Category Archives: Education

Training the Personal and Home Care Aide Workforce – Challenges and Solutions

Source: Clare Luz, Katherine Hanson, Home Health Care Management & Practice, Published online before print January 1, 2015
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Personal care aides (PCAs) are critical to meeting the need for low-cost, high-quality care for frail older adults at home. Developing this workforce entails not only increasing its size but also ensuring that PCAs possess the skills necessary to deliver competent, safe, and respectful care. Yet, no federal PCA competencies or training requirements exist, and state requirements vary widely. In 2010, a 77-hour PCA model training program was developed as part of a national demonstration. However, a key finding of this study was that many enrollees faced serious socio-economic challenges that prevented them from graduating. This report details findings from a survey sent to all non-completers to ascertain reasons for attrition and improve program success. It offers recommendations for future program planners.

Americans overestimate social class mobility

Source: Michael W. Kraus, Jacinth J.X. Tan, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Volume 58, May 2015

From the abstract:
In this research we examine estimates of American social class mobility—the ability to move up or down in education and income status. Across studies, overestimates of class mobility were large and particularly likely among younger participants and those higher in subjective social class—both measured (Studies 1–3) and manipulated (Study 4). Class mobility overestimates were independent of general estimation errors (Study 3) and persisted after accounting for knowledge of class mobility assessed in terms of educational attainment and self-ratings. Experiments revealed that mobility overestimates were shaped by exposure to information about the genetic determinants of social class—a faux science article suggesting genetic constraints to economic advancement increased accuracy in class mobility estimates (Study 2)—and motivated by needs to protect the self—heightening the self-relevance of class mobility increased overestimates (Study 3). Discussion focused on both the costs and benefits of overestimates of class mobility for individuals and society.

• Americans overestimate the levels of actual class mobility in society.
• Mobility overestimates are larger for younger and higher subjective class people.
• Information and motivation contribute to mobility beliefs.

The Role and Impact of Nurses in American Elementary Schools: A Systematic Review of the Research

Source: Michelle J. Lineberry, Melinda J. Ickes, Journal of School Nursing, Vol. 31 no. 1, February 2015
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
School nurses are tasked with the critical job of keeping students safe and well. Due to competing demands for resources in schools, the impact of school nurses must be demonstrated to secure their jobs. A systematic review of the literature from 1937 to 2013 was conducted to show the efficacy of school nursing activities in American elementary schools. While some studies of immunization compliance, attendance rates, body mass index screening, vision screening, and follow-up are promising, results are mixed and additional evidence is needed. The impact of school nurses on educational and health outcomes must continue to be evaluated and more rigorous evaluation methods should be explored. Suggestions for future research and collaborations are discussed.

The Effects of School Spending on Educational and Economic Outcomes: Evidence from School Finance Reforms

Source: C. Kirabo Jackson, Rucker Johnson, Claudia Persico, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), NBER Working Paper No. w20847, January 2015
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Since Coleman (1966), many have questioned whether school spending affects student outcomes. The school finance reforms that began in the early 1970s and accelerated in the 1980s caused some of the most dramatic changes in the structure of K–12 education spending in US history. To study the effect of these school-finance-reform-induced changes in school spending on long-run adult outcomes, we link school spending and school finance reform data to detailed, nationally-representative data on children born between 1955 and 1985 and followed through 2011. We use the timing of the passage of court-mandated reforms, and their associated type of funding formula change, as an exogenous shifter of school spending and we compare the adult outcomes of cohorts that were differentially exposed to school finance reforms, depending on place and year of birth. Event-study and instrumental variable models reveal that a 10 percent increase in per-pupil spending each year for all twelve years of public school leads to 0.27 more completed years of education, 7.25 percent higher wages, and a 3.67 percentage-point reduction in the annual incidence of adult poverty; effects are much more pronounced for children from low-income families. Exogenous spending increases were associated with sizable improvements in measured school quality, including reductions in student-to-teacher ratios, increases in teacher salaries, and longer school years.

The Returns to the Federal Tax Credits for Higher Education

Source: George Bulman, Caroline M. Hoxby, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), NBER Working Paper No. w20833, January 2015
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Three tax credits benefit households who pay tuition and fees for higher education. The credits have been justified as an investment: generating more educated people and thus more earnings and externalities associated with education. The credits have also been justified purely as tax cuts to benefit the middle class. In 2009, the generosity of and eligibility for the tax credits expanded enormously so that their 2011 cost was $25 billion. Using selected, de-identified data from the population of potential filers, we show how the credits are distributed across households with different incomes. We estimate the causal effects of the federal tax credits using two empirical strategies (regression kink and simulated instruments) which we show to be strong and very credibly valid for this application. The latter strategy exploits the massive expansion of the credits in 2009. We present causal estimates of the credits’ effects on postsecondary attendance, the type of college attended, the resources experienced in college, tuition paid, and financial aid received. We discuss the implications of our findings for society’s return on investment and for the tax credits’ budget neutrality over the long term (whether higher lifetime earnings generate sufficient taxes to recoup the tax expenditures). We assess several explanations why the credits appear to have negligible causal effects.

