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.

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 […]

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 […]

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