Category Archives: Education

Labor and Working-Class History Association (LAWCHA) Teacher/Public Sector Initiative

Source: Rosemary Feurer, Labor and Working-Class History Association (LAWCHA), LaborOnline blog, December 9, 2014

Today we launch the teachers/public sector toolkit, a set of resources that we hope will contribute to dialog on teacher and public sector unionism. We are asking for help in disseminating and adding to this toolkit, which is accessible under teaching resources. It consists of a short history of teacher organizing and unionism by Adam Mertz, and sources for learning and teaching more about the subject. Those sources include documents, books, articles, charts and graphs and full presentations that could be used by teachers, unions, educators to promote dialog. Finally, we will continue to promote dialog about these sources through our teaching blog….
Related:
A Century of Teacher Organizing: What Can We Learn?
Source: Adam Mertz,
The history of teacher unionism is rich and vibrant, filled with numerous triumphs, tensions, and setbacks. For over a century, most education employees have been part of a public sector workforce that has been constrained by legal frameworks that assume that they are not entitled to the same rights as private sector workers. Because they comprise the largest segment of public sector labor, the story of why and how teachers sought to organize helps us understand many current debates surrounding education policies and the labor movement.
A Bibliography on Teacher-Public Sector Unionism
PowerPoints & Graphs

Serving Healthy School Meals in California

Source: Pew Charitable Trusts, Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project, November 2014

From the summary:
The National School Lunch Program operates in nearly all public schools and 94 percent of public and private schools combined. The main goal of the school lunch and breakfast programs is to promote the health and well-being of children by ensuring that they have access to nutritious meals that support normal growth and development. Schools that participate in the programs must make nutritionally adequate meals available to all students and provide free or reduced-price meals to children from low-income families. During the 2012-13 school year, California schools used this program to serve more than 4.5 million meals each day, or more than 559 million lunches for the school year.
This report focuses on the major challenges in California school kitchens and cafeterias, and what is needed—improved equipment and infrastructure, and enhanced personnel training—to serve healthy, appealing meals.
Key Findings:
Finding 1
93% of California school districts need at least one piece of kitchen equipment.

Finding 2
25% of California school districts have a plan to replace kitchen equipment.

Finding 3
70% of California school districts need kitchen infrastructure upgrades.

Finding 4
68% of California school districts need additional training for nutrition personnel.

Making Schools More Separate and Unequal: Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1

Source: Erwin Chemerinsky, University of California Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2014-59, November 20, 2014

From the abstract:
American public schools are increasingly separate and unequal. By every measure public schools are more becoming more racially segregated. The Supreme Court deserves a great deal of the blame for this. There has not been a single Supreme Court decision since Rodriguez in 1973 that has furthered desegregation or enhanced the equality of American public education. The Supreme Court’s major cases on equal educational opportunity – including Rodriguez, Milliken, Dowell, – have limited the ability of courts to create equal educational opportunity. But many schools boards on their own implemented plans to enhance racial diversity and desegregate their schools. In 2007, Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School Dist. No. 1, imposed significant, new limits on the ability of school systems to adopt such voluntary desegregation programs. Part I of this essay describes the Court’s decision in Parents Involved. Part II describes the effects of the decision on American public education. Part III explains why the decision is fundamentally flawed in its premises and its conclusions. Parents Involved must be understood in the context of now 40 years of Supreme Court decisions that have contributed to their being increasingly separate and unequal schools.

The Impact of the Great Recession on Public Colleges

Source: Elizabeth Baylor and Antoinette Flores, Center for American Progress, October 27, 2014

Public investment in higher education is vital to the performance of our economy. Throughout the second half of the 20th century, the country invested heavily in postsecondary education—and it paid off, resulting in significant increases in the share of high school graduates going to college. However, after making great strides for decades, the country has begun to lose ground. College costs have skyrocketed. Between 2008 and 2012, the share of students borrowing to finance their education increased from 35 percent to 40 percent, and the average amount borrowed annually increased from $6,200 to $7,800.
We have measured the direct state investment in and enrollment at public universities and community colleges since the Great Recession. Information about each state is presented to support the need for a restored state-federal partnership in postsecondary education to ensure that high-quality programs remain affordable and a central tenant of the American Dream.

The information presented in this interactive is a state-by-state analysis of the pattern of direct investment in and enrollment at public colleges since the onset of the Great Recession in 2008. It presents data to support the need for a restored state-federal partnership in postsecondary education to ensure that high-quality programs remain affordable and a central tenant of the American Dream. In order to ensure that America continues to lead the way postsecondary education, our system of public universities and four-year colleges, community colleges, and vocational training centers need proper resources to adequately prepare the next generation of Americans to learn, work, and live in the 21st century.
See also:
A Great Recession, a Great Retreat by David Bergeron, Elizabeth Baylor, and Antoinette Flores
Effects of State Higher Education Cuts on Communities of Color by Farah Z. Ahmad

Do Public Tuition Subsidies Promote College Enrollment? Evidence from Community College Taxing Districts in Texas

Source: Paco Martorell, Brian P. McCall, Isaac McFarlin, US Census Bureau Center for Economic Studies Paper No. CES-WP- 14-32, September 1, 2014

From the abstract:
This paper estimates the effect of tuition rates on college enrollment using data for Texas from the 1990 and 2000 Censuses and the 2004-2010 American Community Surveys and geographical data on Community College Taxing Districts. The effect of tuition on enrollment is identified by the facts that tuition rates for those living within a taxing district are lower than those living outside the taxing district and in Texas not all geographic locations are in a taxing district. While the estimated effect of tuition on enrollment depends on the sample used, it is negative and mostly statistically significant in the samples of adults 18 and older and negative and sometimes statistically significant in the samples of traditional age students 18 to 24. The estimated effect of tuition on enrollment, however, is found to vary considerably by poverty level status with an increase in tuition rates having a statistically significant negative effect on college enrollment for those with household incomes that are at least 200% of the poverty level both for traditional aged students 18 to 24 years old and all adults 18 and older.

