Category Archives: Education

Organizing Within Our Changing Profession

Source: Academe, Volume 100, Issue 5, September-October 2014

Articles include:
Overcoming the Challenges of Contingent Faculty Organizing
By David Kociemba
How to organize and maintain a bargaining unit representing adjunct faculty.

Organizing for Advocacy
By Miranda Merklein
Building a new chapter at a community college where all faculty jobs are contingent.

Making a Tangible Difference in Campus Culture in One Year
By Simeon Dreyfuss
Chapter building at a small Catholic university with no tenure-track faculty.

Turning Back the Tide on Contingency
By Ron Bramhall
Balancing the needs of tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty in a union contract.

The Secrets of Successful Membership Recruitment
By Christopher Vecsey
Creating an effective advocacy chapter at a private liberal arts university.

An Unsuccessful Organizing Campaign
By Sally Angel
A postmortem of a failed organizing campaign.

From Preschool to Prosperity: The Economic Payoff to Early Childhood Education

Source: Timothy J. Bartik, Upjohn Institute, September 2014

From the summary:
Bartik shows that investment in high-quality early childhood education has several long-term benefits, including higher adult earnings for program participants.
Why Early Childhood Education is an Attractive Economic Development Investment
Source: Timothy J. Bartik, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, Presentation at webinar of ReadyNation and Council of State Chambers Policy Center, September 16, 2014

Safety, Security, and College Attainment: An Investigation of Undergraduates’ Basic Needs and Institutional Response

Source: Katharine Broton, Victoria Frank & Sara Goldrick-Rab, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Paper prepared for presentation at the annual meetings of the Association for Public Policy and Management, October 2014

There is increasing evidence that students from low-income families are facing great difficulties in covering the costs of college attendance, as need-based financial aid has not kept up with rising costs. For some students, these financial constraints can lead to difficult decisions about whether to sacrifice consistent access to food or secure and safe housing in order to remain in school. This paper examines evidence of these struggles among undergraduates and then turns to consider how institutional leaders are responding. Using quantitative and qualitative data from five states, we explore three types of responses. One group of leaders embraces the work of meeting students’ basic needs as part of the college mission and actively seeks strategies and solution, while another group expresses a desire to help but mainly engages in wishful thinking. At the same time, some institutional actors respond to students’ financial constraints by questioning whether or not they belong in college, raising concerns about their deservingness. Implications for future research, policy, and practice are discussed.

Building a Skilled Teacher Workforce: Shared and divergent challenges in early care and education and in grades K-12 prepared

Source: Marcy Whitebook, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 2014

From the summary:
Across the K-12 and early care and education (ECE) communities, similar conversations are underway about how to recruit teachers and strengthen their preparation, how to provide ongoing learning experiences for new and veteran teachers, and how to organize school environments to ensure that all teachers can best address the needs of an increasingly diverse child population. But these conversations are also widely divergent, given that the histories of the two sectors have led to distinct personnel and service delivery systems.

In order to develop an early learning strategy for the U.S. that is capable of improving educational outcomes for young children, it is critical to understand the personnel-related opportunities and challenges the ECE sector faces, as well as how these differ from those encountered in the K-12 sector. This paper discusses the public perception of early childhood teaching, the history and purpose of education for children of different ages, and describes key features of the personnel systems that have emerged from these varied roots, comparing them along several dimensions, and offers several suggestions for promoting a skilled and stable early care and education workforce for the 21st century.

The Middle-Class Squeeze: A Picture of Stagnant Incomes, Rising Costs, and What We Can Do to Strengthen America’s Middle Class

Source: Jennifer Erickson, Center for American Progress, September 24, 2014

From the summary:
This report provides a snapshot of the American middle class and those struggling to become a part of it. It focuses on six key pillars that can help define security for households: jobs, early childhood programs, higher education, health care, housing, and retirement. Each chapter is both descriptive and prescriptive—detailing both how the middle class is doing and what policies can help it do better….

