Tag Archives: RAND

Rand Corporation study: Study questions link between medical marijuana and fewer opioid deaths

11 Feb

Often children who evidence signs of a substance abuse problem come from homes where there is a substance abuse problem. That problem may be generational. eMedicineHealth lists some of the causes of substance abuse:

Substance Abuse Causes
Use and abuse of substances such as cigarettes, alcohol, and illegal drugs may begin in childhood or the teen years. Certain risk factors may increase someone’s likelihood to abuse substances.
Factors within a family that influence a child’s early development have been shown to be related to increased risk of drug abuse.
o Chaotic home environment
o Ineffective parenting
o Lack of nurturing and parental attachment
Factors related to a child’s socialization outside the family may also increase risk of drug abuse.
o Inappropriately aggressive or shy behavior in the classroom
o Poor social coping skills
o Poor school performance
o Association with a deviant peer group
o Perception of approval of drug use behavior
http://www.emedicinehealth.com/substance_abuse/article_em.htm

Substance abuse is often a manifestation of other problems that child has either at home or poor social relations including low self-esteem. Dr. Alan Leshner summarizes the reasons children use drugs in why do Sally and Johnny use drugs? http://archives.drugabuse.gov/Published_Articles/Sally.html

Science Daily reported in: Depression among young teens linked to cannabis use at 18:

A study looking at the cumulative effects of depression in youth, found that young people with chronic or severe forms of depression were at elevated risk for developing a problem with cannabis in later adolescence.
The study led by UW Medicine researchers interviewed 521 students recruited from four Seattle public middle schools. Researchers used data from annual assessments when students were ages 12-15 and then again when they were 18. The results were published in the journal Addiction.
“The findings suggest that if we can prevent or reduce chronic depression during early adolescence, we may reduce the prevalence of cannabis use disorder,” said lead author Isaac Rhew, research assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine.
What researchers called “a 1 standard deviation increase” in cumulative depression during early adolescence was associated with a 50 percent higher likelihood of cannabis-use disorder.
According to researchers, during the past decade cannabis has surpassed tobacco with respect to prevalence of use among adolescents. Cannabis and alcohol are the two most commonly used substances among youth in the United States. They pointed to one national study showing increases in prevalence of cannabis use disorder and alcohol use disorder in the United States, especially among young adults.
Longitudinal studies looking at the link between depression and later use of alcohol and cannabis, however, have been mixed. Some show a link. Others don’t. But most studies have assessed adolescent depression at a single point in time — not cumulatively, said the researchers. Further, there have been differences in how substance use has been measured ranging from the initiation of any use to heavier problematic forms of use.
The study oversampled for students with depressive and/or conduct problems. The researchers were surprised to see that the prevalence of cannabis and alcohol use disorder in this study was notably higher than national estimates with 21 percent meeting criteria for cannabis use disorder and 20 percent meeting criteria for alcohol use disorder at age 18.

What effect the easing of marijuana laws in Washington state had on the youth is unclear. Researchers said it would be informative to conduct a similar study in a state with more strict marijuana laws to understand whether the relationship between depression and cannabis misuse would still hold in areas where marijuana may be less accessible…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170717151031.htm

Citation:

Depression among young teens linked to cannabis use at 18
Seattle-focused study suggests earlier intervention with depressed youths could reduce rate of cannabis-use disorder
Date: July 17, 2017
Source: University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine
Summary:
Young people with chronic or severe forms of depression were at elevated risk for developing a problem with cannabis in later adolescence, found a study looking at the cumulative effects of depression in youth.

Journal Reference:
1. Isaac C. Rhew, Charles B. Fleming, Ann Vander Stoep, Semret Nicodimos, Cheng Zheng, Elizabeth McCauley. Examination of cumulative effects of early adolescent depression on cannabis and alcohol use disorder in late adolescence in a community-based cohort. Addiction, 2017; DOI: 10.1111/add.13907

Science Daily reported in Study questions link between medical marijuana and fewer opioid deaths:

