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K-12 Education Research and Reference Links

A sampling of suggested starting places; last updated April 19, 2018.


Agencies Associations Budget
Districts Similar to ICCSD ICCSD Information Introductory Note
Issues Sites Major Collections Other Countries’ K-12 Systems
Parents Information Periodicals Online Reform Organizations
Reports and White Papers Search Engines .

Introductory Note

As is true of almost any Web search, there is no substitute for just diving in  for an hour or so to see what’s out there. On the other hand, “the choice you’ll never know is the choice you’ll never make.” The links below offer a selection of some choices you might not otherwise have known about.

But there are, literally, thousands of education-related potential sites and documents available on the Internet. ERIC alone contains abstracts of some 1,000,000 articles, Education Resources Information Center (ERIC). It would be impossible for me, and not very helpful for you, to list everything here. So what follows are guides and suggestions only.

But, as such, these links are more than just an illustrative beginning. It is worth your taking the time to visit all of them, even if only for a brief glance, to spark your imagination and curiosity about the vast range of what is, often as not, out there somewhere. You will find that many sites contain links to pages, somewhere, that also provide links to numerous additional sites and documents.

Moreover, the best site for your specific research need is not always initially the most obvious. For example, a government report that is not available from the agency’s Web page may be available as a link from the site of a publication, organization, or college of education. That’s another reason why it’s a good idea to browse around and get some notion of the range of resources offered by the major sites.

And, as always, don’t forget the major search engines (and the instructions they provide on how to make them as efficient and precise as possible for your purposes). Some are listed here.

Finally, although it obviously pales by comparison to almost any of the sites listed below, some of Nicholas Johnson’s columns and other writing deal with education issues.

Do you have favorite sites you’d like me to add? Comments? Criticisms? Click here to e-mail me at mailbox@nicholasjohnson.org

Happy surfing!

— Nicholas Johnson
First posted, December 18, 1998; last updated April 19, 2018

Examples of Budget and Finance Information

Searching the Iowa City Community School District Web site for budget provides a number of links to budget documents.

The Iowa Department of Education has a number of resources related to school finance and management.

The largest general collection of educational finance materials found so far is the “Education Finance Statistics Center Homepage” maintained by the National Center for Education Statistics.

There are professional associations related to educational finance,such as the Association of School Business Officials International (with its own “Publications and Resources” page).



Examples of Parents’ Sources of Information

With appropriate parental involvement, there is almost no limit to what a school child can achieve. Without it, there are severe limits to what our very best teachers can help that child accomplish. All parents, commendably, want the best possible schools for their children.  But there are limits to every school district’s resources.  Of course, there are financial limits to parents’ resources as well.  But there are no limits to any parent’s ability to read to their child before he or she goes to school, and then talk with their child about school, explain the parents’ beliefs regarding the essential nature and value of a good education, to ask and follow what the child is learning, to limit their child’s time with electronics (smart phones, video games, television, radio and the rest), to make sure homework is done, and to attend parent-teacher conferences.  A lot has been written for parents who would like to help their children achieve more of their potential — including the ability to get in, and stay in, college and to find the sources of scholarships and other financial resources to make that possible (see below).

The U.S. Department of Education has a “Parents” site with links to helpful resources, and also a separate list of “Publications for Parents”.

“Parents and Guardians” is the site provided by the National Education Association.

“Parents’ Guide to Student Success” is the National Parents Teachers Association (PTA) advice page.

There is a Family Education site (“your partner in parenting”).

Parent Time magazine (“parenting tips on pregnancy, new borns and infants) may be of interest to new parents.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has an “Information for Parents,” section, and much more.

The Australian “Early Childhood Australia, Parent Resources” has material of relevance to parents everywhere.

Many research universities will have resources connected to a college of education, or various centers. The Harvard Center on the Developing Child, Resource Library is an example.

Children Now (“the hub for all of the key children’s issues”), with the support of some 40 foundations and corporations, provides a range of solid material, as well as a collection of “Parenting Resources,” including “Tips for discussing difficult topics with your children.”

Want to provide your child some Internet guidance?  Check out Common Sense Media, with its “Top Picks” for various media (e.g., movies, books, websites).

College bound?

Getting in. The ACT site contains information not only about the famous test that bears the Iowa City-based company’s name, but also links to a great amount of research and information about the company’s other programs, including a section for “Students and Parents.”   See also Educational Testing Service (ETS). There are many helpful sites for potential college students, among them ScholarStuff, Careers, USNews Education and, of course, you will want to look at the University of Iowa‘s online information. And don’t forget the community colleges: American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).

Paying for it. Want some help getting scholarships? Check out “The Best Scholarship Search Platforms of 2018,”Reviews (Caveat: Reviews candidly discloses, “Reviews.com has an advertising relationship with some of the offers included on this page,” but insists reviews “are based on objective analysis.”) and My College Scholarship.


Examples of Search Engines and Major Collections

The Encyclopedia Britanica has a section on “Education.”

The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) offers a collection called “Global Education.”

