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Archive for the ‘Public Schools’ Category

Record: Linda Renzulli, “Educational Transformations and Why Sociology Should Care” in Social Currents 1, no. 2 (2014): 149-156. [Available Here]

Summary:  Renzulli, a professor of sociology at the University of Georgia, here lays out two claims.  First, she believes that public education in the United States is experiencing two contradictory trends at once—centralization and standardization of curriculum, assessment, and accountability in public schools on one hand and growing local control and autonomy among alternative forms of public education like charter schools and vouchers on the other.  Second, she is concerned that sociologists of education have not dealt sufficiently with these trends.  Homeschooling comes into play in this analysis as an example of privatizing trends and as a pool of customers for virtual charter schools.  (more…)

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Record: Jeremy E. Uecker and Jonathan P. Hill, “Religious Schools, Home Schools, and the Timing of First Marriage and First Birth” in Review of Religious Research 56, no. 2 (June 2014): 189-218. [Abstract Here]

Summary: Uecker, a sociology professor at Baylor University, and Hill, a sociology professor at Calvin College, are both familiar names to readers of these reviews.  In a 2008 article Uecker found (among other things) that there was no difference in levels of adult religious commitment between graduates of public or home schools.  Parent religiosity, not school type, made all the difference.  In a 2013 article Hill found that homeschooled young adults were less likely to engage in volunteer activities than demographically equivalent graduates of public schools.  Both of these articles had drawn from the National Study of Youth and Religion (NSYR), a remarkably ambitious project that has borne great fruit in understanding the religious and political lives of young adults in the United States. (more…)

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Record: Rachana Bhatt, “Home is Where the School Is: The Impact of Homeschool Legislation on School Choice” in Journal of School Choice 8, no. 2 (2014): 192-212. [Abstract Here]

Summary:  Bhatt, an economics professor at Georgia State University, here presents a sophisticated statistical model to try to determine the degree to which a State’s passage of an explicit law granting homeschooling rights to parents increases the tendency for parents to choose homeschooling. (more…)

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Record: Helen E.  Lees, Education Without Schools: Discovering Alternatives (Bristol, UK: Policy Press, 2014). [Abstract Here]

Summary: Lees, a Visiting Research Fellow in Education and Theology at York St. John University in England and founding editor of the online journal Other Education, here draws on her doctoral research to make an impassioned plea for expanding the public understanding of education to include more than formal institutional schooling.  I summarized the first five chapters of her book here.  In this post I will summarize chapters six through nine and end with a bit of analysis. (more…)

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Record: Alex Molnar, ed., Virtual Schools in the U.S. 2014: Politics, Performance, Policy, and Research Evidence (Boulder, CO: National Education Policy Center, 2014).  Available here.

Summary: Part one of this report summarized recent legislative activity relative to virtual public schooling.  Part two surveyed the academic research on virtual schools.  Part three, which I review in this post, provides raw data on the number of online schools in operation, the providers that run them, and the students who attend them.  (more…)

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Record: Alex Molnar, ed., Virtual Schools in the U.S. 2014: Politics, Performance, Policy, and Research Evidence (Boulder, CO: National Education Policy Center, 2014).  Available here.

Summary: This post summarizes the second of three sections of this report.  For a summary of section one, which surveys recent legislative activity concerning virtual schooling, click here.  For a summary of section three, which provides data about the number of online schools and the type of students attending them, click here.

Section two surveys the research literature on virtual schools.  It was written by Michael K. Barbour of Sacred Heart University.

Barbour begins with the general statement that despite the fact that we’ve had 20 years now of virtual schooling, the research base for this form of education remains very weak.  (more…)

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Record: Alex Molnar, ed., Virtual Schools in the U.S. 2014: Politics, Performance, Policy, and Research Evidence (Boulder, CO: National Education Policy Center, 2014).  Available here.

Summary: This report is the second in a projected annual series of reports published by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC).  The first report was published in 2013 and can be read here.

The 2013 report chronicled the 311 full-time virtual schools enrolling around 200,000 students, 67% of whom were being taught in schools run by Education Managament Organizations, or EMOs.  The largest such organization is K12.  The report also found that despite serving a student population that has fewer Black, Latin@, poor, or special needs children than attend conventional public schools, academic achievement at virtual schools lagged significantly behind brick-and-mortars.  (more…)

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