Child care instability from 6 to 36 months and the social adjustment of children in prekindergarten

Source: Mary E. Bratsch-Hines, Irina Mokrova, Lynne Vernon-Feagans, Early Childhood Research Quarterly, Available online 16 September 2014
(subscription required)

Highlights
• Child care instability was measured as the number of child care provider changes.
• The number of overall changes was divided into changes across and within settings.
• Several covariates were included to account for potential family selection bias.
• Overall and across-setting changes significantly predicted to social adjustment.

From the abstract:
Most children in the United States experience nonparental child care during early childhood, and many children experience changes in their care during this period. Changes in care, or child care instability, have been argued to disrupt children’s emerging relationships with others and may impede children’s social-emotional development, particularly when changes occur during infancy and toddlerhood. Data for this study were drawn from the Family Life Project, a longitudinal study representative of families living in rural low-wealth areas. With a sample of 1292 children who were followed from six months to prekindergarten, this study examined the associations between cumulative child provider instability (measured as overall changes or changes across or within settings) from 6 to 36 months and children’s social adjustment at prekindergarten. A number of factors were included to control for family selection into child care. Results suggested that more overall child care provider instability was negatively associated with teacher ratings of social adjustment at prekindergarten. This association was driven by provider instability across but not within settings, though effect sizes were small. These findings point to an increased need to understand how early child care instability may be related to children’s subsequent development.

Public School Choice: An Economic Analysis

Source: Levon Barseghyan, Damon Clark, Stephen Coate, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), NBER Working Paper No. w20701, November 2014
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Public school choice programs give households a free choice of public school and provide schools incentives to compete for students. Proponents of these programs argue that by the usual market logic, choice and competition will improve the quality of the education that schools provide. Critics counter that the usual market logic does not translate easily to schools, since households’ perceptions of school quality depend not only on the efforts of school personnel but also on the composition of the student body (i.e., households have peer preferences). This paper advances this debate by developing and analyzing an economic model of public school choice. To capture the pro-choice argument, the model assumes that a neighborhood enrollment policy that provides schools with no incentives to exert effort is replaced by a prototypical public school choice policy in which households have a free choice of school and schools have incentives to compete for students. To capture the anti-choice argument the model assumes that households have peer preferences. The analysis of the equilibrium of this model generates three findings that highlight potential limitations of choice programs.

State Expenditure Report (Fiscal 2012-2014 Data)

Source: National Association of State Budget Officers, 2014

This annual report examines spending in the functional areas of state budgets: elementary and secondary education, higher education, public assistance, Medicaid, corrections, transportation, and all other. It also includes data on the State Children’s Health Insurance Program and on revenue sources in state general funds.

The latest edition of NASBO’s State Expenditure Report finds that total state spending in fiscal 2014 is estimated to have grown at its fastest pace since before the recession, largely due to an increase in federal Medicaid funds as a majority of states chose to expand enrollment under the Affordable Care Act. Total state spending growth in fiscal 2013 was more modest; however, total state expenditure did return to positive growth following declines in fiscal 2012.
Related:
Summary

Nutritional Comparison of Packed and School Lunches in Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten Children Following the Implementation of the 2012–2013 National School Lunch Program Standards

Source: Alisha R. Farris, Sarah Misyak, Kiyah J. Duffey, George C. Davis, Kathy Hosig, Naama Atzaba-Poria, Mary M. McFerren, Elena L. Serrano, Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, Vol. 46 no. 6, November–December 2014
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Objective: Approximately 40% of children bring a packed lunch to school. Little is known about the quality of these lunches. This study examined the nutritional quality of packed lunches compared with school lunches for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten children after the implementation of 2012–2013 National School Lunch Program standards.
Methods: The researchers collected observational data for packed and school lunches from 3 schools in rural Virginia for 5 consecutive school days and analyzed them for macro and micro nutrients.
Results: Of the 1,314 observations collected; 42.8% were packed lunches and 57.2% were school lunches. Energy, fat, saturated fat, sugar, vitamin C, and iron were significantly higher whereas protein, sodium, fiber, vitamin A, and calcium were significantly lower for packed lunches than school lunches.
Conclusions and Implications: Packed lunches were of less nutritional quality than school lunches. Additional research is needed to explore factors related to choosing packed over school lunches.

School Nurses Race to the Top: The Pilot Year of How One District’s School Nurses Revised Their Evaluation Process

Source: Louise Marie Haffke, Paula Damm, Barbara Cross, Journal of School Nursing, Vol. 30 no. 6, December 2014
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
During the 2013–2014 school year, the Shaker Heights, Ohio City school district was mandated to change its evaluation process as part of the Race to the Top initiative. Although not required by the federal or state Departments of Education, the Shaker Heights City school district tasked all members of their faculty and staff, including school nurses, to change their evaluation process in an effort to improve students’ performances and outcomes. This article chronicles how the Shaker Heights school nurses modified their evaluation process by adhering to the scopes and standards of school nursing as described by the American Nurses Association and National Association of School Nurses. Their revised evaluation tool could usefully serve as a model for school districts nationwide; it improves student outcomes, increases the professionalism of the school nurse specialty, increases administrative understanding of their role, and increases their accountability as independent health providers in the school.