Publications

Students Experiencing Homelessness in Pennsylvania: New Evidence of Under-Identification and Inequity

Properly identifying when students are experiencing homelessness is the first step to providing them academic supports and other rights afforded by federal law. As RFA found in 2018, Pennsylvania schools have a history of under-identification.…

School Police Presence in Allegheny County

In recent years, some school districts across Allegheny County have made noteworthy changes to school policing. While some districts have sought to reduce or eliminate reliance on police, a growing number of other districts in…

Teacher Diversity in Pennsylvania from 2013-14 to 2019-20

As RFA documented in Patching the Leaky Pipeline, teachers of color (TOCs) are important for all students and particularly for students of color (SOCs). Yet, despite promising statewide initiatives to improve teacher diversity, there is…

RecoveringCredits in theSchool Districtof Philadelphia: High School Student Credit Recovery Utilization in 2018-19

The goal of school-year credit recovery is for students to regain lost credits and get back on track to graduation. The School District of Philadelphia offers both in person and online options for recovering failed…

State Funding to Ensure Safe and Healthy Facilities: Lessons for Pennsylvania

Long before closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, many Pennsylvania schools faced a different health crisis: unsafe facilities. Crumbling buildings, asbestos, lead, and other school facility health and safety risks plague many schools across Pennsylvania,…

Promise Programs: An Avenue to Expand College Affordability, Access and Success for Undocumented Students

The Trump administration has advanced several exclusionary immigration policies while postsecondary institutions and higher education systems grapple with their effects. One of these policies was the Trump administration’s decision to rescind DACA, which was later…

Teacher Use of Digital Tools: Results of a Survey of District Teachers in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Scranton and Neshaminy

When schools in Pennsylvania and across the nation were suddenly shuttered in March due to COVID-19, teachers were faced with an enormous challenge: how to effectively teach and engage their students remotely when the vast…

Shortages and Inequities in the Philadelphia Public School Teacher Workforce

Educators are centrally important in the fight for racial justice and access to high-quality education. This has never been more true than in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the public acknowledges the crucial…

How Long Will it Take Me To Get to School?

Philadelphia's high school selection process is a complex one for students and their families. Under normal circumstances, transportation to school is an important factor to consider. Average public transit times can vary widely by school…

Police in Schools series

Strategies for Reducing Student Absenteeism in Philadelphia

As many districts in Pennsylvania pivot to hybrid or virtual models of education in response to Covid-19, it is hard to think about what “attendance” means or how to track it. Yet attendance is more…

Responses to Covid-19 School Closures

In March 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic caused schools to close for the remainder of the school year, all Pennsylvania school districts and charter schools were required to "make good faith efforts to implement continuity of…

Allegheny County Students in Foster Care

Students in foster care require additional supports from schools in order to maintain educational stability. And, in the time of COVID-19 school shutdowns, experts warn that vulnerable students such as those in foster care may…

Boosting Children’s Language and Literacy Skills Through Blueprint: An Evaluation of Children’s Literacy Initiative’s Blueprint for Early Literacy 2017 – 2019

RFA’s three-year mixed methods evaluation of Children’s Literacy Initiative’s language and literacy supports found positive impacts despite higher-than-typical teacher turnover. In pre-K centers receiving CLI supports, teachers were more able to implement effective instructional practices…

Developing a Statewide College Completion Agenda: Lessons From Tennessee

Tennessee has gained national recognition for its comprehensive strategy to increase college attainment. This report describes the development and expansion of Tennessee’s completion agenda through a set of related and interlocking policies designed to produce…

Designing Equitable Promise Programs: Research-based Considerations for State Policymakers

Statewide College Promise programs have the potential to broadly increase affordability, access, and success for students pursuing a postsecondary credential. Statewide College Promise programs also generate controversy because they encompass critical decisions about how a…

Driving Awareness, Inclusion, and Integration for Racial Equity in Postsecondary Education

To support state efforts to close postsecondary attainment equity gaps for students of color, RFA developed a framework that describes three drivers behind efforts to place racial equity at the center of postsecondary policymaking and…

Research Update : Increasing college access, affordability, and success among Dallas County Promise participants

In May 2020, Research for Action (RFA) partnered with Commit Partnership to conduct a 14-month study of the Dallas County Promise. This overview provides summary findings from RFA’s preliminary exploratory analysis of outcomes associated with…