Bleiberg, J., & Harbatkin, E. (2018). Teacher Evaluation Reform: A Convergence of Federal and Local Forces. Educational Policy. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/0895904818802105 [equal authorship, author names in alphabetical order]
This article employs event history analysis to explore the factors that were associated with rapid state uptake of teacher evaluation reform. We investigate three hypotheses for this rapid adoption: (a) downward diffusion from the federal government through Race to the Top (RTTT), (b) upward diffusion from large school district policies, and (c) the influence of intermediary organizations. Although RTTT clearly played a role in state adoption, our analysis suggests that having a large district implement teacher evaluation reform is the most consistent predictor of state adoption. Intermediary organizations appeared to play a role in the process as well.
. Harbatkin, E. Does Student-Teacher Race Match Affect Course Grades? Revise & Resubmit at Economics of Education Review.
A growing body of research has found that student-teacher race match is associated with higher test scores, teacher expectations, and teacher perceptions of students. This paper contributes to the student-teacher race match literature by investigating the effect of race match on course grades. Using a series of student fixed effects models exploiting within-student variation across year and subject matter, I find that having a race-matched teacher is associated with a small but significant increase in course grade on average. The positive effect of race match is driven largely by the experience of black students.
Henry, G.T. & Harbatkin, E. Turnover at the Top: Estimating the Effects of Principal Turnover on Student, Teacher, and School Outcomes. (EdWorkingPaper: 19-95). Retrieved from Annenberg Institute at Brown University: https://doi.org/10.26300/c7m1-bb67. Revise & Resubmit at American Educational Research Journal.
One in five schools lose their principal each year. Despite the prevalence of principal turnover, little empirical research has examined its effects on school outcomes. Because principal turnover may occur in response to or contemporaneous with a downturn in student achievement, the effect of a turnover is confounded with unobserved school-level factors. We employ a novel identification strategy that blocks each potential source of endogeneity to isolate plausibly causal effects of within- and between-year principal turnover. Using eight years of North Carolina administrative data from 2009-2018, we find that principal turnover is associated with significant decreases in student achievement and increases in teacher turnover. These effects are similar whether the turnover occurs over the summer or during the school year.
Henry, G.T. & Harbatkin, E. The Next Generation of State Reforms to Improve their Lowest Performing Schools: An Evaluation of North Carolina’s School Transformation Intervention. (EdWorkingPaper: 19-103). Retrieved from Annenberg Institute at Brown University: https://doi.org/10.26300/evs5-nc27. Revise & Resubmit at Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness.
In contrast to prior federally mandated school reforms, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) allows states more discretion in reforming their lowest performing schools, removes requirements to disrupt the status quo, and does not allocate substantial additional funds. Using a regression discontinuity design, we evaluate a state turnaround initiative aligned with ESSA requirements. We find the effect on student test score growth was not significant in year one and -0.13 in year two. Also in year two, we find that teachers in turnaround schools were 22.5 percentage points more likely to turn over. While the increased teacher turnover in NCT schools in 2017 opens the possibility that reform schools were intentionally replacing less effective teachers with more effective ones, we do not find evidence that strategic staffing occurred. The negative effects on student achievement appear to be tied to implementation of one of the few required components for serving low-performing schools under ESSA—a comprehensive needs assessment on which school supports are planned. These findings may serve as a cautionary tale for states planning low-performing school reforms under ESSA.
Harbatkin, E. & Henry, G.T. (2019). Impact of the North Carolina Transformation (NCT) Initiative to Reform Low-Performing Schools. Nashville, TN: North Carolina Transformation Initiative. Available here.
Harbatkin, E. & Henry, G.T. (2019). Barriers to Improvement in North Carolina’s Lowest Performing Schools. Nashville, TN: North Carolina Transformation Initiative. Available here.
McNeill, S.M., Harbatkin, E., Jenkins, J.M., Penner, E.K., & Henry, G.T. (2019). Early Literacy in North Carolina and Its Lowest Performing Schools. Nashville, TN: North Carolina Transformation Initiative. Available here.
Henry, G.T., Pham, L., Guthrie, J.E., & Harbatkin, E. (2018). Guiding Principles for Improving the Lowest Performing Schools in Tennessee. Nashville, TN: Tennessee Education Research Alliance. Available here.
Park, C., Arshan, N., Harbatkin, E., & Murphy, K. (2014, March). Evaluation of the College-Ready Writers Program: Baseline Report. Menlo Park, CA: SRI International.
Wechsler, M., Greenwald, E., Bienkowski, M., Arshan, N., Bosetti, K., Shields, P., Harbatkin, E., Black, A., & Comstock, M. (2013, November). Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) Program Evaluation: Final Report. Prepared for the National Science Foundation. Menlo Park, CA: SRI International.
Keating, K., Young, V., Mitchell, N., Tse, V., Yee, K., Heying, E., Cassidy, L., & Harbatkin, E. (2013, June) Strategies for Preparing At-Risk Youth for Postsecondary Success: Case Study Report. Prepared for the U.S. Department of Education. Menlo Park, CA: SRI International.
Wechsler, M., Greenwald, E., Bienkowski, M., Arshan, N., Bosetti, K., Shields, P., Harbatkin, E., Black, A., Comstock, M. (2013, March). Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) Program Evaluation: Interim Report. Prepared for the National Science Foundation. Menlo Park, CA: SRI International. Harbatkin, E., Patel, P., and Jakopic, J. (2011, November). Job Opportunities for Low-Income Individuals (JOLI) Program Assessment Report. Prepared for the Office of Community Services, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Fairfax, VA: ICF International.
Harbatkin, E. & Henry, G.T. (2019, October 21). The cascading effects of principal turnover on students and schools. Brookings Institution Brown Center Chalkboard. Harbatkin, E. (2008, January 27). Gifted, Talented, Neglected. Home News Tribune, pp. A1. Harbatkin, E. (2007, December 2). Racial disparity targeted: Number of black, Latino pupils enrolled in special education up. Home News Tribune, pp. A1. Harbatkin, E. (2007, November 12). Women lag in N.J. Politics. Home News Tribune, pp. A1 (also appeared in Asbury Park Press, Daily Record, Courier News, Courier Post, and Ocean County Observer). Harbatkin, E. (2007, August 19). Ex-convicts face up-hill battle for jobs. Home News Tribune, pp. A1.