Source: National Education Association
Despite the value of education to Americans, the National Education Association published figures today showing that investments in America’s public schools remain stagnant, as the average increase in teacher salary continues to trail behind the rate of inflation for 2005-06. No state has achieved adequate and equitable funding despite years of court cases and education reform proposals.
According to NEA’s publication, Rankings and Estimates: Rankings of the States 2006 and Estimates of School Statistics 2007, the average one-year increase in public schoolteacher salaries was 2.9 percent, while inflation escalated 3.9 percent. Over the past 10 years, the average salary for public schoolteachers increased only 1.3 percent after adjusting for inflation. Because of inflation and other economic factors, teachers have not been able to keep pace with basic household expenses.
Full report (PDF; 1.4 MB)
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)
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)
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.
Source: National Institute for Early Education Research, Preschool Matters, Volume 5, No. 4, August/September 2007
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.
Community Investment Collaborative for Kids
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
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.
Source: Christine Vestal, Stateline.org, October 05, 2007
Maryland, California, Virginia and other states are recruiting retirees to work in public schools as volunteers and salaried employees, offering boomers what they say they want — meaningful second careers.
Source: Pauline Vu, Stateline.org, 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.
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.