Category Archives: Education

The Academic Law Library in the Age of Affiliations: A Case Study of the University of New Hampshire Law Library

Source: Nicholas Mignanelli, Law Library Journal, Vol. 109, No. 2, 2017

From the abstract:
Difficult financial times have forced law schools to look for ways to restructure. One promising opportunity, especially for independent law schools, is affiliating with another law school or a university. How does this change impact the law library? This study of the University of New Hampshire Law Library seeks to provide a partial answer.

America’s Growing ‘Guard Labor’ Force

Source: Richard Florida, City Lab, March 13, 2018

Many large urban areas in the U.S. now have more “guard labor” than teachers. ….

…. Our definition of guard labor is narrower than that of Bowles and Jayadev, limited to what they call “protective guard labor”—that is, police officers and detectives, prison guards, private security guards, transportation security screeners, and other protective service workers. Our definition of teachers includes pre-school, elementary, middle-school, and high-school teachers, as well as special-education teachers.

For each metro, we looked at the change in guard labor over time, the number of guards per 10,000 people, the location quotient for guard labor, and—most importantly for our purposes—the ratio of guards to teachers. ….

The Lessons of West Virginia

Source: Eric Blanc, Jacobin, March 9, 2018

West Virginia’s historic wildcat strike has the potential to change everything. ….

…. The Great West Virginia Wildcat is the single most important labor victory in the US since at least the early 1970s. Though the 1997 UPS strike and the 2012 Chicago teachers’ strike also captured the country’s attention, there’s something different about West Virginia. This strike was statewide, it was illegal, it went wildcat, and it seems to be spreading. ….

Occupational Licensing Database

Source: National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor, the National Governor’s Association and the Council of State Governments, 2018

Occupational licensing is a regulatory method that requires individuals to secure a license from government in order to practice a certain trade or profession. Currently, 1-in-4 occupations in the U.S. currently require a license and most licensure requirements vary drastically from state to state.

NCSL, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor, the National Governor’s Association and the Council of State Governments, is working to research occupational licensing to help states identify best practices and solutions to their licensing issues, including to help decrease barriers to labor market entry and to increase the portability of licenses across state lines. This database contains legislation from all 50 states covering 34 distinct occupations that have been identified based on the following criteria:
– Each must be licensed in at least 30 states.
– Each much require less than a bachelor’s degree in most states.
– The projected employment growth rate for the occupation must be at or higher than the national average. – Each occupation must currently have employment levels of 10,000 or more.

The database also contains legislation on occupational licensure laws more generally and includes legislation impacting the following four population groups that have been identified as being disproportiantely impacted by licensure-related barriers to labor market entry:
– Skilled immigrants.
– Individuals with criminal records.
– Active duty military, veterans and their spouses.
– Unemployed and dislocated workers.

Growing online education is credit positive for US higher education

Source: Pranav Sharma, Edith Behr, Susan I Fitzgerald, Kendra M. Smith, Moody’s, Sector In-Depth, February 12, 2018
(subscription required)

Development of a successful online program is costly, but universities without an online strategy risk losing students who expect an online curriculum to be a part of their learning experience. 

The Macroeconomic Effects of Student Debt Cancellation

Source: Scott Fullwiler, Stephanie Kelton, Catherine Ruetschlin, and Marshall Steinbaum, Levy Economics Institute of Bard College, February 2018

From the summary:
Among the more ambitious policies that have been proposed to address the problem of escalating student loan debt are various forms of debt cancellation. In this report, Scott Fullwiler, Research Associate Stephanie Kelton, Catherine Ruetschlin, and Marshall Steinbaum examine the likely macroeconomic impacts of a one-time, federally funded cancellation of all outstanding student debt.

The report analyzes households’ mounting reliance on debt to finance higher education, including the distributive implications of student debt and debt cancellation; describes the financial mechanics required to carry out the cancellation of debt held by the Department of Education (which makes up the vast majority of student loans outstanding) as well as privately owned student debt; and uses two macroeconometric models to provide a plausible range for the likely impacts of student debt cancellation on key economic variables over a 10-year horizon.

