The research summary Successful, Safe, and Healthy Students presents the research background for the Obama administration’s proposals for comprehensive, community-wide services in high-poverty neighborhoods, extended learning time, family engagement and safe schools. While these policies have broad and common-sense appeal, the research supporting the particular policies proposed by the administration is weak and poorly presented in the research summary. As promising as community-wide services may be, a broad research base does not yet exist concerning how to make them successful. The research on extended learning time is also inconclusive. Family involvement is crucial to education, but the evidence for a causal link between student achievement and the type of parent involvement discussed is ambiguous and suspect. The proposals for safe schools boil down to increased local flexibility and increased gathering of survey data, neither of which can be expected to improve outcomes. Together, the administration’s proposals would require an extensive financial commitment in order to be fully implemented, but the scope and source of these funds is not explained. Overall, the evidence provided is not sufficiently strong to justify the programs they champion. While the research summary adequately documents problems, a wiser course for public policy would be a carefully structured set of pilot studies to sharply and accurately identify solutions.
Resources related to this item
Glass, G. V., Welner, K. G., & Barnett, W. S. (2010). NEPC Review: Successful, Safe, and Healthy Students. Boulder, CO: National Education Policy Center. Retrieved [date] from https://scholar.colorado.edu/nepc/226
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