The association between medical marijuana and lower levels of opioid overdose deaths — identified previously in several studies — is more complex than previously described and appears to be changing as both medical marijuana laws and the opioid crisis evolve, according to a new RAND Corporation study.
The report — the most-detailed examination of medical marijuana and opioid deaths conducted to date — found that legalizing medical marijuana was associated with lower levels of opioid deaths only in states that had provisions for dispensaries that made medical marijuana easily available to patients. Opioid death rates were not lower in states that just provided legal protections to patients and caregivers, allowing them to grow their own marijuana.
In addition, the association between medical marijuana dispensaries and fewer opioid deaths appears to have declined sharply after 2010, when states began to tighten requirements on sales by dispensaries.
“Our findings are consistent with previous studies showing an association between the legalization of medical marijuana and lower deaths from overdoses of opioids,” said Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, co-author of the study and co-director of the RAND Drug Policy Research Center.
“However, our findings show that the mechanism for this was loosely regulated medical marijuana dispensaries, and that the association between these laws and opioid mortality has declined over time as state laws have more tightly regulated medical dispensaries and the opioid crisis shifted from prescription opioids to heroin and fentanyl,” Pacula said. “This is a sign that medical marijuana, by itself, will not be the solution to the nation’s opioid crisis today….”
When the researchers narrowly focused on the time period from 1999 to 2010 and replicated a model used by other researchers, they obtained results similar to those previously published, showing an approximately 20 percent decline in opioid overdose deaths associated with the passage of any state medical marijuana law. However, these general findings were driven by states that had laws allowing for loosely regulated marijuana dispensary systems.
When researchers extended their analysis through 2013, they found that the association between having any medical marijuana law and lower rates of opioid deaths completely disappeared. Moreover, the association between states with medical marijuana dispensaries and opioid mortality fell substantially as well.
The researchers provide two explanations for the decline in the association between medical marijuana dispensaries and opioid harm. First, states that more recently adopted laws with medical marijuana dispensaries more tightly regulated them, in response to a U.S. Justice Department memo saying it would not challenge state-level medical marijuana laws so long as dispensary sales were in full compliance with state regulations. Second, beginning in 2010, the primary driver of the opioid crisis and related deaths became illicit opioids, mainly heroin and then fentanyl, not prescription opioids…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/02/180207090111.htm

Citation:

Study questions link between medical marijuana and fewer opioid deaths
Association appears to be changing as medical marijuana laws and opioid epidemic change
Date: February 7, 2018
Source: RAND Corporation
Summary:
Several studies have shown an association between legalizing medical marijuana and lower death rates from opioids. A new study finds that link is more complex than previously described and appears to be changing as both medical marijuana laws and the opioid crisis evolve.
Journal Reference:
1. David Powell, Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, Mireille Jacobson. Do medical marijuana laws reduce addictions and deaths related to pain killers? Journal of Health Economics, 2018; 58: 29 DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2017.12.007

Here is the press release from RAND:

