Elizabeth Bersin

Should Public Funds be Used for Charter Schools? DC as a Case Study

The number of charter schools in the United States has been increasing rapidly since the first charter school was established in Minnesota in 1992. DC’s first charter school was opened in 1995 and since then more parents, educators, and policy makers have argued that charter schools create a free market for education and improve student achievement. These publicly funded schools cannot accept every student, making it important to evaluate whether these claims are valid. Using DC public and charter school student achievement data from 2012-2014, the authors conducted an analysis on the performance of students on the Math and Reading DC-CAS assessment to study how the scores differ between public schools and charter schools. Initial results indicate that charter schools are associated with higher student achievement; however, two major drawbacks are present in our design. Because of the drawbacks in our data source, our analysis is inconclusive as to whether or not charter schools represent a good investment.

Migration and the EU: A Failure to Protect

The European Union (EU) is currently experiencing a mass influx of migrants like never before, constituting the largest movement Europe has experienced since 1945. Most of these migrants are seeking refuge from the Syrian civil war, which has displaced over 8 million people over the past four years. This mass influx has put tremendous pressure on the EU’s ability to accept refugees and asylum seekers. This paper examines this failure of the EU, first explaining the history of the EU project and its previous migration policies. Country case studies are also presented to give examples of country dynamics during this crisis. The paper also discusses how the EU can better prepare itself for future such challenges – namely, by creating a coordinated, long-term plan that is adopted by all member states and supported by the various Directorates-General of the EU. Proposed solutions include a joint committee that brings together all relevant Directorates-General and a five-point plan that works as a guide for the most important issues this committee should tackle. This issue cannot be solved by one country alone or even by a small group. It is a global crisis that must be addressed before it spreads even further.

Examining Aid Accountability in International Development

As globalization has become a part of our everyday lives, so, too, have the many aid-related international organizations. With this, the problem of aid accountability arises– how do we ensure that aid dollars are being used effectively and efficiently? Aid accountability in international development is a complex issue with many problems that hinder aid development from reaching its full potential. These problems include aid organizations not being held accountable to donors and stakeholders, dispersion of aid dollars, diversion of resources, and other secondary problems that arise because of intervention by aid organizations. This memo examines how the criteria used to evaluate the effectiveness of aid dollars have evolved over time. Next, this memo inspects current standards in aid distribution, possible alternatives to the status quo, and the risks and assumptions associated with alternatives. Logic models and outcome matrices are then used to determine the most promising solution to ensuring aid accountability. This solution, despite being a viable policy option for many organizations, may not fit the needs of all organizations. Every organization should evaluate the tools at their disposal and decide, based on the analysis available, which mechanisms will befit their needs.