Public education plays essential roles in the well-being of children, families, and communities. The No Child Left Behind Act, enacted in 2002, aimed to improve learning and eliminate achievement gaps by raising accountability in schools. The new requirements also generated valuable long-term data on students and teachers—data that are now grounding and guiding education policy and allowing researchers to answer long-held questions about what leads to student success. To comb through these data, the Urban Institute launched the National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research (CALDER) with scholars at six universities. Rigorous analysis of students’ performance over time offers important new insights on the characteristics of effective teachers, the effects of student mobility, and disparities among schools.
Urban Institute research also examines the adoption and performance of charter schools; interactions between schools and their home communities; initiatives to improve outcomes for minorities and English language learners; school-to-work programs; and school-based strategies for helping at-risk youth.