ERIC, mentioned above, contains abstracts of approximately 1,000,000 articles and, as with most major sites, has it’s own search engine capability, plus the “Search ERIC Home Page.”

The U.S. Department of Education maintains for international officials, professionals, educators and students a U.S. Network for Education Information site.

The National Center for Education Statistics has a “K-12 Practitioners’ Circle” for administrators, teachers, parents, students, and librarians.

A go-to site with a range of resources for administrators and teachers is Education World (“connecting educators to what works”). For weekly news about U.S. K-12 education, it’s Education Week.

Public Agenda provides a much-needed, more in-depth exploration of education issues. (Begun in 1975 it “helps build a democracy that works for everyone. By elevating a diversity of voices, forging common ground and improving dialogue and collaboration among leaders and communities, Public Agenda fuels progress on critical issues, including education . . ..”) Here are its research results regarding education.

ACT provides access from its site to much of its research — as does the Ford Foundation to its education-related publications.   And, of course, for the Carnegie Corporation of New York one of its main themes has always been education.

Colleges of education are a major resource.  There is a global Network of Education Policy Centers Directory. The University of Iowa College of Education has a site, as does the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and the Wisconsin Center for Education Research.

Discovery Education began in 2004 as a unit of what started as the Discovery Channel in 1985 and is now the enormous media conglomerate called Corporate Discovery.” This description from its Website will provide some indication of what you might go there to find:

“Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital content for K-12 . . . with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content, professional development, and the largest professional learning community of its kind. Serving 4.5 million educators and over 50 million students, Discovery Education’s services are in half of U.S. classrooms, 50 percent of all primary schools in the
U.K., and more than 50 countries.”

Someone else who’s created a K-12 education resource is Keith Stanger; see his “Finding K-12 Education Resources on the World Wide Web.”


Examples of Public Agencies

The Iowa City Community School District maintains its own Web site, with links to other sites.

The Iowa Department of Education and the Iowa State Board of Education maintain sites — the former with extensive links to resources.

Obviously, the U.S. Department of Education is a major resource and starting point.

The National Center for Education Statistics is self-explanatory.

The site maintained by the U.S. Surgeon General has some useful youth fitness and health materials. Use the drop-down menu: Reports & Publications/Reports of the Surgeon General/ and use search terms such as “fitness and sports,” or “youth fitness,” “health and fitness” — or whatever else your imagination can devise — and the option to “repeat the search with the omitted results included.”

Other states’ sites are useful not only for their informational resources, links, and comparative data, but also as examples of data, analyses (and Web site presentations) that might be useful for Iowa to adopt.

A sampling of state sites includes: California Department of Education, Massachusetts Department of Education, Minnesota Department of Education (and see, Edina [Minn.] Public Schools), New Jersey Department of Education, New York State Education Department,” Public Schools of North Carolina, and the State of Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.


Examples of Professional Associations

The National Education Association has extensive links to publications and other Web sites, as does the American Federation of Teachers and the Iowa State Education Association.

There is an Iowa Association of School Boards and a National School Boards Association.

The American Association of School Administrators has a useful site, as does the School Administrators of Iowa.

There is a National Association of Elementary School Principals. There is also a National Association for Primary Educationin the U.K.

The Oregon-based Education Northwest is a kind of all-purpose go-to site with research, resources, services, and relevant “news.”

MiddleWeb: All About the Middle Grades (“Teaching and Learning in Grades 4-8”) is kind of a cross between a loose “association” and a collection of resources.

Rethinking Schools (“Rethinking Schools began [in Milwaukee, 1986] as a local effort to address problems such as basal readers, standardized testing, and textbook-dominated curriculum. Since its founding, it has grown into a [non-profit] publisher of educational materials, with subscribers in all 50 states, all 10 Canadian provinces, and many other countries.”)

Phi Delta Kappa (“the professional fraternity in education”) publishes the Phi Delta Kappan and offers many of its articles online.

A search on Yahoo for “education” provides links to hundreds of education-related sites.

The Iowa City Education Association has its own Web site. The ICEA is a member of the Iowa State Education Association. (The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is the bargaining unit for many of the ICCSD’s staff.)


Examples of Education Reform Organizations

There are a number of organizations devoted to educational reform. One example is the Coalition of Essential Schools.

Others include RAND’s Council for Aid to Education, the Education Commission of the States, and the National Center on Education and the Economy.

The Education Trust (“Fierce advocates for the high academic achievement of all students – particularly those of color or living in poverty. Equity-Driven, Data-Centered, Student-Focused”) offers publications, resources and services.

The Magnet Schools Association is a starting place for information about this alternative.

The Heartland Institute (“ideas that empower people”), has a Center for Transforming Education (publisher of “School Reform News”) that provides a number of links to its information.

You might be interested in the still useful, full version of “Tools for Schools: School Reform Models Supported by the National Institue on the Educatiion of At-Risk Students” (April 1998).

Some of the results of the Iowa City Community School District School Board addressing issues of board governance (1998-2001) can be found in Nicholas Johnson, “Board Governance: Theory and Practice,” (April 28, 2000; updated October 31, 2012).


