Category Archives: Schools K-12

A Contract Campaign from Virtual to In Their Face

Source: Dave Staiger, Labor Notes, September 1, 2017

When confronted with a concessionary demand at the bargaining table, what if you filled the room with rank-and-file members? What would happen?

Kalamazoo, Michigan, teachers received an urgent message in July from their union’s private Facebook account for members: in bargaining, the district was demanding a pay freeze.

Within an hour teachers began to arrive at negotiations; soon they packed the room and turned the bargaining process on its head. All told, 46 members showed up at the union office on a beautiful summer day. The rapid response dramatically changed the course of bargaining…..

More Than 77 Million People Enrolled in U.S. Schools, Census Bureau Reports

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Release Number: CB17-142, August 28, 2017

The number of people enrolled in America’s schools reached 77.2 million in 2016, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Since 1996, total school enrollment has grown 9.9 percent.

Enrollment in kindergarten through eighth grade has not significantly changed during the past decade, increasing from 36.1 million in 2006 to 36.6 million a decade later. These 2016 figures show that non-Hispanic whites made up nearly 51 percent of all students in kindergarten through eighth grade, while Hispanic or Latino students made up 25.1 percent. Black students were 15.1 percent of the total; Asian students were 5.4 percent

The number enrolled in high school remained steady between 2011 and 2016, while full-time college enrollment (undergraduate and graduate) increased over the same time for both men, women and all race groups. Full-time college enrollment in 2016 was 75.1 percent of all college enrollment, up from 70.0 percent in 2006 and 66.3 percent in 2000. ….

Ohio Teachers Win Back Regular Raises

Source: Myra Warne, Labor Notes, July 27, 2017

In 2014, members of the Maysville Education Association voted to accept a deal that would end our pay freeze, which dated back to 2011, in exchange for replacing our traditional pay scale with a new merit-pay system.

Local union leaders were warned by Ohio Education Association staff that a return to the step-and-ladder system of regular raises might be impossible—or require a strike. But this year, as the money for sweeteners and incentives dried up, a group of members committed to winning back our old pay scale…..

Adjusting State Public School Teacher Salaries for Interstate Comparison

Source: Dan S. Rickman, Hongbo Wang, John V. Winters, Public Finance Review, OnlineFirst, Published June 20, 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Using the three-year microdata sample of the American Community Survey for 2009 to 2011, we compute public school teacher salaries for comparison across US states. Teacher salaries are adjusted for state differences in teacher characteristics, cost of living, federal tax rates, household amenity attractiveness, and location within the metropolitan versus nonmetropolitan portions of the states. We find high persistence in the state rankings of nominal public school teacher salaries across time. Yet, we also find that the rankings significantly shift with the adjustments, suggesting they are necessary for meaningful comparisons of public teacher salaries across states. The differences in teacher pay across states also greatly narrow with the adjustments. Finally, this is the first study to show and test that teacher salary comparisons across states should be based on a comparison of public school teacher salaries with nonteacher college graduates in the states, adjusted for differences in personal characteristics and effective federal tax rates.

Public Education Finances: 2015

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Educational Finance Branch, Report Number: G15-ASPEF, June 14, 2017

From the summary:
The U.S. Census Bureau conducts the Census of Governments and the Annual Surveys of State and Local Government Finances as authorized by law under Title 13, U.S. Code, Sections 161 and 182. The Census of Governments has been conducted every 5 years since 1957, while the annual survey has been conducted annually since 1977 in years when the Census of Governments is not conducted. The 2015 Annual Survey of School System Finances, similar to previous annual surveys and censuses of governments, covers the entire range of government finance activities—revenue, expenditure, debt, and assets (cash and security holdings).

This report contains financial statistics relating to public elementary-secondary (prekindergarten through grade 12) education. It includes national and state financial aggregates and displays data for the 100 largest school systems by enrollment in the United States….

The Condition of Education 2017

Source: Joel McFarland, Bill Hussar, Cristobal de Brey, Tom Snyder, Xiaolei Wang, Sidney Wilkinson-Flicker, Semhar Gebrekristos, Jijun Zhang, Amy Rathbun, Amy Barmer, Farrah Bullock Mann, Serena Hinz, Thomas Nachazel, National Center for Education Statistics, NCES 2017144, May 2017

The Condition of Education is a congressionally mandated annual report summarizing important developments and trends in education using the latest available data. The 2017 Condition of Education report presents 50 indicators on topics ranging from prekindergarten through postsecondary education, as well as labor force outcomes and international comparisons. Also included in the report are 4 Spotlight indicators that provide more in-depth analyses on selected topics.
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Evaluating the Role of States in Federal Education Programs

Source: Elizabeth Whitehouse, Leah Byers, Council of State Governments, The Current State, Issue 104, May 15, 2017

K-12 public education in the U.S. is funded primarily by state and local governments. In fact, only about 8 percent of elementary and secondary education spending comes from the federal government. About 47 percent of total K-12 education spending in the U.S. comes from state governments. States vary greatly in their ratio of federal, state and local funding.

How Black Lives Matter Came to Philadelphia’s Schools

Source: Tamara Anderson and Shira Cohen, Labor Notes, May 8, 2017

When teachers in Seattle planned a Black Lives Matter action in response to an incident of violent racism last October, our caucus of teachers in Philadelphia got inspired.

Seattle’s John Muir Elementary had received bomb threats after planning a motivational event where elementary students on their way into school would be greeted by hundreds of African American men. After the threats, the union’s representative assembly voted to support the event, and thousands of educators wore Black Lives Matter T-shirts to support their students of color.

The Caucus of Working Educators (WE) saw our chance to bring that spirit to Philadelphia. But we knew our action would have to go beyond the hashtag, pushing educators, parents, and students into an honest and difficult dialogue.

About 20 percent of Philadelphia teachers are African American. Our city is mired in poverty and income disparity. Union jobs are steadily decreasing, and the district is shuttering public schools in predominantly Black and Latino neighborhoods. So we wanted to do more than a day of solidarity…..

Do state spending differences create an unequal playing field for children?

Source: Julia B. Isaacs, Urban Institute, April 25, 2017

Some states spend less on their children than others, including public education, health, and social services costs. Arizona, for example, spent less than $4,900 per child in 2013, whereas New York spent slightly more than $12,200 per child (after adjusting for cost of living).

These wide disparities in public investment raise concerns about whether children nationwide are on equal footing when pursuing the American Dream. Though children’s outcomes are affected by many factors, health and education outcomes tend to be better in states that spend more on children.

Differences in K–12 education funding cause most of these differences. New York also spends more per capita than Arizona on Medicaid services for children, cash assistance, child welfare services, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, child care assistance, and child support enforcement. In addition, New York has a state earned income tax credit, but Arizona does not…..
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Unequal Playing Field? State Differences in Spending on Children in 2013
Source: Julia B. Isaacs, Sara Edelstein, Urban Institute, Research Report, April 25, 2017

From the abstract:
For children to thrive and reach their full potential, they need adequate food and shelter, high-quality health care and education, safe environments, and supportive parents and families. Though families play a key role in meeting children’s needs, society also provides resources and services to support children’s healthy development.

Through their funding of public schools, health systems, and social services, state and local governments provide resources and services to support children’s healthy development. Although not all investments translate directly into better child outcomes, a wide disparity in public investments raises concerns about whether children from low-spending states are on equal footing when pursuing the American Dream….