Category Archives: Education

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.
Related:
webinar
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.

Higher Education: State Funding Trends and Policies on Affordability

Source: U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), GAO-15-151, December 16, 2014

From the summary:
From fiscal years 2003 through 2012, state funding for all public colleges decreased, while tuition rose. Specifically, state funding decreased by 12 percent overall while median tuition rose 55 percent across all public colleges. The decline in state funding for public colleges may have been due in part to the impact of the recent recession on state budgets. Colleges began receiving less of their total funding from states and increasingly relied on tuition revenue during this period. Tuition revenue for public colleges increased from 17 percent to 25 percent, surpassing state funding by fiscal year 2012, as shown below. Correspondingly, average net tuition, which is the estimated tuition after grant aid is deducted, also increased by 19 percent during this period. These increases have contributed to the decline in college affordability as students and their families are bearing the cost of college as a larger portion of their total family budgets.

Bridge the Gap: Rebuilding America’s Middle Skills

Source: Jennifer Burrowes,Alexis Young, Dan Restuccia, Joseph Fuller and Manjari Raman, Harvard Business School, Accenture and Burning Glass Technologies, 2014

From the summary:
When it comes to middle-skills jobs in the United States—those that require more than a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree—there is a misalignment in the overall system that should move a potential employee smoothly from a relevant educational program to a good job.

That’s one of the findings of a new report, “Bridge the Gap: Rebuilding America’s Middle Skills,” a joint effort of Harvard Business School, Accenture and Burning Glass Technologies. Businesses worry about their ability to grow and compete because they cannot find workers with the right skills. At the same time, millions of Americans struggle to find full-time, life-long employment at a decent wage. Separating employers from employees is a growing chasm—a mismatch between the demand and supply of skills.

What can be done? The report contends that closing the middle-skills gap will depend on actions that go beyond simply improving the efficiency of today’s system. Rather, the focus must be on developing a new middle-skills ecosystem that provides employers sufficient access to talent with the skills to fill competitively important jobs. Coordinated work among employers, educators and policymakers will be essential.
Related:
View the Infographic: U.S. Companies Expect Demand for Middle-Skills Jobs to Increase
View the Infographic: Closing the Middle-Skills Gap: What Businesses Should Do

Analyzing the Labor Market Outcomes of Occupational Licensing

Source: Maury Gittleman, Mark A. Klee, Morris Kleiner, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Staff Report 504, October 2014

From the abstract:
Recent assessments of occupational licensing have shown varying effects of the institution on labor market outcomes. This study revisits the relationship between occupational licensing and labor market outcomes by analyzing a new topical module to the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). Relative to previously available data, the topical module offers more detailed information on occupational licensing from government, with a larger sample size and access to a richer set of person-level characteristics. We exploit this larger and more detailed data set to examine the labor market outcomes of occupational licensing and how workers obtain these licenses from government. More specifically, we analyze whether there is evidence of a licensing wage premium, and how this premium varies with aspects of the regulatory regime such as the requirements to obtain a license or certification and the level of government oversight. After controlling for observable heterogeneity, including occupational status, we find that those with a license earn higher pay, are more likely to be employed, and have a higher probability of retirement and pension plan offers.

The Influence of Low-Income Children’s Participation in Head Start on Their Parents’ Education and Employment

Source: Terri J. Sabol and P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Volume 34 Issue 1, Winter 2015
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Head Start is the oldest and largest federally funded preschool program in the United States. From its inception in 1965, Head Start not only provided early childhood education, care, and services for children, but also sought to promote parents’ success. However, almost all evaluation studies of Head Start have focused solely on children’s cognitive and social outcomes rather than on parents’ outcomes. The present study examines whether children’s participation in Head Start promotes parents’ educational advancement and employment. We use data from the Head Start Impact Study (HSIS), a randomized trial of over 4,000 newly entering three- and four-year-old children. We find that parents of children in the three-year-old cohort (but not the four-year-old cohort), who were randomly assigned to and participated in Head Start, had steeper increases in their own educational attainment by child age six years compared to parents of children in the control group. This pattern is especially strong for parents who had at least some college experience at baseline, as well as for African-American parents. We do not find evidence that Head Start helped parents enter or return to the workforce over time. Results are discussed in the context of using high-quality early childhood education as a platform for improving both child and parent outcomes.