Category Archives: Education

2007 Work Force Training: Expanding Companies Come To Depend on State Work Force Training Programs

Source: Expansion Management

Each state offers work force training programs, but each state is different. Eligibility rules vary, as do cost per employee, funding restrictions and wage requirements. Some states offer work force training programs free to qualified companies, while other states award grants to companies to cover the cost of training. Most states take full advantage of their community college systems, which are an ideal place to conduct work force training because that is, in essence, their mission.


Chart: State Work Force Training Programs (PDF; 390 KB)

The Pangloss Index: How States Game the No Child Left Behind Act

Source: Education Sector

Less than 40 percent of Birmingham students graduate from high school on time, according to Education Week. Test scores still lag the rest of the state; there are still large achievement gaps between black and white children; and the student body and budget continue to shrink every year. For the students who remain, most of whom are black and poor, “the promised land of racial justice” described by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from the Birmingham jail must seem very far away.

But you wouldn’t know it by asking the Alabama Department of Education. It says everything is fine, that Birmingham City Schools made “adequate yearly progress” last year under the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). And only five of the district’s 65 schools are “in need of improvement.” The serious consequences and strong interventions that NCLB’s authors envisioned for chronically underperforming districts like Birmingham are nowhere to be found.

The reason is simple: While NCLB was designed to raise achievement standards every year until 2014, when 100 percent of students are required to be “proficient,” the Alabama Department of Education has lowered standards annually, to the point where even abjectly failing districts like Birmingham make the grade. And it’s not alone–every one of the accountability-avoidance gambits used in Alabama has been adopted in many other states. Indeed, the most noteworthy thing about Alabama’s elaborate plan to avoid NCLB accountability, and the impact of those actions on Birmingham, is how mundane they really are. Similar stories could be written about states and districts across the nation.

Collectively, these states and districts provide a case study in how determined states can undermine even tightly constructed laws like NCLB. And, as importantly, they provide a cautionary tale for members of Congress working to write the next version of the nation’s most important education law.

Full Report (PDF; 232 KB)

President’s Budget to Cut Education Spending: New Interactive Map Shows How Much Each State Stands to Lose

Source: Center for American Progress, Press Release, October 15, 2007

The Senate continues the budget battle this week with the consideration of the Labor, Health, and Human Services Appropriations bill, which sets levels for education spending, as well as other key domestic programs. President Bush has already stated he plans to veto the bill because it provides $64.9 billion for the Education Department. Bush’s proposed budget appropriates only $61 billion–$3.9 billion less than Congress’ budget and $1.3 billion less than the Education Department received last year. The Bush administration, in the same year that it is spending $50 billion each month on operations in Iraq, plans on vetoing a bill because it increases funding for American schools by $2.6 billion, among other domestic budget increases. What’s even more surprising is that Education Secretary Margaret Spellings actually announced back in February that Bush’s newly proposed budget would increase education funding by 41 percent relative to 2001. A look at the president’s budget tells a different story. As this new interactive map shows, 44 out of 50 states would see reductions in federal funding for elementary and secondary education for fiscal year 2008 if the Bush administration got its way. Rather than bold increases, states on average will see a -1.4 percent decrease in elementary and secondary school funding.

Wanted: Smart Money for Tomorrow’s Preschools: NIEER Report Outlines Ways States Can Start to Finance New Facilities

Source: National Institute for Early Education Research, Preschool Matters, Volume 5, No. 4, August/September 2007
(page 10)

Necessity has fueled growth in out-of-home care for young children as workforce participation by both parents grew. As research on programs for children in their preschool years turned up long-term benefits for them and societies that invest in them, something else began fueling the growth– the push for education. That boosted demand for facilities designed to provide rich learning environments. There’s a problem, though. Publicly funded preschool education is growing faster than the development of facilities best suited to providing it. A new joint policy brief from NIEER and the non-profit Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) examines the issues involved in building early childhood facilities and spells out ways public policy can serve as a catalyst for new facilities and help cushion the financial blow for providers.
See also:
Community Investment Collaborative for Kids

