasible, Affordable, and Effective Way to Improve Schools

    Jun 17, 2019

    A recent RAND report found that implementing “principal pipelines”—a strategic approach to the hiring, preparation, evaluation, and support of school leaders—can improve schools. Susan Gates will discuss the feasibility, effectiveness, and affordability of principal pipelines. [Washington, D.C.]

  • Preschool-age children laugh while their teacher reads them a book during story time

    Informing Investments in High-Quality Preschool

    May 5, 2017

    The new Congress is expected to reexamine spending on domestic programs like early childhood education. RAND senior economist Lynn Karoly will present her findings on the short- and long-term effects of high-quality preschool programs—and the associated costs, benefits, and economic returns.

  • Student raising her hand during class

    Reauthorizing ESEA: Key Issues and Federal Oversight Are Up for Debate

    Feb 18, 2015

    This might be the year that Congress reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary School Act. However, debate continues over some of the law's key components and the appropriate federal role in annual assessments, state accountability, and teaching effectiveness.

  • Women participate in a nutrition class at the Los Angeles County women's jail

    Correctional Education: How Effective Is It and What Can We Do to Make It Better?

    Feb 18, 2014

    Ex-offenders do not have the knowledge and skills to support a successful return to their communities. Trying to reduce re-incarceration rates is partly why states devote resources to educating and training individuals while in prison. Lois Davis will present results from a comprehensive RAND study on the effectiveness of correctional education.

  • students and a teacher in a classroom using computers

    Improving Student Achievement Through Education Technology

    Jun 20, 2013

    RAND senior scientist John Pane will participate in a panel hosted by Carnegie Learning to discuss a large-scale randomized study of the blended learning algebra curriculum designed by Carnegie Learning, tracking the progress of more than 19,000 students in 147 schools in seven states.

More Education Briefings

Alerts & Newsletters

RAND periodically sends alerts and newsletters to update Congress on highlights of recent work about education.

  • A 3D printer making a wrench with bright green filament, photo by wsf-f/Adobe Stock

    The U.S. Workforce Development and Employment System Needs an Overhaul

    Oct 10, 2019

    The American workplace has changed profoundly over the past 40 years and continues to evolve. RAND researchers recently took a systems approach to rethinking the nation's workforce development and employment system.

  • Students in university, photo by Vasyl/Adobe Stock

    Higher Education Act Reauthorization: Insights from RAND

    Aug 5, 2019

    In light of Congress' efforts to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, RAND has collected commentaries from its experts that address several aspects of the nation's main federal law governing postsecondary education.

  • In Case You Missed It: Principal Pipelines: A Feasible, Affordable, and Effective Way to Improve Schools

    Jul 1, 2019

    In this congressional briefing, Susan Gates discusses the feasibility, effectiveness, and affordability of principal pipelines

  • Students in the Munroe Elementary School after-school garden club chop vegetables to put in a stir fry dish they will cook in Denver, Colorado, May 9, 2012

    Considering Education Policy in the 116th Congress

    Feb 8, 2019

    What are the biggest education policy issues facing the 116th Congress? RAND experts offer up insight on a variety of topics, including early childhood care and learning, K-12 policy, higher education, workforce development, and more.

  • Security camera in a classroom

    School Safety in the U.S.

    Jun 27, 2018

    In the wake of several school shootings, policymakers have been weighing proposals aimed at improving school safety. Many of these promote technologies such as metal detectors and video cameras. How effective are these devices?

  • Students and tourists rest in lawn chairs in Harvard Yard

    Spotlight on Higher Education

    Mar 26, 2018

    Colleges and universities have an opportunity to improve their response to sexual assaults, emerging evidence from Texas community colleges on the effectiveness of corequisite models, and more in a roundup of RAND's work in higher education.

  • A female systems engineer working on a computer server

    STEM Workforce Disparities

    Jan 18, 2018

    Women and racial/ethnic minorities are less likely to earn STEM degrees and enter STEM employment. Minorities also experience attainment and wage gaps in these jobs. Without stronger support for these groups, the STEM economy may fail to optimize the pool of potential workers needed to sustain growth and innovation.

  • yellow school bus

    The Economic Benefits of Later School Start Times

    Dec 6, 2017

    In the first-ever state-by-state analysis of the economic implications of a shift in school start times, researchers found that within a decade, a nationwide move to 8:30 a.m. could contribute $83 billion to the U.S. economy.

  • College campus tour guide talking with prospective students

    National Database Could Help Students Pick a College—and Income

    Aug 16, 2017

    Developing a searchable, secure national database could help students link their college decision to potential earnings later on—leading to more informed choices about higher education.

  • Preschool-age children laugh while their teacher reads them a book during story time

    In Case You Missed It: Informing Investments in High-Quality Preschool

    Jun 6, 2017

    Are high-quality preschool programs worth the investment they take to succeed? Lynn Karoly presents a congressional briefing presenting evidence of the short- and long-term effects of high-quality preschool programs.

