The transcript from January 7th, 2004's excellent, critical analysis of "The Houston Education Miracle" (should be called "The Houston Education Scandal") by CBS "60 Minutes II" is available free on-line at the URL below - this is excellent reading if you're interested in the bogus statistics the Bush Administration has used to back up its approach to "reforming" education nationwide:
Educational Testing Service released a report in October that explored the reasons for the ethnic "achievement gap"; basically a compilation of results from many different studies, it provides a detailed look at the many factors beyond the control of the public schools that affect the performance of the children attending them. Here's the blurb from the ETS web site, and a link to the study itself (available for download in PDF format). More research reports (keep in mind the source - they have a vested interest in standardized testing) are available at their Policy Information Center home page.
Parsing the Achievement Gap: Baselines for Tracking Progress, by Paul E. Barton, October 2003, $15.00. The study presents the links between student achievement and core factors often related to studentsí racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic status.
The RAND corporation is a public policy think tank located in Santa Monica. One of it's research area focuses is education. Note: RAND historically has done a lot of work for the U.S. military (and still does); whether this affects the nature and focus of their work in other areas is one factor to take into consideration when evaluating the materials they make available (which are generally free to download, and viewable via PDF).
Here's a blurb from the education section of their web site:
RAND researchers have policy and hands-on experience in education and training. Studies focus on a range of topics, including K-12 assessment and accountability, school reform evaluation, teachers and teaching, challenges in higher education, military education and training, arts education, worker training, and the effectiveness of substance-abuse prevention programs in the school.