Report: Pre-K Momentum Climbs to an All-Time High

Source: Jennifer V. Doctors, Pre-K Now, September 2007

From the press release:
A record-breaking 36 states increased funding for pre-kindergarten according to a report released today by Pre-K Now. “Votes Count: Legislative Action on Pre-K Fiscal Year 2008,” an annual state-by-state analysis of legislative support for pre-k, shows historic momentum for funding early education across the country, with 528 million new dollars committed to providing at least 88,000 more children access to pre-k. The number of states increasing pre-k funding breaks last year’s record of 34, and far exceeds the FY05 record of 15.
Individual state data

Charter Schools and Collective Bargaining: Compatible Marriage or Illegitimate Relationship?

Source: Martin H. Malin and Charles Kerchner, Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Vol. 30 no. 3, Summer 2007

From the abstract:
The rapid increase in charter schools has been fueled by the view that traditional public schools have failed because of their monopoly on public education. Charter schools, freed from the bureaucratic regulation that dominates traditional public schools, are viewed as agents of change that will shock traditional public schools out of their complacency. Among the features of the failed status quo are teacher tenure, uniform salary grids and strict work rules, matters that teacher unions hold dear. Yet unions have begun organizing teachers in charter schools. This development prompts the question whether unionization and charter schools are compatible.

States Venture Into Teacher Performance Pay

Source: Pauline Vu,, October 09, 2007

The controversial idea of paying teachers based not on how long they’ve been teaching but on how much their students learn got a boost when a key congressman recently proposed adding pay-for-performance money for teachers in high-poverty schools to the next version of the federal No Child Left Behind education law.

Email Archiving Requirements for Schools and Local Governments

Source: Roger Matus, Sean True, and Chuck Ingold, InBoxer, Inc., 2007

Public schools and local governments may have more stringent requirements than most businesses for email archiving and electronic discovery. Yet, with their limited budgets, schools and local governments are often the least equipped to respond.

The newly revised Federal Rules of Civil Procedure define how email must be handled in federal court cases. Businesses tend to think that the FRCP focus is on interstate lawsuits. Schools and governments, however, also need to be concerned with emails relating to federally funded activities or any activity governed by federal legislation.

In addition, schools and local governments have the burden of responding to (1) requests under open meeting and Freedom of Information Act laws, (2) offensive emails or those with sexual content involving students, and (3) emailed threats.

The 39th Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll Of the Public’s Attitudes Toward The Public Schools

Source: Lowell C. Rose and Alec M. Gallup, September 2007

The 39th poll comes at a time when K-12 schooling is near the top of the agenda in state and national policy discussions, and efforts to improve student achievement dominate those discussions. Chief among the improvement efforts is No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the sweeping federal initiative. Given the importance of this law and the fact that the poll was founded on the belief that public support is a vital component of shaping effective education policy, it is appropriate to open this report with the public’s reaction to NCLB and its principal strategy, standardized testing.

As it has grown in importance, the PDK/Gallup Poll has fueled debate regarding K-12 schooling, and charges of bias are routine. With that in mind, we have gradually reshaped the poll report to make it user-friendly and to draw the reader into the analysis of the data. We report the data, state what we believe they say, and leave it to the reader to reach his or her own conclusions.

In this year’s report, the statements following a table and designated as “Findings” are in the nature of summaries that we believe offer a fair interpretation of the data. Statements designated as “Conclusions” are highlighted because we think they capture the most significant of the poll results. These are offered as topics for debate. In the end, our aim is to let the data speak for themselves.

The PDK/Gallup polls provide a snapshot of the public’s assessment of its schools and the challenges they face, as well as a measure of what the public will and will not support in terms of program initiatives. Such information can be invaluable in the ongoing policy debates regarding our public schools. However, that information will not be remotely useful unless school leaders consider the implications of the public’s views for the operation of the schools. School leaders can bring to bear on school policy the common sense and practical wisdom that were missing from the creation of No Child Left Behind. Here, we offer seven implications of the 2007 PDK/Gallup Poll.