Category Archives: Schools K-12

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

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.

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.

Revenues and Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary Education: School Year 2013-14 (Fiscal Year 2014)

Source: Stephen Q. Cornman, Lei Zhou, National Center for Education Statistics, Publication #: NCES 2016301, October 2016

From the abstract:
This First Look contains national and state totals of revenues and expenditures for public elementary and secondary education for school year 2013-14. This First Look includes revenues by source and expenditures by function and object, including current expenditures per pupil and instructional expenditures per pupil. This report presents data submitted annually to NCES by state education agencies in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

State Tax Subsidies for Private K-12 Education

Source: Carl Davis, Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), October 2016

From the introduction:
One of the most important functions of government is to maintain a high-quality public education system. In many states, however, this objective is being undermined by tax credits and deductions that redirect public dollars for K-12 education toward private schools. Twenty states currently divert a total of over $1 billion per year toward private schools via special tax credits and deductions. These tax subsidies are essentially backdoor voucher programs, or “neovouchers,” as they use the tax code to provide what amount to private school vouchers even when traditional voucher programs are unpopular with the public or outright unconstitutional.

Because of the ways that state and federal tax law interact, the subsidies offered in ten of these states turn the concept of a charitable “donation” on its head by offering upper-income taxpayers a risk-free profit on contributions they make to fund private school scholarships. In these cases, even taxpayers who would not ordinarily be interested in contributing to private schools may find the incentive too strong to ignore. Some states have seen an entire year’s allotment of tax credits claimed within days, or even hours, of being made available as wealthy taxpayers seek to capture their share of the profits associated with convoluted “neovoucher” systems. In effect, states that have encountered political or constitutional obstacles to spending public dollars on private schools have instead set up a system that allows wealthy taxpayers to enjoy a profit by facilitating such spending on the state’s behalf.

This report explains the workings, and problems, with state-level tax subsidies for private K-12 education. It also discusses how the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has exacerbated some of these problems by allowing taxpayers to claim federal charitable deductions even on private school contributions that were not truly charitable in nature. Finally, an appendix to this report provides additional detail on the specific K-12 private school tax subsidies made available by each state.

An Excel Spreadsheet Model for States and Districts to Assess the Cost-Benefit of School Nursing Services

Source: Li Yan Wang, Mary Jane O’Brien, Erin Maughan, NASN School Nurse, Published online before print September 13, 2016
(subscription required)

from the abstract:
This paper describes a user-friendly, Excel spreadsheet model and two data collection instruments constructed by the authors to help states and districts perform cost-benefit analyses of school nursing services delivered by full-time school nurses. Prior to applying the model, states or districts need to collect data using two forms: “Daily Nurse Data Collection Form” and the “Teacher Survey.” The former is used to record daily nursing activities, including number of student health encounters, number of medications administered, number of student early dismissals, and number of medical procedures performed. The latter is used to obtain estimates for the time teachers spend addressing student health issues. Once inputs are entered in the model, outputs are automatically calculated, including program costs, total benefits, net benefits, and benefit-cost ratio. The spreadsheet model, data collection tools, and instructions are available at the NASN website.