January 26, 2022
The American Dream Forever

The Learning Curve: Urban Institute’s Dr. Matthew Chingos on the Year of School Choice & the Student Loan Debt Crisis (#65)

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Dr. Matthew Chingos, who directs the Center on Education Data and Policy at the Urban Institute. They discuss the “Year of School Choice,” the welcome 2021 trend of states across America expanding or establishing private school choice programs. Dr. Chingos describes the gradual evolution of private school choice programs from primarily school vouchers to tax credit scholarships and education savings account programs (ESAs), which have been growing in popularity, and how charter public schools fit into this growing portfolio. He offers thoughts, as a researcher and scholar, on how using data to analyze, enhance, critique, and hold schools accountable for students’ academic improvements has transformed K-12 policy discussions, and how COVID-19’s discontinuities will impact accountability and decision making. They explore another topic of Dr. Chingos’ research, the $1.6 trillion student loan debt crisis, reasons why tuition has skyrocketed, and some of the possible pathways forward. Lastly, he shares views on issues of academic quality within higher education, and whether colleges and universities have lost their sense of mission.

Stories of the Week: In California, where only 32 percent of the state’s fourth graders were performing at or above proficient in reading, a proposed ballot measure is taking aim at those practices that protect ineffective K-12 teaching. Despite being the home of tech giants like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon, the state of Washington has reported that a mere 9 percent of its public high school students were enrolled in computer science courses during the 2019-20 school year.

Guest:

Dr. Matthew Chingos directs the Center on Education Data and Policy at the Urban Institute. He leads a team of scholars who undertake policy-relevant research on issues from prekindergarten through postsecondary education and create tools such as Urban’s Education Data Portal. Chingos is co-author of Game of Loans: The Rhetoric and Reality of Student Debt and Crossing the Finish Line: Completing College at America’s Public Universities. He has testified before Congress, and his work has been featured in media outlets such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and NPR. Before joining Urban, Chingos was a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He received a BA in government and economics and a PhD in government from Harvard University.

Tweet of the Week:

News Links:

Give every student access to computer-science education

https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/editorials/give-every-student-access-to-computer-science-education/

A California Attempt to Repair the Crumbling Pillar of U.S. Education

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-crumbling-pillar-of-education-california-dave-welch-vergara-school-choice-charter-11638115242

 

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This article was originally published here.