Researcher Profile Podcast: Nate Barrett - EdChoice
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  • Sep 04 2019

Researcher Profile Podcast: Nate Barrett

Discussing his journey from academia to the advocacy world

In this episode, we chat with Nate Barrett, senior director of research and evaluation at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. He discusses centralized enrollment systems, parental accountability and more.

Click to listen, or read the full transcript below.

 

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Our Podcast Transcribed

Drew Catt: Hello, I’m Drew Catt, EdChoice’s director of state research and special projects. Today I’m in the studio to introduce our listeners to a researcher to watch. I’m here with Nate Barrett, the senior director of research and evaluation at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Thanks for joining me today, Nate.

Nate Barrett: Oh, thanks for having me. I appreciate it.

Drew Catt: Yeah. So, Nate, would you mind introducing yourself a little and telling us about what attracted you to issues and K–12 education and educational choice?

Nate Barrett: Sure, absolutely. This might take a bit, but I’m happy to oblige. So yeah, I’ve had probably one of the more eclectic journeys through academia and just my education experience in general. So, I grew up in a single-parent home. We were relatively poor and that is what it is, but grew up in a rural area. Actually enlisted in the military when I was 16 under a delayed entry program. Went into the army for a bit, got a medical discharge and was pretty aimless when I got out. Didn’t really know what I wanted to do. My grandfather pulled me aside and he basically just told me, “You got to get a trade or a skill or something.” So, I went to a community college and liked it and was like, well I should keep doing this. And went on to get my bachelor’s, which took quite a while because I put myself through school and was working full time. And then had some really great professors, that they were really inspirational for me to think about pursuing grad school.

So, I went to grad school for econ and was in an econ Ph.D. program and I enjoyed it quite a bit, but I was a little discouraged by the lack of applying it to policy. So, I took my masters and taught for a year, actually at the university where I graduated from with my undergrad, and really enjoyed that and decided to go back and I went to Kentucky for my Ph.D. in public policy. And my advisor there, she was just probably the most inspirational person that I’ve ever been around as far as just how passionate she was about her work and what she did. And really got into to ed research, thinking about access issues. Most of my work for my dissertation was working with rural data, and coming from a rural background myself, it was just thinking through issues of access and opportunity.

And so as I went through my early career, I became more exposed to all the different policies in play and thinking through issues of access and equity. It really came apparent that choice was a major part of giving kids opportunities. And it’s funny because I think back to it, and you don’t realize these things at the time, but I think through where we lived growing up and the sacrifices my mom made. And it very much was about getting my brother and I into a decent school district where we could access some of this opportunity. And so, but those choices aren’t always in play for a lot of families.

So, as I went to Tulane and was there for a while and saw choice at scale, it really changed the way I thought about a lot of things and about how I engaged in the research. And I was on the charter school board. And when I saw the opportunity to come to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools from the Research Alliance at Tulane, it was an odd switch I think for an academic to kind of go to an advocacy role, but I don’t really consider this so much of an advocacy role here. I just consider it really elevating the voice of the sector and really highlighting all the good work that’s being done in charters and choice in general.

Drew Catt: Yeah, that is such an interesting and unique story, especially I feel like in the school choice movement. But hopefully it’s also inspiring to some of the students that you may happen to interact with every now and then. Just to be like, “Hey, this this is where I came from and this is where I am.” It’s everything is possible.

Nate Barrett: Absolutely. I think we had talked about this before, I think if you would have told me 20 years ago that I’d be sitting here with a Ph.D., I would not have believed you. And I think one interesting fact about it is I’ve never taken, I never took in high school because again I enlisted when I was 16, I never took the SAT or the ACT and so … I don’t know if there’s a lot of people with a Ph.D. that can say that.

Drew Catt: Yeah, you’re definitely the only one that I’ve ever met or read about.

So, tell me a little more about kind of your experiences at Tulane and kind of getting more, even before that with Kentucky, and your experiences in academia versus your kind of entrance into the advocacy world that you’ve been living in for the past almost six months now.

