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.

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 […]

New research suggests repeating elementary school grades — even kindergarten — is harmful

The already muddy research on whether it’s better to hold back struggling students or promote them to the next grade just got muddier. A new study ,“The Scarring Effects of Primary-Grade Retention? A Study of Cumulative Advantage in the Educational Career,” by Notre Dame sociologist Megan Andrew, published Sept. 26, 2014, in the journal Social […]

Even education data geeks agree that education data is completely inscrutable and inaccessible to parents

One of the many provisions of the 2001 federal education act, known as No Child Left Behind, was a requirement that states had to issue a “report card” for every public school. The report cards include things you might expect like student test scores and test score changes, but also a laundry list of data […]

Homeless students increase by 58 percent in past six years

Despite signs of a national economic recovery, homelessness in U.S. public schools steadily increased 8 percent, to 1.26 million students, in the 2012-13 school year from the previous year. That may not sound terrible, but consider that it is part of a 58 percent jump in the number of homeless students in the six years […]

Education researchers don’t check for errors — dearth of replication studies

Education theories come and go. Experts seem to advocate for polar opposites, from student discovery to direct teacher instruction, from typing to cursive hand-writing, and from memorizing times tables to using calculators. Who can blame a school system for not knowing what works? One big problem is that education scholars don’t bother to replicate each […]

What U.S. schools can learn from Poland

By any measure, Poland has made remarkable education progress since the fall of the Berlin Wall. On the most recent 2012 international tests of 15-year-olds, known as PISA tests, Poland ranked 9th in reading and 14th in math among all 65 countries and sub-regions that took the test. It used to be on par with […]

The teaching profession is becoming less gray and less green, but more teachers are leaving poor schools

Much ink has been devoted to the teaching profession’s increasingly gray and green complexion — the profusion of teachers at the two extremes of the age spectrum. There are lots of veteran teachers older than 50. Meanwhile, school systems have hired hundreds of thousands of cheaper newbies without much experience in the classroom. That leaves […]

Lessons from Hawaii: tracking the right data to fix absenteeism

Good school attendance is associated with all sorts of good educational outcomes, especially higher grades and higher test scores. It’s obvious: if you’re not showing up for school, you’re not going to learn as much. But only 17 states track and report chronic absenteeism data, according to the Data Quality Campaign and Attendance Works, a […]

How much did students really gain on Common Core tests in New York? Data doesn’t say

The main reason for annual standardized tests is to figure out how much kids are learning each year. But when New York released its 2014 Common Core test results on August 14, state education officials were selective in their data reporting and did not disclose actual student scores. Instead they released only the percentage of […]

Getting boys — and girls — interested in computer coding

Thanks to the glorification of Silicon Valley riches and a desire to inspire more of the next generation of children to pursue science and technology careers, computer coding instruction for children is spreading like wildfire around the United States. Code.org , an industry-financed group that is promoting computer coding in schools, says that 31,000 kindergarten […]

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