More Americans view long-term decline in union membership negatively than positively

Source: Hannah Fingerhut, Pew Research Center, Fact Tank, June 5, 2018

The number of Americans represented by labor unions has decreased substantially since the 1950s, and a new Pew Research Center survey finds that the decline is seen more negatively than positively by U.S. adults. The survey also finds that 55% of Americans have a favorable impression of unions, with about as many (53%) viewing business corporations favorably.

Related:
Millennials: Unions Good, Corporations Bad
Source: Cole Stangler, Jacobin, June 7, 2018

Leftists should be heartened by recent US poll data showing that 68 percent of people aged 18-29 have positive views of unions. Just 46 percent said the same of corporations.

Only 1 in 4 women who have been sexually harassed tell their employers. Here’s why they’re afraid

Source: Margaret E. Johnson, The Conversation, June 5, 2018

…. But a question #MeToo has been asking since the beginning is how will this affect the lives of women far from the high-powered worlds of Hollywood and Washington. Is this making it any easier for a low or mid-wage worker in middle America to rid her workplace of a sexual harasser?

One important way of doing this is by making an official complaint to the employer. But while women will often complain to family or even on social media, most don’t tell their companies of the misconduct. In fact, barely 1 in 4 ever do. ….

Grand Theft Paycheck: The Large Corporations Shortchanging Their Workers’ Wages

Source: Philip Mattera, Good Jobs First and Jobs With Justice Education Fund, June 2018

From the press release:
A new report finds that many large corporations operating in the United States have boosted their profits by forcing employees to work off the clock, cheating them out of required overtime pay and engaging in similar practices that together are known as wage theft.

The detailed analysis of federal and state court records shows that these corporations have paid out billions of dollars to resolve wage theft lawsuits brought by workers. Walmart, which has long been associated with such practices, has paid the most, but the list of the most-penalized employers also includes Bank of America, Wells Fargo and other large banks and insurance companies as well as major technology and healthcare corporations. Many of the large corporations are repeat offenders, and 450 firms have each paid out $1 million or more in settlements and/or judgments….

Related:
Spreadsheet version of Appendix A: Parent companies with $1 million or more in wage theft penalties
Spreadsheet version of Appendix B: 100 largest wage theft lawsuit settlements or verdicts
Spreadsheet version of Appendix C: Wage theft lawsuits with confidential settlements
Spreadsheet list of all lawsuits and enforcement actions analyzed in the report

Can Mass Shootings be Stopped? To Address the Problem, We Must Better Understand the Phenomenon

Source: Jaclyn Schildkraut Margaret K. Formica Jim Malatras, Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, May 22, 2018

The mass shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, happened nearly two decades ago, yet it remains etched in the national consciousness. Columbine spurred a national debate — from personal safety to the security of schools, workplaces, and other locations and to broader considerations of guns and mental illness. To this day, communities still are grappling to find solutions to the complex and multifaceted nature of mass shootings.

Why Rich Kids Are So Good at the Marshmallow Test

Source: Jessica McCrory Calarco, Atlantic, June 1, 2018

Affluence—not willpower—seems to be what’s behind some kids’ capacity to delay gratification. ….

…. Ultimately, the new study finds limited support for the idea that being able to delay gratification leads to better outcomes. Instead, it suggests that the capacity to hold out for a second marshmallow is shaped in large part by a child’s social and economic background—and, in turn, that that background, not the ability to delay gratification, is what’s behind kids’ long-term success. ….

…. This new paper found that among kids whose mothers had a college degree, those who waited for a second marshmallow did no better in the long run—in terms of standardized test scores and mothers’ reports of their children’s behavior—than those who dug right in. Similarly, among kids whose mothers did not have college degrees, those who waited did no better than those who gave in to temptation, once other factors like household income and the child’s home environment at age 3 (evaluated according to a standard research measure that notes, for instance, the number of books that researchers observed in the home and how responsive mothers were to their children in the researchers’ presence) were taken into account. For those kids, self-control alone couldn’t overcome economic and social disadvantages.

