Category Archives: Schools K-12

Paid Parental Leave: On The Table

Source: Rob Taylor, Employment Alert, Volume 36 Issue 12, June 13, 2019
(subscription required)

Doubtless, teachers have taken notice. Last year Delaware Gov. Carney approved a new law giving state workers—including educators—12 weeks of paid parental leave. That’s dramatically different from the situation nationwide where just a few states offer that benefit. Also, the United States is widely known to be one of the least responsive of developed nations in this regard, a somewhat surprising occurrence given the push in this country to find creative solutions to the large, ongoing problem of teacher shortage.

In most places in the U.S., according to an EdWeek series, since teachers do not have paid time off related to pregnancy and birthing, they first use accumulated sick days to stay home with their newborn, and then go to unpaid leave, getting back to the classroom and a needed paycheck as rapidly as possible.

Related:
With No Paid Parental Leave, Many Teachers Return to Class Before They’re Ready
Source: Madeline Will, EdWeek, April 1, 2019
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Aggression Detectors: The Unproven, Invasive Surveillance Technology Schools Are Using to Monitor Students

Source: Jack Gillum and Jeff Kao, ProPublica and Wired June 25, 2019

…. The students were helping ProPublica test an aggression detector that’s used in hundreds of schools, health care facilities, banks, stores and prisons worldwide, including more than 100 in the U.S. Sound Intelligence, the Dutch company that makes the software for the device, plans to open an office this year in Chicago, where its chief executive will be based.

California-based Louroe Electronics, which has loaded the software on its microphones since 2015, advertises the devices in school safety magazines and at law enforcement conventions, and it said it has between 100 and 1,000 customers for them. Louroe’s marketing materials say the detection software enables security officers to “engage antagonistic individuals immediately, resolving the conflict before it turns into physical violence.” ….

‘Can’t pay their bills with love’: In many teaching jobs, teachers’ salaries can’t cover rent

Source: Erin Richards and Matt Wynn, USA TODAY, June 5, 2019

New teachers can’t afford median rent almost anywhere. Our city-by-city analysis validates a theme in teacher strikes. But that’s not the full story.

Related:
Low relative pay and high incidence of moonlighting play a role in the teacher shortage, particularly in high-poverty schools
The third report in “The Perfect Storm in the Teacher Labor Market” series
Source: Emma García and Elaine Weiss, Economic Policy Institute, May 9, 2019

What this series finds:
The teacher shortage is real, large and growing, and worse than we thought. When indicators of teacher quality (certification, relevant training, experience, etc.) are taken into account, the shortage is even more acute than currently estimated, with high-poverty schools suffering the most from the shortage of credentialed teachers.

What this report finds:
The perceived financial hardships in teaching are real. This report adds to the compelling evidence in Sylvia Allegretto and Larry Mishel’s recent research showing that teachers are paid a lot less than other comparable college graduates. After accounting for education, experience, and other factors known to affect earnings, teachers’ weekly wages in 2018 were 21.4 percent lower than their nonteaching peers. In 1996 that weekly wage penalty was 6.3 percent. Our report identifies other indicators that teacher pay is too low and declining. For example, in the 2015–2016 school year, 59.0 percent of teachers took on additional paid work either in the school system or outside of it—up from 55.6 percent in the 2011–2012 school year. A majority of moonlighters (44.1 percent) were taking on second jobs within the school system, such as coaching, student activity sponsorship, mentoring other teachers, or teaching evening classes; 18.2 percent were working outside of the school system; and 5.7 percent were receiving compensation based on student performance. For these teachers, moonlighting makes up a substantial 7.0 percent share of their combined base salary and extra income. Financial stress is greater for teachers in high-poverty schools. Relative to teachers in low-poverty schools, teachers in high-poverty schools are paid less ($53,300 vs. $58,900), receive a smaller amount from moonlighting ($4,000 vs. $4,300), and the moonlighting that they do is less likely to involve paid extracurricular or additional activities for the school system that generate extra pay but also help them grow professionally as teachers (data are for 2015–2016). Data suggest a relationship between low salaries and quitting. Teachers who ended up quitting before the 2012–2013 school year had lower base salaries ($50,800 vs. $53,300) and were more likely to be supplementing their base pay with work outside the school system in the year before they quit (18.4 percent vs. 16.3 percent).

