Category Archives: Education

State-Federal Partnerships in Postsecondary Education

Source: Education Commission of the States, 2016

The responsibility for providing a high-quality, cohesive postsecondary education is split between different levels of government. Both the federal government and state governments have distinct roles in higher education. Policymakers need to marry federal and state higher education policies to provide a cohesive policy playbook that supports student success and moves the nation toward meeting aggressive attainment goals.

Education Commission of the States coordinated the creation and dissemination of a series of policy briefs focused on the interaction between state- and federal-level policies pertaining to higher education. These issue briefs are composed by a diverse collection of notable educational policy and thought leaders representing state and federal perspectives from both a public and private sector viewpoint. Topics include, but are not limited to, financial aid, data policies, the “triad” and workforce needs.

Wiping the Slate Clean: A new federalism for the 21st century student
Authors: Dr. James L. Applegate, Executive Director, Illinois Board of Higher Education and Mary Fulton, Senior Policy Analyst, Education Commission of the States.
This brief outlines the current structure of federal and state higher education policies and funding that emerged consequently. Included in the brief are policy and practice changes that address meeting college attainment goals and ensuring affordability for low and middle income students.

Leveraging Community Colleges in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act: A blueprint for state policymakers
Authors: Colleen Campbell, Senior Policy Analyst, Association of Community College Trustees and Ivy Love, Policy Analyst, Association of Community College Trustees.
This brief looks at how to increase coordination between institutions and regional workforce needs, specifically how states can capitalize on federal investments to improve this alignment.

Rethinking the Federal-State Partnership for Free Community College: Early indicators from Oregon
Authors: Ben Cannon, Executive Director, Higher Education Coordinating Commission and Jennifer Joyalle, Doctoral Student, Portland State University.
This brief details aspects of the Oregon Promise Program including funding, program limitations, examine costs and opportunities associated with a more intentional state/federal partnership.

Rowing Together: Aligning state and federal investments in talent to common outcomes
Authors: Kristin D. Conklin, Partner, HCM, Martha Snyder, Director, HCM, Jeff Stanley, Chief of Staff, HCM and Scott Boelscher, Senior-Level Associate, HCM.
Thirteen states have outcomes-based funding policies that work to align sought-after outcomes with state funding. This brief argues that it is desirable to align federal financial aid policies with metrics in state outcomes-based funding policies.

Fixing Affordability: An approach for advancing federalism in the modern era
Author: Michelle Asha Cooper, President, Institute for Higher Education Policy.
There is a constant push and pull between state and the federal governments to find the right balance of federalism. By applying this “push-pull” framework to higher education, this brief looks at past policy interventions and how this framework can help to understand the free college movement.

Better Together? State and Federal Funding for Student Financial Aid
Authors: William R. Doyle, Associate Professor of Higher Education, Vanderbilt University and Sarah Pingel, Senior Policy Analyst, Education Commission of the States.
This brief focuses on three aspects of state financial aid: (1) how states use financial aid programs to make college more affordable; (2) how federalist solutions can assist state-only efforts to make college more affordable; and (3) how federal funds can help to level out state volatility in tighter economic times.

Enhancing State Authorization: The need for action by states as stewards of higher education performance
Authors: Thomas Harnisch, Director of State Relations and Policy Analysis, American Association of State Colleges and Universities, Barmak Nassirian, Director of Federal Relations and Policy Analysis, American Association of State Colleges and Universities, Amber Saddler, Policy Assistant, EducationCounsel LLC and Art Coleman, Managing Partner and Co-founder, EducationCounsel LLC.
This brief examines the “triad” of state governments, the federal government and accrediting agencies and, by shining light on the unique role that state governments play in this partnership, the authors propose reforms that will strengthen the role of state governments, without neglecting the two other legs of the higher education stool.

Role Clarity: The interplay of entities funding higher education
Author: Dr. Christopher M. Mullin, Executive Vice Chancellor, Florida College System.
This brief outlines the appropriate interplay between federal, state and institutional actions to ensure a coordinated higher education system including four options for future action: (1) a stacked approach; (2) a centralized approach; (3) a sequential approach; and (4) a segmented approach.

Fast Track to College Success
Author: Mary Nguyen Barry, Senior Policy Analyst, Education Reform Now.
This brief focuses on 12th grade students who are ready for postsecondary work, but are spending unnecessary time in high school. The brief discusses options for paying for the transition, including K-12 funds reimbursing families for tuition or 12th graders being eligible for Pell.

Creating an Ideal State-Federal Data Partnership to Improve Policymaking Related to College Affordability
Authors: Brian Prescott, Associate Vice President, National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, Demaree Michelau, Vice President, Policy Analysis and Research, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education and Patrick Lane, Project Manager, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.
This brief explores how federal data policies are intertwined with states’ and argues that a more effective partnership could equip states with information they can use to more precisely target policies on the barriers to postsecondary access and success.

State(s) of Head Start

Source: W. Steven Barnett, Allison H. Friedman-Krauss, The National Institute for Early Education Research, 2016

From the overview:
State(s) of Head Start is the first report to describe and analyze in detail Head Start enrollment, funding, quality, and duration, state-by-state. The report focuses on the 2014-2015 program year but also provides longitudinal data beginning with the 2006-2007 program year. Despite the fact that Head Start is a federally funded, national program, the report reveals that access to Head Start programs, funding per child, teacher education, quality of teaching, and duration of services all vary widely by state.

