In 2000, Charles Best started DonorsChoose.org, a website that allows teachers to request needed materials for classroom projects, and “citizen philanthropists” from across the country could fund their requests.

While DonorsChoose has an impact on individual classrooms, the data it produces creates a map of what materials teachers are requesting in every district of the country, which can be used to push for policy reform. In this episode, host Nat Malkus talks to Charles Best about DonorsChoose, the impact it has had, and how data from the ground can lead to better spending decisions and create systemic change.

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Today, most income share agreements – arrangements in which students pay a fixed percentage of their income for a limited period of time after graduation – are small. They are limited to a few schools and complement other forms of financial aid. But what if we overhaul the entire federal loan system using a system similar to an income share agreement?

In this episode, host Nat Malkus talks to Jason Delisle of AEI – who has proposed this idea – and Colleen Campbell of the Center for American Progress about how it would work, the tradeoff between simplicity and flexibility, and whether the concept is as simple as it seems.

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By 2024, the economy will create 16 million jobs that require more than a high school education but not necessarily a college degree. However, community colleges’ on time graduation rates are under 20%.

In this episode of the Report Card, on the AEI Education Podcast, host Nat Malkus talks to Grace Suh of IBM about an effort that seeks to address this problem. In P-tech schools, students earn a high school diploma and an Associate’s degree tied to the needs of local industry partners who provide workplace experiences.

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Last year, student loan debt hit $1.5 trillion. From free college to loan forgiveness, there are plenty of ideas to lower student debt. At the same time, policymakers are increasingly interested in finding ways to hold colleges accountable for student outcomes.

In this episode of the Report Card, on the AEI Education Podcast, host Nat Malkus talks to Tonio DeSorrento of Vemo Education and Beth Akers of the Manhattan Institute, about an innovative idea that could address both of these concerns: Income share agreements (ISA’s). Under ISA’s, students pay the school a fixed percentage of their income after graduation instead of paying tuition up front. If students earn too little income, they pay nothing.

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Earlier this year, the Department of Education proposed new Title IX regulations that roll back Obama-era rules. And they have generated an extraordinary amount of interest: the Department received more than 124,000 public comments on the proposed regulations. While some argue that the regulations provide necessary due process and correct overreach by the Obama administration, others argue that it will make it more difficult for victims to get justice.

In this special episode of The Report Card, on the AEI education podcast, host Nat Malkus brings you a debate that took place live at AEI on Thursday, June 27th. Experts debated the motion: Devos’ Title IX regulations are a step in the right direction, and the audience voted to decide the winner.

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Sports are a staple of the American school experience. They can teach children social and emotional skills such as cooperation and teamwork, give players mentors (such as coaches) that push them to excellence in sports and academics, and build social capital within communities. However, sports can also distract from academics, expose students to physical harm, and drain resources from other priorities.

Should sports be part of kids’ school experience, or are independent clubs best? In this episode of the Report Card, on the AEI Education Podcast, Nat Malkus talks to Joshua Childs and Michael Hansen about the value of school sports, promising reforms across the country, and how to ensure that sports and academics complement each other.

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In 2011, the nation’s high school graduation rate was 79%. By 2016, it was 84%. But do these increases mean that more students are achieving academically? Flat test scores during this period suggest not.

One of the ways in which schools are helping more students graduate is credit recovery – allowing students to make up a course without repeating the school year. In this episode of The Report Card, on the AEI Education podcast, host Nat Malkus talks to Nick Sproull, Danielle Cox-Jones, and Adam Tyner about the NCAA’s efforts to put some safeguards on credit recovery programs, how to ensure that credit recovery programs do not water down expectations, and pressures that schools face around accountability for their graduation rates.

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Education and criminal justice are inextricably linked. The education system failed many prisoners: over 60% of them are functionally illiterate and lack skills to enter the workforce. However, over 90% of inmates will be released and return to their communities. What can we do as a society to insure they succeed?

In this episode of the Report Card, on the AEI Education podcast, host Nat Malkus talks to Gerard Robinson and Elizabeth English Smith about efforts to provide educational opportunities behind bars, what programs are working, and what obstacles are preventing former inmates from getting a second chance.

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Career and technical education used to be a “dumping ground” for low-performing students to be trained for dead-end careers. However, CTE is losing its stigma, with subjects such as engineering, healthcare, and computer science joining its fold. The students concentrating in these new CTE subjects score better than traditional CTE students, raising the concern that as CTE evolves, it will leave the students it was meant to help behind.

In this episode of The Report Card, on the AEI Education Podcast, Nat Malkus turns hosting duties over to Chester Finn, and talks to Scott Stump about how CTE has evolved over time, which students are taking classes, and what policy solutions can ensure that CTE is available to all.

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While more high school seniors than ever are going on to college, degree completion rates are extremely low. But what can we do about it?

In this episode of “The Report Card,” the AEI education podcast, host Nat Malkus talks to Marc Jerome, who leads a college lazer-focused on improving outcomes for low income students. Drew Magliozzi and Karan Goel also join us to discuss how leveraging social networks can help students complete and stay connected to their school.

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Some for-profit colleges have been criticized for high student debt, student recruitment tactics, and lackluster labor outcomes. On the other hand, the for-profit sector is responsible for important innovations in higher education, such as online classes and responding faster to labor market demands.

In this episode of The Report Card – the AEI education podcast – host Nat Malkus brings Andy Rosen to discuss the for-profit sector, criticisms against it, and what it can teach other higher education institutions.

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