Category Archives: Education

Transforming the workforce for children birth through age 8 : a unifying foundation

Source: Allen LaRue and Bridget B. Kelly – editors, Institute of Medicine and National Research Council of the National Academies, Committee on the Science of Children Birth to Age 8: Deepening and Broadening the Foundation for Success, Board on Children, Youth, and Families, ISBN 978-0-309-32486-1, 2016

….. The major focus of this report is on those professionals who are responsible for regular, daily care and education of young children from birth through age 8, working in settings such as homes, childcare centers, preschools, educational programs, and elementary schools. Many of the report’s messages are also applicable to closely related care and education professionals who see these children somewhat less frequently or for periodic or referral services, such as home visitors, early intervention specialists, and mental health consultants. The report also encompasses professionals in leadership positions and those who provide professional learning for the care and education workforce. In addition, the report includes considerations for the interactions among care and education professionals and practitioners in the closely related health and social services sectors who also work with children and their families. Finally, findings presented in this report regarding foundational knowledge and competencies are applicable broadly for all adults with professional responsibilities for young children.

This report’s focus is on the competencies and professional learning that need to be shared among care and education professionals across professional roles and practice settings in order to support greater consistency. Although further specialized competencies and professional learning experiences differentiated by age, setting, and role are also important, this committee’s task was to bridge those competencies and experiences in ways that will enable these professionals to contribute collectively and more effectively to greater consistency in practices that support development and high-quality learning for young children. …..

Revisiting the Impact of Head Start

Source: Claire Montialoux, University of California – Berkeley, Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Policy Brief, September 2016

From the blog post:
As millions of parents across the United States are getting their children back to school, academics and policymakers are also taking a closer look where it all begins for the nation’s earliest learners — preschool. Does it really work and is it worth the cost? ….

…. The question may be simple, but the answer is less so.

Early studies of Head Start and other preschool programs found large positive effects on both cognitive and non-cognitive skills, like vocabulary and self-control. But the first randomized experimental study of Head Start (the Head Start Impact Study, or HSIS), conducted in 2002, showed that the program produced smaller benefits that faded out by the time the students were in third grade. Some have interpreted this as evidence that Head Start is ineffective.

Several recent studies by UC Berkeley faculty and others, however, have shown that the HSIS data, when interpreted appropriately, indicates that Head Start has significant benefits. Some of these benefits last far beyond the Head Start years, like increases in health and lifetime earnings.

The reason for this misinterpretation is simple: unlike earlier studies, the HSIS compared Head Start participants to children in a broad range of childcare arrangements, many quite similar to Head Start. About one-third of the HSIS control group participated in alternative preschool programs, and the rest of the children in the control group were cared for at home…..

The Economic Record of the Obama Administration: Progress Reducing Inequality

Source: White House, Council of Economic Advisors, September 2016

….This report focuses on three specific areas where the Administration has achieved its most substantial and immediate success in reducing inequality—restoring economic growth, expanding access to health insurance, and enacting a fairer tax code. However, over the last eight years, the Administration has undertaken a much broader set of initiatives designed to address inequality and promote opportunity. Some of these efforts, such as investments in early childhood education and job training, are designed to have longer term impacts. In addition, the President’s Fiscal Year 2017 Budget proposes numerous reforms that would further boost incomes for working families, expand opportunity, and reduce inequality….

Public universities are under threat – not just by outside reformers

Source: Brendan Cantwell, The Conversation, September 22, 2016

A new documentary, “Starving the Beast,” recently examined the state of public higher education. Directed by Austin-based award-winning documentarian Steve Mims, the film argues that a network of right-wing think tanks and educational reformers are undermining public universities. It suggests that America’s great public universities may die from a thousand cuts unless policymakers change course.

My experience as a higher education policy researcher leads me to share many of Mims’ concerns. There are many serious challenges facing public universities.

However, my research also shows more than a right wing conspiracy is to blame for the condition of public higher education today. ….

Paycheck To Paycheck 2016

Source: Brian Stromberg and Mindy Ault, National Housing Conference, 2016

From the abstract:
As for any other sector of the economy, the ability of school workers to live near their places of employment is an important aspect of developing strong, inclusive communities. School workers provide essential services to their communities, yet many are unable to afford to live near where they work. Teacher-specific affordable housing programs are important but can also overlook the difficulties faced by other school-related occupations. The 2016 edition of “Paycheck to Paycheck” focuses on the affordability challenges faced by both teachers and non-instructional school workers by highlighting five of the 81 occupations in the Paycheck to Paycheck database: bus driver, child care teacher, groundskeeper, social worker and high school teacher.
Paycheck to Paycheck 2016 database

The Economic Impact of Universities: Evidence from Across the Globe

Source: Anna Valero, John Van Reenen, Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP11462, August 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
We develop a new dataset using UNESCO source materials on the location of nearly 15,000 universities in about 1,500 regions across 78 countries, some dating back to the 11th Century. We estimate fixed effects models at the sub-national level between 1950 and 2010 and find that increases in the number of universities are positively associated with future growth of GDP per capita (and this relationship is robust to controlling for a host of observables, as well as unobserved regional trends). Our estimates imply that doubling the number of universities per capita is associated with 4% higher future GDP per capita. Furthermore, there appear to be positive spillover effects from universities to geographically close neighboring regions. We show that the relationship between growth and universities is not simply driven by the direct expenditures of the university, its staff and students. Part of the effect of universities on growth is mediated through an increased supply of human capital and greater innovation (although the magnitudes are not large). We find that within countries, higher historical university presence is associated with stronger pro-democratic attitudes.

