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

  • Senior political scientist Jennifer Kavanagh discusses Truth Decay at RAND's headquarters in Santa Monica, California, May 24, 2018, photo by Diane Baldwin/RAND Corporation

    Q&A

    Searching for Truth: Q&A with Jennifer Kavanagh

    Jun 26, 2019

    Senior political scientist Jennifer Kavanagh helps lead RAND's work on Truth Decay, the diminishing role of facts and analysis in American public life. In this interview, she discusses her latest research on how news presentation has changed over time and across platforms.

  • RAND Trustee Leonard D. Schaeffer discusses the Leonard Schaeffer Medals, RAND's highest honor.

    Multimedia

    The Leonard Schaeffer Medals

    Jun 19, 2019

    Leonard Schaeffer, a RAND trustee and member of the RAND Health Advisory Board, made a generous gift to endow the RAND Medal Awards. To honor his gift, the top two awards are now known as Leonard D. Schaeffer Medals.

  • A row of lockers in a high school, photo by Monkey Business Images/Getty Images

    Report

    Secondary Educators Consider Discipline Reform a Priority

    Jun 13, 2019

    One quarter of principals and 31 percent of teachers surveyed identified discipline reform as one of the top three most important interventions needed in their secondary schools. And those in high-poverty schools were more likely than those in low-poverty schools to do so.

  • A teacher overseeing a class geography project, photo by Rawpixel.com/Adobe Stock

    Research Brief

    What Other States Can Learn from Louisiana's School Reform

    Jun 10, 2019

    Louisiana's education policy changes aim to improve outcomes for public school students statewide. How well are these reforms working? Analyses of the state's early efforts to reshape its education system point to several early successes, remaining challenges, and key lessons.

  • Engineer trains apprentices on machinery, photo by monkeybusinessimages/Getty Images

    Commentary

    How Community Colleges Can Establish Better Partnerships with Employers

    Jun 6, 2019

    Career and technical education programs give students a chance to engage in learning relevant to their chosen fields and apply immediately for jobs. A strategic vision of collaboration between industry and community colleges can be of great benefit to all parties involved.

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.

  • 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.

  • teacher and children outside

    Can Summer Learning Programs Prevent Skill and Knowledge Loss?

    Jun 21, 2012

    When kids go on summer vacation, their knowledge and skills suffer, with their performance dropping off, on average, one month from where they were when they left school in the spring. Such losses do not affect all kids equally, having the greatest effect on low-income students.

  • A middle school chemistry class

    Pay-for-Performance: What Are We Learning?

    Jun 1, 2012

    One proposal to improve teacher effectiveness--and, by extension, student achievement--is to shift from a uniform teacher salary schedule to a pay-for-performance (P4P) system, which would attach financial rewards to student achievement on standardized tests. But is P4P effective in this domain?

  • Adult students talking in class using laptops

    Why Are For-Profit Colleges Appealing to Veterans?

    Mar 8, 2012

    As veterans return home from combat and take advantage of the opportunities offered by the Post-9/11 GI Bill, many have turned to for-profit colleges because of the schools' unique ability to meet their needs.


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