The failed replication of the marshmallow test does more than just debunk the earlier notion; it suggests other possible explanations for why poorer kids would be less motivated to wait for that second marshmallow. For them, daily life holds fewer guarantees: There might be food in the pantry today, but there might not be tomorrow, so there is a risk that comes with waiting. And even if their parents promise to buy more of a certain food, sometimes that promise gets broken out of financial necessity. ….

Related:
Revisiting the Marshmallow Test: A Conceptual Replication Investigating Links Between Early Delay of Gratification and Later Outcomes
Source: Tyler W. Watts, Greg J. Duncan, Haonan Quan, Psychological Science, Online First, May 25, 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
We replicated and extended Shoda, Mischel, and Peake’s (1990) famous marshmallow study, which showed strong bivariate correlations between a child’s ability to delay gratification just before entering school and both adolescent achievement and socioemotional behaviors. Concentrating on children whose mothers had not completed college, we found that an additional minute waited at age 4 predicted a gain of approximately one tenth of a standard deviation in achievement at age 15. But this bivariate correlation was only half the size of those reported in the original studies and was reduced by two thirds in the presence of controls for family background, early cognitive ability, and the home environment. Most of the variation in adolescent achievement came from being able to wait at least 20 s. Associations between delay time and measures of behavioral outcomes at age 15 were much smaller and rarely statistically significant.

Moving Beyond the Degree Debate

Source: Linda Smith, Bipartisan Policy Center blog, April 30, 2018

The draft Power to the Profession framework outlining professional qualifications for early care and learning professionals has reopened a debate in the early childhood community that many felt had been put to rest with the publication of the report Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). In fact, most had hoped that it had been put to rest. But the new draft framework includes a recommendation that an associate degree, or AA, be the entry-level credential for early childhood educators. So, necessarily, here we are again, debating whether a bachelor’s degree, or BA, is the appropriate entry-level credential for a lead early childhood educator.

American Attitudes Toward Teacher Pay and Protests

Source: Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, April 2018

The April 2018 AP-NORC Poll asked 1,140 adults their views on teacher pay and recent protests advocating for more school funding.

​On April 19, 2018, teachers in Arizona voted to walk off the job to demand increased school funding, joining the movement for higher teacher pay that began in February in West Virginia and has spread to Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Colorado. In a recent survey conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 78 percent of Americans say teachers in this country are underpaid, but fewer approve of walkouts by teachers to demand pay raises and increased school funding.

Fifty-two percent approve of teachers striking to protest low teacher pay and school funding cuts, while 25 percent disapprove and 22 percent neither approve nor disapprove. But who is to blame when teacher labor unrest disrupts students’ education? Americans say there is plenty of blame to go around. ….

…. Seventy-eight percent of adults say public school teachers get paid too little for the work that they do, 6 percent say they get paid too much, and 15 percent say they get paid the right amount. Still, only 50 percent would support a plan to increase their taxes in order to increase teacher compensation and funding for their local public schools, while 26 percent would oppose such a plan, and 23 percent neither favor nor oppose. ….

Related:
Most Americans believe teachers have the right to strike
Source: Ipsos/NPR survey on the public’s views of teachers, April 26, 2018

A recent survey conducted on behalf of NPR shows that just one in four Americans believe teachers in this country are paid fairly. Furthermore, three-quarters agree teachers have the right to strike, including two-thirds of Republicans, three-quarters of independents and nearly 9 in 10 Democrats. 

Though nearly two-thirds approve of national teachers’ unions, an equal number (63%) agree that teachers’ unions do make it harder to fire bad teachers. Half of Americans (51%) agree that teachers’ unions improve both the quality of education and teachers, though these two questions vary based on party affiliation. Two-thirds or more of Democrats agree that teachers’ unions improve the quality of education and teachers, compared to less than half of Republicans…..

HPU Poll: NC Republicans and Democrats Agree on Education Issues
Source: March 7, 2018

…. Teacher pay raises: Majorities of North Carolinians also say that public school teachers are paid too little (85 percent) and claim that they would be willing to pay more in taxes so that North Carolina school teachers could be paid at the national average within five years (73 percent). In fact, large majorities of Democrats (72 percent), Republicans (72 percent), and unaffiliated (76 percent) residents of North Carolina say they would pay more in taxes for such a teacher pay raise. ….