Oregon: Legislation increases school funding via new corporate tax, credit positive for state and school districts

Source: Patrick Liberatore, Baye Larsen, Eva Bogaty, Nicholas Samuels, Emily Raimes, Timothy Blake, Leonard Jones, Moody’s, Sector Comment, State government and public K-12 schools districts, May 23, 2019
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On May 16, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed legislation that increases preK-12 education spending by a projected $1.2 billion for the state’s 2019-21 biennium starting July 1, 2019. Growth in state support is credit positive for Oregon school districts because it will increase resources as education costs continue to rise. The added funding comes from a dedicated state corporate activity tax established by the legislation. Besides generating more school funding, the tax is credit positive for the state because it will diversify its revenue sources, which are heavily reliant on volatile personal income taxes….

California: Revised budget increases funding for school districts and community colleges, a credit positive

Source: Helen Cregger, Eric Hoffmann, Leonard Jones, Moody’s, Sector Comment, Public K-12 school districts and community colleges, May 22, 2019
(subscription required)

On May 9, California Governor Gavin Newsom released a revised version of the state’s fiscal 2020 budget, which includes a substantial increase in minimum funding levels for K-12 public schools and community college districts, a credit positive. The new budget also benefits K-12 schools with the state agreeing to kick in added funds to help school districts with pension payments to the California State Teachers’ Retirement System….

Growing school pension burdens will require more state support

Source: Matthew Butler, Joshua Grundleger, Emily RaimesMoody’s, Sector In-Depth, State government – US, April 9, 2019
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Recent actions by states signal growing recognition that as pension burdens — unfunded liabilities and annual costs — escalate for K-12 school districts, state assistance will likely need to increase. California (Aa3 positive), Indiana (Aaa stable) and Oregon (Aa1 stable) all recently proposed budget legislation that would boost school funding by making increased payments to teacher pension plans on behalf of districts. The proposals call for one-time contributions to the pension plans rather than recurring pension contribution support on behalf of local districts like Colorado (Aa1 stable) and Michigan (Aa1 stable) have recently committed to provide. Additional states are likely to increase funding for teacher pensions,reflecting the growing credit risks underfunded plans present.

Right Cause, Wrong Method? Examining the Politics of State Takeover in Georgia

Source: Richard O. Welsh, Sheneka Williams, Shafiqua Little, Jerome Graham, Urban Affairs Review, Volume: 55 issue: 3, May 2019
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From the abstract:
A growing number of states are using state-run school districts to take over and improve persistently underperforming schools. This article uses Georgia to examine the politics of state takeover. We analyze the supporting and opposing coalitions as well as the alignment between state takeover and charter schools in the campaign for the constitutional amendment to create a statewide turnaround district. Our findings show that corporate interests, the governor, and nonprofit organizations supported state takeover, whereas educators, parents, and community organizations opposed state takeover. There was bipartisan support across coalitions and a crisscrossing of interests regarding local control and the path to school improvement. There are divergent views on charter schools, with supporters of state takeover favoring charter schools.

Patrolling Public Schools: The Impact of Funding for School Police on Student Discipline and Long‐term Education Outcomes

Source: Emily K. Weisburst, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Volume 38, Issue 2, Spring 2019
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From the abstract:
As police officers have become increasingly common in U.S. public schools, their role in school discipline has often expanded. While there is growing public debate about the consequences of police presence in schools, there is scant evidence of the impact of police on student discipline and academic outcomes. This paper provides the first quasi‐experimental estimate of funding for school police on student outcomes, leveraging variation in federal Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grants. Exploiting detailed data on over 2.5 million students in Texas, I find that federal grants for police in schools increase middle school discipline rates by 6 percent. The rise in discipline is driven by sanctions for low‐level offenses or school code of conduct violations. Further, I find that Black students experience the largest increases in discipline. I also find that exposure to a three‐year federal grant for school police is associated with a 2.5 percent decrease in high school graduation rates and a 4 percent decrease in college enrollment rates.