Category Archives: Schools K-12

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…..
Related:
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….

Kids struggle to safely cross busy streets

Source: Richard Lewis, Futurity, April 24, 2017

Children under a certain age don’t have the perceptual judgment and motor skills to cross a busy road consistently without putting themselves in danger, report researchers.

For the new study, children 6 to 14 years old participated in a realistic simulated environment and had to cross one lane of a busy road multiple times.

Children up to their early teenage years had difficulty consistently crossing the street safely, with accident rates as high as 8 percent with 6-year-olds. Only children who were 14 were able to navigate street crossing without incident. Children who were 12 mostly compensated for inferior road-crossing motor skills by choosing bigger gaps between cars…..
Related:
Changes in Perception–Action Tuning Over Long Time Scales: How Children and Adults Perceive and Act on Dynamic Affordances When Crossing Roads
Source: Elizabeth E. O’Neal, Yuanyuan Jiang, Lucas J. Franzen, Pooya Rahimian, Junghum Paul Yon, Joseph K. Kearney, Jodie M. Plumert, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, April 20, 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
This investigation examined developmental change in how children perceive and act on dynamic affordances when crossing roads on foot. Six- to 14-year-olds and adults crossed roads with continuous cross-traffic in a large-screen, immersive pedestrian simulator. We observed change both in children’s gap choices and in their ability to precisely synchronize their movement with the opening of a gap. Younger children were less discriminating than older children and adults, choosing fewer large gaps and more small gaps. Interestingly, 12-year-olds’ gap choices were significantly more conservative than those of 6-, 8-, 10-, and 14-year-olds, and adults. Timing of entry behind the lead vehicle in the gap (a key measure of movement coordination) improved steadily with development, reaching adultlike levels by age 14. Coupled with their poorer timing of entry, 6-, 8-, and 10-year-olds’ gap choices resulted in significantly less time to spare and more collisions than 14-year-olds and adults. Time to spare did not differ between 12-year-olds, 14-year-olds, and adults, indicating that 12-year-olds’ more conservative gap choices compensated for their poorer timing of entry. The findings show that children’s ability to perceive and act on dynamic affordances undergoes a prolonged period of development, and that older children appear to compensate for their poorer movement timing skills by adjusting their gap decisions to match their crossing actions. Implications for the development of perception–action tuning and road-crossing skills are discussed.

Building jobs in the Rust Belt: The role of education

Source: Dana Mitra, The Conversation, April 11, 2017

….When asked how to improve Rust Belt communities, the answer of working-class residents is still “jobs, jobs, jobs.” In other words, residents hope that a mega-corporation will ride in like a white knight and employ the community, yet steel and coal are unlikely to make a strong comeback in the United States.

As a researcher of education policy at Penn State, I wanted to explore whether K-12 schools in the Rust Belt region were still preparing young people for the mill towns of old or were responding to the economic realities of today. What adaptations might they make to build upon the resources that still exist in Rust Belt communities?….

State Education Policy Tracking

Source: Education Commission of the States, 2017

This map displays enacted and vetoed bills on a wide variety of education topics for the 2013 through 2017 legislative sessions, updated daily. You can sort this information by year, state, and/or issue and sub-issue.
– Use the year dropdown to add or remove a year’s legislative session.
– To sort by state, click on a state on the map and the bills will display below the map.
– To sort by issue and sub-issue, click an issue area bar then a sub-issue bar to display the bills.

Once you’ve sorted and found the bills, click the arrow at the right side of a bill to see the detailed summary of the bill. To reset the map, use the “reset” button at the bottom of the page. To view an archive of our old state policy tracking database for the 2010 through 2016 legislative sessions, please go here.

States Perform

Source: Council of State Governments, 2017

States Perform provides users with access to interactive, customizable and up-to-date comparative performance measurement data for 50 states in six key areas: fiscal and economic, public safety and justice, energy and environment, transportation, health and human services, and education. Compare performance across a few or all states, profile one state, view trends over time, and customize your results with graphs and maps.

What everyone should know about their state’s budget

Source: Urban Institute, 2017
[tool was funded by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation]

State and local governments educate schoolchildren, train the future workforce, care for the sick and elderly, build roads, patrol neighborhoods, extinguish fires, and maintain parks. In short, they’re pretty important. But few Americans understand where their state and local tax dollars go and to what effect. It’s not just the amount of money spent that matters, it’s why that money is spent the way it is.

Through this web tool, we aim to fill that knowledge gap. The tool allows users to get under the hood of their government and understand not only how much a state spends but also what drives that spending.

To do this, we apply a basic framework to all major areas of government spending. The framework says that state spending per capita is both a function of how many people receive a service and how much that service costs the state for each recipient. ….

…In this tool, you’ll see the spending per capita breakdown for all states and the District of Columbia across all major functional categories. It allows you to see how each state ranks, and you can sort by any factor you choose. (One frequent outlier is DC; though included in the rankings, it often functions more like a city than a state) We’ve included some annotations to guide you along the way. By exploring the tool, you’ll gain a sense of how much each state spends on any given area and why states spend what they do. ….

State Expenditure Report (Fiscal 2014-2016)

Source: National Association of State Budget Officers, 2016

Overview:
This annual report examines spending in the functional areas of state budgets: elementary and secondary education, higher education, public assistance, Medicaid, corrections, transportation, and all other. It also includes data on the State Children’s Health Insurance Program and on revenue sources in state general funds.

– The total state spending growth rate slowed in fiscal 2016, following a 10-year high in fiscal 2015.
– Medicaid continued to increase as a share of total state spending, while K-12 remained the largest category from state funds.
– Transportation led the way in spending growth from state funds in both fiscal 2015 and fiscal 2016, while Medicaid experienced the largest gains from all funds.
– Revenue growth slowed considerably in fiscal 2016 as states saw weaker collections from sales, personal income, and corporate income taxes.
Related:
Summary
Archives

Manager–Employee Gender Congruence and the Bureaucratic Accountability of Public Service Employees Evidence From Schools

Source: Mogens Jin Pedersen, Vibeke Lehmann Nielsen, Public Personnel Management, Vol. 45 no. 4, December 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Much theory suggests that manager–employee gender congruence (that manager and employee share the same gender) may influence employee accountability. This article empirically tests this notion by examining how manager–employee gender congruence among public service employees relates to two key aspects of bureaucratic accountability: (a) organizational goal alignment and (b) compliance with organizational rules and regulations. Using school fixed effects on teacher survey data and administrative school data, we find that male teachers with male principals are less aligned with their school’s goals and less compliant with its rules and regulations than are male teachers with female principals.