Articles in the Pipeline
Baker, B.D., Green, P.C., Oluwole, J. (under review) The legal consequences of mandating high stakes decisions based on low quality information: Teacher Evaluation in the Race-to-the-Top Era
In this article, we explain how overly prescriptive, rigid statutory and regulatory policy frameworks adopted by states regarding teacher evaluation, tenure and employment decisions outstrip the statistical reliability and validity of measures of teaching effectiveness currently proposed for use under these frameworks. We begin with a discussion of the emergence of what we consider overly prescriptive state legislation regarding the use of student testing data within teacher evaluation systems, specifically for purposes of making employment decisions. Next, we explain the most problematic features of those policies, which include a) requirements that test-based measures constitute fixed, non-negotiable weight in final decisions, b) that test-based measures are used to place teachers into categories of effectiveness by applying numerical cutoffs beyond the precision or accuracy of the available data, and c) that professional judgment is removed from personnel decisions by legislating (or regulating) specific actions be taken when teachers fall into certain performance categories. In the subsequent section, we point out that different types of measures are being developed and implemented across states, and we explain that while value-added metrics in particular are, in fact designed to estimate a teacher’s effect on student outcomes, alternative measures are not designed for making such inference and thus have no place in making determinations regarding teacher effectiveness. We also explain that, due to the properties of value-added estimates, they have no place in making high-stakes decisions based rigid policy frameworks like those described herein. Finally, we evaluate the legal implications of rigid reliance on measures of teaching effectiveness that a) lack reliability and b) may be entirely invalid.
Baker, B.D., Libby, K., Wiley, K. (Under Review) Charter School Expansion & within District Equity: Confluence or Conflict?
This article explores whether two popular policy initiatives are compatible or conflicting strategies for enhancing educational equality in demographically diverse large urban centers. These two initiatives are 1) charter school expansion and 2) improving resource equity across urban public school systems through policies often referred to as weighted student funding formulas. In this article, we focus on New York City and Houston, two cities where districts have adopted initiatives to improve equity of the distribution of school site funding and have concurrently experienced significant expansion of charter schooling. We find that charter schools have the tendency to both amplify the sorting of students across schools by disability, language and low income status and that charter schools’ access to financial resources varies widely. However, we find that in very large urban districts like New York City, where charter market share remains small, the overall effects of charters on system-wide inequity remain small.
Baker, B.D., Taylor, L., Levin, J., Chambers, J., Blankenship, C., Cruz, L.(under review) Adjusted Poverty Measures and the Distribution of Title I Aid: Does Title I Really Make the Rich States Richer?
Baker, B.D. (under review) Unpacking the Consequences of Disparities in School District Financial Inputs: Evidence from Staffing Data in New York and Illinois (DRAFT)
This study explores the depth and breadth of curricular offerings in high need, underperforming, and resource constrained school districts in New York State and in Illinois compared with their lower need, high performing and better funded counterparts often operating within the same metropolitan area. Both are states with substantial disparities in fiscal resources even when measured in nominal – not cost adjusted – terms. We take advantage of several data sources herein to explore the resource allocation and specific curricular offering disparities across districts in these states. Specifically, we ask: What are the aggregate differences in staffing, teacher salaries and school level resources per pupil in high spending, high outcome districts versus low spending, low outcome districts? What are the differences in the distribution of staffing by course and grade assignments, per pupil in high spending, high outcome districts versus low spending, low outcome districts? What is the distribution of students participating in advanced course offerings in Math and Science in high spending, high outcome districts versus low spending, low outcome districts? How, if at all, have staffing allocation patterns changed during the NCLB period? Not surprisingly, we find substantial disparities in personnel allocation to specific courses and student participation rates between high resource/outcome districts and low resource/outcome districts. But, we find that these disparities are largely stable over time, without substantial shift during the NCLB period.
Baker, B.D. (2011) Cheerleading, Ceramics and the Non-Productive Use of Educational Resources in High Need Districts: Really? Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA 2011
B.Baker.MO_IL.ResourceAlloc.AERA2011 (very rough draft)
The present study seeks to evaluate patterns of resource allocation across school districts in Illinois and in Missouri, using detailed statewide teacher level data on course assignments. Using rich panel data sets from Missouri and Illinois, we apply cost modeling to identify a) resource rich, high performers, b) resource poor, low performers, c) resource rich, low performers and d) resource poor high performers. Then, using statewide data on staffing assignments, we explore 1) the patterns of staffing and course assignments by grade level in each quadrant, 2) at the elementary level, how the patterns of core versus other staffing differ by quadrant, 3) at the secondary level, how the depth and breadth of curriculum differ by quadrant. We find significant deficits of resources allocated to advanced mathematics courses, including calculus and trigonometry, and physical science courses in low resource, low outcome districts and their high schools, when compared with high resource, high outcome districts.
Published in 2011-12
Baker, B.D., Welner, K.G. (2012) Evidence and Rigor: Scrutinizing the Rhetorical Embrace of Evidence-based Decision-making. Educational Researcher 41 (3) 98-10
Green, P.C., Baker, B.D., Oluwole, J. (2012) Legal implications of dismissing teachers on the basis of value-added measures based on student test scores. BYU Education and Law Journal 2012 (1)
Baker, B.D. (2012) Re-arranging deck chairs in Dallas: Contextual constraints on within district resource allocation in large urban Texas school districts. Journal of Education Finance 37 (3) 287-315
Published in 2010-2011
Baker, B.D., Welner, K. (2011) School Finance and Courts: Does Reform Matter, and How Can We Tell? Teachers College Record http://www.tcrecord.org/content.asp?contentid=16106
see also: DoReformsMatter.Baker.Welner
Baker, B. D., & Welner, K. G. (2010). “Premature celebrations: The persistence of interdistrict funding disparities” Educational Policy Analysis Archives, 18(9). Retrieved [date] from http://epaa.asu.edu/ojs/article/view/718
Punswick, E., Baker, B.D., Belt, C. (2010) Principal backgrounds and school leadership stability: Evidence from Missouri. Educational Administration Quarterly Punswick.Baker.Belt.MoPrins09
Fuller, E., Young, M.D., Baker, B.D. (2011) Career Paths and the Influence of School Principals on Teachers. http://eaq.sagepub.com/content/47/1/173.short
Baker, B.D. (2011) Exploring the Sensitivity of Education Costs to Racial Composition of Missouri School Districts. Baker.Missouri.Peabody
Green, P.C., Oluwole, J., Baker, B.D. (2010) Getting their hands dirty: How Alabama’s public officials may have maintained separate and unequal education. West’s Education Law Reporter 253 (2) 503-520
Baker, B.D., Ramsey, M.J. (2010) What we don’t know can’t hurt us? Evaluating the equity consequences of the assumption of uniform distribution of needs in Census Based special education funding. Journal of Education Finance 35 (3) 245-275
Killeen, K., Baker, B.D. Addressing the Moving Target: Should measures of student mobility be included in education cost studies? (Available on request)
Baker, B.D., Fuller, E. The Declining Academic Quality of School Principals and Why it May Matter. Baker.Fuller.PrincipalQuality.Mo.Wi_Jan7
Policy Brief on State Aid in New York (Summer 2011) NY Aid Policy Brief_Fall2011_DRAFT6
A Few Old, Hard to Find &/or Out of Print Items
Private Management of Public Schools in Baltimore (1996) eai
History of the Rising State Role in Kansas and How it Led to Embedded Inequities Rising State Role in Kansas-R2_formatted