Do Medical Marijuana Laws Reduce Addictions and Deaths Related to Pain Killers?
Published in: Journal of Health Economics Volume 58 (March 2018), Pages 29-42. doi: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2017.12.007
Posted on RAND.org on February 08, 2018
by David Powell, Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, Mireille Jacobson
• Related Topics:
• Drug Markets and Supply,
• Marijuana,
• Substance Use Harm Reduction
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Read More
Access further information on this document at Journal of Health Economics Volume 58 (March 2018)
This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.
Recent work finds that medical marijuana laws reduce the daily doses filled for opioid analgesics among Medicare Part-D and Medicaid enrollees, as well as population-wide opioid overdose deaths. We replicate the result for opioid overdose deaths and explore the potential mechanism. The key feature of a medical marijuana law that facilitates a reduction in overdose death rates is a relatively liberal allowance for dispensaries. As states have become more stringent in their regulation of dispensaries, the protective value generally has fallen. These findings suggest that broader access to medical marijuana facilitates substitution of marijuana for powerful and addictive opioids.
Access further information on this document at Journal of Health Economics Volume 58 (March 2018)
Link Between Medical Marijuana and Fewer Opioid Deaths Is More Complex Than Previously Reported
FOR RELEASE
Tuesday
February 6, 2018
The association between medical marijuana and lower levels of opioid overdose deaths—identified previously in several studies—is more complex than previously described and appears to be changing as both medical marijuana laws and the opioid crisis evolve, according to a new RAND Corporation study.
The report—the most-detailed examination of medical marijuana and opioid deaths conducted to date—found that legalizing medical marijuana was associated with lower levels of opioid deaths only in states that had provisions for dispensaries that made medical marijuana easily available to patients. Opioid death rates were not lower in states that just provided legal protections to patients and caregivers, allowing them to grow their own marijuana.
In addition, the association between medical marijuana dispensaries and fewer opioid deaths appears to have declined sharply after 2010, when states began to tighten requirements on sales by dispensaries.
“Our findings are consistent with previous studies showing an association between the legalization of medical marijuana and lower deaths from overdoses of opioids,” said Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, co-author of the study and co-director of the RAND Drug Policy Research Center.
“However, our findings show that the mechanism for this was loosely regulated medical marijuana dispensaries, and that the association between these laws and opioid mortality has declined over time as state laws have more tightly regulated medical dispensaries and the opioid crisis shifted from prescription opioids to heroin and fentanyl,” Pacula said. “This is a sign that medical marijuana, by itself, will not be the solution to the nation’s opioid crisis today.”
The study was published online by the Journal of Health Economics.
Researchers from RAND and the University of California, Irvine, analyzed information about treatment admissions for addiction to pain medications from 1999 to 2012 and state-level overdose deaths from opioids from 1999 to 2013. They also identified state laws legalizing medical marijuana, examining provisions such as whether the regulations made marijuana easily accessible to patients by allowing dispensaries.
When the researchers narrowly focused on the time period from 1999 to 2010 and replicated a model used by other researchers, they obtained results similar to those previously published, showing an approximately 20 percent decline in opioid overdose deaths associated with the passage of any state medical marijuana law. However, these general findings were driven by states that had laws allowing for loosely regulated marijuana dispensary systems.
When researchers extended their analysis through 2013, they found that the association between having any medical marijuana law and lower rates of opioid deaths completely disappeared. Moreover, the association between states with medical marijuana dispensaries and opioid mortality fell substantially as well.
The researchers provide two explanations for the decline in the association between medical marijuana dispensaries and opioid harm. First, states that more recently adopted laws with medical marijuana dispensaries more tightly regulated them, in response to a U.S. Justice Department memo saying it would not challenge state-level medical marijuana laws so long as dispensary sales were in full compliance with state regulations. Second, beginning in 2010, the primary driver of the opioid crisis and related deaths became illicit opioids, mainly heroin and then fentanyl, not prescription opioids.
The study also found no evidence that states with medical marijuana laws experience reductions in the volume of legally distributed opioid analgesics used to treat pain. Even if medical marijuana patients were substituting medical marijuana for opioids in medical marijuana states, these patients did not represent a measurable part of the medical opioid analgesic market.
“While our study finds that medical marijuana dispensaries reduce some of the harms associated with the misuse of opioids, there is little evidence that this is happening because a large number of patients suffering from pain are using marijuana instead of opioid medications,” Pacula said. “Either the patients are continuing to use their opioid pain medications in addition to marijuana, or this patient group represents a small share of the overall medical opioid using population.”
The RAND study was conducted before any any states had begun to allow retail sales of recreational marijuana.
“Our research suggests that the overall story between medical marijuana and opioid deaths is complicated,” Pacula said. “Before we embrace marijuana as a strategy to combat the opioid epidemic, we need to fully understand the mechanism through which these laws may be helping and see if that mechanism still matters in today’s changing opioid crisis.”
Support for the study was provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Other authors of the study are David Powell of RAND and Mireille Jacobson of UC Irvine.
RAND Health is the nation’s largest independent health policy research program, with a broad research portfolio that focuses on health care costs, quality and public health preparedness, among other topics.
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The RAND Corporation is a research organization that develops solutions to public policy challenges to help make communities throughout the world safer and more secure, healthier and more prosperous.
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Researcher Spotlight
• Rosalie Liccardo Pacula
Director, Bing Center for Health Economics
Rosalie Liccardo Pacula is a senior economist at the RAND Corporation and a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. She serves as director of RAND’s BING Center for Health Economics, co-director of the RAND Drug Policy Research Center, and associate director of the data core for RAND’s new…
The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has a series of questions parents should ask http://www.getsmartaboutdrugs.com/content/default.aspx?pud=a8bcb6ee-523a-4909-9d76-928d956f3f91

If you suspect that your child has a substance abuse problem, you will have to seek help of some type. You will need a plan of action. The Partnership for a Drug Free America lists 7 Steps to Take and each step is explained at the site. http://www.drugfree.org/intervene

If your child has a substance abuse problem, both you and your child will need help. “One day at a time” is a famous recovery affirmation which you and your child will live the meaning. The road to recovery may be long or short, it will have twists and turns with one step forward and two steps back. In order to reach the goal of recovery, both parent and child must persevere.

Related:

University of Washington study: Heroin use among young suburban and rural non-traditional users on the
https://drwilda.com/2013/10/13/university-of-washington-study-heroin-use-among-young-suburban-and-rural-non-traditional-users-on-the-increase/

Resources

Adolescent Substance Abuse Knowledge Base
http://www.crchealth.com/troubled-teenagers/teenage-substance-abuse/adolescent-substance-abuse/signs-drug-use/

Warning Signs of Teen Drug Abuse
http://parentingteens.about.com/cs/drugsofabuse/a/driug_abuse20.htm?r=et

Is Your Teen Using?
http://www.drugfree.org/intervene

Al-Anon and Alateen
http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/

WEBMD: Parenting and Teen Substance Abuse
http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/tc/teen-substance-abuse-choosing-a-treatment-program-topic-overview

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a very good booklet for families What is Substance Abuse Treatment?
http://store.samhsa.gov/home