Chapters include:
Early childhood
Higher education
Health care

Should Student Employment Be Subsidized? Conditional Counterfactuals and the Outcomes of Work-Study Participation

Source: Judith Scott-Clayton and Veronica Minaya, Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment (CAPSEE), CAPSEE Working Paper, September 2014

From the abstract:
Student employment subsidies are one of the largest types of federal employment subsidies, and one of the oldest forms of student aid. Yet it is unclear whether they help or harm students’ long term outcomes. We present a framework that decomposes overall effects into a weighted average of effects for marginal and inframarginal workers. We then use an application of propensity scores, which we call conditional-counterfactual matching, in which we estimate the overall impact, and the impact under two distinct counterfactuals: working at an unsubsidized job, or not working at all. Finally, we estimate the effects of the largest student employment subsidy program—Federal Work-Study (FWS)—for a broad range of participants and outcomes. Our results suggest that about half of FWS participants are inframarginal workers, for whom FWS reduces hours worked and improves academic outcomes, but has little impact on future employment. For students who would not have worked otherwise, the pattern of effects reverses. With the exception of first-year GPA, we find scant evidence of negative effects of FWS for any outcome or subgroup. However, positive effects are largest for lower-income and lower-SAT subgroups, suggesting there may be gains to improved targeting of funds.
Download the appendices: Appendices A and B
CAPSEE project: Project 8: Federal Work-Study

Wage differentials: how jobseekers can use them to analyze occupational wage and cost of living data by U.S. area

Source: Benjamin Cover, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Beyond the Numbers: Employment and Unemployment, Vol. 3 No. 20, September 2014

In examining pay, it is important to consider wage differentials—the ratio of occupational wages to average pay earned by all workers in a specific area. Because the cost of living in the United States fluctuates from region to region, earnings by occupation tend to vary accordingly. Here, wage differentials may offer further insight into the value that specific communities place on certain occupations and the standard of living enjoyed by workers in these occupations. This Beyond the Numbers article discusses how wage differentials provide a different perspective for evaluating pay. The article uses May 2013 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program. Three occupations—registered nurses, secondary school teachers, and securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents are highlighted to show how different the average pay can be by U.S. area.

The Unsupportable Cost of Variable Pricing of Student Loans

Source: Jonathan Glater, University of California – Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2014-46, September 9, 2014

From the abstract:
Terms of student loans offer a tempting tool for encouraging students to choose particular paths through college. This Article offers a critique of a proposal to tie loan terms to student choices of major, arguing that punishing students who choose to study in fields associated with low wages will not achieve the goals of federal student aid. The Article argues that students who borrow should not be subject to additional restrictions on their life choices because of their lesser wealth or lower income.

The Affordable College Compact: A Federal-State Partnership to Increase State Investment and Return to Debt-Free Public Higher Education

Source: Mark Huelsman, Dēmos, September 2014

From the summary:
As a postsecondary degree has become more important than ever in the labor market, and the primary means by which one enters the middle class, the U.S. has simultaneously made it more difficult and more expensive to attain. Over the course of three decades, the cost of public colleges and universities—which educated nearly 3 in 4 students—has risen dramatically. The obvious result of increased cost during a period of stagnant incomes for low-income and middle-class families has been an increased reliance on debt as a way to finance a college education. Just 25 years ago, if a student wanted to attain a bachelor’s degree, it was more likely than not that he or she would be able to do so without borrowing. Now, borrowing is nearly required to graduate with a four-year degree, particularly for low- and middle-income students.

A bachelor’s recipient has a 7-in-10 chance of taking on loans in order to graduate, and 9-in-10 Pell Grant recipients graduate with debt. Average debt at graduation is approaching $30,000 (and is over $30,000 for Pell Grant recipients). Even average borrowing for graduates at public schools—which educate three in four students—is up by nearly a third over the past decade. 64% of bachelor’s degree recipients at public colleges graduate with debt, and even 42% of associate’s degree holders from public schools leave with debt. Black and Hispanic graduates also incur more debt than their white counterparts.

What’s worse, these students may be the best off. Those with credentials are likely to be the best suited to handle student debt, but almost a third—29%—of student borrowers drop out of school, and non-graduates are more likely to face serious trouble repaying loans, becoming delinquent, or defaulting4 Students who choose not to take on debt are faced with the choice of working longer hours or enrolling part-time, both of which may decrease the likelihood of graduating.

Reversing these trends matters not just for our economy, but for notions of equity as well. The specter of student debt has the ability to fundamentally change student aspirations, and also raises the stakes of failure with regard to college completion—the rates of which have barely increased just as college costs and debt levels have increased….