The 401(k) Is Wreaking Havoc on Retirement

Source: Ben Steverman Bloomberg News, August 24, 2016

….In 1980, 38 percent of private sector workers had a pension and 19 percent a 401(k). By last year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, the numbers had more or less reversed—just 15 percent had a pension and 43 percent a 401(k).

That shift is creating “double disadvantages for the less educated,” wrote University of Kansas sociology professor ChangHwan Kim and U.S. Social Security Administration researcher Christopher Tamborini in a paper presented at the American Sociological Association’s annual conference on Tuesday.
The authors analyzed surveys linked to W-2 tax data to figure out how much Americans with varying levels of education were saving in their retirement accounts.

Among workers who hold similar jobs with the same pay and who both contribute to 401(k) plans, a college graduate tends to save 26 percent more than a worker with just a high school diploma, the study concluded.

Workers with college degrees aren’t only far more likely to hold jobs that offer retirement plans. When offered the plans, they’re also far more likely to sign up and to contribute enough to retire comfortably.

The median private sector worker without a college degree is contributing nothing to a retirement plan, while the median college graduate pitches in more than $2,000 a year, the study found.

One reason is that less educated workers are likelier to hold lower-paying jobs that don’t offer retirement plans. According to the study, 83 percent of workers with a bachelor’s degree have access to some kind of retirement plan—compared with 62 percent of high school graduates and 43 percent of high school dropouts.

Even when they are offered 401(k)s, less educated workers find it much more difficult to take full advantage of them…..
Study Finds Changes to Retirement Savings System May Exacerbate Economic Inequality
Source: American Sociological Association (ASA), Press Release, August 23, 2016

A shift to defined-contribution retirement plans, such as 401(k) plans, has led to an income and education gap in pension savings that could exacerbate future economic inequality, according to a study that was presented at the 111th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association (ASA).

“The movement towards voluntary, contributory employer pensions has increased the influence of socioeconomic factors, such as education and income levels, on retirement fund accumulation,” said study co-author ChangHwan Kim, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Kansas. 

Unlike defined-benefit plans, which promise a fixed, pre-established monthly benefit for employees upon retirement, defined-contribution plans entail monthly contributions from employees, and sometimes employers, which are then invested on the employee’s behalf. The final amount an employee receives upon retirement depends on total lifetime contribution to his or her account, plus investment gains or losses.

A key difference between defined-contribution plans, which have been growing in popularity since 1980, and defined-benefit plans is that workers may choose to opt out of participating in the former.

When defined-contribution plans are offered in workplaces, people with a bachelor’s degree or higher are 1.2 times more likely to enroll in them than high school graduates even after controlling for the effect of annual earnings, occupation, industry, firm size, and other characteristics, the study found. 

Furthermore, people with a bachelor’s degree or higher save an average of 26 percent more annually to their defined-contribution retirement accounts than participating high school graduates even if both groups earn the same amount of annual income.

The State of American Retirement: How 401(k)s have failed most American workers
Source: Monique Morrissey, Economic Policy Institute, Retirement Inequality Chartbook, March 3, 2016

From the overview:
Today, many Americans rely on savings in 401(k)-type accounts to supplement Social Security in retirement. This is a pronounced shift from a few decades ago, when many retirees could count on predictable, constant streams of income from traditional pensions (see “Types of retirement plans,” below). This chartbook assesses the impact of the shift from pensions to individual savings by examining disparities in retirement preparedness and outcomes by income, race, ethnicity, education, gender, and marital status.

The first section of the chartbook looks at retirement-plan participation and retirement account savings of working-age families. The charts in this section focus on families headed by someone age 32–61, a 30-year period before the Social Security early eligibility age of 62 when most families should be accumulating pension benefits and retirement savings. The second section looks at income sources for seniors. Since many workers transition to retirement between Social Security’s early eligibility age and the program’s normal retirement age (currently 66, formerly 65), the charts in the second section focus on retirement outcomes of people age 65 and older.

Education, training, and library occupations in May 2015

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Economics Daily, September 2, 2016

In May 2015, there were about 1.4 million elementary school teachers, excluding special education—the largest occupation among teachers. These teachers had an average annual wage of $57,730. Excluding special and career/technical education, there were 963,000 secondary school teachers and 633,000 middle school teachers. Secondary school teachers earned an average annual wage of $60,440 and middle school teachers earned $58,760. There were 131,550 librarians. These librarians had an average annual mean wage of $58,930. There were 94,170 library technicians. They had an average annual mean wage of $34,200. ….

The Enrollment Effects of Clinton’s Free College Proposal

Source: Anthony P. Carnevale, Martin Van Der Werf, Cary Lou, Georgetown University, Center on Education and the Workforce, 2016

Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee for the presidency, has proposed that public colleges and universities eliminate tuition for all in-state students whose families make less than $125,000 per year.

The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (Georgetown Center) has been asked by various individuals and organizations to project the impact such a policy would have on enrollment in higher education. The greatest obstacle to making a projection is the lack of comparable previous policy changes. Given the lack of analogous cases and the lack of legislative and regulatory specificity in the Clinton proposal, our best informed guess is that the overall impact would be a 9-22 percent increase in enrollment at public colleges and universities, with a median projected increase of 16 percent…..