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has a web site for teens and parents that teaches about drug abuse NIDA for Teens: The Science Behind Drug Abuse
http://teens.drugabuse.gov/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

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Helping middle school students succeed in high school: ‘Countdown to High School’

21 Nov

Education.com posted the Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s article, Teens and Middle School:

The transition to middle school is a major life event for parents and youth.
Students worry about:
• Getting to class on time;
• Finding lockers, classes, and bathrooms;
• Keeping up with the work; and
• Getting through the crowded halls.
Students may also be struggling with concerns about:
• Aggressive or violent behavior from other students;
• Less connection with their parents;
• Less free time;
• Attractiveness and peer status;
• Physical development differences between males and females;
• Increasing peer pressure;
• Development changes associated with puberty;
• Increased parental expectations; and
• More responsibility.
All of this is normal and the best thing you can do for yourself is to talk about your feelings, fears, and thoughts with your friends, family, parents, or other caring adults. You are not alone – other youth your age are dealing with these same concerns….http://www.education.com/reference/article/teens-middle-school/

Some school districts are trying to ease the transition from elementary school to middle school to high school.

Suzi Parker of Takepart wrote in the article, High School Success May Depend on Lessons Middle Schools Don’t Teach:

Leaving middle school for high school can be a scary time for teenagers. Scarier than they even know.
Not only do ninth graders suddenly have more responsibility, more homework, and more life stress, without much guidance on how to cope, but high school is when the dropout risk looms largest.
Countdown to High School, a Boston program, is trying to aleviate some of this stress for teenagers and help keep them in school.
The program began a few years ago when Neema Avashia, a civics teacher at Boston’s McCormack Middle School, along with a few other educators, realized that kids, even high-performing kids, were desperately struggling in their first year of high school….
The program, based on national and local research, began as a pilot program for middle and high school teachers with funding in six schools. In two years, the program grew to 34 schools. Then last year, the funding ended, and the group had to rethink their model. Now, Countdown to High School is a three-hour stand-alone graduate course that 50 teachers in Boston have participated in so far.
For students, the program begins at the end of 8th grade when trained teachers present a series of lessons that address issues 9th graders grapple with.
In Boston, like in many U.S. cities, students don’t have to attend a school near their home but rather can choose where they want to go. In many instances, students have to participate in a lottery process. Other schools make students pass exams. Some pilot schools require students write essays and obtain letters of recommendation. It’s a complicated process without much guidance, Avashia says. So her program helps kids through it.
Once they know where they’re going, students are asked find the quickest public transportation route to their school. They are made familiar with the websites where this information is found. They also talk about scheduling and decide on a wake-up time.
GPA is another issue the curriculum covers. One student in a video short about Countdown to High School sums it up by saying, “Don’t be so caught up in friends. Don’t hangout in the hallways. Students do that, I mean that’s the first thing they do. Stay on top of your schoolwork from the beginning. A lot of people decide to slack freshman year and say, ‘Oh I have two or three more years up until I become a senior and that’s when I can start building.’ But think about GPA. Your GPA has to be good from the beginning, not just the middle of the year.” In Countdown to High School, students are taught how to correctly calculate a GPA and are told how truancy can negatively affect it.
The program also asks kids to be real with themselves if they begin to miss classes. They are encouraged to ask themselves about why they are cutting—is it that they’re not waking up early enough or that their friends are pressuring them or that they just don’t feel comfortable in that class, or in school in general? Countdown gives them tools to make relationships with teachers and deal with any of these scenarios.
After middle school graduation the students are greeted by similar lessons as they begin 9th grade. This ensures that students are thinking in advance about how to deal with the new challenges as they begin their high school careers.
But it’s not all left up to educators. Avashia says many times parents also don’t know where to turn to help and teachers may not know the answers. That’s why the course also requires teachers to write a school plan memo that includes how families will be meaningfully engaged in the choice and transition process.
Transition programs for students or teachers are rare in the United States. Washington has one called “Project Graduation” that includes a “Gear Up” component to identify 7th- and 8th-grade students needing help and a four- to six-week summer program to help them. Hawaii has a plan to help 9th-grade students receive the instructional and support services they need to complete high school, including tutoring and academic summer camps….http://news.yahoo.com/high-school-success-may-depend-lessons-middle-schools-195823440.html?soc_src=mediacontentstory
Here is information about Countdown to High School:
Welcome to the Countdown to High School Wiki!
The Countdown to High School (CD2HS) initiative is a program designed to support 8th and 9th grade students in Boston Public Schools (BPS) as they make the transition to high school. This website is filled with curriculum and materials you can use to help 8th and 9th grade students with this transition. The CD2HS initiative is run by BPS teachers and administrators who are continually revising and updating materials. Please review all materials prior to using them to ensure they are adapted to your school’s needs.
We always welcome feedback: cd2hsboston@gmail.com
What is Countdown to High School?
CD2HS is run by teachers and administrators in BPS. We propose a series of interventions to facilitate the transition to high school, thereby reducing student failure and increasing the likelihood that students will go on to complete the college application process four years later. We firmly believe that students are entitled to clear, consistent support structures as they make one of the most important decisions and transitions of their educational careers.
We intend to provide support to students on both ends of the transition–8th graders who are in the process of deciding what high school to go to, and 9th grade students who are entering new schools, and trying to navigate the transition.
Why is there a need for such a program?
A recent Boston Public Schools-commissioned report showed that only 53% of high school students at Boston’s non-exam schools make it through high school in four years; about three out of four of the students who don’t graduate in four years ultimately drop out. Importantly, this study pointed to the 8th and 9th grade years as critical ones in predicting whether students graduate.
Having over 30 high schools to choose from, all with different themes, different services, different class sizes, different application processes, and different academic outcomes can prove to be an overwhelming decision for middle school students and their families, particularly given the lack of readily available information about the schools
Even after students have chosen a high school, there continue to be challenges inherent in the transition such as: transportation, attendance, change in academic expectations, lack of structured afterschool time, decreased communication as students get older, and appropriate school match.
Here is a list of topics addressed at the site:
1. home
2. 8th Grade Lessons
3. 8th Grade Resources
4. 9th Grade Lessons
5. 9th Grade Resources
6. Calendar
7. Family Resources
8. Graduate Course 2012-2013
9. Meeting Handouts
10. Surveys
11. Transition Coordinator Information
http://cd2hs.wikispaces.com/

