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August 2020 Newsletter

Dear Knowledge Network members,  

The Wing Institute offers research and analyses on issues of concern to our readers. The opening of the fall term brings unprecedented challenges to educators and parents during Covid-19.  We hope this newsletter will prove helpful in providing information to make your efforts successful. 
This issue contains four Covid-19 resources:
  • A toolkit for principals for addressing the unique requirements for fall 2020
  • Annual survey examines parent views on wide range of critical education issues
  • A review of how to effectively use technology to maximize homework outcomes
  • Virtual schools in the U.S. 2019
Additional content includes:
  • Teacher Professional Development (Inservice)
  • Wing Institute recruiting freelance writers
  • Data Mining: Do student learning styles make a difference in student achievement
We are confident that our education system will get through these troubling times and emerge stronger than ever.  
Stay safe,
The Wing Institute

Did You Know?

Reopening Schools

As schools reopen, it is important that critical indicators—the number and growth of Covid-19 related cases, hospitalizations, and deaths—be monitored closely.  The following are the latest updates on these numbers:
•  As of 8/20/20, the number of children with Covid-19 was 442,785, an increase of 154,498 (54%) over the last 4 weeks. *
•   As of the above date, 4,062 children diagnosed with Covid-19 required hospitalization, an increase over the last four weeks of 1,758 (78%).  However, the rate of hospitalization has remained the same over the over this time period.  *
•  To date, 92 children have lost their lives as a result of Covid-19.   This is a continues to be a significantly lower rate than that of adults. *                        
Public schools are choosing among three models for starting the school year:  full in-person, hybrid/partial, and remote learning only.  The following data comes from a sampling of 6.4% of the nation’s public school systems serving 35% of its K-12 students.
•   Thirteen percent of students are starting the school year with a full in-person model.  **
•   Nineteen percent of students are starting the school year with a hybrid/partial model.  * 

•   Sixty-eight percent of students are starting the school year with a remote learning only model.  **
*    American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association
**  Education Week

Wing Institute Original Papers

Teacher Professional Development (In-service)

The story of professional development is illustrative of problems common to educational interventions. The American education system values in-service training, spending range from $18,000 annually per teacher. Like many promising practices found effective in controlled conditions, in-service training fails in the field. Ample evidence points to new teachers being insufficiently prepared, and in-service training is used to fill the gap. Schools invest extensively in teacher induction in the early years of a teacher and supplement this with continuous development over a career. Unfortunately, training is delivered in the least productive ways, such as emphasizing theory and demonstrating skills in simulated exercises rather than on real students. These efforts produce poor results—not surprising since they ignore the research, which shows the value of giving teachers opportunities to practice in real-world settings, tying training to existing procedures, and following up with monitoring and feedback. Only a fraction of the money is directed toward coaching, the method that research shows produces long-lasting results. Read more   

Cleaver, S., Detrich, R., States, J. & Keyworth, R. (2020). Overview of Teacher Professional Development (In-service). Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute.

Effective Instruction During Covid-19

How should principals prepare for the new school year

Returning to School Toolkit for Principals. This toolkit is designed to help structure principal’s thinking about the return to school, in whatever form that takes. The toolkits is structured to point and direct administrators to where to find help. The guidelines offer context for the use of the tools and tip sheets, and suggestions for actions you might consider. 

The Returning to School: A Toolkit for Principals is organized around four sections: 

  • Change
  • Communication
  • Collaboration 
  • Care 
These sections of the Toolkit for Principals are not meant to be sequential; one is not more important than the others. Scan the four sections and consider how they might support your preparation for a successful return to school, and your transition to schooling in this new reality. Read more  

Annual Survey Examines Parent Views on Wide Range of Critical Education Issues

Education Next released the findings from its 14th annual survey of American views on education. The survey was conducted in May 2020.  While this was early in the Covid-19 pandemic, unemployment was already 14.7%, the economy in recession, and the schools were shutdown.  

This survey provides one of the first opportunities to evaluate the public’s views on education in this context.  Survey participants were asked their views on: teacher pay, school funding, online education, home schooling, school choice, vouchers, charter schools, school reform, overall satisfaction with teachers and schools, the impact partisan politics has on people’s opinions, cost of higher education, and the impact of populism in public schools.  The following examines several of these catagories in greater detail. 

