Category Archives: Education

A Bleak Outlook for Higher Education in the Northeast

Source: Jason E. Lane, Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, Observations, February 2013

A series of recent reports suggest a bleak outlook for higher education. Moody’s had downgraded its outlook for the entire higher education sector to negative. Other recent reports show declining state appropriations, erratic returns generated by university endowments, and that the Northeast will be losing significant numbers of high school students in the coming decades.

In this new observation piece, Jason Lane, Rockefeller Institute’s director of education studies, examines the data and argues that this new environment might lead to more closures and consolidations of institutions in the Northeast if they are not prepared to adapt to this new environment.
Knocking at the College Door: Projections of High School Graduates
Source: Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, Print publication number: 2A366, December 2012

Announcement: Moody’s: 2013 outlook for entire US Higher Education sector changed to negative
Source: Moody’s Investors Service, Global Credit Research, January 16, 2013

In a Volatile Economy, Colleges’ Endowment Returns Fall Flat
Source: Don Troop, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 1, 2013

Education Ranking Systems Are Based on Varying Measures of Success

Source: Laura Bornfreund, New America Foundation, Early Ed Watch blog, January 28, 2013

Three organizations recently released new education rankings of states. Education Week’s Quality Counts is a comprehensive analysis of states’ education policies and student outcomes, conducted by the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center. New this year is a ranking report from StudentsFirst, under the leadership of former DC schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, which looks at how “reform-minded” states are, as defined by policies such as expanding the charter school sector and tying teacher and principal evaluation to student performance. The National Council on Teacher Quality’s State Teacher Policy Yearbook hones in on teacher preparation systems. An older, fourth report – the Foundation for Child Development’s Child Well-Being Index – puts all three new rankings in perspective, by taking a deep dive into a variety of factors that affect student learning, both within and outside of the classroom. …

School Enrollment and Work Status: 2011

Source: Jessica Davis, U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey Briefs, ACSBR/11-14, October 2012

This brief presents data on school enrollment and student work status for the nation based on the 2011
American Community Survey (ACS). It takes a look at the proportion of students who worked and how much they worked over the previous year. Work status questions in the ACS are asked of persons aged 16 and over, so in addition to college students, high school students are included in this analysis….

Findings include:
– In 2011, there were 11.1 million students aged 16 and over in high school and the majority of them did not work (71 percent). Another 28 percent of high school students aged 16 and over worked less than full-time, year-round, while 1 percent of them were full-time, year-round workers.
– In 2011, of the 19.7 million students aged 16 and over enrolled in undergraduate college, 72 percent worked (20 percent full-time, year-round workers and 52 percent less than that).
– In 2011, there were 4.1 million graduate students and 82 percent of them worked (Appendix Table 1-A). Almost half of graduate students were full-time, year-round workers.

Compensation Matters: The Case of Teachers

Source: Alicia H. Munnell and Rebecca Cannon Fraenkel, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, State and Local Pension Plans, SLP#28, January 2013

From the key findings:
• Many public sector pension plans have recently cut pension benefits for new hires, thereby reducing compensation.
• The analysis looks at how such cutbacks could affect the quality of teachers.
• One proxy for teacher quality is the average SAT score at a teacher’s undergraduate institution.
• The analysis finds that school districts with higher wages and/or higher pensions are able to hire teachers from institutions with higher SAT scores.
• These results suggest that cutting compensation for new teachers is not costless, as it will likely reduce applicant quality.

Grapevine, Fiscal Year 2012-13

Source: Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University and the State Higher Education Executive Officers, January 2013

Since 1960, Grapevine has published annual compilations of data on state tax support for higher education, including general fund appropriations for universities, colleges, community colleges, and state higher education agencies. Each year’s Grapevine survey has asked states for tax appropriations data for the new fiscal year and for revisions (if any) to data reported in previous years.

As of fiscal year 2010, Grapevine tables–including both tax and non-tax support–have been produced by Illinois State University’s Center for the Study of Education Policy in cooperation with the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO). The Grapevine survey has been consolidated with the annual survey used by SHEEO in its State Higher Education Finance (SHEF) project. This consolidated questionnaire asks for data that are compiled in a new State Support for Higher Education database. This database, in turn, is used to produce both the annual Grapevine tables, which provide a first look at state appropriations for the new fiscal year, and the annual SHEF report, which offers a more complete examination of trends in total state support for higher education, factoring in inflation and enrollment. The SHEF report for FY2012 will be released shortly by SHEEO.