New polls find most Americans say teachers are underpaid — and many would pay higher taxes to fix it
Source: Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, June 1, 2018

Teachers Find Public Support as Campaign for Higher Pay Goes to Voters
Source: Dana Goldstein and Ben Casselman, New York Times, May 31, 2018

Declining enrollment credit negative due to continued pressure on net tuition revenue

Source: Edison Castaneda, Susan I Fitzgerald, Dennis M. Gephardt, Moody’s, Sector Comment, May 29, 2018
(subscription required)

On May 21, the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center (NSCRC) released data showing that enrollment at US colleges and universities declined by 1.3% year-over-year in spring 2018 with some variation by type of institution (see Exhibit 1). This enrollment decline is credit negative for the sector given US colleges and universities’ high reliance on tuition and other student-generated revenue. Tuition and other student-generated income represents roughly 74% and 61% of revenue for four-year public and four-year private universities, respectively. Demographic trends and tuition pricing constraints will continue to suppress tuition revenue growth in fiscal 2018 with Moody’s projecting median net tuition revenue growth to increase just 2.4% for public universities and 2.0% for privates. Additionally, we project over 20% of public universities and 23% of privates to have declining net tuition revenue in fiscal 2018.

Related:
Current Term Enrollment Estimates – Spring 2018
Source: National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, Spring 2018

From the overview:
In spring 2018, overall postsecondary enrollments decreased1.3 percent from the previous spring. Figure1 shows the 12-month percentage change (fall-to-fall and spring-to-spring) for each term over the last three years. Enrollments decreased among four-year for-profit institutions (-6.8 percent), two-year public institutions (-2.0 percent), four-year private nonprofit institutions (-0.4 percent), and four-year public institutions (-0.2 percent). Taken as a whole, public sector enrollments (two year and four-year combined) declined by 0.9 percent this spring. Current Term Enrollment Estimates, published every December and May by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, include national enrollment estimates by institutional sector, state, enrollment intensity, age group, and gender. Enrollment estimates are adjusted for Clearinghouse data coverage rates by institutional sector, state, and year. As of spring 2018, postsecondary institutions actively submitting enrollment data to the Clearinghouse account for 97 percent of enrollments at U.S. Title IV, degree-granting institutions. Most institutions submit enrollment data to the Clearinghouse several times per term, resulting in highly current data. Moreover, since the Clearinghouse collects data at the student level, it is possible to report an unduplicated headcount, which avoids double-counting students who are simultaneously enrolled at multiple institutions.

Pressure on states to increase K-12 education funding will continue

Source: Pisei Chea, Nicholas Samuels, Emily Raimes, Timothy Blake, Nadia Morelos, Moody’s, Sector In-Depth, June 4, 2018
(subscription required)

Public demand to increase K-12 education funding has grown in many states, a reaction to years of restrained spending in this area since the 2008-09 recession. Between fiscal 2002-07, total K-12 funding from federal, state and local sources increased at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.8%, then slowed to a CAGR of 1.8% from 2009-16 despite the economic recovery. The slowdown was driven by declining federal funding, slow state and local tax revenue growth, and generally more austere policy priorities in some state capitals. Teachers in a handful of states have recently organized walkouts to demand higher teacher salaries and increased education spending. States have significant flexibility to adjust their budgets to meet policy demands, especially as tax revenue growth has strengthened in the past year; willingness to do so varies, however, and states will continue to be pressured to balance K-12 spending with other program demands.
….

FAQ: US state and local government exposure to rising trade tension

Source: Sunny Zhu, Patrick Liberatore, Ted Hampton, Denise Rappmund, Eric Hoffmann, Leonard Jones, Moody’s, Sector In-Depth, May 24, 2018
(subscription required)

Rising trade tension represents a major risk to the US and global economic outlook. Since 2017, the United States (Aaa stable) has withdrawn from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and imposed tariffs on washing machines, solar panels, steel, and aluminum. The US continues to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada (Aaa stable) and Mexico (A3 stable), and has threatened substantial tariffs against China (A1 stable) following a US Trade Representative investigation. Despite the recent softening of the trade rhetoric between the US and China, risks of recurring trade tension remain as negotiations on specific measures proceed. ….