RAND’s policy brief, Problems and Promise of the American Middle School details the issues students face in middle school:

Today in the United States, nearly nine million students attend public “middle schools” — schools that serve as an intermediary phase between elementary school and high school, typically consisting of grades 6-8. The middle school years represent a critical time for young teens. Middle schools have been blamed for the increase in student behavior problems and cited as the cause of teens’ alienation, disengagement from school, and low achievement.
What are America’s middle schools really like? RAND Education researchers undertook a comprehensive assessment of the American middle school, made particularly timely and important by the passage of the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), which emphasizes test-based accountability and sanctions for failing schools. The researchers describe their findings in Focus on the Wonder Years: Challenges Facing the American Middle School. The RAND Corporation report includes some practical advice about how to deal with the challenges middle schools face and proposes a research agenda that might yield additional information for improving the schools.
The State of the American Middle School
In the 1980s, reformers endorsed a new middle school “concept” intended to change the traditional junior high school to create an educational experience more appropriate for young adolescents. The goal was to make the old junior high more developmentally responsive by changing the grade configuration from grades 7-8 or 7-9 to grades 6-8 and introducing new organizational and instructional practices (e.g., interdisciplinary team teaching).
Today, many schools are organized around the 6-8 configuration, and the well-being of middle school students generates tremendous interest from committed educators, innovative reformers, and private foundations. However, in spite of these well-intentioned improvement efforts, middle schools do not yet fully serve the needs of young teens, and several challenges remain. RAND’s main findings and recommendations are summarized below.
Separating the Middle Grades Is Associated with Transition Problems
The history of reform indicates that a separate middle school has become the norm more because of societal and demographic pressures than because of scientific evidence supporting the need for a separate school for young teens. In fact, there is evidence suggesting that separate schools and the transitions they require can cause problems that negatively affect students’ developmental and academic progress. RAND recommends that, over the coming years, states and school districts consider alternatives to the 6-8 structure to reduce multiple transitions for students and allow schools to better align their goals across grades K-12.
Progress on Academic Outcomes Is Uneven
Data show slow but steady increases in achievement scores since the 1970s. However, about 70 percent of American 8th-grade public-school students fail to reach proficient levels of performance in reading, mathematics, and science on national achievement tests. This is particularly true for Latinos and African Americans, who continue to lag behind their white counterparts, even when their parents have had college educations. We recommend adoption of various forms of supplemental services that have been proven effective for the lowest-performing students, including summer school programs before 6th grade and additional reading and math courses after 6th grade.
Conditions for Learning Are Sub optimal
Conditions for learning are factors that can enhance or diminish a student’s ability to learn. Particularly relevant to young teens are motivational and social-emotional indicators of well-being that are related to academic performance. Disengagement and social alienation not only are related to low achievement but also predict dropping out. National school safety statistics suggest that physical conflict is especially problematic in middle schools, and student concerns about safety predict emotional distress that can compromise academic performance. Such findings underscore the need to examine a variety of student outcomes in addition to academic indicators. Schools need to adopt comprehensive prevention models (e.g., school wide anti bullying programs) that focus on changing the social norms that foster antisocial behavior.
The Vision of the Middle School Has Not Been Fully Implemented
The continuing lackluster performance of middle schools might also be explained, in part, by inadequate implementation of the middle school concept in most districts and schools.[1] Core practices such as interdisciplinary team teaching and advisory programs tend to be weakly implemented with little attention to the underlying goals. A sufficient level of fidelity to many of the reform practices is not possible without substantial additional attention, resources, and long-term support.
Middle School Teachers and Principals Lack Appropriate Training and Support
Many middle school teachers do not have a major, minor, or certification in the subjects they teach or training in the development of young adolescents. Evidence-based models of professional development for teachers should be adopted to improve the subject-area expertise and the pedagogical skills of teachers.
