Cassandra Guarino earned her Ph.D. in the economics of education from Stanford University in 1999 with an emphasis on labor economics, and has held prior positions as an economist at the Rand Corporation and on the faculties of Michigan State and Indiana universities. Her research focuses on teacher quality, teacher labor markets, school choice, and issues in which health and education are linked. Recent work has included several studies related to value-added measures of teacher performance, teacher effectiveness in the early grades, school choice, teacher mobility, and special needs identification.
On Education Policy
Recent federal education policies have reversed some, but not all, prior trends in education reform emphases. The newly reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act – called the Every Student Succeed Act (ESSA) – replaces No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and relaxes some of the accountability pressures that were present in both NCLB and the subsequent flexibility waivers it engendered. More discretion is now allocated to the states, and accountability at the teacher level has been deemphasized.
On Teacher Effectiveness
We are finding increasing evidence regarding the effects of teachers and teaching practices on not only student achievement but other student outcomes, such as socioemotional skills, as well. One question we are now trying to answer is whether teachers who are effective at boosting student achievement are also effective at cultivating non-cognitive skills.
On School Choice and Charter Schools
There is no one charter school effect – charter schools can vary in quality as much as traditional public schools. Generally speaking, research has not found the charter school movement to have been harmful to student achievement. Research has found, however, that the presence of charter schools can contribute to greater racial segregation across schools.