Category Archives: Education

Why and How Do Low-income Hispanic Families Search for Early Care and Education (ECE)?

Source: Julia L. Mendez, Danielle A. Crosby, National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families, Publication number: 2018-15, May 2018

From the introduction:
Child care assistance for low-income families is intended to reduce the cost of care for working parents, encourage children’s participation in high-quality child care arrangements, and increase stability in parents’ employment and children’s care arrangements. Children from low-income backgrounds who access high-quality early care and education (ECE) programs fare better on many developmental outcomes than children who do not. Common forms of child care assistance include federal subsidy programs, ECE programs such as Head Start/Early Head Start, and publicly funded universal pre-kindergarten programs.

Understanding how low-income families search for and locate ECE programs that meet their needs, and how they obtain assistance to pay for ECE, is a critically important issue for researchers and policymakers.
Historically, Hispanic families have underutilized government assistance programs aimed at serving families who experience poverty, reporting that they do not need them or do not have knowledge of the assistance available or eligibility requirements. Research has also found that Latino and other immigrant groups may not use federal assistance, due to a belief in helping their larger group (collectivist orientation), which could result in families foregoing support so that others may benefit, even when they themselves are eligible for assistance.

Because the Hispanic population is growing rapidly and often faces considerable economic need—and because ECE can play an important role in reducing racial/ethnic disparities in early learning and later school outcomes—it is important for the research and policy community to better understand how and why low-income Hispanic parents search for ECE. This study takes a closer look at low-income Hispanic parents’ reported reasons for conducting a search for an ECE provider or program for their young children.

This brief uses data from the 2012 National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE) to describe why low-income Hispanic parents with young children (birth to age 5) report searching for child care; comparison data for low-income non-Hispanic black and white parents are also reported. Prior research involving low-income families from various racial/ethnic backgrounds showed that parents report a variety of reasons for their ECE searches. There are also several important barriers to low-income families’ use of care, including lack of availability, low affordability, and poor alignment with parents’ work schedules. Understanding similar or shared concerns about ECE across U.S. racial and ethnic groups—along with differences across these groups—can guide outreach by programs and inform policy adjustments that might better serve diverse groups…..

The Plight of Teacher Salaries Is Traceable to a Few Key Developments

Source: Gary Burtless, Real Clear Markets, May 23, 2018

In recent months teachers in five states have struck for better pay or benefits. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the five states—Arizona, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and West Virginia—spend less than the national average on each pupil enrolled in public schools. They pay their teachers substantially less than the nationwide average salary, which in the 2015-2016 school year was $58,064. More importantly, teachers in all five states saw the purchasing power of their salaries shrink over the first six years of the economic recovery. In this they were hardly alone. Public school teachers in 39 states saw their real wages fall between 2009 and 2015. Teachers in Arizona, Oklahoma, and West Virginia suffered wage losses of 9 percent or more.

The plight of teachers is traceable to a couple of developments. The electoral success of conservatives has shifted political control in many statehouses to officeholders who are determined to hold down spending, including on the public schools. The economic recovery may have lifted state and local revenues in the great majority of states, but frugal lawmakers in many of them have kept public spending in check, sharply cutting state aid to local schools in the early years of the economic recovery….

School Spending Per Pupil Increased by 3.2 Percent, U.S. Census Bureau Reports

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Press Release, Release Number: CB18-TPS.28, May 21, 2018

The amount spent per pupil for public elementary-secondary education for all 50 states and the District of Columbia increased by 3.2 percent to $11,762 during the 2016 fiscal year, according to new tables released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The increase in spending in 2016 was due in part to the increase in revenue across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In 2016, public elementary-secondary education revenue, from all sources, amounted to $670.9 billion, up 4.6 percent from the prior year. This is the largest increase since 2007.

Other highlights include:
Of the 50 states, New York ($22,366), the District of Columbia ($19,159), Connecticut ($18,958), New Jersey ($18,402) and Vermont ($17,873) spent the most per pupil in 2016. California (9.8 percent), Washington (7.4 percent), Hawaii (7.0 percent), Utah (5.8 percent) and New York (5.5 percent) saw the largest percentage increases in current spending per pupil from 2015 to 2016. To see the top 10 school districts by current spending per pupil, see the graphic Top 10 Largest School Districts by Per Pupil Current Spending.