Why School Report Cards Merit a Failing Grade

Source: Kenneth R. Howe, Kevin Murray, National Education Policy Center, January 26, 2015

Sixteen states have adopted school report card accountability systems that assign A-F letter grades to schools. Other states are now engaged in deliberation about whether they, too, should adopt such systems. This brief examines A-F accountability systems with respect to three kinds of validity. First, it examines whether or not they are valid as a measure. That is, do these systems validly measure school quality? Second, it examines whether or not they are valid as a policy instrument. That is, how far do A-F accountability systems fulfill the stated aims of their proponents—empowering parents, providing “simple” and “common sense” measures of educational quality, and so on? Finally, it examines whether or not A-F systems are valid as a democratic framework. That is, how well do these systems align with the broader goals of educating students for democratic citizenship and of incorporating parents and community members in democratic deliberation about policies for their public schools? The brief concludes that A-F accountability systems are invalid along each of these lines, and provides recommendations for democratically developing and implementing criteria for school assessment.
Press Release

Starting Early, Starting Now: Investing in Teachers to Grow Child Care Quality

Source: Peggy Haack, with Erin Gernetzke and Caroline Oldershaw, Wisconsin Early Childhood Association, 2014

From the summary:
Starting Early, Starting Now: Investing in Teachers to Grow Child Care Quality explores an unresolved problem facing Wisconsin and our nation: How do we set young children on a positive life trajectory through quality early education while paying near poverty-level wages to those professionals who care for and teach them?

Yes They Can: Supporting Bachelor Degree Attainment for Early Childhood Practitioners

Source: Laura Sakai, Fran Kipnis, and Marcy Whitebook, Diana Schaack, Early Childhood Research & Practice (ECRP), Volume 16 Numbers 1 & 2, Spring/Fall 2014

From the abstract:
As part of a longitudinal study, the authors interviewed 73 nontraditional students regarding their perceptions of the challenges experienced and supports received as they returned to school to earn bachelor’s degrees. All participants were working in the early care and education field. Interviewees perceived the cohort structure of their B.A. program as important to their academic success; this positive assessment increased over time and continued after graduation. A majority reported that program services such as financial assistance and the scheduling and location of classes were critically important throughout their participation in the degree programs. In contrast, academic and technological challenges reportedly decreased over time, and thus students’ need for support such as tutoring, counseling services, and technology assistance decreased. Many students whose primary language was not English reported relying on English-language assistance throughout their school experience even when they perceived English academic work to be increasingly less challenging. These findings suggest that those who design and implement programs to assist degree attainment should invest in academic supports at the beginning of the program while other supports, including financial assistance, the schedule and location of classes, and the cohort itself, are critical throughout students’ educational experience.

School Paraprofessionals Staffing

Source: Catherine M. Conlin, Susan M. Phillips, Connecticut General Assembly, Legislative Program Review and Investigations Committee, Staff Findings and Recommendations, December 17, 2014

From the abstract:
This study focused on instructional paraprofessional staffing policies and practices in Connecticut K-12 public schools. In particular, the study described the range of responsibilities paraprofessionals are hired to perform and examined how the number and use of paraprofessionals has changed recently.
Staff Findings and Proposed Recommendations Highlights

Legislative Para Staffing Study Recommendations
Source: AFT Connecticut, December 29, 2014

Campus Law Enforcement, 2011-12

Source: Brian Reaves, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, NCJ 248028, January 20, 2015

From the abstract:
Presents findings from a BJS survey of campus law enforcement agencies covering the 2011-12 academic year. The report focuses primarily on 4-year colleges and universities enrolling 2,500 or more students. Agencies serving public and private campuses are compared by number and type of employees, agency functions, arrest jurisdiction, patrol coverage, agreements with local law enforcement, requirements for new officers, use of nonlethal weapons, types of computers and information systems, community policing initiatives, use of special units and programs, and emergency preparedness activities.

– About 75% of the campuses were using armed officers, compared to 68% during the 2004-05 school year.
– About 9 in 10 public campuses used sworn police officers (92%), compared to about 4 in 10 private campuses (38%).
– Most sworn campus police officers were authorized to use a sidearm (94%), chemical or pepper spray (94%), and a baton (93%).
– Most sworn campus police officers had arrest (86%) and patrol (81%) jurisdictions that extended beyond campus boundaries.
– About 7 in 10 campus law enforcement agencies had a memorandum of understanding or other formal written agreement with outside law enforcement agencies.
Press Release
ASCII file