Nate Barrett: Yeah. Yeah. So, Kentucky was really interesting. And again, it points to the fact that, like I said the work I did there was mostly in the rural areas. And one of the most fascinating things that I saw there and asked about, encoding data and doing all of these things, I was like, why are there, so you would have, there the district is based in the county, right? And Kentucky has a ton of counties, like 170, 168 I think now. But you would have these small districts within the county, right? You would have say some county and then it would be the county seat. Essentially the town within the county or city within the county would have its own independent school district, right. And it was funny because I kept asking him like, why, why, why? And a lot of it is because people were, they incorporated and became an independent school to access in a way, some essence of choice and a place where there was none.

And so I was really curious about that. And as you look through, especially the history of the South and think through ways that for good or bad people created choices for themselves. This goes all the way back to Brown v. Board, even before that. We’ve always had an element of choice. It’s the issue of who was accessing choice. And so in thinking through that and then yeah, I spent a little time at UNC Chapel Hill working on a race to the top evaluation and again did a lot of work in rural areas and thinking through opportunity there and school turnaround models and how we’re really still focused on just this sort of founded school. This is where we go. We just got to keep taking through what innovation looks like with those constraints. It was pretty interesting. And again, taking then to Tulane and really looking at choice, what I would call to scale with an entire city, being able to access the school that they desire.

Obviously you have lotteries for those that are oversubscribed, but at least there’s opportunities. And so that was a pretty interesting experience. And while I was there for a very interesting time as the system was evolving, and I think a lot of people, the one thing that’s frustrating to me that I hear about and when you think of charters and the sort of thing is that they don’t engage in the democratic process and they don’t listen to what families and what people want and they’re not accountable. And that has just not been my experience of reality because you’re looking at a system that when there were parental concerns about access for special education students and cases were being brought to bear, the system responded. The same can be said about common enrollment. When people were questioning enrollment practices in schools, they went to the common enrollment system.

People were concerned about information. They came out with a parents’ guide. When people were concerned about discipline and expulsions, they came out with a common expulsion system. And so when they were concerned about local control, all the schools went back to OPSB. And so again, there’s this way the system responded that I think people don’t… they can only think that social choice in the way that we express preferences can only happen at the voting booth. But it can happen in so many other ways. And I think that, and we access markets that way. We express choice every day by what we choose to do and buy and who we choose to associate with and these sorts of things. And so, I mean, these are all tenants of what we saw in the system and it responded in ways that are much quicker than you see in traditional districts that are pretty mired and actually incentivized to be pretty static.

And they aren’t, they don’t change and they’re not very dynamic. And so again, in seeing that in action and on the ground, again, I was on the board of a charter school and it was, well it felt like work, but very rewarding work. But the one thing that we hear a lot now is this common refrain of “charter schools steal money from traditional districts because they’re siphoning students and the money should stay with the school.” Well, one thing we experienced at my school was we went from enrollment of almost 600 students in a single year down to 450. And when you on a razor thin budget in the first place with 600 students and you go down by 150, if you’re not nimble and you can’t change what you’re doing on a dime, you’re not going to be able to meet your financial obligation.

And we were able to do that and we were engaged and we made it happen. And again, when people say that the charter system is a certain way and can’t respond, I saw it firsthand. And besides you can say that an RCT gives you this gold standard and the results are the results. But then people question external validity and then if you don’t have a gold standard, you do a quasi-experimental design. When people say, “Oh, well you’re not capturing truly parent motivation there because your matching can’t truly incorporate that.” And so no matter what you do, people can always question. But eventually as policymakers, as citizens, as advocates, as researchers or whatever, we have to be compelled by the evidence. The unfortunate part is people are often compelled by ideology.