Within public school systems, Mississippi (14.6 percent), Arizona (13.8 percent), South Dakota (13.5 percent), New Mexico (13.5 percent) and Montana (12.4 percent) received the highest percentage of their revenues from the federal government, while public school systems in New Jersey (4.1 percent), Connecticut (4.2 percent), Massachusetts (4.4 percent), New York (5.1 percent) and Minnesota (5.3 percent) received the lowest.

Schools See Steep Drop in Librarians, New Analysis Finds

Source: Sarah D. Sparks and Alex Harwin, Education Week, May 16, 2018 | Corrected: May 17, 2018

American schools—particularly those serving black and Latino students—have seen a precipitous drop in their school librarians since the Great Recession.

The nation’s public school districts have lost 20 percent of their librarians and media specialists since 2000, from more than 54,000 to less than 44,000 in 2015, according to an Education Week Research Center analysis of federal data. Many districts lost librarians even as student populations grew by 7 percent nationwide. For example, over the past decade in Denver public schools, student enrollment increased by 25 percent, but the number of librarians decreased by 60 percent. ….

…. The evidence is building that the loss of school librarians could put schools at a disadvantage academically. For example, two studies of national and Colorado-specific data suggested that losing a school librarian was associated with lower 4th grade reading scores while gaining one was associated with higher scores. A meta-analysis of 34 statewide studies also suggested that schools with high-quality library programs had higher reading test scores and, for high schools, graduation rates. ….

A growing Jeffco program trains future early childhood workers while they’re still in high school

Source: Ann Schimke, Chalkbeat, May 18, 2018

….The internship, which ended in early May, is one component of a new early childhood career pathway offered at the high school. The year-long program also includes two early childhood classes and leads to an entry-level certificate from Red Rocks Community College that qualifies students to be assistant preschool or child care teachers.

Salazar — and students in similar concurrent enrollment programs around Colorado — represents one segment of the child care field’s next generation. With their professional lives just beginning, the students are laying the foundation to earn further credentials and become the lead preschool teachers and directors of the future. It’s a vision straight out of the state’s three-year plan to build a strong early childhood workforce. But in a field known for low pay and high turnover, keeping these students in the pipeline is no small task…..

Related:
Colorado’s Early Childhood Workforce 2020 Plan
Source: Colorado Department of Education, Early Childhood Leadership Commission (ECLC), June 2017

At the Wage Floor: Covering Homecare and Early Care and Education Workers in the New Generation of Minimum Wage Laws

Source: Sarah Thomason, Lea Austin, Annette Bernhardt, Laura Dresser, Ken Jacobs and Marcy Whitebook, Center for Labor Research and Education (UC Berkeley), Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (UC Berkeley), and COWS (UW-Madison), May 2018

From the introduction:
In November 2012, fast-food workers in New York went on strike and the Fight for $15 was born. Over the last five years, the movement has lifted wages for more than 17 million workers across the nation by fighting for and winning numerous minimum wage policies (National Employment Law Project 2016).

Substantial minimum wage increases are underway in California, New York, Oregon, and more than 30 cities and counties around the country. In states and cities covered by them, these new minimum wages will increase earnings for 25 to 40 percent of workers (Reich, Allegretto, and Montialoux 2017; Reich et al. 2016). After four decades of wage stagnation and rising inequality, the movement has delivered real, much needed, and meaningful progress in a remarkably short period of time.

Fast food has been iconic in the discussions of the minimum wage, from the influential mid-1990s research that found no negative employment impact of wage increases in the industry, to the fast-food workers who have walked out on strike in cities across the country in recent years (Card and Kruger 1995). But of course the reach of these wage increases extends well beyond fast food to underpaid workers in multiple industries. The dynamics of minimum wage increases vary across industries based on each industry’s specific structure.