This report’s findings underscore the need for greater coordination between Head Start and state and local government agencies to build high-quality early learning programs with widespread reach and adequate funding. The authors call for an independent bipartisan national commission to study the issues raised in this report and develop an action plan to ensure every eligible child in every state has an equal opportunity to benefit from Head Start…..
Report Digest
Executive Summary
Report Contents
State Profiles

There’s an Antidote to America’s Long Economic Malaise: College Towns

Source: Bob Davis, Wall Street Journal, December 12, 2016

Many places that bounced back from losing jobs to China are home to a major university. ….

….Each state has at least one land-grant institution, initially funded by a grant of federal land or a payout in a program started during Abraham Lincoln’s presidency.

Land-grant universities were required to focus on agriculture and engineering—which turned into a broad applied research mission—and to promote their work statewide. Such institutions became a kind of natural experiment.

The result was that many land-grant counties became economic stars over time, even though those counties differed little from others nearby.

Between the late 1860s and 1940, manufacturing productivity in counties with land-grant universities rose 57% more than in similar counties without them, calculates Shimeng Liu, an economist at Jinan University in China who studied land-grant colleges when he was a researcher in the U.S.

Since 2000, the median unemployment rate in counties with flagship land-grant universities was 1.2 percentage points lower on average than in other counties, according to an analysis by the Journal…..

K-3 Policymakers’ Guide to Action: Making the early years count

Source: Bruce Atchison, Emily Workman, Louisa Diffey, Education Commission of the States, ECS Policy Report, November 22, 2016

From the abstract:
This special report summarizes the top policy components 12 of the nation’s top content experts convened by Education Commission of the States prioritized for a high-quality K-3 system.

Dining Workers Strike at Harvard, World’s Richest University

Source: Samantha Winslow, Labor Notes, no. 452 November 2016

On October 5, instead of setting up breakfast for thousands of college students, 750 cafeteria workers at the richest university in the world kicked off their first strike in three decades.

Harvard University’s dining hall workers are demanding a living wage of $35,000 a year, and fighting administration efforts to increase co-pays on top of already costly health insurance plans.

Though their average wage is $22 an hour, workers say it’s a struggle to get by during summer breaks, when they’re out of work or forced to rely on lower-wage temp jobs. They say university administrators are unconcerned about the situation…..

Executive Compensation at Private and Public Colleges

Source: Brian O’Leary and Joshua Hatch, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 4, 2016

The Chronicle’s executive-compensation package includes the latest data on more than 1,200 chief executives at more than 600 private colleges from 2008-14 and nearly 250 public universities and systems from 2010-15. Hover over bars to show total compensation as well as pay components including base, bonus and retirement. Click bars to see details including other top-paid college employees, how presidents compare with their peers, and how presidential pay looks in context to their institution’s expenses, tuitions and pay for professors. Updated December 4, 2016, with 2014 private college data.
39 Private-College Leaders Earn More Than $1 Million
Source: Dan Bauman, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 4, 2016
(subscription required)

Manager–Employee Gender Congruence and the Bureaucratic Accountability of Public Service Employees Evidence From Schools

Source: Mogens Jin Pedersen, Vibeke Lehmann Nielsen, Public Personnel Management, Vol. 45 no. 4, December 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Much theory suggests that manager–employee gender congruence (that manager and employee share the same gender) may influence employee accountability. This article empirically tests this notion by examining how manager–employee gender congruence among public service employees relates to two key aspects of bureaucratic accountability: (a) organizational goal alignment and (b) compliance with organizational rules and regulations. Using school fixed effects on teacher survey data and administrative school data, we find that male teachers with male principals are less aligned with their school’s goals and less compliant with its rules and regulations than are male teachers with female principals.

Pension Liabilities Exceed Capital-Related Debt at US Public Universities

Source: Moody’s Investors Service, Sector In-Depth, November 18, 2016
(subscription required)

Credit risk related to unfunded pension liabilities for public universities we rate is increasing and aggregate net liabilities now exceed aggregate capital debt. Annual pension expenses are manageable at only 3% of operations (fiscal year 2015 median), but we expect them to rise as investment earnings lag assumptions and certain states continue to shift pension payment obligations to their universities. Currently, universities are better positioned than certain large local governments as it relates to pension liabilities and universities typically have more cash and investments relative to obligations that will help cushion rising pension costs…..
Press Release

New Research Finds Surprising Results When it Comes to Latino Participation in Early Care and Education: Public Policy Changes Appear to Pay Off, Attracting Hard to Reach Latino Groups

Source: National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families, Press Release, November 17, 2016

Three new reports from the National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families offer a fresh snapshot of early care and education (ECE) program use among Hispanic families across the United States. They suggest that Latino families are more willing to enroll their children in ECE programs than ever before. Such programs can help prepare low-income children for kindergarten and future academic success. The briefs in the series include:
Hispanic Children’s Participation in Early Care and Education: Type of Care by Household Nativity Status, Race/Ethnicity, and Child Age
Hispanic Children’s Participation in Early Care and Education: Amount and Timing of Hours by Household Nativity Status, Race/Ethnicity, and Child Age
Hispanic Children’s Participation in Early Care and Education: Parents’ Perceptions of Care Arrangements, and Relatives’ Availability to Provide Care

Free Community College: An approach to increase adult student success in postsecondary education

Source: Emily Parker, Lauren Sisneros, Sarah Pingel, Education Commission of the States, ECS Policy Report, November 16, 2016

From the summary:
This new policy report discusses the growing interest in free community college policies across state legislatures, addresses the limited potential of current policies to help states reach their completion and attainment goals and offers a new, inclusive framework for including adult students in free community college policies.