Principals face similar training issues, in addition to another challenge: Disciplinary issues increase a principal’s workload and can decrease the time and effort the individual has to spend on other leadership functions. Different management approaches need to be considered that permit principals to delegate their managerial duties and foster a school climate that is conducive to teaching and learning.
Parental Support Wanes
Research shows that parental involvement declines as students progress through school and that middle schools do less than elementary schools do to engage parents. Middle schools should provide information about school practices and offer concrete suggestions for activities that parents and teens can do together at home.
New Reform Models Show Promise
Our review of whole-school reforms and professional development practices identified some promising models that address both academic achievement and the development needs of young teens. If fully implemented, these models might propel our schools forward toward the high levels of achievement that are the goal of NCLB.
Looking Ahead
Today’s emphasis on higher standards (such as those NCLB articulates) and on increased accountability through academic testing poses at least two challenges for middle schools. First, as legislation focused solely on academic achievement outcomes holds greater sway, the developmental needs of children might take second place, even though the two are highly interrelated. Second, it is unclear whether adequate federal and state supports are available for schools and students to meet the new standards. Regardless of the nature and scope of the next middle-grade reform efforts, state and federal support is needed at this time, and the efforts of various agencies, organizations, and foundations should be well coordinated. Continuity of effort is likely to provide the right conditions for student growth, institutional improvement, and educational progress. While NCLB creates a feeling of urgency, that urgency should be translated into steady, reasoned attempts to improve the schooling of all our young teens.
________________________________________
[1] R. D. Felner, A. W. Jackson, D. Kasak, P. Mulhall, S. Brand, and N. Flowers, “The Impact of School Reform for the Middle Years: Longitudinal Study of a Network Engaged in Turning Points-Based Comprehensive School Transformation,” Phi Delta Kappan, Vol. 78, No. 7, 1997, pp. 528-550, and R. Williamson and J. H. Johnston, “Challenging Orthodoxy: An Emerging Agenda for Middle Level Reform,” Middle School Journal, March 1999, pp. 10-17.
________________________________________
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________________________________________
This product is part of the RAND Corporation research brief series. RAND research briefs present policy-oriented summaries of individual published, peer-reviewed documents or of a body of published work.
This research brief describes work done for RAND Education documented in Focus on the Wonder Years: Challenges Facing the American Middle School by Jaana Juvonen, Vi-Nhuan Le, Tessa Kaganoff, Catherine Augustine, and Louay Constant, MG-139-EDU (available online), 2004, 152 pages, ISBN: 0-8330-3390-5. It is also available from RAND Distribution Services (phone: 310-451-7002; toll free in the U.S.: 877-584-8642).
Copyright © 2004 RAND Corporation
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit research organization providing objective analysis and effective solutions that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors around the world. RAND’s publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.
http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB8025/index1.html

See, How to Prepare Your Tween for the Middle School Transition http://www.parentmap.com/article/how-to-prepare-your-tween-for-the-middle-school-transition

PBS Kids has some great information for parents at It’s My Life. http://pbskids.org/itsmylife/school/middleschool/
Some kids need more support than others, but most will require some support in making the transition to middle school.

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

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Rand study: Education programs lower prison recidivism

27 Aug

Moi has posted about the “school-to-prison” pipeline in The ‘school-to-prison pipeline’: Moi wrote about the “school-to-prison pipeline” in Inappropriate discipline: The first step on the road to education failure:
Joan Gausted of the University of Oregon has an excellent article in Eric Digest 78, School Discipline:

School discipline has two main goals: (1) ensure the safety of staff and students, and (2) create an environment conducive to learning. Serious student misconduct involving violent or criminal behavior defeats these goals and often makes headlines in the process. However, the commonest discipline problems involve noncriminal student behavior (Moles 1989).

The issue for schools is how to maintain order, yet deal with noncriminal student behavior and keep children in school.

