Category Archives: Education

It’s time for an ambitious national investment in America’s children

Source: Josh Bivens, Emma García, Elise Gould, Elaine Weiss, and Valerie Wilson, Economic Policy Institute, April 6, 2016

From the summary:
Investments in early childhood care and education would have enormous benefits for children, families, society, and the economy. …. An ambitious national investment in early childhood care and education would provide high societal returns. American productivity would improve with a better-educated and healthier future workforce, inequality would be immediately reduced as resources to provide quality child care are progressively made available to families with children, and the next generation would benefit from a more level playing field that allows for real equality of opportunity…..

Fewer poor students are being enrolled in state universities. Here’s why

Source: Robert Kelchen, Luke J. Stedrak, The Conversation, April 5, 2016

States have traditionally provided funding for public colleges and universities based on a combination of the number of students enrolled and how much money they were allocated previously.

But, in the face of increasingly tight budgets and pressures to demonstrate their effectiveness to legislators, more and more states are tying at least some higher education funding to student outcomes.

As of 2015, 32 states have implemented a funding system that is based in part on students’ performance in at least some of their colleges. In such states, a portion of state funding is based on metrics such as the number of completed courses or the number of graduates.

Research shows that performance-based funding (PBF) has not moved the needle on degree completions in any substantial way. Our research focuses on the unintended consequences of such funding policies – whether colleges have responded to funding incentives in ways that could hurt disadvantaged students.
We find evidence that these systems may be reducing access for low-income students at public colleges…..
State Higher Education Performance Funding: Data, Outcomes, and Policy Implications
Source: David A. Tandberg, Nicholas W. Hillman, Journal of Education Finance, Volume 39 Number 3, Winter 2014
(subscription required)

As states explore strategies for increasing educational attainment levels, attention is being paid to performance funding. This study asks, “Does the introduction of performance funding programs affect degree completion among participating states?” Utilizing a quasi-experimental research design we find limited evidence that performance funding significantly increases baccalaureate degree completions.

Higher Education Tax Benefits: Brief Overview and Budgetary Effects

Source: Margot L. Crandall-Hollick, Congressional Research Service, CRS Report, R41967, February 1, 2016

….This report provides a brief overview of the higher education tax benefits that are currently available to students and their families. The report contrasts higher education tax benefits with traditional student aid, presents a brief history of higher education tax policy over the past 60 years, including recent legislative proposals to modify these tax incentives, summarizes key features of the available tax benefits, and provides JCT estimates of revenue losses resulting from individual tax provisions. The summary is contained in Table 1 and provides information on various aspects of each tax benefit including the type of benefit (credit, deduction, etc.), the annual dollar amount of the benefit, what expenses qualify for the benefit, what level of education the benefit can be claimed for, income levels at which the benefit phases out, and if the provision is temporary, when it expires. Table 2 contains estimates of the annual forgone federal revenue attributable to each provision……

Counselors Versus Cops – Three of the five largest school districts hire more security officers than counselors

Source: Matt Barnum, The Atlantic, April 4, 2016

Many of America’s biggest school districts have prioritized security officers over counselors. In Houston, that means there’s only one counselor for every 1,175 students School-security officers outnumber counselors in four out of the 10 largest public-school districts in the country—including three of the top five, according to data obtained by The 74. New York City, Chicago, Miami-Dade County, and Houston schools all employ more security staff than counselors. New York City, Chicago, and Miami-Dade are all among the nation’s five biggest school districts. Not one of the top 10 districts, where counselors may be particularly beneficial for low-income students, meets the American School Counselor Association’s recommendation of one counselor for every 250 students—most weren’t even close. The nearest to the standard was Hawaii with 274 students for every counselor. In Houston, there are 1,175 students for every counselor. Meanwhile, the Texas district has one security staffer for every 785 students…..

Monetary Compensation of Full-Time Faculty at American Public Regional Universities: The Impact of Geography and the Existence of Collective Bargaining

Source: Stephen G. Katsinas, Johnson A. Ogun, and Nathaniel J. Bray, Education Policy Center, Research Paper Presented at the 43rd Annual National Conference of the National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions, April 3, 2016

This paper examines monetary compensation of 127,222 full-time faculty employed by the 390 regional universities in the United States who are members of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. Compensation data published by the U.S. Department of Education and organizations concerned with faculty, including the American Association of University Professors and others, typically lump all four-year public university faculty together, ignoring well-known differences in teaching workloads at different types of public four-year universities (four instead of two courses taught each term, etc.). Further, many compensation studies do not examine fringe benefits, which are 330 percent of total monetary compensation. ….. As large numbers of “baby boom” era faculty at regional universities approach retirement, an accurate base-line assessment of total monetary compensation (salaries and fringe benefits) is important. This study examines (1) salaries and fringe benefits, (2) includes the entire universe of U.S. regional universities, (3) examines differences by geographic peer institutional types, and (4) examines if the presence or lack of collective bargaining matters. ….. The differences are even wider when the presence or lack of collective bargaining is considered. Among the 127, 222 full-time faculty at regional universities, 74,468 or 63% worked at the 219 institutions in the 30 states that in 2011 had collective bargaining (as reported in the 2012 Directory of Collective Bargaining published by the National Center for Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions), while 52,754 or 37% were employed at the 171 regional universities in the 20 states that did not. Full-time faculty at rural, suburban, and urban regional universities with collective bargaining received on average $92,407, $116,353, and $108,399 in total monetary compensation in FY2011; this compared to averages of $82,722, $84,813, and $86,594 at rural, suburban, and urban regional universities without. …..

State Information Request: Teacher issues

Source: Education Commission of the States, January 2016

From the abstract:
This information request examines 1) if any studies exist that show that increased teacher pay successfully attracts teachers to hard to staff schools, 2) if any research shows that teachers of color are choosing to teach in schools with a higher level of minority students and whether this improves minority students’ achievement, and 3) if any large school districts (or other organizations) have surveyed teachers to see why they choose to teach in their current school.

Undermining Pell: Volume III – The News Keeps Getting Worse for Low-Income Students

Source: Stephen Burd, New America, Education Policy Program, Policy Paper, March 16, 2016

From the abstract:
In the face of steep state budget cuts over the past decade, public colleges are increasingly adopting the enrollment management tactics of private-colleges – to the detriment of low-income and working-class students. In fact, nearly half of public four-year colleges examined now leave the most financially needy students on the hook for more than $10,000 per school year. Back in 2010-11, only about a third of these public institutions charged the lowest-income students that much.

Characteristics of Home-Based Early Care and Education Providers: Initial Findings from the National Survey of Early Care and Education

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families,Office of Planning Research and Evaluation (OPRE), OPRE Report #2016-13, February 2016

From the abstract:
This report provides a nationally representative estimate of all home-based care to children ages birth through five years and not yet in kindergarten as of 2012, using data from the National Survey of Early Care and Education. Home-based providers discussed in the report include both paid and unpaid providers of care. The report describes the characteristics of the providers themselves and the care they provide