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Cool People You Should Know: Brian Jacob

By Eduwonkette — June 20, 2008 1 min read

Brian Jacob teaches at the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. He has studied a wide range of education policy topics, including school choice, housing voucher programs, neighborhood and peer effects, educational accountability programs, and teacher labor markets. If you’re interested in Chicago school reform, Jacob is a good place to turn. Kevin Carey will also be happy to know that he keeps a model website, and most of his papers are available there.

Previously on this blog, I’ve discussed Jacob’s studies of Chicago school choice, which find no effects on test scores at the elementary or high school levels, his study asking whether principals know teachers’ value-added without access to formal value-added measures, and his most recent study on the persistence of teacher effects. Another Jacob paper that I really like is called, “What Do Parents Value in Education? Empirical Investigation of Parents’ Revealed Preferences for Teachers.” Using data tracking the number of parental requests for teachers, here’s what he found:

On average, parents strongly prefer teachers that principals describe as good at promoting student satisfaction and place relatively less value on a teacher’s ability to raise standardized math or reading achievement. These aggregate effects, however, mask striking differences across family demographics. Families in higher poverty schools strongly value student achievement and are essentially indifferent to the principal’s report of a teacher’s ability to promote student satisfaction. The results are reversed for families in higher-income schools.

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