Category Archives: Education

2014 Employee Healthcare and Other Benefits in Higher Education Survey

Source: College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, 2014

The Employee Healthcare and Other Benefits Survey collects data on the most representative healthcare and non-healthcare benefits offered to faculty and staff employed in a cross-section of the nation’s colleges and universities. Healthcare data is collected annually and non-healthcare data every two years. The latter includes basic life insurance, short- and long-term disability, paid time-off, tuition assistance and retirement benefits.

As a result of changes to healthcare benefits stemming from the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and in an effort to better control costs, many higher education institutions are passing more of the cost of healthcare along to their employees. According to findings from CUPA-HR’s 2014 Employee Healthcare and Other Benefits in Higher Education Survey, 41 percent of respondents have increased the employee share of premium costs since the ACA went into effect. Additionally, 26 percent have increased in-network deductibles, 27 percent have increased out-of-pocket limits, 20 percent have increased the employee share of prescription drug costs, and 24 percent have increased the employee share of dependent coverage costs. Many institutions are also ramping up their efforts to encourage healthy living among employees, with 36 percent of respondents indicating they have adopted or expanded a wellness program and 21 percent saying they have adopted or expanded the use of financial incentives to encourage healthy behaviors. …

Other Findings of Note:
Other findings from this year’s benefits survey:
PPO plans continue to be the plan of choice for a majority of institutions – 82 percent of respondents offer PPO plans. However, HDHPs continue to increase in popularity, with 44 percent of respondents offering this type of plan (up from 17 percent in 2009).
Sixty percent of institutions offer healthcare benefits to same sex domestic partners or spouses (up from 46 percent five years ago).
A substantial percentage of institutions offer healthcare benefits to part-time staff and faculty (42 percent and 36 percent, respectively), and most of those also pay part of the premium.
None of the institutions not offering healthcare benefits for part-time employees provide financial support for enrollment in a public exchange, and only 2 percent are considering doing so next year.
Almost all institutions provide basic life insurance, long-term disability, paid time-off, tuition assistance and retirement benefits. Short-term disability, however, is only offered by 64 percent of the respondents.
Press Release
Fact Sheet
3 Trends in Employee Benefits in Higher Ed

Learning About Medical Student Mistreatment From Responses to the Medical School Graduation Questionnaire

Source: Brian Mavis, Aron Sousa, Wanda Lipscomb, and Marsha D. Rappley, Academic Medicine, Volume 89 no. 5, May 2014

From the abstract:
Although evidence of medical student mistreatment has accumulated for more than 20 years, only recently have professional organizations like the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the American Medical Association truly acknowledged it as an issue. Since 1991, the AAMC’s annual Medical School Graduation Questionnaire (GQ) has included questions about mistreatment. Responses to the GQ have become the major source of evidence of the prevalence and types of mistreatment. This article reviews national mistreatment data, using responses to the GQ from 2000 through 2012; examines how students’ experiences have changed over time; and highlights the implications of this information for the broader medical education system. The authors discuss what mistreatment is, including the changing definitions from the GQ; the prevalence, types, and sources of mistreatment; and evidence of students reporting incidents. In addition, they discuss next steps, including better defining mistreatment, specifically public humiliation and belittling, taking into account students’ subjective evaluations; understanding and addressing the influence of institutional culture and what institutions can learn from current approaches at other institutions; and developing better systems to report and respond to reports of mistreatment. They conclude with a discussion of how mistreatment currently is conceptualized within the medical education system and the implications of that conceptualization for eradicating mistreatment in the future.

Advancing the Ivory-Collar/Blue-Collar Partnership

Source: James N. Gregory, Labor Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas, Vol. 11 no 3, Fall 2014
(subscription required)

In recent years, labor scholars in Washington have developed close relationships with the state labor council, the M. L. King County (Seattle) Labor Council, and key unions, in part through efforts such as the living-wage campaigns. LAWCHA president Nancy MacLean challenged us to develop “campus-labor-community partnerships” in her recent essay in Labor Rising, citing examples of creative organizing by Chicago-area faculty members affiliated with the Center for Working-Class Studies. I want to share some additional observations based on experiences in the Seattle area.

The ivory-collar/blue-collar relationship in Washington State rests primarily on two institutions, the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies at the University of Washington, founded in 1992, and the Pacific Northwest Labor History Association (PNLHA), which has held annual labor history conferences and other events in this region since the 1960s. Over the years, the Bridges Center and PNLHA have encouraged faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates to interact on many levels with unions and social-justice organizations both off and on campus. Here are three techniques used in Washington that labor academics at other institutions might find useful….
• Invitations …
• Press work …
• Labor Archives …

The Savings Behavior of Special Purpose Governments: A Panel Study of New York School Districts

Source: William Duncombe and Yilin Hou, Public Budgeting & Finance, Vol. 34 no. 3, Fall 2014
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
During the Great Recession, local governments experienced unprecedented fiscal stress. Among localities, special-purpose governments are especially vulnerable to recessions due to their reliance on sole revenue sources. School districts are one example that depends heavily on state aid on top of property taxes. However, the literature is very thin on the savings behavior of special-purpose governments. This paper contributes to filling the niche: it uses a 28-year panel of fiscal and socio-economic data for school districts in New York State to examine the determinants of fund balances. Our findings show that the savings of school districts are affected by their size, fiscal capacity, and revenue portfolio. The results are similar for reserved funds and unreserved funds, which suggests that school districts use reserved funds as a savings mechanism. However, the savings are not necessarily related to economic cycles.