The authors find that cancellation would have a meaningful stimulus effect, characterized by greater economic activity as measured by GDP and employment, with only moderate effects on the federal budget deficit, interest rates, and inflation (while state budgets improve). These results suggest that policies like student debt cancellation can be a viable part of a needed reorientation of US higher education policy.

What’s the matter with Oklahoma?

Source: The Economist, January 30, 2018

Low teacher pay and severe budget cuts are driving schools to the brink. ….

Forty miles from Tulsa, sometimes along unpaved roads, sits Wagoner High School, with its 650 pupils, championship-calibre football team and show barn—a seemingly ordinary small-town school. But unlike most high schools, Wagoner is closed on Mondays. The reason, a severe reduction in state funds, has pushed 90 other school districts in Oklahoma to do the same. Teacher pay is the third-lowest in the country and has triggered a statewide shortage, as teachers flee to neighbouring states like Arkansas and Texas or to private schools. “Most of our teachers work second jobs,” says Darlene Adair, Wagoner’s principal. “A lot of them work at Walmart on nights and weekends, or in local restaurants.” Ms Adair hopes that Walmart does not offer her teachers a full-time job, which would be a pay rise for many.

The roots of the fiasco are not hard to determine. As in Oklahoma’s northern neighbour, Kansas, deep tax cuts have wrecked the state’s finances. During the shale boom, lawmakers gave a sweetheart deal to its oilmen, costing $470m in a single year, by slashing the gross production tax on horizontal drilling from 7% to 1%. North Dakota, by contrast, taxes production at 11.5%. The crash in global oil prices in 2014 did not help state coffers either. Oklahoma has also cut income taxes, first under Democrats desperate to maintain control over a state that was trending Republican, and then under Republicans, who swept to power anyway. Mary Fallin, the Republican governor, came to office pledging to eliminate the income tax altogether. Since 2008 general state funds for K-12 education in Oklahoma have been slashed by 28.2%—the biggest cut in the country. Property taxes, which might have made up the difference, are constitutionally limited….

….No fact embarrasses Oklahomans more, or repels prospective businesses more, than the number of cash-strapped districts that have gone to four-day weeks……

Measuring Up: How BLS Data Would Inflate Earnings for Career Training Graduates

Source: Ben Barrett and Sophie Nguyen, New American Foundation, February 2018

From the summary:
On January 29, the U.S. Department of Education released a blueprint for how it plans to revise the gainful employment (GE) regulations, which the Obama administration put in place in 2014. Most notably, the Department’s proposed rule would eliminate all sanctions for career-oriented programs that leave students with large debt but without the training to land a well-paying job after graduation. Preserving only a modified version of the current disclosure requirements, the regulations could be further weakened if for-profit colleges get their way during the second round of negotiations. Instead of disclosing or holding career-oriented college programs accountable for the amount of debt that graduates borrow relative to the amount they earn a few years after completing, as the current rules do, for-profit college leaders and lobbyists have called for substituting actual students’ earnings with local estimates derived from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). While the Department’s proposal to strike any consequence from the GE regulations may seem brazen in comparison, attempting to use BLS data in place of actual graduates’ earnings would have nearly the same impact as no accountability at all. Unfortunately, using BLS estimates instead of real earnings data would not only tell prospective students very little about the quality of the program that they are considering, it will actively mislead them. More troubling still, this approach would prevent the government from holding individual colleges accountable. 

To illustrate just how misleading it would be to use BLS data for the purpose of measuring program outcomes, we compared national and local BLS earnings with actual earnings from graduates of specific career-training programs. We found that, on average, the median annual earnings for graduates of all programs subject to the gainful employment regulations were $27,494. But if local BLS estimates were used instead, the median annual earnings would rise to an average of $49,341—an increase of $21,847, or nearly 80 percent…..