And again, I consider myself a researcher first and foremost and the evidence is fairly compelling that choice and charters are doing a pretty darn good job for kids and creating access. And that’s what really sort of compelled me to make the switch is that if I can still do some of the research but also help amplify and educate as part of an advocate, that was important work can be and something that I was willing to sort of make that pivot. I’m passionate about what goes on. I’m also not blind to some of the failures of the system, but the unique thing about this system is that it truly is accountable. If schools aren’t doing well, they’re closed. If they can’t meet their financial obligations, they close. And we can talk about disruption to students all day long, but I would much rather a student experience a year of disruption than the change to a school that doesn’t serve them well just because we’re afraid to make those switches. So, at any rate, that’s kind of my spiel on that one.

Drew Catt: No, yeah, and you definitely saw some of the like that failing schools model policy, especially reflected in some of the earlier voucher programs. It’s kind of fascinating. And even the program that you’re probably most familiar with, the Louisiana Scholarship Program, where it allows students zoned to attend a C, D or F school to participate, given they meet the other requirements, etc.

Nate Barrett: Absolutely. Absolutely. And to the point of thinking through closures and accountability, thinking through New Orleans. I mean we did work, Doug Harris and Whitney Bross did work on looking at the impact of closures on New Orleans. And again, when we think about the overall impact, they were able to do calculations to estimate that certainly disruption is real and it does have effects, but students are fairly quick to recover that. And by closing schools, that actually accounted for almost a third of all the gains we saw. Just that closure mechanism by accounting for about a third of the gains that we were seeing in to performance overall.

Drew Catt: It’s kind of interesting tying it back to a few points of it’s important for schools to be adaptable, but it seems like it’s also important for students to be adaptable.

Nate Barrett: Absolutely. And yeah, well I think this essentially sort of gets at this and again we tend to idealize a lot of what we… “Oh. we can’t lose students, that’s too disruptive for them.” I’m like, but you’re trading off one assumption for another. That the disruption in and of itself is the problem, not the fact that they’re in a failing school. And so we tend to overlay ideology of what we think ought to be and sort of make these normative calculations in our head without really looking at what the evidence brings to bear. And again, the life’s all about these tradeoffs. We can’t have all these perfect things that, I mean sure we want every kid to have a great school right next door to them and we want them to be able to stay in that school.

And we want every school to look exactly like the city at large does and we want all of these other ideals. But at the end of the day, we can’t satisfy all of those constraints. And we have to understand that there’s tradeoff here and we have to be willing to make the tradeoffs for what’s best for kids in the long run. And the evidence is pretty clear here that even with some of the faults of the system, again it’s pretty self-correcting and I would argue that with every time that we see a bad article that comes about a charter leader that did this or did that, that’s not like that never happens in the public sector.

Drew Catt: Right.

Nate Barrett: But it’s so visible and so monitored in the charter system that these things, they tend to get discovered a lot more quickly. I mean, I can take New Orleans for example again. I mean this was a place where literally the FBI had an office in OPSB’s facility because they were under investigation so much. And this was pre the charter reform there.

Drew Catt: Wow.

Nate Barrett: So, I mean the fact that we lay on this accusation like, “Oh well charter schools are just more corrupt.” And I’m like, that is a huge assumption to suggest that there aren’t bad actors in the traditional public system either. So, I mean, again, people tend to use these anecdotes and these stories to sort of drive a narrative that is unfortunate because it’s servicing adults and their agendas rather than thinking through in totality what’s best for kids.

Drew Catt: Yeah, it’s amazing how everything that’s under the magnifying glass looks larger.

Nate Barrett: I think that’s a great way of putting it. A much more succinct way of putting it than I did.

Drew Catt: Yeah. So, speaking of phrasing, there’s a phrase that you said last time we were together that stuck with me and that’s “sacrificing good for perfect.” And I think you said it specifically when we were talking about centralized enrollment systems.

Nate Barrett: Right.

Drew Catt: Do you mind talking about your thoughts on centralized enrollment and kind of how you’ve gotten to where your thinking is about that?

