J. Jacob Kirksey, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership Policy

College of Education, Texas Tech University


Associate Director of K-12 Research

Center for Innovative Research in Change, Leadership, and Education (CIRCLE)





Same-Race Student–Teacher: Comparing Outcomes for Kindergartners With and Without Disabilities

Although numerous studies have examined if students of color benefit from having a teacher of the same race/ethnicity, all attention has been paid to students without disabilities. We examine whether the same benefits hold for students with disabilities (SWDs). Using a nationally representative data set of kindergartners, we explored whether SWDs of color had different academic and social–emotional outcomes when with a teacher of the same race/ethnicity. 

Academic Harms of Missing High School and the Accuracy of Current Policy Thresholds: Analysis of Preregistered Administrative Data From a California School District

Currently, the state of California has dedicated much focus to reducing absenteeism in schools through the In School + On Track initiative, which revitalizes efforts made to keep accurate and informative attendance data. Additionally, absenteeism has been integrated into California’s Local Control and Accountability Plan to monitor district performance and improvement. Given the heightened policy concern surrounding absenteeism and truancy, this study seeks to improve researchers’ understanding of the impacts of missing school for high school students. 

Absent From School

Contributor, chapter “Schools as Sanctuaries; Examining the Relationship Between Immigration Enforcement and Absenteeism Rates for Immigrant-Origin Children”.

Educational Policy Goes to School

Contributor, chapter “Conceptualizing the Intricacies that are Concomitant in Educational Policymaking that Determines Success, Backfire, and Everything in Between”.

Familiar Faces: Can Having Similar Classmates from Last Year Link to Better School Attendance This Year?

This study uses district data to explore whether the percentage of familiar faces is associated with absence outcomes for students. The findings suggest that having familiar faces from the previous school year was linked to lower numbers of unexcused absences and lower odds of chronic absenteeism.

Self Discipline and Catholic School

Over the years, Catholic schools have been particularly committed to the formation of sound character, including the acquisition of self-discipline. But how well has that worked? We wanted to know whether students in Catholic school actually exhibit more self-discipline than their peers—and if so, what those schools can teach other public and private schools about how it can be fostered.

General Education Teachers’ Math Instructional Practices In Kindergarten Classrooms With And Without Students With Emotional And Behavioral Disabilities

Including students with disabilities in general education, classrooms is a priority nationwide, but little is known whether classroom compositions have implications for frequencies of classroom activities. This study focuses on kindergarten classrooms that do and do not have students with emotional and behavioral disabilities (EBDs).

“When” Students Miss School: The Role of Timing of Absenteeism on Students’ Test Performance

Policy and practice have charged forward with emphasizing the necessity to reduce school absenteeism in the fall (i.e., Attendance Awareness Month). However, no empirical basis served to bolster these efforts. This study examined whether fall versus spring absenteeism was linked to spring state exam scores for a sample of elementary students over 3 years.

Does The Presence Of A Classmate With Emotional/Behavioral Disabilities Link To Other Students’ Absences In Kindergarten?

In recent decades, there has been a policy push for including students with disabilities in general education classrooms. Little is known, however, on the effects that this classroom compositional change may have on other students. This study focuses on the increased presence of classmates with emotional/behavioral disabilities (EBDs), as these children often exhibit behavioral disruptions.

Highlighted Article

Deportations Near the Schoolyard: Examining Immigration Enforcement and Racial/Ethnic Gaps in Educational Outcomes

With increased tensions and political rhetoric surrounding immigration enforcement in the United States, schools are facing greater challenges in ensuring support for their students of immigrant and Latino/a origin. This study examined the associations between deportations near school districts and racial/ethnic gaps in educational outcomes in school districts across the country. With data from the Stanford Educational Data Archive, the Civil Rights Data Collection, and the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, this study used longitudinal, cross-sectional analyses and found that in the years when districts had more deportations occurring within 25 miles, White-Latino/a gaps were larger in math achievement and rates of chronic absenteeism. No associations were found for gaps in English language arts achievement or rates of bullying. Implications for researchers, policymakers, and school leaders are discussed.





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