The results of the Grapevine survey for fiscal year 2012-13 (FY13), including tax and nontax monies, are compiled in the national tables available on this website. The FY13 data summarized in these tables represent initial allocations and estimates reported by the states from September 2012 through January 14, 2013 and are subject to change. Andy Carlson of the SHEEO staff led the data collection effort. Further revisions may be made as states make corrections or adjust their budgets in the face of ongoing revenue shortfalls. In addition, it is important to note that unlike Grapevine reports issued prior to fiscal year 2009-10, the data from the survey for FY13 include only state totals. The new, consolidated questionnaire does not ask states to provide appropriations figures for individual colleges and universities. (Further information on the Grapevine data on the “Method” page of this web site.)

College Funding In Context: Understanding The Difference In Higher Education Appropriations Across The States

Source: David Weerts, Thomas Sanford, Leah Reinert, Dēmos, December 2012

From the summary:
…State appropriations have historically been the most important source of funding for higher education, but over the past two decades that support has waned. Between 1990 and 2010, real appropriations per full time equivalent student (FTE) declined by 26.1 percent, putting funding today at its lowest level since 1990. As real state spending per full time student decreased, institutions made up the difference by raising the price of attendance, shifting costs that were once a social investment onto students and their families instead. Over the same 20 year period, tuition costs have increased by 112 percent at 4-year public universities and by 71 percent at 2-year colleges. In many cases states attempted to mitigate the burgeoning cost of attendance by expanding financial aid programs, but the increasing reliance on merit-based aid means that assistance often fails to reach those low-income households who need it most. As tuition costs grew by 112 percent between 1990 and 2010, the median household income stagnated, growing by just 2.1 percent. With rising tuition and stagnating incomes, students and their families are taking on record levels of debt in order to pay for the opportunity to attend a college or university. In 2011, the total student debt held by American households outstripped credit card debt for the first time, a burden of more than $1 trillion.

Recessions put even more pressure on the higher education system by causing a shortfall in state revenues that tightens budgets and makes state investments more tenuous. These budgetary pressures can affect appropriations for years after the recession ends, and over the past generation the length of time that it has taken higher education funding to return to normalcy following a recession has increased….

…We analyzed patterns in state appropriations for higher education across all 50 states for the 20 year period from 1988 to 2009, looking at a broad array of factors that influence budgetary decisions. This study evaluates the importance of those factors, grouping them into three categories of influence on the outcome of state funding for higher education: economic, political, and cultural….

Innovation and Transformation in Public Sector Employment Relations: Future Prospects on a Contested Terrain

Source: Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld and Saul Rubinstein, For presentation at: The Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution 2012 Symposium, Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, February, 2012

Challenges to public sector collective bargaining drive a return to “first principles” regarding underlying rights in the public sector, the nature of public sector work, and the nature of labor markets. Building on this foundation, the paper presents a new institutional framework centered on “creating value” and “mitigating harm” in public sector employment relations. The importance of each is illustrated with data on innovation in public sector education. In particular, a review of seven cases of labor-management innovation in public education reveals the added value that can be achieved through joint initiatives centered on improving educational outcomes. Broader implications for innovation and transformation in public sector labor-management relations are identified.

Dishwashing Won't Kill Tummy-Troubling Norovirus: Study

Source: HealthDay, News & Views, December 13, 2012

Commercial dishwashers can kill everyday bacteria but not norovirus, the cause of stomach flu and many foodborne illnesses around the world, according to a new study.

Although restaurant-industry guidelines for cleaning dishes and silverware eliminate bacteria, they are not effective against norovirus, said researchers from Ohio State University. They found the virus can withstand both manual and mechanical washing….
See also:
Efficacies of Sodium Hypochlorite and Quaternary Ammonium Sanitizers for Reduction of Norovirus and Selected Bacteria during Ware-Washing Operations
Source: Lizanel Feliciano, Jianrong Li, Jaesung Lee, Melvin A. Pascall, PLOS One, December 5, 2012

School Bus verses Public Transportation: Secondary Educational Opportunities resulting from the Transportation Alternatives

Source: David Peterson, Transportation analyst for St. Paul (MN) Public Schools,White Paper, December 4, 2012

From the School Transportation News story:
In his paper “School Bus Versus Public Transportation: Secondary Educational Opportunities Resulting from the Transportation Alternatives,” David Peterson, transportation analyst for St. Paul (Minn.) Public Schools, set out to provide a solution to inflexible school bus schedules at dismissal that discourage participation in school-activity programs.

The first part of his solution is to assign students to neighborhood schools, were students can generally walk home after activities, if a ride on the school bus or with parents or others cannot be obtained. However, the majority of neighborhood students would still be school bus riders, which he adds is an “enormous” marginal cost savings for school districts over public transportation for large groups of students. And students with IEPs and 504 plans, homeless students and others with “special needs” would continue to ride the school bus unless other more economical means are identified on a case-by-case basis…