Nate Barrett: Yeah. Yeah. So, so there’s a lot of ways you can engineer the centralized enrollment system to preference certain groups over others that again achieves other goals besides this sense of true access, right. So, I mean there are some things you absolutely want to do, like give sibling preference. I mean, we don’t want a parent to have to worry about two different schools that are 10 miles apart. Especially if they don’t have resources or if they have young kids and that sort of thing. So absolutely, we want to embed some sort of preferencing in there that services families and what they need and the experiences they have. But we really can go overboard and engineer too hard on these systems where then we start thinking about, oh well this student kept trying to get in this school and every year they lost the lottery. We should up their probability. Every time they lose we should give them a preferencing for the next year and so on and so forth.

And the issue with that is, is the more complexity you add, the more preferencing and those sorts of things you start to add is, is you create potentially a problem for gaining, right? And so, again, we tend to try to satisfy a lot of competing ideals here and we can always point to something that we would want to do a little bit better. And oh, we should pull this lever as well. But when you pull that lever, then you also have to worry that you stretched too far, you can’t pull this lever anymore. Then you have to worry about this and that.

And so again, that kind of brings me it’s always this sense of if you’re trying to design something, sometimes you have to just be happy with good. And make it better where you can but don’t scrap a whole system because of, again, one bad actor or one ideal that’s not being satisfied. Because I mean when we think about education in general, right? I mean we have a lot of different opinions at the end of the day of what we want K– 12 to do for our kids. And again, when you have the this many opinions about what the end results should be and what should look like, you’re going to have a lot of ideas about what schools ought to be doing and that affects policy.

Drew Catt: Yeah, most definitely. Speaking of not sacrificing the good for the perfect. I want to go back to what you were talking about the gold standard research. So, around here at EdChoice, we have the mission of universal choice programs. That’s always our goal. But however, if you have a universal program, you can’t have a lottery. So, you can’t have gold standard research.

Nate Barrett: Right.

Drew Catt: So, it’s always interesting like, oh we love the gold standard research and it’s great. But also our ideal program wouldn’t even allow for a lottery. How do you really balance that and what I’ve heard described as the “dark world of mixed methods research?”

Nate Barrett: Well, I mean, I guess you could say that that’s where I’ve spent all my career under a rock then because I mostly do quasi-experimental stuff. But even then, that’s leveraging the fact that it’s not universal. So, the issue when you do a full… So, this is, this happens all the time. I’ve been trying to get a paper out that looking at the tenure reform in Louisiana. And we only have Louisiana data. So, technically everybody’s treated, right. So, what do you do when everyone’s treated by a policy? You can do what we call an interrupted time series, right? You can say, OK, well this was the trend. You introduced this, this was the trend and in this case, the teacher attrition, right? You introduced the policy of eliminating tenure. What happens to teacher attrition?
Well, we don’t know if that is caused by the fact that you got rid of any change in teacher attrition is caused by the fact that you got rid of tenure, or that there were some other things going on in those years that also affected attrition. And so what we did there, we tried to be creative about thinking through who might respond more to the policy than others. Again, not everybody’s buying that because we’re having trouble getting the paper the land. But, you try to figure out ways that use the data creatively. And here it becomes to me about thinking through and not creatively in a way to be, not trying to suggest that this would be a nefarious or sort of intentions of sort of creating results. But sometimes you have to think about interesting ways to do comparative sampling and that sort of thing.

And so, but if you have a universal choice, I mean it seems to me, again, this gets back to the point I was making earlier, where sooner or later we have to make calls and we have to feel good about the calls we’re making because the evidence has driven us to this point. And sooner or later you have to kind of take that leap of faith. I mean, we’re never going to 100 percent know. And it’s so weird to me that we do this in our lives all the time, right? We get married, we have kids, we go to this school versus this school, we choose this career rather than this career. There’s no guarantees in any of that. But we feel really good about the decision we’re making based on the evidence that’s available. And the evidence is never going to be absolutely perfect.