The public’s greatest support for increasing teacher pay and K-12 school funding occurred in the previous year’s (2019) survey.  This support declined slightly in 2020, but remains close to the all-time high for the past 14 years.  Fifty-five percent of participants say teacher salaries should increase. There remains a significant distance between Democrat’s support (66%) and that of Republicans (40%).  Increases to school funding was supported by 45% of participants, with 47% saying it should stay the same and 10% favoring a reduction.  As with the previous issue, opinions divided significantly along partisan lines with 56% of Democrats in favor of increasing spending compared to 31% of Republicans.  While it is encouraging that overall support for increasing teacher salaries and school funding has held steady or increased over recent years, the current support for each issue is still only half of those surveyed.

One of the most relevant and timely areas of the survey was participant views regarding online education and homeschooling.  In 2020, 73% of parents say they are willing to have their child take some (almost half) high school courses via the internet, representing a 17% increase from the response in 2009.  Support for homeschooling has remained steady over the years with 49% of parents supporting the right of parents to education their children at home.
Overall, those surveyed gave public schools and school teachers high marks.  Fifty-eight percent gave their “local” schools and A or B, and 30% gave the “nation’s” schools a similar high grade.  The latter score was the highest ever recorded by the surveys.  Participants were asked what percentage of teachers were excellent, good, satisfactory, or unsatisfactory.  They rated 61% of teachers as excellent or good, with 14% being unsatisfactory. Read More

“Teachers’ Use of Technology for School and Homework Assignments: 2018–19 First Look”

This report was generated in response to the enormous role technology is, and will increasingly be, playing in providing remote learning opportunities for students, whether in supporting part-time “school based” education or temporarily replacing it altogether.  The provides data on the access and availability of computers, smartphones, and the Internet to students at home, the impact that students’ access to technology outside of school has on teachers’ homework assignments, and ways that teachers provide assistance to their students who have limited access to technology and the Internet outside of school.  The following are some of the more important findings. Read More

How to assess the effectiveness of virtual schools

“Virtual Schools in the U.S. 2019”.  Even before the Covid-19 pandemic closed down K-12 education and established an overwhelming interest in remote learning, there has been a rush towards creating virtual schools (also referred to as virtual charter schools, virtual academies, online schools, or cyber schools).  There is a belief that virtual schools can customize online curriculum to individual students more effectively than curriculum in traditional classrooms, expand student choices, and attain greater student achievement than in traditional school models.  And, the promise of lower costs makes this alternative attractive to both policymakers and for-profit provider.  The question is, does research back up these claims? Read More

Wing Institute Recruiting

Search for Education Research Writers


The Wing Institute is recruiting contract-based content writers in the field of evidence-based education. 
We are looking for professionals who can: 
  1. conduct literature reviews;
  2. analyze the relevant data, research, and policies; and 
  3. write succinct overviews for publication on our web site.
Positions to be filled by September 1, 2020.
Please send resume to Jack States at the Wing Institute:

Research topics will focus on the eight education drivers associated with student achievement and success in school. These drivers encompass essential practices, procedures, resources, and management strategies. Specific topics include but are not limited to:  skills for effective teaching, effective teacher training, quality of leadership, and external influences affecting student outcomes.

Those interested must be able to analyze both the quality and quantity of evidence studies to determine if current research meets a threshold of evidence for providing information to support the work of educators.
Criteria for inclusion is based on:
  • Quality: A continua of evidence prioritizing well designed randomized trials and single subject designed studies.
  • Quantity: A continua of evidence spotlighting meta-analyses and replications of single subject designed studies.
Each Overview consists of a summary of the research, graphics as needed, and citations, and supporting conclusions.
  • $2,000 for each Overview (2,500-5,000 words)
  • Author’s name on the publication
  • Working with other professional is the field of evidence-based education
  • Work with internal teams to obtain an in-depth understanding of evidence-based research.
  • Work remotely and supply your own equipment (computer)
  • Plan, develop, organize, write the above documents.
  • Analyze documents to maintain continuity of style of content and consistency with prior Wing Institute documents.
  • Recommend updates and revisions derived from updates in research.
  • Master’s degree in Education, Behavior Analysis, English, Psychology, Communication, or related degrees, is required.
Ability to deliver high quality documentation
  • Ability to communicate complex or technical information easily
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English
  • Ability to write from the perspective of education policy makers, school administrators, teachers, and parents

Data Mining


Why is this question important? Learning style as a method for improving student performance has achieved general acceptance among educators and the public. Its influence in education circles is found at all levels, from kindergarten through graduate school. A thriving industry has grown up devoted to publishing learning style tests and guidebooks for teachers, offering professional development for educators built around the concept, and providing workshops that advise parents on how to select teachers matched to a child’s learning style. All aspects of the industry are based on the assumption that learning style assessment and training make a difference in student performance. If there is no evidence to support learning styles, parents and educators would be well advised to spend time and money on practices that do work. Read More

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