  • A teacher helps a student

    Considering Education Policy in the 115th Congress

    Mar 16, 2017

    What are the biggest education issues facing the 115th Congress? RAND experts offer up insight on a variety of topics, including early childhood care and learning and K-12 issues, career and technical education, higher education, and workforce development.

  • U.S. President-elect Donald Trump (center) and Vice President-elect Mike Pence (left) emerge with Betsy DeVos after a meeting at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, November 19, 2016

    Making American Education Great Will Require More than Charter Schools

    Dec 19, 2016

    Charter schools could become an important part of a great education system, says RAND's Darleen Opfer. But this burst of attention poses a risk that other issues will be ignored.

  • Rows of empty desks in a school

    Inside the Opt-Out Movement

    May 23, 2016

    For several years, parents across the country have resisted standardized tests by opting out for their kids. This decision, however, may have social consequences that reach far beyond the quality of an individual child's school-based experiences.

  • Student taking a standardized test

    Test Smarter: Recommendations for Improving Standardized Testing

    Nov 17, 2015

    The Department of Education's recently released Testing Action Plan recommends that statewide testing be limited to no more than two percent of instructional time, but the amount of testing isn't the only consideration: Policymakers should also examine the usefulness and purpose of testing.

  • teacher calling on students

    Reauthorizing ESEA: Four Key Issues for Lawmakers

    Jun 17, 2015

    As lawmakers consider reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (better known as No Child Left Behind), they should carefully consider four key issues: testing requirements, school improvement, teaching effectiveness, and innovation.

  • Students hold diplomas

    Education Issues in the New Congress

    Feb 24, 2015

    The list of education issues for the new Congress is long, but RAND research on No Child Left Behind, tests and testing, teachers and teaching effectiveness, early childhood and postsecondary education, and summer learning can provide insight for decisionmakers.

  • Instructor helping students on computers

    Competency-Based Education: A New Direction

    Nov 18, 2014

    A RAND evaluation of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Project Mastery grant program, which supports competency-based education initiatives in school systems and schools, contains lessons for policy, partnerships, and practice.

  • summer learning

    Putting the Brakes on Summer Break Losses

    Jun 27, 2014

    RAND research provides insight into how to fund and structure summer learning programs that will generate the greatest value on an investment intended to help students avoid losing ground in their academic performance over summer breaks.

  • students in class

    How to Assess 21st Century Competencies

    Jun 2, 2014

    Parents, educators, employers, and policymakers agree that students need to learn critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork, and creativity, but these skills are difficult to teach and learn. RAND researchers identify key lessons from assessments of these “21st century competencies.”

  • RAND.org's Redesign: New Homepage and Navigation Optimization for All Devices

    Mar 20, 2014

    RAND.org has been reimagined to make high quality research and insights more accessible to Hill staff like you. The new homepage and updated navigation optimize content delivery for your preferred device and place our most timely content at your fingertips.

  • a piggy bank with a graduation cap surrounded by U.S. currency

    The Cost of Higher Education: The Big Picture

    Jul 26, 2013

    The rapidly increasing cost of college tuition has left policymakers searching for ways to reduce the economic burden students face, with the recent debate over the interest rate for Stafford loans further highlighting the problems posed by increased college costs.

  • Preschool or kindergarten student raising her hand as teacher reads a book

    High-Quality Early Childhood Programs Require High-Quality Teachers

    Apr 8, 2013

    While high-quality early childhood programs can have a dramatic effect on academic achievement and childhood development, federal policymakers must be careful not to expand early childhood education programs faster than an adequate number of qualified teachers can be prepared, credentialed, and recruited.

  • a teacher talking to a principal or parent

    Performance-Based Incentives for School Principals

    Oct 18, 2012

    In 2007, the Pittsburgh Public Schools implemented reforms to improve school leadership in the district, which included the Pittsburgh Principal Incentive Program (PPIP). PPIP provides principals with capacity-building interventions: professional development focused on leadership, feedback and coaching from their supervisors, and bonuses.

  • Looking Beyond the 2012 U.S. Election

    Oct 3, 2012

    As the U.S. presidential election draws to a close, there is increasing demand for simple answers to complex questions, immediate solutions to entrenched challenges, and ten-second sound bites to sum it all up. RAND has always focused on big, long-term, core public policy issues and has cultivated the farsighted perspectives required to address those issues.

  • Is Inclusionary Zoning Inclusionary?

    Jul 9, 2012

    Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) policies require that a proportion of units in market-rate residential developments are made affordable to lower-income households in exchange for development rights or zoning variances. IZ programs provide greater access to low-poverty neighborhoods, which are often correlated with high-performing schools.


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