Category Archives: Schools K-12

Not Seeing Eye to Eye on Frontline Work: Manager-Employee Disagreement and Its Effects on Employees

Source: John D. Marvel, Public Administration Review, Volume 77, Issue 6, November/December 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The author uses nationally representative data on matched pairs of public school principals and teachers to test whether principal–teacher disagreement about the severity of school problems is associated with teacher turnover. More specifically, the author tests a managerial efficacy hypothesis that proposes that employees will be less likely to leave their jobs when their managers perceive problems to be severe, holding employees’ perceptions of the same problems constant. The author also tests a managerial buffering hypothesis that proposes that employees’ perceptions of problem severity will be more weakly related to their turnover probability when managers perceive problems to be severe. Little evidence is found for either hypothesis, raising questions about public school principals’ ability to translate problem recognition into problem remediation. More generally, the findings suggest a reexamination of the generic claim that “management matters,” which implies that public managers have the power to do things that can help employees perform their jobs well.

Commentary: Asking the Right Question on Performance Pay—and Getting a Surprising Answer

Source: Kate Walsh, Public Administration Review, Volume 77, Issue 6, November/December 2017
(subscription required)

The idea of paying effective teachers more than less effective teachers has been hotly debated for more than two decades, ever since it became possible to estimate an individual teacher’s effect on student learning. A new study by Michael Jones and Michael T. Hartney, “Show Who the Money? Teacher Sorting Patterns and Performance Pay across U.S. School Districts,” tackles a promising benefit of performance pay long asserted by proponents but largely unexamined by researchers: whether performance pay improves district recruitment efforts.

Most research on performance pay has focused on its purported benefit as a motivator, hypothesizing that higher pay motivates teachers to work harder and become more effective—a notion that troubles me because it suggests that many teachers are not already working as hard as they can. The recruitment question pursued by Jones and Hartney seems more to the point, as is the use of performance pay as a strategic retention tool. Higher pay targeted to great teachers should encourage them to stay in the classroom while nudging less effective teachers who do not qualify for higher pay to consider other careers.

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Show Who the Money? Teacher Sorting Patterns and Performance Pay across U.S. School Districts
Source: Michael Jones and Michael T. Hartney, Public Administration Review, Volume 77, Issue 6, November/December 2017
(subscription required)

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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