Category Archives: Education

Indiana Teachers ‘Go Green’ To Track Member Sign-Up

Source: Samantha Winslow, Labor Notes, April 13, 2018

What will happen to public sector unions after the Supreme Court rules on the Janus v. AFSCME case this spring? Indiana teachers are already there. Slammed by a “right to work” law in 1996 and a new barrage of attacks in 2011, the teachers experienced what many unions are afraid of—a big drop in membership.

But the Indiana State Teachers Association didn’t roll over and give up after that. The union developed a tracking system called “Go Green” to help local leaders get membership back up.

It’s working. The first year of the program, the union narrowed its deficit between existing members lost to retirement and new members gained. The second year, it broke even. The third year, statewide membership increased.

This is in a legal environment that’s worse than right to work. Budget cuts in 2011 were paired with sweeping restrictions that kneecapped unions. Teachers bargain over only wages and benefits, and only between September and November of each year. Past that, impasse is declare and a third-party factfinder decides the final agreement.

…. So how does it work? The heart of the “Go Green” program is getting teachers in every school involved in signing up members.

Schools below 50 percent union membership are flagged as red. Schools at 50 percent or higher are coded yellow, and those at 70 percent or higher are green. The color scheme helps officers and association reps (stewards) prioritize which schools, and even which parts of buildings, need the most help. ….

….LIVING WITHOUT DUES DEDUCTION

A popular line of anti-union attack by state legislators is to ban employers from deducting dues from members’ paychecks. Dues deduction is banned for Michigan teachers, for instance, and for the whole public sector in Wisconsin.

Indiana has no such law at this point—but the teachers union opted to stop payroll deduction anyway. When new members sign up, they give the union their bank or credit card information to process dues directly.

This preempts a fight with hostile legislators and keeps the union’s focus on talking to teachers. It also takes control of union funds out of the hands of employers…..

State Higher Education Finance (SHEF) Fiscal Year 2017

Source: State Higher Education Executive Officers, 2018

From the press release:
In FY
201 7, for the first time in our nation’s history, more than half of all states relied more heavily on tuition dollars to fund their public systems of higher education than on government appropriations, despite increased state and local support for public colleges and universities. That’s the overarching narrative of the State Higher Education Finance (SHEF) FY 2017 report, a comprehensive, nonpartisan analysis of educational appropriations, tuition revenue and enrollment trends in all 50 states, released today by the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO).

In FY 2017, states saw a moderate increase in state and local support for higher education, along with a slight increase in tuition revenue and nearly no change in full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment. Yet despite five straight years of increases in public investments, constant dollar state support of higher education per FTE student remains $1,000 lower than before the 2008 Great Recession and $2,000 lower than before the 2001 dot-com crash. What’s more, states are increasingly dependent on tuition revenue as a major funding source for public colleges and universities, which could pose significant sustainability challenges as states continue their efforts to increase the percentage of their residents with some education beyond high school to meet their workforce needs. ….

….Five key takeaways from this year’s report include:
1. Overall, states moderately expanded their support for higher education in FY 2017. ….
2. State financial aid for students attending public institutions reached an all-time high. ….
3. For the first time, more than half of all states relied more on tuition than on government appropriations to finance their systems of higher education. ….
4. Total educational revenues are at the highest level since 1980. ….
5. Full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment continues to taper, though not significantly. ….

Related:
Interactive data
Full Unadjusted Dataset – Excel
Appropriations, Tuition, and Enrollment, by State – Excel
Changes since Great Recession, by State – Excel
Figures and Tables

Labor Renaissance in the Heartland

Source: Lois Weiner, Jacobin, April 6, 2018

Red state teachers are reviving the labor movement’s core values: respect for democracy and the dignity of work.

Related:
The Teachers’ Strikes Have Exposed the GOP’s Achilles Heel
Source: Eric Levitz, New York Magazine, April 5, 2018

Last week, Republicans in Oklahoma voted to raise taxes on fossil fuel companies, so as to increase pay for public sector workers. That might sound like a perfectly ordinary thing for a state government to do. But in Mary Fallin’s Oklahoma, it’s anything but. This is a state that responded to a $1.3 billion budget shortfall in 2016 by cutting taxes on the rich, and renewing a $470 million tax break for oil and gas companies. It’s a state that has allowed fracking interests to turn it into the earthquake capital of the world; let a gas company literally dictate policy to its attorney general; and forbade itself from raising taxes on anyone unless three-fourths of its state legislature approves (and its state legislature is dominated by tea party conservatives). All this has made increasing taxes on the state’s top industry so unthinkable to Oklahoma Republicans, they have repeatedly found it preferable to plug budget gaps by raiding their state’s emergency funds, and forcing one-fifth of its school districts to adopt four-day weeks instead.

Thus, it was more than a little remarkable when, last Thursday, Governor Fallin signed her name to a bill that more than doubled the state’s tax on fossil fuel production, limited itemized deductions for high-earning individuals, and gave a $6,000 raise to the state’s teachers…..

Teachers Rise Up For Raises

Source: 1A, April 3, 2018
(audio)

The success of the teachers’ strike in West Virginia, which resulted in a 5 percent pay increase, has inspired a movement among educators across the nation. Teachers and their supporters have staged demonstrations in Oklahoma, Kentucky and Arizona, closing down some public schools in those states — and more strikes could be coming soon. Average annual wages for K-12 teachers range from $59,000 to $61,000 nationally, but many classroom educators in red states earn thousands less than the average. How are local governments addressing teachers’ demands? And how is the new national conversation over compensation altering our ideas about what a teacher is worth?

Related:
5 things to know about the teacher strike in Oklahoma
Source: Erin McHenry-Sorber, The Conversation, April 3, 2018

The Oklahoma teachers strike is about more than just pay, but rather a longstanding pattern of decline in funding for the state’s public schools.

Teacher Strikes Are Spreading Across America With No End in Sight

Source: Josh Eidelson, Bloomberg, April 2, 2018

One month after a teachers’ “wildcat” strike ended with a deal to hike pay for all West Virgina state employees, teacher strikes are spreading fast across the country, with no clear endgame in sight.

In Oklahoma, teachers Monday made good on their threat to shutdown hundreds of schools throughout the state, preventing students from taking tests that are required by the end of the school year to ensure federal funding. In Kentucky, schools are closed as well—many because of spring break, others because teachers have swarmed the state capitol building in Frankfort. And in Arizona, teachers last week gathered at the statehouse in Phoenix with buttons reading “I don’t want to strike, but I will.”  

In each case, teachers are pushing Republican governors and GOP-controlled legislatures to hike their pay, saying declining real wages threaten to drive staff out of the public school system. Educators see leverage in tight private sector labor markets and inspiration in West Virginia, where strikers defied union leaders by holding out for a better deal. They’re reviving the tactics of an earlier era: In the five years which followed World War II, as teachers felt left behind amid crowded classrooms and accelerating private sector wage growth, there were around 60 teacher strikes across the U.S.—many without legal protection or official union support…..

Increased federal financial aid and research, funding is credit positive for universities

Source: Jared Brewster, Susan I Fitzgerald, Edith Behr, Kendra M. Smith, Moody’s, Sector Comment, March 28, 2018
(subscription required)

The recently enacted federal spending bill provides funding increases for key financial aid programs and federal agencies that provide research grants. Financial aid programs receiving a funding bump include Pell Grants, the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) Program and the Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program. Significant providers of research and development (R&D) grants with a funding boost include the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). These funding increases are better than we expected in our 2018 outlook for higher education and are credit positive for the sector overall.

Related:
Federal capital programs provide credit positive financing for some universities
Source: Jared Brewster, Susan I Fitzgerald, Edith Behr, Kendra M. Smith, Moody’s, Sector Comment, March 29, 2018
(subscription required)

How occupational licensing matters for wages and careers

Source: Ryan Nunn, Brookings Institution, Hamilton Project, March 2018

From the summary:
Occupational licensing—the legal requirement that a credential be obtained in order to practice a profession—is a common labor market regulation that ostensibly exists to protect public health and safety. However, by limiting access to many occupations, licensing imposes substantial costs: consumers pay higher prices, economic opportunity is reduced for unlicensed workers, and even those who successfully obtain licenses must pay upfront costs and face limited geographic mobility. In addition, licensing often prescribes and constrains the ways in which work is structured, limiting innovation and economic growth…..

The Academic Law Library in the Age of Affiliations: A Case Study of the University of New Hampshire Law Library

Source: Nicholas Mignanelli, Law Library Journal, Vol. 109, No. 2, 2017

From the abstract:
Difficult financial times have forced law schools to look for ways to restructure. One promising opportunity, especially for independent law schools, is affiliating with another law school or a university. How does this change impact the law library? This study of the University of New Hampshire Law Library seeks to provide a partial answer.

America’s Growing ‘Guard Labor’ Force

Source: Richard Florida, City Lab, March 13, 2018

Many large urban areas in the U.S. now have more “guard labor” than teachers. ….

…. Our definition of guard labor is narrower than that of Bowles and Jayadev, limited to what they call “protective guard labor”—that is, police officers and detectives, prison guards, private security guards, transportation security screeners, and other protective service workers. Our definition of teachers includes pre-school, elementary, middle-school, and high-school teachers, as well as special-education teachers.

For each metro, we looked at the change in guard labor over time, the number of guards per 10,000 people, the location quotient for guard labor, and—most importantly for our purposes—the ratio of guards to teachers. ….

The Lessons of West Virginia

Source: Eric Blanc, Jacobin, March 9, 2018

West Virginia’s historic wildcat strike has the potential to change everything. ….

…. The Great West Virginia Wildcat is the single most important labor victory in the US since at least the early 1970s. Though the 1997 UPS strike and the 2012 Chicago teachers’ strike also captured the country’s attention, there’s something different about West Virginia. This strike was statewide, it was illegal, it went wildcat, and it seems to be spreading. ….