Alan Schwartz has a provocative article in the New York Times about a longitudinal study of discipline conducted in Texas. In School Discipline Study Raises Fresh Questions Schwartz reports:

Raising new questions about the effectiveness of school discipline, a report scheduled for release on Tuesday found that 31 percent of Texas students were suspended off campus or expelled at least once during their years in middle and high school — at an average of almost four times apiece. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/19/education/19discipline.html?_r=2&hpw&

Donna St. George has written a Washington Post article which elaborates on the Texas study.

In the article, Study shows wide varieties in discipline methods among very similar schools, St. George reports:

The report, released Tuesday, challenges a common misperception that the only way schools can manage behavior is through suspension, said Michael D. Thompson, a co-author of the report, done by the Council of State Governments Justice Center and Texas A&M University’s Public Policy Research Institute. “The bottom line is that schools can get different outcomes with very similar student bodies,” he said. “School administrators and school superintendents and teachers can have a dramatic impact….”
The results showed that suspension or expulsion greatly increased a student’s risk of being held back a grade, dropping out or landing in the juvenile justice system. Such ideas have been probed in other research, but not with such a large population and across a lengthy period, experts said.http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/study-exposes-some-some-myths-about-school-discipline/2011/07/18/gIQAV0sZMI_story.html?wpisrc=emailtoafriend

Family First Aid has a good discussion about the types of behavior problems that result in suspension or expulsion. Dore Francis has a guide, which lists what parents should do if their child is suspended. The guide gives detailed instructions to these steps and other steps. Francis also lists what questions to ask after meeting with school officials.https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/inappropriate-discipline-the-first-step-on-the-road-to-education-failure/
https://drwilda.com/2012/11/27/the-school-to-prison-pipeline/

Sarah D. Sparks reported in the Education Week article, Education Lowers Prison Recidivism, Study Finds:

Finally, some good news in the so-called school-to-prison pipeline: It goes both ways.A new study by the RAND Corp., a Washington-based policy research group, finds that inmates who participate in prison education programs are more likely to find a job and less likely to return to prison after being released. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/inside-school-research/2013/08/education_lowers_prison_recidi.html?intc=es

Here is the press release from Rand:

FOR RELEASE
Thursday
August 22, 2013
Prison inmates who receive general education and vocational training are significantly less likely to return to prison after release and are more likely to find employment than peers who do not receive such opportunities, according to a new RAND Corporation report.
The findings, from the largest-ever meta-analysis of correctional educational studies, suggest that prison education programs are cost effective, with a $1 investment in prison education reducing incarceration costs by $4 to $5 during the first three years post-release.
“We found strong evidence that correctional education plays a role in reducing recidivism,” said Lois Davis, the project’s lead researcher and a senior policy researcher at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. “Our findings are clear that providing inmates education programs and vocational training helps keep them from returning to prison and improves their future job prospects.”
Researchers found that inmates who participate in correctional education programs have a 43 percent lower odds of returning to prison than those who do not. The estimate is based on studies that carefully account for motivation and other differences between correctional education recipients and non-recipients.
Employment after release was 13 percent higher among prisoners who participated in either academic or vocational education programs than those who did not. Those who participated in vocational training were 28 percent more likely to be employed after release from prison than who did not receive such training.
The findings also suggest that prison education programs are cost effective. The direct costs of providing education are estimated to be from $1,400 to $1,744 per inmate, with re-incarceration costs being $8,700 to $9,700 less for each inmate who received correctional education as compared to those who did not.
While the results consistently demonstrated the benefits of prison education programs, researchers say there is not yet enough evidence to determine which educational programs performed the best.
“Our findings suggest that we no longer need to debate whether correctional education works,” Davis said. “But we do need more research to tease out which parts of these programs work best.”
The study, which was supported by the U.S. departments of Justice and Education, should be of interest to corrections officials and state lawmakers as they cope with operating prisons during difficult budget times.
There long has been debate about the role prison-based education programs can play in preparing inmates to return to society and keeping them from returning to prison. Recidivism remains high nationally, with four in 10 inmates returning to prison within three years of release. While most states offer some type of correctional education, surveys find no more than half of inmates receive any instruction.
In general, people in U.S. prisons have less education than the general population. In 2004, 36 percent of individuals in state prisons had less than a high school diploma, compared to 19 percent of the general U.S. population older than 16.
In addition, ex-offenders frequently often lack vocational skills and a steady history of employment. Researchers say the dynamics of prison entry and re-entry to society make it hard for ex-offenders to find work and build an employment history.
RAND researchers conducted a comprehensive review of the scientific literature of research on correctional education and performed a meta-analysis to synthesize the findings from multiple studies about the effectiveness of correctional education programs. A meta-analysis is a comprehensive way of synthesizing findings from multiple studies to develop scientific consensus about the efficacy of a program or an intervention.
The analysis was limited to studies published about education programs in the United States that included an academic or vocational curriculum with a structured instructional component. The analysis focused on recidivism, but also examined whether education improved labor force participation and gains in academic achievement test scores. The study did not assess life skills programs.
Programs that offered instruction toward a high school diploma or general education development (GED) certificate were the most common approach. Studies that included adult basic education, high school diploma/GED, postsecondary education and vocational training all showed reductions in recidivism.
Because of overlaps in curriculum and a lack of detail about the duration of instruction, researchers could not determine what types of programs worked best.
Researchers also examined the relationship between computer-assisted instruction and academic performance, which is important in prisons because the technology allows self-paced learning that can be delivered at a lower cost than traditional instruction.
The study found some evidence that computer-assisted instruction further improved math and reading achievement among inmates, but the findings were not strong enough to reach a final conclusion.
“As corrections officials struggle to cope during a period of constrained government spending, prison education is an approach that may help save money in even the short term,” Davis said.
Funding for the study was provided by the federal Bureau of Justice Assistance. Other authors of the study are Robert Bozick, Jennifer Steele, Jessica Saunders and Jeremy Miles.
The project was conducted within the RAND Safety and Justice Program, which conducts public policy research on corrections, policing, public safety and occupational safety.

