Jill Barshay
Jill Barshay, a contributing editor, is the founding editor and writer of Education By The Numbers, The Hechinger Report's blog about education data. Previously she was the New York bureau chief for Marketplace, a national business show on public radio stations. Barshay has worked at Congressional Quarterly, The Asian Wall Street Journal and the Minneapolis Star Tribune. She has also written for The New York Times, the Financial Times, The Economist and The Washington Post, appeared on CNN, ABC News and C-SPAN and was a podcaster for Slate. A graduate of Brown University, the London School of Economics and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, Barshay spent the 2010-11 academic year as a Knight-Bagehot Fellow in economics and business journalism at Columbia.

Summer school seems to work better for math than for reading

Back in 2007 a team of Johns Hopkins researchers found that low-income children tended to improve in reading just as much as their wealthier peers did during the school year. The problem, at least for a group of Baltimore children these researchers studied for 18 years, was summertime. During those three idle months, the poorer […]

California study finds harm for some in repeating algebra, questions whether it benefits anyone

One of the most often repeated courses in U.S. high schools is algebra. Teachers and school leaders understandably worry whether a student who can’t solve basic equations should move on in math, to geometry or advanced algebra. So the student takes algebra again. Sometimes, even students with B’s in algebra are asked to repeat it […]

Should students discover their own math lessons?

Student-centered instruction is difficult jargon for lay people like myself to get their heads around, especially for a subject like mathematics. The idea, as I understand it, is to present students with questions, puzzles and scenarios and let them try to figure out the procedures for solving them, by themselves. A traditional teacher might simply […]

Three lessons from data on children’s reading habits

More than a decade ago a company called Renaissance Learning developed a computerized way for teachers to track students’ reading outside of the classroom. Instead of pasting stars on a chart each time a student says he has read a book, the teacher sits a student in front of a computer screen to answer a […]

Poor high schools in California lose 25 school days a year

Students at extremely poor high schools in California on average lose roughly 25 more school days a year — almost 14 percent of the school year — than students at higher income schools do. Interruptions, substitute teachers and test prep account for a large portion of the lost instructional time, according to a UCLA study […]

The sorry state of vocational training

I had long been under the impression that the United States had a particular problem in providing technical and specialized professional training for students who maybe aren’t academically inclined. But it turns out the United States isn’t alone, and even nations with once vaunted apprenticeship programs are no longer properly training students to enter the […]

Absenteeism: another way to measure school poverty

How do you identify a bad elementary school? A new report out of New York City suggests that policy makers should identify troubled schools by their absenteeism rates — a relatively easy data point to obtain — and then work to fix the schools by addressing each one’s unique problems, from homelessness and child abuse […]

More than 6,000 charter schools now operate in the United States

The number of charter schools surpassed 6,000 at the start of the 2012-13 school year, as these schools — publicly financed, but privately run — steadily increased by 7 percent throughout the United States that year. This annual growth contributed to a 47 percent increase in the number of charter schools over the seven years […]

Three lessons from the science of how to teach writing

What’s the best way to teach writing? The experts have many answers — and they often contradict each other. In contrast to the thousands of studies on effective methods for teaching reading and mathematics, there are relatively few rigorous studies on writing instruction. That’s partly because it’s time-consuming and expensive to assess writing quality in […]

Twenty five percent of low-income urban high schools beat the odds

It won’t surprise anyone to learn that wealthier high schools send more students to college than low-income high schools. But a October 2014 report from the research arm of the National Student Clearinghouse, which tracks college students, reveals that a quarter of low-income urban high schools are doing better than a quarter of their high-income […]

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