This article considers the reasons why labor historians have continued to neglect the history of workers and unions in the US public sector. It argues that the most compelling explanation for hisotrians’ failure to examine the history of public sector unions is that conducting such an examination would challenge a number of deeply rooted preconceptions regarding the history of American labor since World War II. The article goes on to suggest what we might learn if US labor historians began to probe the experience of public sector workers more fully.
Vol. 47, No. 1, February 2006
Source: Amy Ellen Schwartz, Leanna Stiefel, Ross Rubenstein, Symposium on Education Finance and Organization Structure in NYS Schools, Albany, NY, March 2004
From the abstract:
This paper explores the determinants of resource allocation across schools in large districts and examines options for improving resource distribution patterns. Previous research on intra-district allocations consistently reveals resource disparities across schools within districts, particularly in the distribution of teachers. While overall expenditures are sometimes related to the characteristics of students in schools, the ratio of teachers per pupil is consistently larger in high poverty, high-minority and low-performing schools. These teachers, though, generally have lower experience and education levels — and consequently, lower salaries — as compared to teachers in more advantaged schools. We explore these patterns in New York City, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio by estimating de facto expenditure equations relating resource measures to school and student characteristics. Consistent with previous research, we find schools that have higher percentages of poor pupils receive more money and have more teachers per pupil, but the teachers tend to be less educated and less well paid, with a particularly consistent pattern in New York City schools. The paper concludes with policy options for changing intra-district resource distributions in order to promote more efficient, more equitable or more effective use of resources. These options include allocating dollars rather than teacher positions to schools, providing teacher pay differentials in hard-to-staff schools and subjects, and adapting current district-based funding formulas to the school (and student) level.