We have to deal with imperfect information all the time. But thinking through how we get to that point and when we’re willing to say, “OK, this is pretty compelling. We need to make a choice here.” We can’t just stay on status quo. I think we’ve had status quo a really long time and last time I checked there’s still pretty significant achievement gaps across race, across income. The fed just came out today once the work on looking at college going across income and it was like a 50 percentage point difference between the top level and the bottom level. We’re not closing gaps and I think that’s an indictment of how we’ve been doing things. And so I mean those things are pretty clear indicators. And so when you can find these sort of good moments in policy where they’re driving change and we’re seeing results, I think we have to pursue them.

And again, we’re getting to this point where we’re so, whatever your politics are, we’re letting personalities drive how we feel about things and we’re letting personalities have power that we don’t even look at policies anymore. We look at the people supporting them and we either like that person or we don’t. And then we go whatever way that that goes. And rather than looking at what’s evident, right. And in school choice and charters and that sort of thing, they’ve largely garnered bipartisan support for a fairly decent amount of time, particularly charters. And it’s only been in the last couple of years where we all of a sudden see this huge difference. I mean to be blunt, that’s driven by personalities and how people feel about people in power. And whatever your politics are, I mean, you can’t deny that.

And we have to get around where we start, separating policies from people. And we just need to take the policies at face value and say, look, is this good? What does the research say here? I’m sorry, I probably shouldn’t say it but we’re letting teachers unions drive what we think without realizing they have a vested interest in what goes on in schools and it’s not just what’s happening with kids. They certainly pursue policies that are not sustainable financially. They certainly pursue policies that aren’t in the best interest of students when they tend to shorten days. There’s lots of stuff there, but again, I really feel like, we have to get to that point where we let the evidence be what it is and be compelled by it and make those calls because it’s never going to be perfect. Never.

Drew Catt: Yeah. The perception thing, especially the personification of policy is fascinating to me. Especially as someone, on your end, somebody that researched race to the top. I’m sure you weren’t necessarily thinking of the time that you were studying the program of who implemented it or whose idea it was necessarily, you were just looking at the program and the potential outcomes.

Nate Barrett: Yep. Yep. That’s precisely it. Yeah, I didn’t so, and it was, I do have to say this is as much a turbulence politically North Carolina has had. There had been some really instrumental people that you’ll never hear about that were really active in the policy process of embedding evaluation into everything. And North Carolina is a pretty shining example of that. Whenever they pass a policy, particularly in education, they attach an evaluation to it, which I think is incredibly important. And that was part of when they put the race to the top money. And I think that’s one of the things that helped them get the Race to the Top grant was that they embedded an evaluation into it. So I mean again, they’re holding themselves accountable and it’s not accountability in the sense of a lot of people assume accountability is just this overarching like got you type stuff.

But really it’s also, accountability is also about informing implementation, identifying opportunities. It’s not just about saying, especially in a charter sector right, about closing schools and saying you’re out. But it’s also, you give updates, you say, “OK, here’s your metrics, here’s your bars. How are you getting there, what aren’t you doing to achieve that?” And so embedding evaluations in these things is huge. And yeah, when we were, when I was doing the Race to the Top, I don’t think I ever once was really that concerned about who designed it, who was implementing it, I was more concerned about what’s going on here.

Drew Catt: Right. Right. So, accountability is something else I was wanting to circle back to. So, thanks for bringing that back up again.

Nate Barrett: Hey, no problem.

Drew Catt: Yeah. So around here we like to say that parental accountability at the end of the day in a student’s life is what is most important in terms of an educational environment being accountable to the parents. And that’s always fascinating to me because within, especially within a charter school, especially an oversubscribed charter school, that they can, they have a, what’s perceived as a waiting list or whatever. And it’s just really interesting to think about accountability to the authorizer versus accountability to the state versus accountability to the community. And a large part of the latter is the accountability to the parents.

Nate Barrett: Absolutely.

Drew Catt: So, what have your experiences been kind of working on the charter school board and now being with any NAPCS of accountability as relates to the charter sector?

