February 2012

February 2012


Please check the AYPF Website for updates on upcoming events.

AYPF is happy to announce that we are launching our new and improved website in a few weeks.  Stay tuned for more information!



Please visit our YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/amyouthpolicyforum for video clips of events, interviews and more!

Updated Issue Brief – Making Every Diploma Count: Using Extended-Year Graduation Rates to Measure Student Success

The American Youth Policy Forum, Gateway to College National Network, and the National Youth Employment Coalition with support from numerous national youth-serving organizations have updated our issue brief and resource center, Making Every Diploma Count: Using Extended-Year Graduation Rates to Measure Student Success. This effort aims to encourage states’ use of extended-year graduation rates in federal and state accountability frameworks/systems. These rates provide for the inclusion of overage, under-credit students who take longer than the traditional four years to earn a high school diploma, but who successfully earn their credential in five or six years.  Extended-year graduation rates allow states to document increases in graduation rates compared to the traditional four-year measure and highlight the successful work of schools and districts to get struggling and out-of-school students back on-track to graduation.

To learn more about this effort and see additional resources, please visit https://www.aypf.org/projects/extendedgradrates.htm

Video – Understanding STEM Education: A Discussion of the Key Issues, Efforts, and the Role of Federal Policy

AYPF held a special briefing on January 27, 2012 exclusively for Congressional staff to learn about the role of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education (collectively known as “STEM” education) in preparing America’s youth with the skills needed for jobs in today’s economy.  STEM-related jobs are among the fastest growing of all the occupational sectors in the global economy. Unfortunately, the U.S. is not currently producing enough individuals with the necessary skills in these jobs to meet the growing demand. This scarcity of talent must be addressed by strengthening education and increasing students’ opportunities for mastering STEM skills and content at every point along the educational pipeline, from early education through college and beyond. The issues related to the nation’s STEM pipeline were addressed by featured speakers Linda Rosen, Chief Executive Officer and Claus von Zastrow, Director of Research, both of Change the Equation, and Erik Robelen, Reporter and Assistant Editor at Education Week. A recording of the event and the presenters’ slides are now available online!

Forum Brief – Dropping Out: Why Students Drop Out of High School and What Can Be Done About It – November 18, 2011

The vast majority of youth in developed nations finish high school, many more than in the United States, where the national high school graduation rate is about 70%. In his new book Dropping Out: Why Students Drop Out of High School and What Can Be Done About It, Russell Rumberger, Professor of Education, University of California, Santa Barbara offers a comprehensive overview of the dropout crisis in America, and addresses the fundamental questions of who drops out, why they drop out, and what happens when they do. Rumberger identifies challenges in current reform efforts, including an insufficient targeting of the true dropout factories, inadequate funding, and a lack of attention paid to the cost, sustainability, and scalability of interventions. Following Rumberger’s presentation, a panel including Daniel Fuller, Vice President, Communities In Schools, Elizabeth Grant, Special Assistant, US Department of Education, and Cassius Johnson, Associate Vice President, Jobs for the Future, provided their insight for policy reform at the federal, state, and local levels to reduce the incidence of high school dropouts.


Check these out – recommended reading from the AYPF staff

Sustained Positive Effects on Graduation Rates Produced by New York City’s Small Public High Schools of Choice MDRC

Between fall 2002 and fall 2008, the New York City school district closed 23 large failing high schools (with graduation rates below 45 percent), opened 216 new small schools of choice, or SSCs (with different missions, structures, and student selection criteria), and implemented a centralized high school admissions process that assigns over 90 percent of the roughly 80,000 incoming ninth-graders each year based on their school preferences. In June 2010, MDRC released a report on the effectiveness of 105 of the 123 new SSCs, based on a large and rigorous study that took advantage of lottery-like features in New York City’s high school admissions process, and includes data on 21,000 students from four cohorts who entered ninth grade between fall 2005 and fall 2008. This policy brief extends the analysis by a year, adding information on high school graduation rates for the 2006 cohort and providing a fifth year of follow-up for the 2005 cohort.


Year Two of Implementing the Common Core State Standards: States’ Progress and Challenges Center on Education Policy

This report, based on a fall 2011 survey of 35 Common Core State Standards-adopting states (including the District of Columbia), examines states’ progress in transitioning the new standards. The vast majority of the states in the survey believe that the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are more rigorous than previous state academic standards in math and English language arts. The vast majority of survey states are also taking steps to familiarize state and district officials with the new standards and to align curriculum and assessments. However, most of the states in the survey do not expect to fully implement the standards until 2014-15 or later.  In addition, a majority of the responding states caution that having adequate resources is a major challenge to full implementation of the CCSS.


Why Access Matters: The Community College Student Body American Association of Community Colleges


The public increasingly understands the value proposition community colleges provide to students and their community partners. This is evidenced in part by shifting public perceptions and enrollments – which are up 22% since the fall of 2007.  While expanding who we serve is important, just as important is the need to maintain a focus on serving students who are traditionally underrepresented in higher education.  This brief presents data reflecting the shifting student body on community college campuses and also highlights the importance of access to other sectors of higher education.  Finally, it closes with a few ways to maintain a focus on access and a reminder that all citizens of a nation are included in the denominator of a nation’s college attainment rate.

Reflections on a Half-Century of School Reform: Why Have We Fallen Short and Where Do We Go From Here? Center on Education Policy


Upon his retirement from the leadership of CEP, Jack Jennings reviews in this paper the three major school reform efforts of the last 50 years, proposes an agenda focused on the classroom, and advocates for the creation of a federal civil right to a good education to advance that agenda.

A Public Education Primer: Basic (and Sometimes Surprising) Facts about the U.S. Educational System Center on Education Policy

The 2012 Public Education Primer highlights important and sometimes little-known facts concerning the U.S. education system, how things have changed over time, and how they may change in the future. Together these facts provide a comprehensive picture of the nation’s public schools, including data about students, teachers, funding, achievement, management, and non-academic services.


The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF), a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional development organization based in Washington, DC, provides learning opportunities for policymakers, practitioners, and researchers working on youth and education issues at the national, state, and local levels.

AYPF events and publications are made possible by a consortium of philanthropic foundations: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, William T. Grant Foundation, Charles Stewart Mott FoundationThe Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York , State Farm Insurance, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and others.

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