Category Archives: Education

States Size Up Obama Pre-K Proposal

Source: Christina A. Samuels, Education Week, Published Online: February 26, 2013
(subscription required)

Well before President Barack Obama vaulted early-childhood learning to the top of the education agenda in his recent State of the Union address, states were taking steps to bolster their own preschool programs. More than a dozen states—including some, such as Hawaii and Mississippi, that have had no state-financed preschool programs in the past—are currently eyeing proposals to launch or expand early education.

AASA Members Detail Draconian Impact of Sequester’s Cuts

Source: American Association of School Administrators, Leading Edge Blog, February 26, 2013

From the press release:
School superintendents across the nation are bracing for the deep cuts of sequestration, the federal policy consequence for continued Congressional inaction. In response to a call to action issued during AASA’s National Conference on Education last week, hundreds of districts across the nation provided details describing what the cuts would look like in their district, reporting jobs cut, programs eliminated, and other negative impacts…. Nearly 400 responses from 42 states paint a dreary picture as it relates to the nation’s public schools and sequestration….

… School districts are finalizing their budgets for the 2013‐14 school year; this is the school year in which federal FY13 funding and policy (including sequestration) would play out in schools. This means school superintendents are bracing for the cuts by building the cuts in to their budgets. When asked how they were preparing for sequestration last summer, more than half indicated they would build the cuts in to their budget.

With that budget now being finalized, this latest call to action asked AASA members to detail what the cuts look like:
– More than three quarters of respondents (77.9%) indicated their district would have to eliminate jobs as a result of sequestration.
– School districts will, on average, eliminate between 3.7 and 4.8 instructional positions as a result of sequestration. AASA analyzed the job cuts at two levels, averaging across all respondents (including those indicating they would NOT be eliminating positions) and averaging across only those respondents who will be making cuts due to sequestration….
See also:
Updated AASA Fiscal Cliff Toolkit
Source: American Association of School Administrators, December 2012

Food Fight: Small team of state examiners no match for schools that divert student meal funds

Source: Jim Sweeney, California Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes, February 6, 2013

Squeezed by years of unrelenting budget cuts, some California school districts are illegally dipping into student meal funds, misappropriating millions of dollars intended to feed California’s poorest children.

In recent years, in cases that seldom receive any public attention, the California
Department of Education (CDE) has ordered eight districts to repay nearly $170 million to student meal programs. Perhaps more troubling, department officials candidly acknowledge they have no idea how big the problem may be and fear they may have uncovered only a hint of the ongoing abuse, an investigation by the Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes has found.

The uncertainty reflects a challenged oversight system designed by the federal government, but carried out by a small, overmatched team of state examiners who are mostly nutritionists and dietitians, not accountants. Nutritional standards are their top priority and the system is set up to be collaborative, with prearranged inspections of cafeterias and food service operations. Perhaps as a result, most of the recent investigations have been triggered by whistleblowers.

…Cost-saving shortcuts included serving processed rather than fresh foods, short lunch periods, rundown cafeterias and insufficient staff to properly plan and manage an optimum food service operations…

Comprehensive Survey of College and University Benefits Programs 2012

Source: College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR), 2012

From the press release:
The College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) recently released the findings of its 2012 Comprehensive Survey of College and University Benefits Programs. For the 354 institutions completing this year’s survey, the median total premium costs for the three most common plan types (PPO, HMO and POS) increased 6.7% for employee-only coverage and 6.0% for employee + family coverage; comparable increases last year were 7.3% for both types of coverage. Median annual plan premiums increased to $6,396 for employee-only coverage and to $16,840 for employee + family coverage. The percentage increases in costs are less this year than in the preceding two years.

In other healthcare-related findings, the percentage of responding institutions offering healthcare benefits for same sex partners increased for the eighth straight year, rising to 57% (for opposite sex domestic partners, the percentage remained about the same at 42%); a majority of responding institutions continue to provide healthcare benefits for retirees under the age of 65 and slightly less than half do so for those 65 and over; more than 70% of responding institutions have a wellness program; consumer-driven health plans are offered by 34% of this year’s respondents (up from just 11% in 2007); and most responding institutions offer voluntary benefits that have no direct cost to the institution. Only about a third of responding institutions have developed a strategy for what their healthcare benefits should be in three years.

Some non-healthcare-related findings: almost all responding institutions provide basic life insurance, long-term disability, paid time off, tuition assistance and retirement benefits; about a quarter of responding institutions provide child daycare, but most do not subsidize the costs (even fewer provide sick-child daycare); the median number of paid holiday days each year is 12 as is the median number of sick days (only a small percentage of respondents have a formal PTO plan combining vacation/sick leave and other benefits, and the median number of vacation days varies by employee category)…
See also:
Fact Sheet
Responding Institutions – Healthcare Portion of Survey
Responding Institutions – Non-Healthcare Portion of Survey
Professionals in Higher Education Salary Survey

U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2012 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change* in Endowment Market Value from FY 2011 to FY 2012

Source: National Association of College and University Business Officers and Commonfund Institute, Revised February 4, 2013

Before reviewing the data on the following pages, please note:
The percentage change values listed for the participating institutions DO NOT represent the rate of return for the endowments’ investments. Rather, the percentage change in the market value of an endowment from FY 2011 to FY 2012 reflects the net impact of:
1) withdrawals to fund institutional operations and capital expenses;
2) the payment of endowment management and investment fees;
3) additions from donor gifts and other contributions; and
4) investment gains or losses.

The market values also include the estimated valuations of real estate and other “illiquid” assets, which may have large increases or decreases in value during a relatively short period of time. In addition, transfers to the endowment from other institutional budget accounts may account for the differences in growth in endowment assets.

These factors suggest that any large increases or decreases in endowments over the past year may be exaggerated. As such, large percentage changes should be interpreted very cautiously.
See also:
Public NCSE Tables

Harvard Library Workers Resist Top-Down Restructuring and Austerity

Source: James Cersonsky, Labor Notes, February 12, 2013

With an endowment of $32 billion, Harvard is the wealthiest university in the world. Upon rebounding from the recession, the university is remodeling all its dorms, expanding its online course program, and constructing a new science center. Its library workers, meanwhile, have gotten the short end of the stick.

Workers beat back threatened mass layoffs last spring, but are now enduring the consolidation of their work in a new “shared services” model that translates into bigger workloads and fragmented work relationships. Now, along with the rest of Harvard’s clerical and technical employees, library workers are mobilizing for a fair—and long-overdue—contract….

Projections of Education Statistics to 2021

Source: William J Hussar, Tabitha M. Bailey, National Center for Education Statistics, NCES 2013008, January 2013

From the abstract:
This publication provides projections for key education statistics. It includes statistics on enrollment, graduates, teachers, and expenditures in elementary and secondary schools, and enrollment and earned degrees conferred expenditures of degree-granting institutions. For the Nation, the tables, figures, and text contain data on enrollment, teachers, graduates, and expenditures for the past 14 years and projections to the year 2021. For the 50 States and the District of Columbia, the tables, figures, and text contain data on projections of public elementary and secondary enrollment and public high school graduates to the year 2021. In addition, the report includes a methodology section describing models and assumptions used to develop national and state-level projections.