Lifting All Boats? Accomplishments and Challenges from 20 Years of Education Reform in Massachusetts, led by John Papay as part of a research-practice partnership between Brown's Annenberg Institute for School Reform and the Massachusetts Departments of Elementary and Secondary Education and Higher Education, was published in June 2020.
The past 20 years of educational reform have seen substantial progress but have presented important equity challenges for students in the Commonwealth. More students than ever before are graduating from high school, enrolling in college, and graduating from four-year colleges.
John Papay, Associate Professor of Education and Economics, along with Education Department researchers Ann Mantil, Lily An, Kate Donohue, and Aubrey McDonough, released a new report, "Lifting All Boats?" documenting progress and persistent challenges in the Massachusetts public school system over the last two decades. The authors analyzed data on nearly 3 million students who have attended public high schools in Massachusetts since the early 2000s, and followed every student through high school, through college if they enrolled, and into the labor market.
The authors highlight substantial progress: across demographic groups, they find more students than ever before are graduating from high school, enrolling in college, and graduating from four-year colleges. They see these positive trends for Black, Hispanic, and low-income students as well as White and higher-income students. Gaps in high-school graduation and college enrollment rates have also narrowed over time. However, there are substantial concerns related to educational equity. There are substantial inequalities in educational attainments, and gaps in the percentage of students who graduate from four-year colleges have grown. There are also persistent inequalities in college graduation rates for students with the same levels of academic performance on high-school standardized tests.
News coverage includes: