Category Archives: Education

School Paraprofessionals Staffing

Source: Catherine M. Conlin, Susan M. Phillips, Connecticut General Assembly, Legislative Program Review and Investigations Committee, Staff Findings and Recommendations, December 17, 2014

From the abstract:
This study focused on instructional paraprofessional staffing policies and practices in Connecticut K-12 public schools. In particular, the study described the range of responsibilities paraprofessionals are hired to perform and examined how the number and use of paraprofessionals has changed recently.
Staff Findings and Proposed Recommendations Highlights

Legislative Para Staffing Study Recommendations
Source: AFT Connecticut, December 29, 2014

Campus Law Enforcement, 2011-12

Source: Brian Reaves, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, NCJ 248028, January 20, 2015

From the abstract:
Presents findings from a BJS survey of campus law enforcement agencies covering the 2011-12 academic year. The report focuses primarily on 4-year colleges and universities enrolling 2,500 or more students. Agencies serving public and private campuses are compared by number and type of employees, agency functions, arrest jurisdiction, patrol coverage, agreements with local law enforcement, requirements for new officers, use of nonlethal weapons, types of computers and information systems, community policing initiatives, use of special units and programs, and emergency preparedness activities.

– About 75% of the campuses were using armed officers, compared to 68% during the 2004-05 school year.
– About 9 in 10 public campuses used sworn police officers (92%), compared to about 4 in 10 private campuses (38%).
– Most sworn campus police officers were authorized to use a sidearm (94%), chemical or pepper spray (94%), and a baton (93%).
– Most sworn campus police officers had arrest (86%) and patrol (81%) jurisdictions that extended beyond campus boundaries.
– About 7 in 10 campus law enforcement agencies had a memorandum of understanding or other formal written agreement with outside law enforcement agencies.
Press Release
ASCII file

Changes in Body Mass Index Associated With Head Start Participation

Source: Julie C. Lumeng, Niko Kaciroti, Julie Sturza, Allison M. Krusky, Alison L. Miller, Karen E. Peterson, Robert Lipton, and Thomas M. Reischl, Pediatrics, eFirst Published online January 12, 2015
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
OBJECTIVES: The goal of this study was to determine if Head Start participation is associated with healthy changes in BMI.

METHODS: The sample included children participating in Head Start between 2005 and 2013 and children from 2 comparison groups drawn from a Michigan primary care health system: 5405 receiving Medicaid and 19 320 not receiving Medicaid. Change in BMI z score from the beginning to the end of each of 2 academic years and the intervening summer was compared between groups by using piecewise linear mixed models adjusted for age, gender, and race/ethnicity.

RESULTS: The total sample included 43 748 children providing 83 239 anthropometric measures. The Head Start sample was 64.9% white, 10.8% black, and 14.4% Hispanic; 16.8% of the children were obese and 16.6% were overweight at the initial observation. Children who entered Head Start as obese exhibited a greater decline in the BMI z score during the first academic year versus the comparison groups (β = –0.70 [SE: 0.05] vs –0.07 [0.08] in the Medicaid group [P < .001] and –0.15 [SE: 0.05] in the Not Medicaid group [P < .001]); patterns were similar for overweight children. Head Start participants were less obese, less overweight, and less underweight at follow-up than children in the comparison groups. CONCLUSIONS: Preschool-aged children with an unhealthy weight status who participated in Head Start had a significantly healthier BMI by kindergarten entry age than comparison children in a primary care health system (both those receiving and those not receiving Medicaid).

Low Income Students Now a Majority In the Nation’s Public Schools

Source: Steve Suitts, Southern Education Foundation, New Majority Report Series, Research Bulletin, January 2015

From the summary:
Low income students are now a majority of the schoolchildren attending the nation’s public schools, according to this research bulletin. The latest data collected from the states by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), show that 51 percent of the students across the nation’s public schools were low income in 2013. In 40 of the 50 states, low income students comprised no less than 40 percent of all public schoolchildren. In 21 states, children eligible for free or reduced-price lunches were a majority of the students in 2013. Most of the states with a majority of low income students are found in the South and the West. Thirteen of the 21 states with a majority of low income students in 2013 were located in the South, and six of the other 21 states were in the West. Mississippi led the nation with the highest rate: ­71 percent, almost three out of every four public school children in Mississippi, were low-income. The nation’s second highest rate was found in New Mexico, where 68 percent of all public school students were low income in 2013….

National School Lunch Program: Trends and Factors Affecting Student Participation

Source: Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), January 2015

From the press release:
The number of children participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is changing in ways that reflect events other than changes in nutrition rules, finds a new analysis by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). The data analysis shows that lower family incomes and improvements to the eligibility process for school meals have led to a continuous increase in participation among low-income children; and rules on pricing of meals for other children have contributed to a multi-year decline in participation for those with higher family incomes. FRAC also noted these changes both are part of longer trends.

In the recent debate over new nutrition standards for school meals, some have claimed the nutrition rules are driving participation down. The new nutrition rules, however, were introduced in the 2012-2013 school year, in order to bring school meals in line with current dietary guidelines. FRAC’s analysis reveals that these participation changes have been percolating for a number of years with multiple factors at play. …..

The Changing Roles of Education and Ability in Wage Determination

Source: Gonzalo Castex and Evgenia Kogan Dechter, Journal of Labor Economics, Vol. 32 No. 4, October 2014
(subscription required)

This study examines changes in returns to formal education and cognitive skills over the past 20 years using the 1979 and 1997 waves of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. We show that cognitive skills had a 30%-50% larger effect on wages in the 1980s than in the 2000s. Returns to education were higher in the 2000s. These developments are not explained by changing labor market structure. We show that the decline in returns to ability can be attributed to differences in the growth rate of technology between the a980s and 2000s.

University Employee Sexual Harassment Policies

Source: Marcelline Fusilier, Charlie Penrod, Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal, Online First, October 9, 2014
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The purpose of the study was to investigate the quality and online availability of policies for employee sexual harassment prevention. The availability and characteristics of employee sexual harassment policies were compared across the following types of colleges and universities: (a) government sponsored state nonprofit, (b) private nonprofit, and (c) private for-profit. Web sites of 496 U.S. colleges and universities were searched. Available policies were collected and coded for whether they included the following: (a) mandatory supervisory reporting of harassment, (b) availability of informal and formal complaint procedures, and (c) availability of multiple reporting options to ensure harassing supervisors can be bypassed. Each school web site was also searched for discussion of the availability of sexual harassment training for employees. Results suggested that only 23 % of for-profit universities made their policies publicly available on their web sites versus 99 % of state universities. Seventy percent of available university harassment policies/web sites were deficient on one or more of the characteristics studied. Based on these findings, it appears that universities should increase both the quality and accessibility of their sexual harassment policies as well as the availability of anti-harassment training.

National Center Newsletters 1973-2000

Source: National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions, 2014

Between 1973 and 2000, the National Center published a bimonthly newsletter with contributions from directors and newsletter editors Maurice Benewitz, Thomas Mannix, Theodore H. Lang, Aaron Levenstein, Joel M. Douglas, Frank R. Annunziato and Beth H. Johnson. In addition, issues of the newsletter included contributions by other scholars including Clark Kerr, Fred Lane, Clara Lovett, Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, Myron Lieberman, Irwin Polishook, Matthew Finkin, Richard W. Hurd and Richard Chait.

Over its 27 year publication history, the newsletter contained articles, analysis and data on subjects that continue to be topical in higher education and the professions including: the impact of the Supreme Court’s Yeshiva University decision, the organizing and representation of adjunct faculty and graduate students, academic freedom and tenure, shared governance, discrimination and faculty strikes. The final issue of the newsletter appeared in 2000 with excerpts of a speech given by then AFL-CIO President John J. Sweeney at the National Center’s 28th annual conference as the first annual Albert Shanker Lecture.

Teacher Retirement Plans: Case Studies in Washington and Ohio Indicate Value of Pensions

Source: Diane Oakley and Ilana Boivie, National Institute on Retirement Security, Issue Brief, December 2014

From the summary:
An issue brief finds that teachers prefer a stand-alone defined benefit pension when given a choice between a pension plan or a plan that combines a defined contribution account with a pension.

This new research brief examines the experience in the only two states that have offered a defined benefit (DB) and defined contribution (DC) combination choice – Washington and Ohio. The research offers three key findings:
1. The teacher retirement plan election pattern during 1997 in Washington is unique. The combined DB-DC plan offered by the state included special features and circumstances that enticed teachers to switch:
– Teachers were provided with an upfront financial payments in 1997 that encouraged the switch;
– Stock market conditions with double-digit gains in the 1980s and 1990s may have caused teachers to overestimate the future value of their DC accounts. Thus, the combined DB-DC plan appeared more attractive in 1997; and
– The state offered important features such as in-plan annuitization of a teacher’s DC account balance, so he or she would receive guaranteed lifetime income with the state reassuming the longevity risk. In fact, this ability provides teachers with a significantly larger lifetime income than available today from annuities from insurance companies.

2. Ohio had a far different outcome than Washington over the years when teachers could choose between the DB plan and the DB-DC combination plan. Between 2002-2014, 86% of new teachers opted to join the traditional DB plan and only four percent opted for the combined plan. The remaining 10% chose the DC plan, the third option available in Ohio.

3. Education policy research finds that DB pensions play a critical role in recruiting and retaining qualified, productive teachers. Thus, offering an alternative retirement plan design could have adverse effects on teacher retention and quality.
press release

The Long Reach of Education: Early Retirement

Source: Steven F. Venti, David A. Wise, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), NBER Working Paper No. w20740, December 2014
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The goal of this paper is to draw attention to the long lasting effect of education on economic outcomes. We use the relationship between education and two routes to early retirement – the receipt of Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) and the early claiming of Social Security retirement benefits – to illustrate the long-lasting influence of education. We find that for both men and women with less than a high school degree the median DI participation rate is 6.6 times the participation rate for those with a college degree or more. Similarly, men and women with less than a high school education are over 25 percentage points more likely to claim Social Security benefits early than those with a college degree or more. We focus on four critical “pathways” through which education may indirectly influence early retirement – health, employment, earnings, and the accumulation of assets. We find that for women health is the dominant pathway through which education influences DI participation. For men, the health, earnings, and wealth pathways are of roughly equal magnitude. For both men and women the principal channel through which education influences early Social Security claiming decisions is the earnings pathway. We also consider the direct effect of education that does not operate through these pathways. The direct effect of education is much greater for early claiming of Social Security benefits than for DI participation, accounting for 72 percent of the effect of education for men and 67 percent for women. For women the direct effect of education on DI participation is not statistically significant, suggesting that the total effect may be through the four pathways.