Nowhere are the distinct dynamics more pronounced and challenging than for those employed in human services industries. This paper focuses on an important subset of these workers: those who provide homecare and early care and education services to the very young, people with disabilities, and those who are frail due to age or illness. We explain the pressing need to raise these workers’ wages and the unique structure of their industries that results in a funding squeeze for wage increases—at the root of this is the fact that most families are unable to afford all of the homecare and child care they need, never mind pay enough to ensure that workers earn a living wage, and public human services are chronically underfunded.

These workers provide a critical (but too often unrecognized) public good; as such, we argue that a significant public investment is a necessary part of the solution, both to deliver minimum wage increases to these workers and to cover the significant unmet need for care. We provide background about the shared and divergent challenges in the homecare and early care and education industries, as well as review emerging policy initiatives to fund wage increases for homecare and early care and education workers and identify principles for public policy going forward.

Behind the teacher strikes that have roiled five states – Why non-union states have seen the most unrest

Source: The Economist, May 5, 2018

From a block away, the striking teachers camped out around Arizona’s capitol at first looked like a solid sea of red, the colour of their T-shirts and tents. On closer inspection, they distinguished themselves the way the teachers have always distinguished their classrooms—with handmade signs. Leah Falcon (“Arizona exports: Cotton, copper, teachers”), who teaches middle-school maths, said she was “fighting because my kids deserve better than 34 students in a class.” Megan Marohn (“Arizona Spending per Student: $9,000. Per Inmate: $24,000”) is a classroom aide and lifelong Republican who frets that Arizona’s Republican legislature and governor “put the value of corporations above students”. Jay Bertelsen (“Christian Non-Union Conservative Teacher Fighting for Funding”) has taught computer science outside Tucson for 25 years; his children qualify for Arizona’s state-subsidised health care for poor families.

Grievances such as these have motivated teacher strikes in five states. They look likely to continue—galvanising public-sector workers in states where Democrats hope to make gains in this autumn’s midterm elections. ….

Millionaires Average Annual Tax Cut in North Carolina Is Comparable to Average Teacher’s Salary

Source: Meg Wiehe, Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, Press Release, May 11, 2018

….The misplaced priorities are evident: The recent tax cuts will provide the state’s millionaires with an average annual tax cut of more than $45,000, which is nearly as much as the average teacher’s annual salary of about $50,000…..

Time Demands of Single Mother College Students and the Role of Child Care in their Postsecondary Success

Source: Lindsey Reichlin Cruse, Barbara Gault, Jooyeoun Suh, Mary Ann DeMario, Institute for Women’s Policy Research, IWPR C468, May 2018

From the summary:
Single mothers enrolled in postsecondary education face substantial time demands that make persistence and graduation difficult. Just 28 percent of single mothers graduate with a degree or certificate within 6 years of enrollment and another 55 percent leave school before earning a college credential (IWPR 2017a). The combination of raising a family on their own, going to class, completing coursework, and holding a job can place serious constraints on single mothers’ time that can force them to make hard choices about their pursuit of higher education. Expanded supports for single mothers in college would allow more women to consider and complete college degrees and enjoy economically secure futures.

The Real Reason Behind Recent Teacher Strikes — And Why They’re Likely to Continue

Source: Katherine Barrett & Richard Greene, Governing, May 10, 2018

It’s about much more than low salaries.

…. In 26 states, average teacher salaries, adjusted for inflation, were less in 2016 than they were at the end of the 20th century, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Two years ago, an Economic Policy Institute (EPI) report documented the dive in weekly wages for teachers compared to other workers with comparable education requirements. In 2015, an average teacher made 17 percent less than comparable workers in salary. Back in 1994, the salary gap was 1.8 percent. ….

…. Teachers in Oklahoma still worry about the dangers to student education of going to a four-day school week in some districts. In Kentucky, there’s been no money for teacher professional development, extended school services have been cut and schools haven’t been able to spend money on textbooks.
Arizona school districts will still struggle to fund all the needs that have piled up. Years of cuts have, for example, left the school transportation budget severely underfunded. ….

Related:
Where Teacher Salaries Most Lag Behind Private Sector
Source: Mike Maciag, Governing, April 30, 2018

States where teachers are protesting have among the largest pay discrepancies when compared with similarly educated private-sector workers.