RFA Releases PACER Brief on School Performance

November 11, 2015

For more than two decades, states have been required to report publicly on the academic performance of schools and districts. These school rating systems have received increased public attention amid growing concerns about the prevalence and cost of standardized testing in schools. According to a recent Gallup Poll, 64 percent of the public overall, and 67…

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RFA Releases Analysis of 2013-14 Data on Keystone Exams

June 10, 2015

Report Release: Pennsylvania’s Keystone Exams: An Analysis of 2013-14 Publicly-Available Data  Beginning with the class of 2017, Pennsylvania students’ performance on Keystone exams will play a major role in whether they receive high school diplomas. This policy, and the state’s move toward test-based accountability, has been controversial. Many supporters believe that exit exams will ensure…

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RFA Featured in Education Week

June 9, 2015

This week’s edition of Education Week is focused on the opt-out movement, and features an interactive section called “Inside Opt-Out: The Pushback Against Testing.” An RFA commentary piece, authored by Jessica Beaver and Lucas Westmaas, is featured, as is a multimedia activity based on a simulation of opt-outs from our PACER brief. You can read…

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RFA Responds to Phila. School Advocacy Partners’ Position Paper

December 15, 2014

On December 5, the Philadelphia School Advocacy Partners, or PSAP (an arm of the Philadelphia School Partnership), released a position paper that called for an “aggressive expansion of schools that are achieving results for low-income and minority students.” The document describes what it terms “high-impact” schools and “underperforming” schools. However, RFA found a number of…

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RFA Launches Phila. Education Research Consortium

August 19, 2014

An innovative partnership designed to  provide research and analyses on some of the city’s most pressing education issues has been forged among the School District of Philadelphia, the city’s charter school sector, and a Philadelphia-based, nationally-respected education research organization. Research for Action (RFA) received a three-year grant from the William Penn Foundation to establish this…

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RFA’s OST Journal Article Published

June 19, 2014

RFA’s work to examine out-of-school time (OST) programming and its impact on student outcomes continues to generate attention. A journal article, authored by RFA researchers Tracey Hartmann, Brittan Hallar and Jian Gao, was published today in the Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal. Click here to read the article. Additionally, this morning, Tracey Hartmann participated on a…

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RFA Hosts OST Learning Community Workshop

June 16, 2014

Last Tuesday, RFA hosted a Learning Community Workshop for out-of-school time (OST) providers who are recipients of the 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) grants. The discussion followed the release of the RFA’s 21st CCLC aggregate report which looks at program implementation and student outcomes across 11 provider agencies and 50 sites in Philadelphia….

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PASA-PASBO Report Documents Impact of Cuts to Education

June 5, 2014

The Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA) and Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials (PASBO) today released a report on the impact of education cuts on PA school district budgets. The report confirms what has already been widely reported: that declining investment in education has caused deep cuts to education programs and staff in every…

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RFA Op-Ed in Public School Notebook

May 23, 2014

The Pennsylvania Governor’s race has been in the spotlight of late, especially with ambitious proposals and reforms to education included in the platforms of both Democrats and Republicans. But two of RFA’s policy researchers make the case that the agency that will be charged with implementing these reforms–the Pennsylvania Department of Education–is woefully understaffed and…

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RFA Presents at L.E.A.R.N Conference

April 9, 2014

Research for Action was honored to participate in the third annual L.E.A.R.N Conference on March 1, 2014. L.E.A.R.N is an interdisciplinary organization that seeks to create an education forum for the broader Philadelphia community hosted by graduate students at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Education, Law School, and Fels Institute of Government. The conference…

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RFA Releases Policy Note on Gov’s Expanding Excellence Program

February 4, 2014

Earlier today, Governor Corbett outlined his 2014-15 budget priorities. According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) press release, the Governor’s plan includes the Expanding Excellence Program. If enacted and funded, this initiative would “provide competitive funding to schools that have attained a 90 or higher on the School Performance Profile and are willing to…

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RFA Releases Brief on Higher Eds as Charter Authorizers

January 28, 2014

Debates on charter school reform are annual occurrences in Harrisburg. This year, amid a number of proposed changes in charter school regulation and oversight, Senate Bill 1085 adds a new element with especially far-reaching implications: allowing higher education institutions to authorize new charter schools. In its latest Policy Note, Research for Action examines how this…

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RFA Releases PACER Brief on Teacher Effectiveness

December 20, 2013

In education policy discussions, there is little disagreement that teachers matter. When the conversation shifts to measuring teacher performance, however, consensus is harder to find. Despite the lack of definitive research on how best to assess teachers, officials in states across the nation have relied on classroom observation data and complex statistical models designed to…

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RFA Releases Issue Brief on Cyber Charter Schools

December 3, 2013

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is currently considering applications that could expand the number of cyber charter schools statewide by 40 percent. In the General Assembly, at least 12 proposals are pending on cyber charter authorization, funding or oversight. To inform these discussions, RFA used the state’s recently-issued School Performance Profile (SPP) scores to…

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Executive Director Kate Shaw Wins National Award

November 26, 2013

“Meet me in St. Louis” may be a refrain from a classic musical show tune of the 1940s, but it’s also precisely what RFA’s executive director, Kate Shaw, heard when she learned that she had won a major national award from the Association of the Study of Higher Education (ASHE). Shaw was presented with the first-ever…

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RFA’s Kate Shaw on Radio Times

June 19, 2013

RFA’s Executive Director, Kate Shaw, was a guest on WHYY’s Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane this morning. She and veteran journalist, Tom Ferrick, discussed the impact of the budget cuts facing the School District of Philadelphia. Be sure to tune in to the rebroadcast at 10:00 pm tonight (in Philadelphia on 90.9 FM) or log…

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RFA Commentary Published in Ed Week

April 16, 2013

The current edition of Education Week features commentary authored by RFA’s executive director, Kate Shaw, and senior policy analyst, Adam Schott, on the national debate over school closings. Click here to read the commentary, and visit our page dedicated to our work on school closings here.

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