The Federal Reserve Bank of New York works to promote sound and well-functioning financial systems and markets through its provision of industry and payment services, advancement of infrastructure reform in key markets and training and educational support to international institutions.
The Outreach and Education function engages, empowers and educates the Second District communities that the Bank serves, especially civic leaders, students, educators, small business owners, policymakers and the general public. It furthers the Bank's commitment to the region by listening to the communities we serve and leveraging our unique attributes to positively impact school and university programs, as well as analysis and research.
Although a majority of parents, educators, and policymakers report that their own schools are doing well, many believe that the U.S. education system as a whole is in trouble. The author points out that in the past decade an increasing amount of resources have been devoted to education, but U.S. students have continued to underperform students in other countries. To improve the effectiveness of spending, the author advocates radically different incentives for students and school personnel and better measures of student performance.
The author evaluates the popular belief that the U.S. public school system is flawed and can be corrected only through fundamental changes in the institutions governing education. He finds that the system is not inherently flawed, and may actually be reasonably effective. Based on these findings, he offers incremental proposals to improve U.S. schools.
The author explores the effectiveness of the two most-established forms of school choice in the United Stateschoice among public school districts and the choice between public and private schools. She finds that traditional school choice improves the quality of schooling by increasing competition among schools. An additional benefit, the author argues, is that parents who have greater choice are more likely to be involved in their children's schooling. The author concludes that lessons from traditional school choice will be important in analyzing school choice reform.
Using math and reading test score gains, the author compares the achievement of students in the nonsectarian private schools participating in Milwaukee's Parental Choice Program with the achievement of students in a wide range of Milwaukee's public schools. Her results point to the need for a better understanding of what makes a school successful.
The author summarizes the literature on the relative performance of public and private schools over the past decade and assesses what we have learned from these studies. Although many questions remain unanswered, the author concludes that private schoolingin particular, Catholic schoolingcan raise graduation rates. In addition, the author finds that minority students in large cities have the most to gain from private schooling.
Several researchers have attempted to measure the value of educational quality by examining its impact on wages earned by students later in life. Adopting an alternative approach, the author of this study calculates what people are willing to pay to reside in a community with superior schools. Controlling for neighborhood characteristics and school financial inputs, she finds that a 5percent increase in the average test scores of an elementary school leads to a 2.1percent increase in the price of houses in that school's attendance district.
The author notes that raising the school-leaving age and increasing the amount of spending per pupil have been extremely important public school reforms. However, he says, sizable improvements in school quality will only be evident when these two reforms are complemented by higher standardsand when students' abilities to meet these standards are tested.
Higher student achievement, say the authors, has been severely hampered by a lack of good information comparing achievement levels with today's labor market requirements. They argue that by obtaining this informationin the form of academic standards and assessmentsparents can more accurately evaluate the quality of their children's education.