The Maryland Equity Project generates and synthesizes research on key issues related to educational opportunity in Maryland and nationally. We use research and policy analysis to define and understand current educational issues, and translate and communicate important new research for policymakers, advocates, and the public.
Current Research Projects
Disparities in Investments in Children and Youth in the United States (funded by the Spencer Foundation)
Research has documented widening achievement gaps between rich and poor students, as well as narrowing though still substantial gaps between black and white students. Intuition and some descriptive evidence suggests that these trends can be accounted for by investment disparities in “human capital” -- that is, the educational, training, community, and health-related investments that help individuals accumulate knowledge, skills, and resources that are valued in the labor market and in society. Although there is a broad literature examining inequality in human capital investments, this work has tended to occur in silos. Our research proposes to quantify cumulative disparities between groups (i.e., income, race, gender, immigrant status) in the United States across different areas of investment (i.e., education, health, community, and family) and across different stages of the life cycle (i.e., birth to pre-K, K-12, postsecondary to age 21). We will pair this work with meta-analyses of the causal literature linking human capital investments to long-term outcomes. Together, these findings will help policymakers identify additional investments and points of intervention that are needed to correct inequities.
The Long-Term Effect of Teachers on Students' Academic and Non-Academic Skill Formation: Evidence from Longitudinal Education and Workforce Data in Maryland (funded by American Educational Research Association)
The short- and long-term effect of teachers on students’ test scores is well-documented in academic literature, and has been the motivation for increased policy attention aimed at addressing quality gaps within teacher labor markets. However, test scores capture just one of many skills that students need when they leave school and enter college or the work force. This study examines the extent to which teachers in K-12 settings impact later student outcomes, including grade progression, absences, and test scores independently predict high school completion, enrollment in and persistence through college, attainment of a STEM degree, and wages. The study examines the contribution of teachers generally to these outcomes, as well as characteristics of teachers including their demographic characteristics (e.g., race-matching) and experience. Findings can inform efforts to identify and develop teachers in a way that supports student growth over the life cycle.