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May 23, 2024

Biden’s Unending Student Loan Forgiveness Run

On Tuesday, the Biden administration announced $7.7 billion in student debt cancellation for about 161,000 borrowers, equating to about $48,000 per borrower. Compared to what has already been spent on loan forgiveness since the pandemic began, that’s an enormous drop in a gargantuan bucket. AEI’s Student Debt Forgiveness Tracker, which I run, tracks all student loan revenue from…

May 6, 2024

How Much Are You Willing to Spend on Student Loan Forgiveness?

Last Wednesday, the Biden administration announced $6.1 billion in student debt cancellation for over 300,000 borrowers who attended the Art Institutes, a defunct network of for-profit colleges that, according to the Department of Education, defrauded borrowers. This cancellation is generous—all borrowers, regardless of their current economic circumstances, who attended the Art Institutes between 2004 and 2017 will have their…

February 22, 2024

Chronic Absenteeism Could Be the Biggest Problem Facing Schools Right Now

Chronic absenteeism has become a grim reality across the nation. Nationwide, chronic absenteeism nearly doubled from 15 percent in 2018 to 26 percent in 2023. How bad are these numbers, really, and how can schools respond? My friend and colleague Nat Malkus has the most recent available numbers in his Return to Learn Tracker. In addition,…

February 8, 2024

Chronic Absenteeism After the Pandemic

Event Summary On February 8, AEI’s Nat Malkus presented on his research into post-pandemic chronic absenteeism and then discussed the phenomenon with a panel of experts. During his presentation, Dr. Malkus argued that a proper understanding of post-pandemic chronic absenteeism must consider both school pandemic closures and school pandemic responses more broadly. Dr. Malkus then…

January 24, 2024

It’s National School Choice Week. Democrats: What Do You Think?

This week is National School Choice Week, which makes it a good time to ponder the state of the school choice coalition. During the Clinton–Bush school reform era, broad swaths of the public—both Republicans and Democrats—supported charter schools and different forms of public school choice. However, private school choice has long been a primarily Republican…

January 19, 2024

Ninety Percent Student Attendance Won’t Solve Chronic Absenteeism

One day after Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona presented the Biden administration’s “Improving Student Achievement Agenda,” which appropriately focused on the unprecedented chronic absenteeism rates in US public schools, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released data under the headline, “Public School Leaders Report 90 Percent Average Daily Student Attendance Rate in November 2023.”…

September 27, 2023

A Conversation with Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) on the Lowering Education Costs and Debt Act

As the Biden administration continues to push massive and controversial overhauls of America’s federal student loan system, Republican lawmakers have put forward a broader vision for higher education reform. The proposed reforms seek to address the underlying causes of the student debt crisis and target core challenges facing the United States’ higher education system. Join…

November 28, 2022

Public School Instructional Offerings and Enrollment Changes: Evidence from Two Years After the Pandemic

Key Points Read the PDF. Executive Summary We examine how COVID-related reopening policies during the 2020–21 and 2021–22 school years affected enrollment in public school districts. We use difference-in-differences and event study designs to estimate plausibly causal effects of different reopening policies on public school enrollment. Consistent with prior research, we find that public school…

August 10, 2022

A Failure to Respond: Public School Mask Mandates in the 2021–22 School Year

Key Points From September 2021 to late February 2022, school district mask mandates were in place for 61 percent of students in the US.During that period, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance advised all students and teachers to mask indoors, with no flexibility based on local conditions.On February 25, 2022, the CDC adopted…