Report Roundup

September 21, 2004 3 min read
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Report Credits Abstinence And Contraception Alike

“Can Changes in Sexual Behaviors Among High School Students Explain the Decline in Teen Pregnancy Rates in the 1990s?” is available from The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. (Requires Adobe’s Acrobat Reader.)

Delayed initiation of sex and better use of contraception contributed equally to a decline in U.S. pregnancy rates among 15- to 17-year-olds between 1991 and 2001, a report finds.

In a study published in the August issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health, researchers at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention drew statistics from three national surveys in an effort to explain the past decade’s 33 percent drop in this country’s teenage-pregnancy rate.

The study concludes that 53 percent of the decline can be attributed to sexual abstinence and 47 percent to improved contraceptive use.

—Darcia Harris Bowman

Education Investment

Read a summary of the book “Smart Money: Education and Economic Development,” from the Economic Policy Institute.

Adequately financing schools is the most effective way for states to grow economically, concludes a report that examined nearly 180 studies on the connections between education investment and economic development.

The report by the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington think tank, says that state and local governments often cut education funding while offering tax incentives to companies to jump-start their local economies. But the report suggests that education cuts hurt local economies.

—Rhea R. Borja

Television’s Influence

Read more about the Uhlich Teen Report Card from the Uhlich Children’s Advantage Network.

More than half of America’s teenagers say that television has the greatest influence on their opinions about world, national, and local events, and newspapers come in a distant second, according to the sixth annual Uhlich Teen Report Card.

Roughly 56 percent of teenagers get their views of the world from television, and 11.5 percent from newspapers. The Internet influences 8.8 percent about the news, and magazines come in last, at 3 percent, according to the report card sponsored by the Uhlich Children’s Advantage Network in Chicago.

—Darcia Harris Bowman

After-School Programs

“After-School Programs: Expanding Access and Ensuring Quality,” is available from the Progressive Policy Institute. (Requires Adobe’s Acrobat Reader.)

The federal government must play a larger role in financing and supporting after-school programs, according to a report released this month by the Progressive Policy Institute.

The report by the Washington think tank, which is affiliated with the Democratic Leadership Council, provides a history of funding for such programs. It analyzes recent research to show the programs’ positive effects, as well as the issues that need to be addressed.

—Catherine A. Carroll

Value-Added Testing

“Putting Education to the Test: A Value-Added Model for Education” is available from the Pacific Research Institute. (Requires Adobe’s Acrobat Reader.)

The method known as value-added testing can be used to evaluate schools and teachers more effectively because it measures how individual students improve, concludes a report by the Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy.

The San Francisco-based group says such testing improves upon the most widely used methods of measuring achievement, which rely too much on averages and fail to show how individuals have performed. The value-added model can produce scores that show how much a student must improve to be proficient in specific subjects.

—Andrew Trotter

Federal Spending

“A Lesson in Waste: Where Does All the Federal Education Money Go?” is available from the Cato Institute. (Requires Adobe’s Acrobat Reader.)

A Washington think tank argues in a recent report that the federal government is a poor manager of education spending.

The Cato Institute suggests that federal dollars go to many projects that should not be receiving them, when measured against the U.S. Department of Education’s mission statement. “More important,” the report adds, “when evaluated using academic results, the strictures of the Constitution, and plain common sense, almost no federal funding is justified.”

—Erik W. Robelen

A version of this article appeared in the July 28, 2004 edition of Education Week as Report Roundup

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