Nate Barrett: Yeah, that’s a really great question. I’m glad you brought up all those stakeholders because I think this point that this idea of what education is as a good. And it’s not a private good and it’s not a public good. It’s kind of in this either, right? It’s not perfectly private, not perfectly public. There’s certainly extra analogies associated with it. If we’re thinking about it just truly in an economic sense, there would be under consumption, right? If we didn’t subsidize it in some way or make it compulsory as we do for K–12. And so when you have all of these people are affected right by what goes on inside of school. But we have to think about who’s accruing benefits the most and who should have the say, at what point should we be balancing out all of these different stakeholders and what they want.

And again, we get to this idea is parents and the students should be first in that equation, absolutely should be first. And I think again, this gets to this idea of if you have a poor product, a poor school, nobody’s going to want to go there. And now I do have, this is the tough part though for me. And so this is one of the things that I didn’t like about the sector of New Orleans, but also one that I don’t, in all honesty, I don’t know if I have a good solution for it. But having parent accountability by definition to have the market accountability, if you will, work effectively, you have to have a situation where you have enough supply to where demand will certainly exclude some of the suppliers because nobody wants to go to those schools. The trick is that that means that your funding schools that necessarily… or schools will be there that won’t be there next year because they only enrolled 10 kids.

So, you almost have to have a surplus of willing providers to be able to make the market mechanism work perfectly there. And that’s a tough thing to do in an education sector because there’s a lot of startup costs involved, there’s a lot of personnel that that needs it. And there’s question about what’s sort of an ideal inflection point of what we would consider, like you need to have at least 60 kids or you need to have at least 80 kids or something like that. And so that’s something I’ve always thought about in terms of thinking through this sort of market inertia, like what’s enough supply to where the market mechanism for parents works really well. But ultimately I think we need to be concerned about what parents are telling us. But we also need to be upfront about the fact that there are parents that are disengaged from this process and we need to advocate for kids whose parents aren’t advocating for them.

That’s just a real fact. And it sounds terrible to say, but it’s not, I wouldn’t say that it’s necessarily disinterest from parents. It’s not that parents don’t care, it’s that accessing choice requires a certain level of understanding of the system, a certain level of engagement. And I can use my own example here is when I was, when I got out of the army and I was ready to access school and I talked to my grandfather, he’s like, you got to do something. I was first-generation student. My mom, she didn’t know how to navigate any of this. And so I was really flying blind. And I think we have to go through some of the ways that we’re subsidizing kids not only in educational opportunities but in ability to access and navigate the system. And so New Orleans, again, I’m going to use New Orleans because it’s what I’m most familiar with.

Drew Catt: Of course.

Nate Barrett: But there’s EdNavigator there, where I think it’s a great program and they help students figure out what schools are right for them, how to navigate the one app system, all of these things that are important to accessing choice. And so, first and foremost I think we need to listen to what parents and kids are saying. Then from there we need to have this sort of performance accountability framework. Even if parents are choosing schools, we have to understand they may be choosing beyond just what is being provided academically.

Then we certainly have to be concerned about what’s happening academically. But that shouldn’t be the only concern. And I think accountability systems, I don’t know what this looks like, but in an ideal world, we would certainly want accountability systems that include more than just yearly achievement gains. What are we doing around student social emotional learning? What are we doing around long-term outcomes? I mean there’s a lot to be unpacked there that I don’t have answers for. But I would love to see accountability systems that one day could be more holistic.

Drew Catt: Yeah, it’s really interesting. The social emotional learning, or SEL, is kind of partially incorporated into ESSA. That’ll be fascinating to see a decade from now looking back, seeing what the implications or ramifications of all that where.

Nate Barrett: Absolutely. And so we did, I did a little bit of this right before I left Tulane, we looked at an application that’s called Kickboard. Basically it’s a PBIS system, a positive behavior intervention in sports. So, basically a Kickboard allows teachers to enter data in real time. And so the thing that fascinated me about this whole process and thinking through SEL was that you can actually base lessons on how to deal with certain things, right? I have a 3.5-year-old daughter, I do these things every day, right? OK, this happens, this is how you deal with these things and then, but you can also test these things, right? And you can, it’s just like learning a subject, like learning how to deal with adversity, learning how to deal with somebody that you disagree with. Learning how to just deal with human interaction, can be a learned behavior.