Special Issue on the Property Tax and the Financing of K-12 Education

Source: Education Finance and Policy, Early Access, Posted Online August 26, 2014
(subscription required)

Articles include:
Did Cuts in State Aid During the Great Recession Lead to Changes in Local Property Taxes?
by Rajashri Chakrabarti, Max Livingston, Joydeep Roy

Michigan and Ohio K–12 Educational Financing Systems: Equality and Efficiency
by Michael Conlin, Paul N. Thompson

The Unintended Consequences of Property Tax Relief: New York’s STAR Program
by Tai Ho Eom, Phuong Nguyen-Hoang, John Yinger

Unintended Consequences: The Impact of Proposition 2½ Overrides on School Segregation in Massachusetts
by Jeffrey Zabel

Tax Increment Financing and Education Expenditures: The Case of Iowa
by Phuong Nguyen-Hoang

The Rise of School-Supporting Nonprofits
by Ashlyn Aiko Nelson, Beth Gazley

So Slow to Change: The Limited Growth of Nontax Revenues in Public Education Finance, 1991–2010
by Tom Downes, Kieran M. Killeen

Introduction to Special Issue on the Property Tax and the Financing of K-12 Education
by Daphne A. Kenyon, Andrew Reschovsky

National Standards for Strong Apprenticeships

Source: Sarah Ayres, Center for American Progress, August 26, 2014

From the summary:
…Apprenticeships may not solve all of our nation’s workforce challenges, but they have the potential to play a much bigger role in our education and training system. This issue brief discusses the benefits of apprenticeship before explaining why registered apprenticeships do not currently offer a truly portable credential and how industry-recognized apprenticeship programs can help both workers and employers. It then suggests some policies the federal government can enact to incentivize employers to write national guideline standards for apprenticeships. ….

North Carolina Pre-Kindergarten Program Evaluation Summary of Research (2002-2013)

Source: Ellen S. Peisner-Feinberg, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, May 2014

Purpose of the NC Pre-K Evaluation:
Since the NC Pre-K Program began, a variety of statewide evaluation studies have been conducted. These annual evaluations have included multiple studies of program services, classroom quality, and children’s outcomes during their pre-k year as well as longer-term into kindergarten and third grade. The primary research questions addressed by these evaluations have included:
• What were the key characteristics of the local NC Pre-K Programs?
• What was the quality of NC Pre-K classrooms and what factors were associated with better quality?
• What were the outcomes of children attending NC Pre-K and what factors were associated with better outcomes?
• To what extent have there been any changes over time in these results?

Key Findings:
Program Characteristics
• There have been consistent improvements in teacher qualifications—increases in the proportion of teachers with BA degrees and B-K licenses and decreases in the proportion of teachers with no credential.
• The NC Pre-K Program has continued to ensure that it primarily serves an at-risk, high service priority (children who have not been in a preschool program), and diverse population of children.
• NC Pre-K classrooms have continued to be offered in a variety of setting types, including public school, for-profit and non-profit child care, and Head Start

NLRB Director Finds Scholarship Athletes are Employees

Source: Barbara Jean D’Aquila and Margaret Rudolph, Employee Relations Law Journal, Vol. 40 no. 2, Autumn 2014
(subscription required)

A National Labor Relations Board Regional Director recently found that scholarship football players from Northwestern University are “employees” under the National Labor Relations Act and ordered that an election be conducted so that eligible football players can vote whether to form a union. The authors of this article discuss the decision and its implications.

Skill Gaps, Skill Shortages and Skill Mismatches: Evidence for the US

Source: Peter Cappelli, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), NBER Working Paper No. w20382, August 2014
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Concerns that there are problems with the supply of skills, especially education-related skills, in the US labor force have exploded in recent years with a series of reports from employer-associated organizations but also from independent and even government sources making similar claims. These complaints about skills are driving much of the debate around labor force and education policy, yet they have not been examined carefully. The discussion below examines the range of these charges as well as other evidence about skills in the labor force. There is very little evidence consistent with the complaints about skills and a wide range of evidence suggesting that they are not true. Indeed, a reasonable conclusion is that over-education remains the persistent and even growing situation of the US labor force with respect to skills. I consider three possible explanations for the employer complaints as well as the implications associated with those changes.

Doing Affirmative Action

Source: Stephen Clowney, University of Arkansas Research Paper No. 14-19, April 2, 2013 (Last revised: August 11, 2014)

From the abstract:
Based on the two years I worked in the Admissions Office at Princeton University, I argue that many opponents of racial preferences misunderstand how selective universities evaluate applicants and, as a result, their policy arguments are weaker than generally believed. More specifically, I rebut three major critiques put forth by skeptics of affirmative action. First, I claim that racial preferences are less robust than most critics imagine. Second, I argue that affirmative action imposes fewer costs on both whites and blacks than critics indicate. Finally, I show that racial preferences have less weighty moral consequences than critics believe. In fact, an attack on affirmative action — divorced from a larger project of increasing fairness in college admissions — amounts to an attack on black social mobility.