Citation:

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Correctional Education: A Meta-Analysis of Programs That Provide Education to Incarcerated Adults — 2013
A Meta-Analysis of Programs That Provide Education to Incarcerated Adults
• by
• Lois M. Davis,
• Robert Bozick,
• Jennifer L. Steele,
• Jessica Saunders,
• Jeremy N. V. Miles
• Save to My RAND
• Citation

• Abstract

After conducting a comprehensive literature search, the authors undertook a meta-analysis to examine the association between correctional education and reductions in recidivism, improvements in employment after release from prison, and learning in math and in reading. Their findings support the premise that receiving correctional education while incarcerated reduces an individual’s risk of recidivating. They also found that those receiving correctional education had improved odds of obtaining employment after release. The authors also examined the benefits of computer-assisted learning
Key Findings
Correctional Education Improves Inmates’ Outcomes after Release
• Correctional education improves inmates’ chances of not returning to prison.
• Inmates who participate in correctional education programs had a 43 percent lower odds of recidivating than those who did not. This translates to a reduction in the risk of recidivating of 13 percentage points.
• It may improve their chances of obtaining employment after release. The odds of obtaining employment post-release among inmates who participated in correctional education was 13 percent higher than the odds for those who did not participate in correctional education.
• Inmates exposed to computer-assisted instruction learned slightly more in reading and substantially more in math in the same amount of instructional time.
• Providing correctional education can be cost-effective when it comes to reducing recidivism.
Recommendations:
• Further studies should be undertaken to identify the characteristics of effective programs in terms of curriculum, dosage, and quality.
• Future studies should incorporate stronger research designs.
• Funding grants would be useful in helping further the field, by enabling correctional educators to partner with researchers and evaluators to evaluate their programs.
• A study registry of correctional education evaluations would help develop the evidence base in the field, to inform policy and programmatic decisionmaking.
http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR266.html
In Who says Black children can’t learn? Some schools get it, moi said:
People want an education for a variety of reasons. Some have a love of learning. Others want to attend a good college or vocational school. Still others, see an education as a ticket to a good job. Increasingly for schools, the goal is to prepare kids with the skills to attend and succeed at college. In order to give children the skills to succeed, schools need teachers who are effective at educating their population of kids. There are many themes in the attempt to answer the question, what will prepare kids for what comes after high school. What will prepare kids for what comes after high school is a good basic education. The schools that provide a good basic education are relentless about the basics.https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/who-says-black-children-cant-learn-some-schools-gets-it/

See:

Education Law Center
http://www.edlawcenter.org/ELCPublic/StudentRights/StudentDiscipline.htm

Discipline In Schools: What Works and What Doesn’t?
http://www.eduguide.org/article/discipline-in-school-what-works-and-what-doesnt

Related:

A strategy to reduce school suspensions: ‘School Wide Positive Behavior Support’
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/07/01/a-strategy-to-reduce-school-suspensions-school-wide-positive-behavior-support/

Single-sex classrooms should be allowed in public schools
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/07/22/single-sex-classrooms-should-be-allowed-in-public-schools/

Boys of color: Resources from the Boys Initiative
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/07/06/boys-of-color-resources-from-the-boys-initiative/

U.S. Education Dept. Civil Rights Office releases report on racial disparity in school retention
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/03/07/u-s-education-dept-civil-rights-office-releases-report-on-racial-disparity-in-school-retention/

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