And this is sort of getting around building curriculum that incorporates these things. And certainly there’s ways to test it. That’s what sort of the PBIS systems are based around is that you’re constantly giving feedback on how these lessons are manifesting themselves in the students. And there’s some really interesting work going on. And we saw that through this program we saw a notable reduction in student discipline incidents. And naturally people will always say, oh, you can manufacture those numbers. It doesn’t mean the classes are more orderly or anything. It just means you’re disciplining kids less. And so we understood that that might be a concern. So, we actually looked at student performance, right? Because if you think, oh, OK, we’re just, classrooms are just more disorderly now we’re just not documenting, suspending kids or anything like that there that might have an effect on test scores then. And in the best case scenario and the best evidence, the best samples and the matching, we saw no change in test scores. And in some cases we saw slight increases.

Drew Catt: That’s fascinating. It’s kind of interesting to me how, and I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, having a child of my own, it’s about how to really teach the social emotional learning at an early age. And it’s kind of fascinating to think about the impact that fully understanding one’s emotions and having awareness of one’s emotions, let alone other people’s emotions and what they’re feeling and experiencing, can help you navigate those human interactions, can help you navigate the classroom environment.

Nate Barrett: Yeah. And that’s why I’m really excited about the work that’s being done here. Because I mean coming from, I’m your typical researcher that I haven’t always been the best at navigating human interactions. And so it’s thinking about not only how you’re influencing your environment, but understanding how your environment is influencing you and dealing with that interaction and finding that happy medium there where you wind up just coexisting in a nice way with your environment. And so it certainly is interesting. It’s definitely out of my realm of expertise. I can evaluate programs meant to affect it, but I have very limited knowledge on the actual nuance of it as probably my daughter’s behaviors sometimes would reflect.

Drew Catt: Yes. This has been an amazing conversation. Thank you so much, Nate.

Nate Barrett: Pleasure. I appreciate it.

Drew Catt: Yeah. Any last words, any forthcoming research you’d like to plug other than what we’ve already discussed?

Nate Barrett: Oh yeah. I have hopefully something soon. We’ll hear about some discipline work we have in a really good econ journal and fingers crossed it’ll come out and we release it as a working paper in Susanna Loeb series and it’s a really interesting paper. They give you high levels, it’s basically we were able to isolate fights between black students and white students and poor students and non-poor students to reasonably identify that these students were in fact fighting one another to try to really get at discipline disparities when kids are absolutely similarly situated. It’s really interesting research. I would encourage everybody to look it up. We have an older version on our area New Orleans website. It’s super interesting.

And then yeah, we’re getting our research agenda underway here at any NAPCS. We should be releasing a couple of white papers here soon about the way that we handle certain data elements and CCD data, which I think is helpful for the research community at large because it talks about how we identify charter schools because the charter indicator isn’t particularly great all the time. And then also about the NCSID consistency because they weren’t built around capturing charters, going to the new authorizer and that sort of thing. So what looks like sometimes the closing school isn’t really a closing school, which is a school that changed authorizer or something changed about them that is important to capture. So yeah, lots of good stuff coming down the line.

Drew Catt: Yeah, it sounds like that’ll be, as you said, great for the research community, which the improvements to the NAPCS dashboard have been so far as well.

Nate Barrett: Oh, thanks.

Drew Catt: So, that’s all amazing. Thank you so much.

Nate Barrett: All right. Thanks. Appreciate you.

Drew Catt: Yeah. And to our listeners, be sure to subscribe to our podcast on platforms like SoundCloud and Apple podcasts and others for more of our coverage of new school choice research, education reform policy chats, and more. Thank you for listening and we’ll see you back soon with more EdChoice Chats.

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