Examples of Issues Sites

The National Education Association maintains sites dealing with specific issues.

You might find the National Alliance For Youth Sports helpful with regard to sports-related issues.

The National Center on Education and the Economy, offers its “Policy Solutions for Public Schools.”

The Student Press Law Center (“Since 1974, the Student Press Law Center has been the nation’s only legal assistance agency devoted exclusively to educating high school and college journalists about the rights and responsibilities embodied in the First Amendment, and supporting the student news media in covering important issues free from censorship.”)

The Mid-Continent Regional Education Laboratory has material on “Curriculum & Standards.”

The Rural School and Community Trust (“Working in some of the poorest, most challenging places, the Rural Trust involves young people in learning linked to their communities, improves the quality of teaching and school leadership, and advocates in a variety of ways for appropriate state educational policies, including the key issue of equitable and adequate funding for rural schools.”)

The RAND Corporation is a major research organizatiion, with a collection of its work regarding Education and Literacy, including its publication Grissmer, Flanagan, Kawata, and Williamson, Improving Student Achievement; What State NAEP Test Scores Tell Us (2000).

Check the Columbia University Center for Teaching and Learning (“The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) partners with faculty, students, and colleagues across the University to support excellence and innovation in teaching and learning.”)

The Missouri School Boards’ Association, includes in its resources a “Center for Education Safety”

One of the Internet’s first Search engines, Lycos, now provides collections of links on various topics, including Education.


Examples of Reports and White Papers

The U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics provides a “Projection of Education Statistics to 2021,” “Nation’s Report Card — National Assessment of Educational Progress,” and numerous other publications.

ACT publishes an annual report, e.g., The Condition of College and Career Readiness 2017; Progress Report on the 2017 ACT-Tested Graduating Class.”

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine maintina a National Academies Press site that can be searched by topic. Here is what it offers with a search on education.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has an Administration for Children & Families site with a drop-down “Data & Research” tab. A search on “children and youth” produces about 2500 links to research papers.

The Harvard Center on the Developing Child “Resource Library” provides numerous links.

For an international perspective, go to the numerous resources available on the UNICEF’s “Education” page, the U.S. Network for Education Information, or do a Google search for individual countries, e.g., “Japanese education” or “Finland education” (which produced 470 million and 349 million hits, respectively, April 8, 2018).

The Iowa City Community School District “Strategic Plan” is available online.



Examples of Online Periodicals

American School Board Journal is, as the name suggests, the journal of the National School Boards Association.

Education Week and Educational Leadership are certainly among the most prominent and useful of the publications dealing with education news and policy discussions, and well worth the subscription price. But they both kindly provide, for free, these online sites with links to much of their present (and past) material.

The Gazette provides an education section, as does the Iowa City Press-Citizen/Education

Phi Delta Kappa (“a professional association for educators that brings together the top leaders, thinkers, and doers to collaborate and inspire one another”) publishes the Kappan magazine and offers many other resources.

And see the School Reform News, which purports to follow all educational reform efforts in North America.

National Geographic, while not a periodical about education, contains a “topics” drop-down menu directing the user to materials potentially useful in providing education.



Examples of Information About the Iowa City Community School District

The fullsome Iowa City Community School District (“Child-Centered: Future Focused”) main website will provide most of the answers and information a researcher, reporter, new or current local teacher, staff member, parent, or student might want to know. Links abound on the homepage and throughout. The homepage starts off with dropdown menus for “Our District,” “Parents,” “Students,” “Programs,” “Community,” “Departments” and “School Board.” Immediately below, under a picture banner, “Popular Links” are displayed: “Bell Schedule,” “District Calendars,” “Contact Us,” “Home School Look-Up,” “Enrollment Process,” “Lunch Menus,” “Weather” and “Transportation.” Scrolling down further are links to an additional 20 “Site Shortcuts,” and much, much more. You get the idea.

See also the “Examples of Online Periodicals” section, immediately above, for links to local papers’ K-12 (and higher education) news and archives.



Examples of School Districts Possibly Similar to the ICCSD

There are about 15,000 school districts in the United States. It is natural that, to the extent anyone is looking for experience and examples from other districts, they would tend to look at districts in their own region. In the case of the ICCSD that usually means members of the Urban Education Network of Iowa (“Iowa’s eight largest school districts and nine Associate Member districts [which together] enroll nearly forty percent of Iowa’s total public school enrollment.” Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Davenport, Des Moines, Dubuque, Iowa City, Sioux City, Waterloo). But it is possible an additional useful comparison, and source of ideas, might be similar school districts located in other states as well: districts in relatively small towns that are also home to major universities.

Here are some examples of school districts in other college towns or otherwise similar to the ICCSD:

Columbia, Missouri, K-12 Schools (University of Missouri).

Missoula County, Montana, Public Schools (University of Montana)

New Haven, Connecticut, K-12Schools (Yale University)

Central Valley School District 356, Spokane, Washington, K-12 Schools (Gonzaga University).

Urbana, Illinois, School District 116 (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign)

The U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Educational Statistics, offers the ability to compare “peer districts.”


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